Monday, July 28, 2008

Gas Prices and Our Undergraduates!

As all of you know, gas prices are the highest that they have been in a very long time. Many of our students do not live on campus and they are feeling the impact of the gas prices.

The number of students enrolling in online courses is increasing.
College students at most colleges and universities do not live on campus and they have to commute to campus. The cost of commuting is rising with the gas prices and let's not forget about the wear and tear on the student's automobile. Students are feeling the crunch and are deciding to enroll in online and hybrid (face to face and internet instruction) classes.

According to Ed
Klonoski, a representative of Charter Oak - Connecticut's public online college, across the nation there is a 10 percent increase in the number of students choosing to enroll in online courses.

Are faculty ready for this new demand?
As the number of students choosing to enroll in online courses increase, it seems that the number of online course offerings will increase as well. In my experience, a large number of the faculty at small and mid-sized institutions are resistant to offering online courses in their discipline. As a professor from the millennial generation, I believe that this resistance comes from the technology-centered learning curve that exists between the generations. This curve is perpetuated by the increase in internet technology and the content management systems that colleges and universities offer to their faculty and students. The content management system has experienced many updates that benefit almost everyone at a given university. For example, all of my grading for my face-to-face classes is conducted online by using the rubric feature and my my tests are administered online as well. This is a win-win situation, because the students gain instant access to their grades and I conserve paper and time.

However, as I stated before, many faculty are resistant to this new change and it will be interesting to see more internet-based classes are offered in the future.

Are For-Profit Institutions Taking Our Potential Students?
Since the gas prices increased, I observed fair amount of commercials advertising online degrees (associates and bachelors) through for-profit institutions. Many high school seniors and non-traditional students will have trouble gaining financial aid from private lenders (Schnurman, 2008) and they may start paying more attention to these for-profit colleges.

What will be the impact on U.S. competitiveness when this growing amount of students with degrees from for-profit institutions enter the workforce? Will these students be as competitive as students from traditional public and private institutions?

Interesting Article! - Gas Prices Driving Students to Online Courses - By Jeffery R. Young

Thanks for reading!


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