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Response to Editoral, December 22, 2004 (v12 I 49)
Hello, Tamra: I found your [editorial on students’ struggles to balance school and family] to be quite interesting. I am a potential student that is looking towards starting an Athabasca degree either this year or next year (Psychology/English).
What I found most interesting, in your article, is the section where students are allowing their courses to elapse or for those students that are purchasing extensions.
The problem could be that the students do not hear enough from their tutors or from AU. I have taken distance courses before, which is why I have chosen Athabasca, but the problem that I had with my distance courses is that I never heard from my tutor/teacher until I submitted my course material or had a question. Students were given three years to complete a diploma program and I ended up submitting my last assignment within two months of the completion date (2 yrs & 10 mths).
If I had heard from the tutor or if the organization made me feel as if I was still in “school”, which is very important to distance students, I may have had more zeal to finish the courses quicker or have put more emphasis on completing the courses without having to rush through some of them.
It would make distance students feel more like they are part of the university if they hear from their tutors occasionally. I am currently going to night school and what I like is the fact that I have interaction with the students and the teacher. I am not going to be able to continue going to night school when I do my degree because of my circumstances but it would be great if I could get some occasional pep talk from my instructor or tutor.
As it is, I hope I can find a group that I could get together with and study with.
Thank you for hearing me out, Tamra. I hope we can get more communication going with distance students and teachers in the near future.
Thanks for the reply Jennifer. I agree that it’s very hard to remember that you are a student when you are studying at a distance. It seems clear that anything that would foster a sense of student identity would strongly influence student retention rates. Hearing from a tutor once in a while can go a long way toward keeping students on track.