Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Community College Trap?

A colleague forwarded this article from The Atlantic and I found it interesting. I found the following two point to be of most interest to me - of course, you may find other interesting points as well. In any event, I think you will find it a good read... (And, BTW, I haven't fact-checked the statistics yet.)

  1. The statistics about the number of community college students who earn degrees shocked me at first. "Nationwide, barely more than a third of community-college enrollees emerge with a certificate or degree within six years." Now, my shock was lessened just a bit by understanding that many people take community college courses for continuing education or improvement of job skills without an expectation of earning a certificate or degree. However, that statistic is still interesting to me. We don't hear that from the admissions folks or other officials at the colleges.
  2. The second idea that I found interesting was the authors outlook on the rise of options, such as massive open online courses, or, MOOCs, designed to give students easier access to higher education. She notes that, "All it will take for students to avail themselves of this emerging opportunity is a clear sense of where they’re headed, lots of self-motivation, and good access to information about what mix of skills is likely to lead to a promising career." Further noting that those are some of the qualities many of the students community college was designed for struggle with the most. 
The main point of the article is to highlight a program that gives struggling students a solid level of support through their community college experience and appears to lead to high rates of success. Now, if we could find a way to extend that kind of support to the world of online learning, we might find more success there too. Once again, you can find the entire article here:

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