Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thank you for your feedback!

Two weeks ago, I asked students to share with me what was working for you as a Charter Oak student – and what was not working. I was extremely pleased by the large turnout of responses I received. Your feedback is integral in shaping future plans for the College, and I thank you very much for taking the time to write such thoughtful and honest responses. I plan to share your thoughts with my staff as we work towards making your experience as a Charter Oak student the best it can possibly be. Below, I share with you a small sampling of the emails I received.
I tell everyone I meet that's considering on online school to check out COSC. I am proud to be graduating from COSC.
I spoke with Allison the first time I called.  She was very pleasant and helpful.  The best was when she called me back to let me know she had the paperwork needed and I didn't have to do anything. She took an extra step and the time to look through my file, which I believe she didn't have to do. That effort made such an impression on me that I just had to share. Going back to school as an adult can be somewhat intimidating. It’s reassuring to know that there are people available to help with guidance and understanding.

It is a significant drawback that COSC does not, at least, offer master's programs in Education, Political Science and some other fields. I have several friends that are interested in graduate studies at COSC based on my positive experience, but they were disappointed to learn that the school does not offer any master's programs. am finishing my Bachelor’s soon, and I would have liked to pursue my education here at COSC, had the school offered master's programs.

If it weren't for my advisor at COSC, I would have continued to take college courses, but would never have obtained a degree in anything.  I started taking classes at MCC many years ago, but never really knew anything about matriculation.  In 2009 when I first started inquiring at COSC, it was an advisor that told me about matriculation, transferred credits that were transferrable and I received my Associates degree with 100 credits!  I can't say enough about my advisor, Karen Schultz. She has changed my life.
I understand the difficulties inherent in the online experience – I’m an IT professional.  But the challenges at COSC are daunting.  Some classes work well apart from classmates and instructor, but other require that you be able to communicate with them in more immediate ways than email.  I didn’t mind registering for my own conference line, but a student who was not aware of that option would be trapped. 
2013 will hopefully be my last year as I plan to graduate. I actually am so proud of myself that I am going to put on a cap and gown. I have two classes, and two capstones to complete. I have not dropped out or given up partly due to my counselor, Doris Cassiday. When frustrated that I would never get done, she told me that I have gone too far to turn back now.
I never would have finished up my degree if I'd had to attend traditional classes.  I really enjoyed the pace of learning and doing assignments at any time of day, or while away on business or vacation.

I will be reaching out to you again in the fall to see how things are going for you, and I hope you will consider sharing your thoughts again.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Charter Oak needs your feedback

Every time I make a purchase, the merchant wants to know about my experience. Repair persons and installers ask for a high rating when the inevitable survey arrives. Stores put surveys on the back of receipts and offer prizes for turning them in. Even my auto repair shop asks for my feedback, and offers me comfortable seats, evening hours, and WiFi to boot. So now it is my turn. I want to know how you are doing.

My first question concerns the current crop of Charter Oak Spring courses. I would like to know how those courses are going for those of you who are enrolled. This question begins with the enrollment process and includes instruction, content, technical systems, and advising. And I am not just looking for complaints or problems, although I welcome the opportunity to improve. I am also looking for insights into what works well for you.

My next question is for those of you who have not registered for Spring courses. Why not? All the research is clear: the closer a student's course load is to full-time enrollment, the higher the rate of degree completion. In other words, the more coursework you can handle, the better the chances are that you will finish your degree. So it is very important to know why our students -- you -- are not enrolling.

And here is my favorite question: Why haven't you dropped out? Seriously, when we ask students why they drop out (and most of you have dropped out from somewhere before you arrived at Charter Oak), they all say, "life happens." But when we ask our graduates if life happened to them while they were working on their degree, they all say "yes." So what is it that keeps you going? Why haven't you quit? How do you get through the tough spots —- sick kids, job pressures, jobless pressures, threaded discussion burnout, or just plain fatigue?

Send your thoughts and answers to me at or post in comments. I promise to give each of you a response, and truly appreciate your feedback.