A bit of a déjà vu feeling with this one. It is a racing certainty that institutions like mine will have to increasingly meet the needs of students who are not the ‘traditional’ 18 year undergraduate. They will want to study increasing amounts of CPD (short courses), will study entirely online and won’t wish to come to the institution at all, and will want to student when they need to or find the opportunity to do so – this may mean deciding they want to enrol one week and starting the next.
Institutional systems and practices cannot adequately cope with these demands (despite the good will of those trying to deliver) and will have to change. The experience of the new Masters course will inform the identification of what needs to change, but making those changes will require a systemic intervention – far more difficult to achieve.
Perhaps a first step would be to smarten up the process for students who are prepared to enrol in plenty of time. I’ve been attempting to pour oil into stormy teacups with my students. Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was an option to register interest, enrol using an online form and have the option to send payment that would be collected once the enrolment had been accepted. It could be as easy as ordering books from Amazon.
Yes, I think many people would agree. A problem in an institution appears to be that that there isn’t the imperative to take the action that is needed – too many people who aren’t quite responsible or don’t connect their salary to the income generated through students. I think it would take some sort of ‘enforcer’ at the very senior management level to push such changes through because there would undoubtably be a 1001 non-reasons why it couldn’t be done:^)