We’re All in This Together

It’s lonely being an AU student. Sitting here in my campus of one, I sometimes feel like the only student walking this path. Occasionally my campus expands to include a tutor or two, and a handful of virtual students on social media. Phone or in-person conversations with students are rare?and treasured.

But I’m not alone on this journey. I’m in the Bachelor of General Studies program, which makes me one of 359 students (2013-2014 AU fiscal year) working toward the same degree. If all of us BGS students got together for one class, we’d need a lecture hall to hold us all.

According to data available on AU’s Student Consumer Info webpage, there were more than 8000 students in AU undergraduate programs during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Over 3000 of these students were in Humanities and Social Science programs, along with 2300 in Business programs, 1400 in Nursing programs, and 600 in Science programs. And that’s not counting the 3500 or so students in graduate programs. You can see the full breakdown by program in the Total Enrolment by Program document.

So, we may feel alone, but we’re not alone. Breaking enrolment down course by course, you might discover you have more classmates than you realized. A look at the Course Completion Rates reveals how many students attempted most courses during the year. (Currently, data is posted for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, but you can access data for the 2014-2015 fiscal year here.)

So if you took ENGL 255 Introductory Composition recently, you’re among the over 1300 students who attempt it each year. Similarly, MATH 215 Introduction to Statistics draws over 1000 students each year, and ADMN 233 Writing in Organizations isn’t far behind.

The Course Completion Rates data reveal more than just how many students attempted AU courses. For any individual study course drawing more than 100 students per year (excluding students who withdraw within 30 days and those who submitted no assignments,) the data shows the percentage of students who passed or failed, as well as the percentage of those who withdrew after 30 days or let their contract expire without completing the course.

If you’re a student, course completion data could form part of the criteria you use, for example, to decide between two courses of interest, or to decide when to take a course. The data might also prompt you to take a closer look at courses you hadn’t considered, like PHIL 333 Business Ethics, with a 94.9% completion rate, or BIOL 310 Biology of Human Sexuality with an over 95% completion rate.

In a 2011 news article, AU reported that their students’ average course completion rate of 85% was consistent with rates at other institutions. Individual course completion rates at AU vary from 44% to 100%, and knowing these can assist you in managing your course load. While the figures don’t tell the whole story’students can withdraw from a course for reasons unrelated to course content, for example?following the data from year to year may provide clues to the level of challenge a course presents.

Every course is a challenge in its own way, and each course you enrol in is an important step in your AU journey. The more information you have to help you pick your courses, the better your decisions will be.

As an AU student, you may occasionally feel lonely, but you are never alone. No matter which program or courses you are enrolled in, others are there too. If you have ever failed a course, run out of contract time, or withdrawn, you aren’t alone in that either. Your challenges mirror another student’s challenges; your successes mirror another’s success. We are all in this together.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario. Follow Barbara on twitter @ThereGoesBarb.