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.


  1. Thank you for your blog.

    I am currently pursuing the Business Administration degree. I enrolled in 3 classes this Spring: Team Leadership, Principles of Marketing, and Organizational Behaviors. I liked the selection for Spring and I love COSC!

    I liked the research you provided about the more classes a student takes, higher rate of completion. I absolutely agree with this. I am one of those students that have been going to school for 11 years now. It is because I have only taken 1 class at a time that it has taken this long. Last August, I dropped out of COSC and was determined not to go back. I think it was because I was tired. During the winter, I felt a strong urge to re-enroll. Like before, I was only going to take 1 class at a time. Then I noticed in the first week of my Team Leadership class, when everyone was posting their introductions on the discussion board how many students were doubling-up on the amount of courses they were taking. I notice quite a few students doing this. Then I notice that these were the students, who were close to graduating. I also noticed they were just as busy as I was. Then I thought, "if they can do it, then so can I." I enrolled in 2 classes in the 2nd 8-week term of Spring. I will officially be a Senior after I complete my Spring classes. If I double-up every 8 weeks, I can have my degree by May 2014. When you ask, "Why haven't you dropped out?" My answer is, "because I am determine to finish what I started."

  2. It is not clear as to how to start a new "thread" on this blog but I received an email inviting me to comment and I am trying to do so.
    My most recent experience has been with the Cornerstone class and it was really not the best experience. This class has only existed for a few years and already has undergone several changes, perhaps due to complaints regarding prior versions. Some students did not find the class overly beneficial, in addition, there were numerous "glitches" with the class and errors within the content. Since this class is fairly new and is mandatory, some students believe it was created to profit off of the students since to some it does not seem to serve any other purpose and is just a "hodge-podge" of things thrown together, many of which most students, especially those close to graduation, already know.

  3. Deanna,

    That is a wonderful story. It is one thing to see numbers in a piece of research; it is quite another to read about a student applying the concept in real time in a real life.

    I wish you all the best as your increase your progress toward a degree and I look forward to meeting you at your graduation.


  4. Dear Dr. Klonoski,

    I am a full time student at Charter Oak, finishing up a degree I started years ago. I take 15 credit hours a semester. The work is challenging and is very different from my first college experience. I hope to finish up my degree at the end of this coming fall semester.

    The biggest frustration I have is the lack of understanding some teachers have regarding the Blackboard Grading system. It is obvious that some of the classes were set up prior to the instructor taking over the class. Some instructors do not know how to remove assignments that they do not require. This is an issue now with with one class where I kept a running grade average of an A, but since assignments not given to us retained points on the blackboard, my final grade was A-. I have sent her an appeal but I am not hopeful since this teacher has yet to return an answer to any of the two previous emails I sent her. Another, in a class from last semester the instructor decided to change posted discussion board grades at the end of the class without notification to the students, resulting in lower grades. I still can not fathom how or why a teacher can do this, or how it furthers the cause of learning. I understand that the policy is that grades are subjective, but my aggregate weighted grades weren't even close to the line of A & A-. However, my appeals, despite evidence of the grades I received all during the class, fell on deaf ears.

    I work very hard for these grades, and it is disappointing to receive a grade less than what I was given all through the class. I wonder if teachers receive instruction on how to use the Blackboard grading system. It would seem to be a requirement, especially since students are required to learn how to use the Blackboard system prior to starting classes.

  5. Thanks for sharing your frustration. I will pass this along to the Provost for her consideration.


  6. Hi the classes are going great so far. I honestly can not complain. I did have a little trouble last semester. Not with the class or the instruction but the professor's grading method. I pretty much thought I was failing the course but came out with a B-. But I look forward to taking a class or two during the summer as well. Thank you.

  7. President Klonoski,

    I want to comment on the Cornerstone Course, while I am sure some students may not like it and may find fault with it I actually found it to be the best course and the most challenging course taken so far at COSC.

    One of the things the Professor did that made it such a great course was have a video web chat every week in which she held a lecture using whiteboard. students could use webcams to view each other and the professor could view the students. It created the feeling of being in a virtual classroom and was extremely effective in passing on knowledge. I learned much more from that course than I would have otherwise. I really wish all COSC courses did the same thing, a lecture series from the professor weekly would add to our knowledge base instead of just reading out of the textbook and writing a few papers or taking a few exams.

    One of the reasons I chose COSC was because COSC requires more out of the students academically in terms of a residency requirement, with both a Cornerstone and a Capstone than some of the other online schools. It shows that COSC takes the idea of academic excellence and applies it instead of just talks about it.

    One last thing, I really hope COSC considers adding graduate programs sometime soon, as I would love to continue my graduate studies at COSC after I graduate in 2014.