Is it a perfect storm that could result in some actual movement toward great student retention and success? At least in my world, a number of technologies and delivery methods directed at doing just that appear to be converging. Data analytics, early alert systems, learning communities, mainstreaming, developmental education revisions--not new concepts, to be sure. Separately, these tools and techniques might make small improvements in the success of our students. Combined, these projects could help us make massive improvements in student success numbers. They just might.
Many of these changes, particularly what I'm seeing regarding developmental education courses, seem to me to be long overdue. I can't think of a single argument against anything that gets students successfully and more quickly through developmental coursework. I also can't find fault with the concept of contextualizing dev ed courses--or other core courses, for that matter.
Research on what puts students at risk for failure is growing, and the data we gather in our various projects will help us more specifically define what leads to success for our particular student populations--and maybe even help us define what "success" means!
So THIS time, will these projects come together to result in measurable improvement in student success? That remains to be seen. I can only hope, while trying to keep up with the many and varied projects!