How to Use Remind as a Retention Tool

By Brett Kopf

Dr. Kathryn Cook, professor at Georgian College in Canada, knew her college was great at attracting students, but needed some improvement when it came to student retention.

After coming across Remind on Twitter, Cook brought the tool into her classroom.

“I haven’t done any official research, but Remind does help with retention,” Cook said.

Cook teaches two online courses — Understanding the Web and Understanding Science. She can monitor her students’ progress through the classroom content management system, which allows her to see when students miss quizzes.

“After looking at who missed the quizzes, I would send an email saying, ‘if you’re having trouble remembering due dates, please sign up for Remind,’” Cook said. “Students seemed to genuinely miss the quiz because they were overwhelmed or didn’t have a good system for keeping track. Remind definitely helped.”

To keep her students involved, Cook requires them to participate in four forums a semester. Halfway through the semester, she sends a Remind update reminding them it’s the middle of the semester and a good time for them to finish two of the four required forums.

Cook said some of her students who write longer discussions, forget to track quantity so by the end of the semester, they have three long posts instead of five total posts, which is what they need for credit.

“I’ll send them a Remind text that they need to make sure they learn how to search their name on the forum server,” Cook said. “So Remind helps me with technology reminders as well.”

Cook also offers other tech tips related to the server, which is case sensitive.

“The students are inundated in their official student email with messages from the college and I wonder how many times their eyes glaze over,” Cook said. “Remind goes to their cell phone which they spend 10 hours a day looking at.”

Cook said the 80 percent of her students who sign up for Remind finish the course.

“I see Remind as a retention tool and have been using it for several years,” Cook said. “It’s quick and easy and not onerous at all.”