Third Place: Sinclair Community College, OH


Underrepresented student populations such as students of color, lower-income students, and first-generation college students are disproportionately likely to struggle in online STEM gatekeeper courses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sinclair set out to help students be as successful in their online high-enrollment first-year STEM courses as they would have been in face-to-face classes.  For students with limited prior online learning experience, statistically more likely to be people of color, low-income students, and first-generation college students, the shift to remote learning increased the risk of failing a gatekeeper STEM course and subsequently stopping out of college. Sinclair aimed to free these students to focus on their course material rather than wasting time and mental energy wrestling with apps and online gradebooks or losing motivation due to lack of instructor and peer interaction. Sinclair implemented The Coaching to Complete student support model, a student support program that provided one-to-one interaction, clarified instructor expectations, and increased familiarity with online learning tools. Coaching to Complete goes beyond traditional online advising by allowing coaches to monitor individual student progress and provide personalized outreach and interventions whenever a student appears to be struggling. This intervention has helped students be more engaged and better prepared for online classes, reduced missing and late assignments, reduced non-content-related questions from students, and freed up instructor time to focus on the course material rather than troubleshooting content delivery. As we continue to offer online classes after the pandemic, the ability to navigate online classrooms has become essential to success in school, and Coaching to Complete has smoothed the shift to online learning. 

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