Social, nonacademic interactions in the online learning environment
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Students in online learning environments experience physical distance between themselves and their peers and instructor. In many cases, the student does not live in the same city and may not even live in the same state or country as the university. Therefore, these students are separated from the on-campus faculty, peers, and offices that could provide resources, services, programs, and interactions, and this decrease in opportunities for academic and social integration, which are known for increasing student success and retention, can result in lower retention rates (Bejerano, 2008). With higher education institutions struggling to retain students in an increasingly online world, research is needed to identify reliable sources of nonacademic supports appropriate for the online learner.