Monday, August 30, 2010

Books and Student Success

I wonder how much the simple requirement to buy books affects students in a course. What I mean is that students need to buy their books online. If a student delays signing up for a course until the day before a class begins. Then the student has to go online and buy books (often opting for mess that priority postage), it seems that they will usually not get their books until week 2 of the course. That gives them a hurdle that they are already behind.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More on Student Success

One of my colleagues reminded me about the fleetingness of numbers.
Many of the students enrolled in our history courses are students enrolled at other colleges and universities; they are not here to graduate from our community college. And so they are going to bring down our numbers in terms of students successfully graduating from here. I also have a lot of teachers, or future teachers, who just need to take a specific course for their credentials or licensing. They are not here to graduate also. And some students, often adult learners, enroll in the classes just for the fun of learning about history. The have no intention to graduate either.

What is Student Success?

Well, there is that mysterious term again, “Student success.” Been hearing that in all kinds of formulations from college administration these days, and I’ve become increasingly suspicious that no one really knows what it means. Everyone just assumes there is a commonly-accepted definition. Making it more problematic is that supposedly those using the term can cite statistics. Yes, data, but what does that data conceal or not reveal about student success.

Student A enrolls in my course, but student A is working two jobs, just changed jobs, and is signed up for fifteen credits. If student A withdraws from the course because of those demands (instead of failing the course), does that mean student success in the course is diminished according to the data.

Student B has also enrolled in my course, but student B is still working his way up the ESL and developmental reading ladder. Despite all the possible support in the course, student B fails the course. Now that obviously means that the student success rate in the course goes down.
But, what if Student B finishes the course and passes. How does the data reward that effort on the part of both instructor and student.

Student C, just decides he doesn’t like “history.” I guess that means that is not student success.

Student D plagiarizes in the course and, as a result fails. I guess that also is not student success.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Enrollments Again

Well, more urgings from the college to increase enrollment, even though the semester is already underway. Wonder, where we are going to find the rooms, the adjuncts, etc. And what about insuring quality of instruction? Just add more and more students so that we have more and more money.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Semester; Same Death Wish for Blackboard

It is unbelievable how much stupid, time-consuming work BB brings with it as a result of poor design.
Thousands of people around the country have to spend their days fixing things, and entering data, poof. Look I followed all the nice directions about setting up new courses for the fall, copy, delete, import; but, wait, some things, likes tests, for some reason don't get copied. Now it is damage control and another ten hours in front of the computer trying to figure out things. It is nice for administrators to laud Blackboard, how it allows faculty to set up "online" "learning" environments to facilitate 24-7 education. It would be nice if some admins actually sat and tried to use BB for some time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Enrollment Continues to spike upward

We are still continuing to enroll students for the fall semester which starts next week, but enrollment continues its upward trend. I also lost a bunch of adjuncts in the last two weeks, which lent for some pretty remarkable (and lucky) scrambling to get classes filled. It is amazing how little help most of the local grad programs are!

New Blackboard Not Much Better Than the Old Blacboard

The more that they seem to do with Blackboard, the less it seems that technology is saving us any time.
The course copy process is a nightmare; a simple thing such as entering grades could take forever when you get the "saving" prompt; there is no way that I can sort my courses on my "personalized" BB home page, but you can do blogs now!