I'm inclined to agree - it's the price, stupid...
While I think that everyone ought to be able to get an education,
making it too cheap promotes abuse. On the other hand, because the
cost is so low, this is pretty cheap young adult day care. It allows
students to try different things for little cost and just their time.
As a parent (and payer), I'm much happier to have my son take Archery
and Ceramics at Foothill rather than at SJSU :o) He had a lovely time
and got As in both - nice boost to his GPA.
Distance Learning is also a contributor - in a good way. I check with
students each semester - many of them think they can handle a distance
ed course on top over their already over-full lives and find that just
won't work. They know they couldn't take an on campus course - time,
travel, location, schedule conflicts... but they think that they can
fit a distance learning class in, too.
That's changing, though. The number of students who have previously
taken distance learning courses increases every quarter. More of they
know what they are getting into and prefer to work this way. So the
retention is getting a bit better.
Yes, it is somewhat chaotic. It turns out that some of the really
interesting students do a reality check on week 2 and drop, but hey -
they gave it a shot. Lots of students get the credit, complete their
degrees and certificates, become lifelong learners and successful
because this distance ed course was offered and available when they
I allow 60 to register and give out Add codes for the first few days.
But I warn then drop students through out the semester - if you aren't
participating, you are out - that's after a student made it clear that
he was enrolled in the class to keep his student visa even though he
was working full time and had no intention of participating. Now 20+
finish. Even with that a couple usually get Fs.
We wondered if it was the price or some cultural / moral differences
that valued education that contributed to the retention rate. Sounds
like price is certainly a contributor.