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Texting: The impact on departmental events to increase student retention

Texting: The impact on departmental events to increase student retention

Kurt K. Hubbard, PhD, OTD, OTR/L
FAOTA Education SIS Chair

Occupational Therapy education is not unlike other programs of study when it comes to the trials and tribulations of student engagement. College educators and administers are constantly trying to find new ways to improve students’ academic performance and retention. Literature demonstrates that brief psychological interventions in education may have a significant positive impact on performance and retention (Yeager & Walton, 2011). Specifically, brief socialpsychological interventions that focus on the way students think, feel, and believe regarding academics, have been shown to improve educational achievement (Cohen, Garcia, Apfel, & Master, 2006; Walton & Cohen, 2011). At multiple sites and disciplines (e.g., psychology undergraduate students, OTA students), the hypothesis that personalized text messages about departmental activities and resources could increase student retention was tested.

Methods: At orientation, 48 students completed a series of questionnaires, provided their cell phone numbers, and agreed to receive text messages about program events, campus resources, college announcements, as well as selective course announcements. Students were randomly assigned into text message conditions, providing a sample of 20 students in the experimental and control conditions. Both conditions received one text every week, but the experimental group texts included the student name to personalize the information in order to make the student feel identified and like they belonged to the department and the college environment (see Table 1 for an example). The messages were sent from a temporary Skype account to provide information and encourage feelings of belongingness and connectedness to the major and college. Following the 12-week semester, participants were asked to complete an online survey, identical to the ones they completed at orientation. In addition, participants were asked about their intentions to continue their program of study and overall enrollment at the college. Participant schedules were reviewed following the 12-week semester to investigate if they returned to their studies.

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child mental health awareness day

Celebrating National Children's Mental Health Day: May 10th, 2018

 Join the FOTA leadership and membership in acknowledging National Children's Mental Health Day, May 10th, 2018. In service of our FOTA vision to be the respected authority on occupational therapy’s contribution to health and well-being in Florida, we have assembled a humble offering of clinician's resources and supportive information for OTs from across the state to use in service to children's mental health. Our Ad Hoc Committee on School Mental Health is developing further programming to offer to our members in the future, and we are developing policy statements to share with our advocacy team and our Florida legislators. 

FOTA believes in the potential for OT practitioners to impact child well being and provide new and innovative programs to meet the needs of our students in schools across Florida. We believe in the preventative model, nurturing social and emotional learning, and skills for emotional regulation, social skills, and collaborative learning -- all through occupation-based activities. Please take time today, and everyday to nurture the wellness of children in your life and in your practice. See our resources below --an assemblage that is still a work in development.  Take Care!

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