Many post-secondary institutions use DFW rates — the proportion of D’s, F’s and Withdrawals in a given course or program — as a measure of student engagement and a bellwether of longer-term retention and success. Clearly, a high DFW rate does not bode well for the prospects of those students who comprise the DFW.
Carleton University’s Department of Psychology (funded in part by eCampusOntario) first offered totally online, web-based Introduction to Psychology courses in the Fall of 2014. In this session, we will compare the results from 8,800 online students with their face-to-face classroom equivalents in an attempt to understand some of the drivers of DFW. Finally, we will demonstrate some course elements that appear to help lower DFW in online intro psych that may be applicable to other subjects as well.