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Driving student satisfaction starts with modernized classrooms

by Elisa Esposito
Today, student retention and satisfaction is as important as ever. Even the highest ranked colleges and universities are always striving to ensure they retain as many students as possible. While it’s obvious why this issue is so crucial, many universities struggle to identify adjustments they can make to positively affect retention.

Perhaps the best place to start, according to a Noel-Levitz study1, is improving student satisfaction, through creating an inviting climate on campus, an engaging classroom experience, providing knowledgeable faculty and advisers, and more. This research demonstrated that these elements of student satisfaction can be responsible for almost 20 percent of how much retention varies.

Another recent study2, which sought to break down the elements of the classroom experience that impact student satisfaction, revealed that “technological attributes received high satisfaction votes from students” across different types of classes. As such, the benefits creating an engaging classroom experience to improve student satisfaction and retention can be a short, direct path to ROI.

So how exactly can classroom technology improve classroom experience to keep students engaged, and enrolled? 
Modern Classroom data graph

Video collaboration

In learning environments where students are distributed across campuses, online and throughout the world, adding video collaboration can make for a more enriching and interactive experience for those students who aren’t in the classroom than simply following an onscreen presentation with audio.

And even in non-distributed learning environments, instructors can use video to bring students face-to-face with industry experts with real-world experience in students’ focus areas. Whether these experts are across the county or in another country, adding a visual element can meaningfully expand the horizons of classrooms and students.

In both use cases, the benefits of video technology are tangible, as students are less inclined to simply “follow along;” they’re more alert and inclined to ask questions, collaborate and have lively discussions with their peers or experts via video. Video collaboration can also support the variety of mobile devices that permeate modern students’ daily life, further increasing student satisfaction and, in turn, retention.
Video Conferencing in office

Faculty-student collaboration

In addition to transcending geographical boundaries, technology can also help lay the groundwork for student retention by increasing student interaction with faculty, and positively impact student satisfaction. The days of marked-up transparencies on overhead projectors are (or at least should be) long behind us, but some students’ learning experiences are still limited by the inability to interact with learning content and faculty.

A range of technologies enable students to directly engage with content – for example, solving formulas in front of an classroom but from the comfort of their own device, or adding their group’s comments and alterations in real time to an engineering design that’s being projected by their professor. The sense of instant, seamless interaction and collaboration that technology provides isn’t just a return on investment for higher education IT; it also makes students more invested in their own academic experience.

Flipped classrooms

Taking the student-faculty dynamic even further down the collaboration spectrum, subverting the traditional, instructor-led class structure and empowering students to take charge of the learning process has become a burgeoning trend. Replacing lectures with group discussions, problem-solving and brainstorming can boost student engagement and provide personalized student guidance. Real-time voting on questions using clickers to gamify learning, and student-led sessions that enable them to simultaneously map out and collaborate on ideas and projects, are just a couple further applications of classroom technologies that can help keep students satisfied with evolving learning styles.

Modernized classrooms

How can classroom technology improve classroom experience to keep students engaged, and enrolled?
Elisa Esposito
Elisa Esposito is Senior Manager, Channel Marketing, Higher Education for Ricoh USA, Inc., responsible for vertical marketing strategy, development and success to ensure strategic alignment for higher education customer environments. Esposito has worked with Ricoh’s strategic partner, Blackboard, to create the industry’s first scanning and printing connector that unites information from a Ricoh multifunction device to integrate within Blackboard Learn.
1 Schreiner, Laurie A., Ph.D. "Linking Student Satisfaction and Retention." Noel-Levitz. 2009
2 ResearchGate. Building and Environment. 2013