Sunday, November 16, 2014

What-What?! Week of November 16th

It's cold here.  Yesterday, there was a little stream of water in the parking lot that never thawed.  It was frozen the entire day.  What is this magic?!  It is terrible.  I found a pair of gloves the other day, and I'm probably going to start wearing them.

News:  Benefits of Redefining Full-time Enrollment to 15 Credits a Semester Examined via Diverse

This article examines the idea of increasing the definition of fulltime enrollment to 15 units a semester, and why this is possibly a good idea.  The main reason for doing so is that it is simply impossible to graduate with a bachelor's in four years if a student only completes 12 units a semester.  This reflects the issues that many states have with students starting on a degree, but never finishing it.

The other reason I take issue with; the fact that students who take 15 units a semester are more likely to complete their education, rather than drop out.  This is a chicken or the egg conundrum; are those students taking 15 units more likely to finish their degree because of the units they take, or because they  have other factors that make it easier to take so many units?  Do those students taking 15 units a semester have to work, or have family responsibilities?  Are they professionals working towards their degree in the evenings?  My experience with this is that it is the student, not their class schedule -- I purposefully took the minimum required to hit fulltime enrollment because, while I wanted to qualify for grants and scholarships, I had small children to care for.  Similarly, one fellow business major I knew quit his job so he could take more units in order to graduate on time... but only after he checked with his parents to make sure they could foot the bill.

Another thing to take into consideration is that a class unit is equal to 3 hours of time per week outside of class.  Twelve units equals 48 hours total -- 12 in the classroom, and another 36 doing homework, reports, readings, and so on.  At 15 units, this work load becomes a total of 60 hours per week.  For some majors, I'm sure this would be fine -- not all of them have heavy homework loads or complicated projects.  However, for STEM majors, who tend to have more concentration-intensive classes, spending 45 hours a week doing homework and readings would be overwhelming at best.  That many hours makes burnout a real risk.

In my opinion, enacting 15 units a semester as fulltime enrollment would have a lot of effect on those who are already at a disadvantage to complete a degree.  Though I realize that I was relatively advantaged, I still sometimes had trouble fitting just 12 units into my schedule -- I can't imagine doing so while also having to manage a changing job schedule (like those who work in retail), or without such a supportive family as I had.  Add another class to that mess, and I think people some people will simply drop out entirely.

Oh, yeah... and the husband reading to the kids:

1 comment:

  1. Elisabeth McKechnieNovember 16, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Hey Beau! Long time no see! How is Washington State? How are the kids? It's good to see you guys reading to the munchkins. Are you planning on coming to California for any of the holidays? I'm on Facebook if you want to see what I'm up to (yeah, I know, this sounds like a piece of spam, doesn't it?) But anyway, let me know how you're doing. Or send me an e-mail at: