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Lost in Translation: Importance of Effective Communication in Online Education

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Abstract

Approximately 3.9 million students enrolled in at least one online course in fall 2007. According to Allen and Seaman (2008), online education growth rates have continued to outpace total higher education growth rates and there are no signs of online growth slowing down. As higher education institutions offer increasing numbers of online and blended programs, it is important that administrators integrate communication theory and methods into training and professional development for online faculty. This paper will provide a comparative overview of communication research as it relates to online education. Moreover, this paper will provide recommendations for integrating effective online communication into programming and instruction to increase student connectivity, engagement, and retention. Faculty and student data/feedback collected from Drexel University’s online Master of Science in Higher Education Program will be shared to highlight the importance of effective communication in online education.

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