Joyce Fields and Irene Ortiz-Colella

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Instructors Measure Success by Our Students –And they’re doing Awesome!

Have you ever started a course only to find that as the class progresses fewer and fewer students seem to show up? The truth is that not everyone who starts a program or class finishes. And even those who complete their course sometimes get tripped up along the way and don’t manage to pass. That’s why we’re excited that so many of our faculty have been able to help so many of their students succeed.

What’s their secret?

For instructors Joyce Fields and Irene Ortiz-Colella, who recently had 100 percent retention and pass rates in the online courses they teach, it’s all about the extra attention they provide.

“Especially with online courses, I feel it’s important for students to know that there’s a real person out there,” says Irene. “I’ve taken online courses and I know that they can be scary. I want to take the scariness out of it.”

Joyce points out that for many of her students, it’s the first time they’ve ever taken an online class so “they can be a little apprehensive about it.” That’s why she tries to make her online classroom resemble the in-classroom experience as much as possible. When students participate in a forum, she imagines that they’re in a classroom, raising their hand and responding. She wouldn’t ignore them in-person, so she acknowledges them online. Even if it’s only a “good job,” “thank you” or a smiley face, she wants them to know their teacher is paying attention.

Another way the instructors engage with their students is by being very responsive to their needs. They address student questions and concerns quickly. Joyce says she knows that when a student is approaching an assignment deadline and has a question, he or she can be sent into panic mode if there’s no one to answer. Joyce always responds to her students within 24 hours, often making it a point to stay by her computer even on the weekends to be available when students are apt to need her the most. Irene says she keeps in touch with her students, too, through online portals, email, and sometimes even by phone, whatever she needs to do to keep them engaged and learning. Both instructors say they also use positive feedback to encourage their students and nudge them onto success. 

Joyce and Irene often hear back from their students about how much they appreciate the individualized attention and personalized responses. The students say thank you. But they agree that they’re the lucky ones.

“I learn so much from my students,” says Irene. “They educate me too.”

Joyce lives in Kansas and says she likes getting to “meet” students from other parts of the country. Irene is from Colorado and says she loves hearing about the diverse cultures and stories of her students. And when her students finish their courses and make it to graduation, she’s filled with a sense of pride.  

“I look at them and think, wow, I’m a part of that,” says Irene. “It’s definitely an honor.”

If you’ve ever considered going back to school, but thought online courses were impersonal, Joyce and Irene might prove you wrong. Check out all of Charter College’s programs. We have on-campus, online and blended learning programs. Which one is right for you?