A recent post on Moodlerooms’ E-Learning Magazine features the testimony of online courses with transferable college credits provider Straighter Line’s CEO Burck Smith. It suggests that it could be high time to update our idea of the average college student.
Add to a diverse, even international selection of smart young people, an older batch. People who had to provide for themselves and their families before getting into college. People who cannot afford to set their schedules, so they only have sparse windows to study. People for whom higher education is more a luxury than an unquestionable sequel to their upbringing.
In short, the standard college scheme will not do. Not only they need more time flexibility. Evening lectures cannot rely on the sharpness of their morning mind, for instance. But perhaps the worst hurdle, if not deterrent, is financing ever increasing college fees. This issue is at the forefront of Straighter Line.
Through a monthly subscription fee, Straighter Line claims to reduce up to 60% on the total cost of a college degree. 100 colleges accept credits earned through Straighter Line courses, and 2,000 more are open to review transfer requests. As an online offering, it provides a level of flexibility matching current learning technology. Provided, naturally, by Moodlerooms.
Smith found an opportunity, for Straighter Line and millions of students, when he saw how more than ninety percent of online courses charged their students the same as their in-person versions, despite the menial costs of scale of the former.
Straighter Line takes advantage of Moodleroom’s technology to test and promote innovative practices, self-pacing and intensive use of analytics among its best examples. Their approach has allowed them to keep high retention and graduation rates, which is a remarkable exception in this segment. The evidence is something the student can carry on to their college application, a positive factor towards their odds of admission.
Straighter Line is also making headway into the remedial segment, offering help for dropouts and re-enrollment candidates. Smith is only beginning, and a large part of the credit for Straighter Line’s ability to deliver flexibly and affordably is due to Moodlerooms. This Moodle customization is demonstrating that Moodle in online higher education is a tool to consider, even at the policy level, against the student debt crisis. Smith concludes:
«Low risk options like Straighter Line are an opportunity to do that because students are more confident of their future success and ultimately we could see success rates go up and debt go down, which is very exciting.»