Thursday, 28 May 2015 - 6:40pm

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Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 28/05/2015 - 6:40pm in

A thought on student retention in "thin markets of less academically prepared students": If you live in regional Australia—well, Coffs Harbour at least—you can expect at least one serious extra-curricular catastrophe per year that will seriously undermine your ability to cope with a full-time undergraduate workload. Your options then are to either drop out of all your units and rack up additional fees when you come to redo them (which I did last year), or plead for unreasonable deadline extensions (which I'm doing right now). So why can't you pick up your studies later at the point where you left off? By which I mean the university loses the ability to double dip on fees, but potentially gains students who might otherwise drop out altogether.

Any assignments you've completed in one session would not have to be re-done the following session, which gives the students additional study/life wiggle room early in the session when they're likely to still be recovering from whatever misfortune stuffed them around. Some universities might have to worry about class sizes inflating, but certainly not at SCU's end of the market, where it's a challenge to get more than a few people to the end of each unit. Another objection might be that assignments could change from session to session, but I think it's reasonable to just proportionally adjust marks for completed work if, say, assignment one is worth 20% in one session and 25% in the next. It's not like you can game the system, given that at SCU nobody can be certain what's happening in advance, or even if a unit is running at all, until about a week before the start of a session. If anything, you can be pretty confident that each curriculum revision dumbs down the content, so earlier work should count for more anyway.