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Supporting Online Students: A Practical Guide to Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Services

ISBN: 978-1-118-07654-5
288 pages
March 2012, Jossey-Bass
Supporting Online Students: A Practical Guide to Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Services (1118076540) cover image


Supporting Online Students shows how effective and efficiently delivered support services improve academic success and course retention for online learners. Drawing on a decade's worth of research, Anita Crawley describes the scope of services from admissions and registration to advising and student engagement. The book includes guidelines and standards, planning and implementation, innovative practices, and describes specialized services needed by particular online student groups.

"Effective student support is the single most important factor in sustaining high-quality online learning programs. Anita Crawley presents the most effective guide to achieving that success. Her book is a blueprint for building thriving online programs through comprehensive student support." —Ray Schroeder, director, Center for Online Learning, Research and Service, University of Illinois Springfield

"As distance learning continues to grow, this book addresses the often neglected other side of the coin: online student services. This book provides a great introduction and overview of the research, literature, and innovative practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating support services for online learners." —George Steele, director, eStudent Services, OhioLearns

"Anita Crawley has crafted a splendid volume on a topic of increasing importance in contemporary higher education. Her book promises to be the foundational piece for those who work with students in an online environment. Her thinking and analysis are superb and undoubtedly will provide the basis upon which to develop online programs and services in the future." —John H. Schuh, Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Emeritus, Iowa State University

"Bringing together extensive examples of innovative practices, summaries of current research, and a wealth of experience in student services, Anita Crawley's comprehensive guide to supporting online students is a rich resource for institutions with existing, growing, or new online programs. —Diane J. Goldsmith, former executive director, Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium

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Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Preface xv

About the Author xxiii

1 Setting the Stage: The Transformation 1

2 Profile of Online Students 13

3 Supporting Online Students with Disabilities 38

4 Putting Services Online 63

5 Administrative Suite 83

6 Academic Services Suite 102

7 Personal Services Suite 129

8 Communications Suite 153

9 Planning and Implementation 178

10 Evaluation 199

Final Thoughts 228

References 230

Index 245

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Author Information

Anita Crawley, an online instructor and course developer for UCLA Extension and the Illinois Online Network, previously held counseling and faculty and administrative positions in student affairs and distance learning programs. She is recognized for her pioneering work in the field of supporting online students.

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Press Release

April 05, 2012
Supporting Online Students

Supporting Online Students

A Practical Guide to Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Services

San Francisco, CA - The growth of online learning is booming. According to the study, Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010, 5.6 million students took at least one online course during fall 2009, an increase of 21% over the previous year, and online courses suffer from a drop rate of 52-62%.

SUPPORTING ONLINE STUDENTS is a comprehensive resource for all aspects of support services needed by online learners. It combines research, literature, and good practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating support services for online learners. Further, the book discusses how effective and efficiently delivered online support services may improve student success and retention and may ultimately contribute to improved college certificate and degree completion.

The book describes the scope, guidelines, and standards of  academic and non-academic services that should be made available to online students; describes qualities of and needs specific to particular student groups such as adult students, students with disabilities, first-generation students, low-income students, and military service personnel.


It provides the latest information on emerging technologies for student engagement and, it guides readers in planning, implementing, and evaluating services for online learners.

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