Sotiris Kotsiantis of the Educational Software Development Laboratory at the University of Patras, Greece, explains how student dropout rates are much higher for universities providing distance education compared with conventional education.
Ensuring the dropout rate is as low as possible is a matter of economic viability for a given course and for the reputation of the university offering distance learning. However, predicting which students will dropout is not easy.
Data on students, class distributions, and dropout rates are usually rather skew, Kotsiantis says. This skewing of the statistics makes for low error rates in predicting overall class outcomes but produces unacceptable error rates when one is considering the minority of class members or individuals. He and his colleagues have carried out a systematic study of the various analytical methods that have been tried to overcome this limitation and found them all wanting.
The most obvious problem with analysing skewed data sets is that most approaches remover the "outliers" and focus on the average. But, it's the outliers at one end of the data who are the most likely to dropout.
As such, the team has devised a new statistical approach that offers a more effective solution to the problem by looking at the data at the local level where outliers become more prominent in the data set rather than being ignored by the law of averages. They tested their approach on retrospective student data from the Hellenic Open University and were able to effectively spot the student dropouts.
The method could allow universities offering distance learning the chance to predict which students are most likely to dropout of a course and so allow them to provide appropriate counselling, advice, and support to guide such students to a more informed decision regarding their educational future.
"It is of great importance for tutors to have recognised dropout-prone students before the middle of the period in order to be able to offer additional support to those students at risk," Kotsiantis says. The new predictive approach therefore focuses on collecting data about student successes and failures before this point in their course is reached. This data is combined with known socioeconomic factors, gender, age, previous education, marital status, and occupation if applicable.
Albert Ang | alfa
New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy