Team - more info on the funding questions we've been discussing, from the corporate partner perspective: article today in the Chronicle of Higher Education reviews recent development in corporate/college partnerships to provide degrees to employees at greatly reduced rates:
"Colleges see the deals as a way to reduce their costs of providing distance education. That’s because, in theory, deals with companies can help colleges more efficiently reach and enroll bigger pools of students, which can lower the cost. But the jury’s still out on how effective the tactic is."
The article suggests the cost savings come from reduced marketing and acquisition costs, and admittedly it covers currently employed students, not high-school students, but there are lessons here worth considering. We've questioned why colleges and universities would support M2M and postulated that the overall increase in enrollment would benefit all participating institutions, and ASU, Strayer, and Southern New Hampshire programs seem to support this.
Tori: Strayer's Degrees@Work seems like the kind of program that your dad could have used during his time at GE, and suggests a corporate/public education model: http://www.strayeratwork.com/
One of the big issues here is the maturity level of students - these programs deal with current employees who have established work habits, which many high school students have yet to develop:
"What's more, for-profit colleges have found that retention rates for employed students tend to be higher because they're often older and more mature than traditional students, which means the company won't have to spend money replacing the student the following year."
More cautionary notes in the article: none of this is proven yet, and adding financial aid management increases costs. But it does suggest that corporate interest is there and growing.
Team - at our 1/12 meeting we discussed the challenges anticipated with online learning for first year students, and low-income students in particular who may have family obligations and other responsibilities that affect retention. Here's a link to an article summarizing a recent study that addresses these issues and offers some suggestions that we should consider:
The study notes that many students have false notions of online learning, including the belief that online means less time required. As others have noted in comments, a feeling of belonging is essential, and support, monitoring, and intervention are critical.