Leveraging Canvas to Increase (Hispanic) Student Retention and Persistence
General description of the project
CSU San Bernardino recently adopted the Canvas Learning Management System. The project was to leverage Canvas to consolidate information about campus resources into single area for student access in a “CSUSB Resources” Canvas site. This site would then be appended to the Canvas Help section in every CSUSB Canvas course. Students could then access support resources such as financial aid, registration, basic needs (food, shelter, etc.), student health services, and others all in one place.
There was no immediate cost associated with the course creation. It uses existing resources and information available from individual departments and on the CSUSB website.
The Canvas site is still in development, so there is no direct evidence of success. However, at least anecdotal evidence has shown that if students can access support networks, they generally have a higher retention rate. Furthermore, the easier access students have to these resources, the more likely they are to use them. As a Hispanic Serving Institution–our student population is 70% Hispanic–any campus initiatives have a direct impact on Hispanic students.
The primary technology was the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS was already in place and available to faculty, students, and staff at CSUSB. Using Canvas, I created a course that consolidates student support services information in one central place.
Explain project results
The project is still in the initial design phase and has required more collaboration than initially anticipated. As such, I do not have concrete results to share. However, there is evidence that access to student resources increases retention and persistence. If students have access to resources and know how, when, and where to find them, they are more likely to use them. CSUSB’s student population is approximately 70% Hispanic. Thus, any action taken to increase retention and persistence will directly impact Hispanic students.
Why it should be considered best practice?
Students should be very familiar with campus resources. Having information in multiple places and allowing for multiple means of engaging that information is part of Universal Design. The Canvas course offers students the opportunity to engage with the information in a more familiar space. Additionally, students can more easily navigate to each resource. Instead of having to scroll through the entire CSUSB website, students can choose the resource they need and get an overview of that resource and contact information. The CSUSB Resources Canvas course was inspired by a similar course/page at Barstow Community College, demonstrating the replicability of the project. Other institutions could create a similar course in their designated LMS and integrate that course in ways they deem most effective.
Highlights of your proposed presentation
Access to student services increases retention and persistence
CSUSB Resources Canvas course/site proposes to make student services more accessible to students
Coordination and collaboration a necessary “roadblock”
Anticipated use of student surveys to gauge student awareness of resources
Anticipated creation of awareness campaigns for faculty, staff, and students
The Evaluation Committee will evaluate submitted proposals based on the following criteria. Each area will be rated on a scale from 1 to 7 (1= non-satisfactory; 7 =outstanding), for a maximum of 63 points.