Hits/Views

I need to add a counter to this blog so you all can see what sort of views we’re having here.   Until I get around to that, I’ll just keep you updated in a post.

Today, we had over 330 views!  Another great day!  More than 1,400 views since inception!

Let’s keep it up and see what we can do!  If you haven’t already, please share the site with a friend or co-worker.  We’re here to represent everyone!

Vacation blues…

Scaredatwgu – I was thinking of you and how hard it is to get away for a few days :)   Then it occurred to me that I really don’t know just how many hours per week people are devoting to this job.  So using the oh-so-fancy “poll” function, I have created a poll to measure that.  Everyone take some time and give a response.  Remember – your answer is top secret and safe with us, so please be honest :)

 

What I want….

I must say that I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts.  You’ve given me so much to think about.  As of today, just one week shy of starting this endeavor, this is where I stand…

*  WGU offers one of the best distance learning programs for working adults.

* WGU employees are some of the most passionate advocates for distance education and adult students, that I have ever met.

* WGU has the potential to be a really great place to work, but is has some hard work ahead to get there.

* WGU is growing so fast they’re unable to keep up with some of the changes in structure and strategy that are necessary.  It’s getting harder and harder to keep up folks!  Can’t you see this??  We can’t do a query of our own students??  We have to tally by hand the number of courses that use a specific learning resource??  The foundation MUST be in place before we can move forward.

* WGU needs to be the innovator they claim to be and establish financial aid policies that hold students accountable.  Anything less than this lets down the distance education community, the taxpayers, and WGU employees.

* WGU needs to listen, really listen, to the concerns of their employees.  Instituting a new metric that changes employees from top performers to bottom performers within 6 months is a problem.  It’s bad for morale and just plain bad policy.  The employees did not change, just the metric changed.

Thanks for letting me have a say.  I appreciate your support.

Participation Update

Yesterday I asked those of you coming to read, to take some time and make a post.  Many of you did and I thank you.  We can only succeed if we all participate.

Today, we had over 470 views on this blog!  That’s pretty amazing for a one day total.  This tells me you’re telling your friends and they’re all coming to have a read.  Please encourage them to make a post.  Suggest a change.  Validate someone’s ideas.   I have consistently heard that many of you love the WGU model, you love your students, but you don’t love your job (or some aspect of your job).  Well, this is what we created to help make some change, so please take this golden opportunity.

I was going to blog about the “Student Loan Bubble” today, but was so distracted by reading everyone’s posts, that I didn’t get mine prepared :)  So stay tuned for that blog in the future.

 

Participation

I want to thank everyone that has taken the time to post here.  It really supports my belief that WGU has some of the best, most passionate employees that just needed a space to “have a say”.  For those of you viewing, but not posting, I’d like to ask “why”?  This is your opportunity to openly discuss what’s wrong and what we might do to fix it.  These are your peers!

In just a few short days, this blog has had more than 600 views.  This tells me others are interested, but perhaps are concerned about retaliation.  When you post, please feel free to use the name of your “alter ego” :)  We are all here to share our feelings and concerns and hopefully to make a bit of change.  Come join us!!!

Graduates

Several of you have posted some thoughts on how graduates should count as a metric for mentors (and probably others).  I think we need to develop this idea a bit more, so I’m starting a new “category” – graduates.  Please put your ideas for “how” and “if” graduates should count as a metric.

MAC brought up a good point that many mentors are at different stages of the student life cycle and therefore have varied numbers of graduates.  So, how would we measure it fairly?  As it stands now, only those mentors with large numbers of graduates are penalized, while those mentors with fewer graduates are not yet penalized.  I know this sounds backwards, but if a mentor graduates a large number of students in a short period of time, their OTP is significantly impacted.  Maybe “scaredatwgu” can provide an example or further clarification of the size of the impact.

What about graduates being a team measure?  How would you feel having a team metric on your monthly scorecard?

Graduation is the ultimate success, so I can’t fathom not including it.  What does everyone else think?

Ideas for Change

We’ve had some time to gripe and complain a bit, so let’s get down to business.  What ideas do we have to change the way WGU operates, so we can all be happy (or at least happier)?  I’ll start off with some ideas I’ve heard kicked around at the water cooler.  If I have misrepresented your idea, please feel free to correct me.  If you think the ideas are stupid, crazy, impossible, whatever – you must supply not only a reason why, but another alternative solution.  Here we go.

1) Phased disbursement – This is not an original idea, the US Dept of Ed suggested it.  This approach would make financial aid overages available at specific points throughout the term, such as at the end of months 2, 4 and 6.  The idea is to stop (or slow down) the students that grab the money and run, never to be seen or heard from again.  I would also like to suggest that we couple this with a requirement that to get the money, students must show some sort of progress – passing an exam, submitting some (or all) of the course tasks, etc.

2) Pay back  for non attempts – This approach would make students pay back the financial aid they received if they do not “significantly” attempt a course by the end of the term.  They would not be able to continue to another term unless they made payment or were set up on a payment plan.  This happens at more traditional schools when a student drops below full-time.  They get a bill from the university to pay back the financial aid money – no payment plan or payment in full – no more enrollment.  So, this does not apply to students that actually try/attempt a course, but fail it.  This applies to students that DO NOT use the LRs, DO NOT attend webinars or chats, DO NOT meet with Course Mentors, and DO NOT attempt to turn in a task or sit for an exam.  It would also “catch” those students that term-after-term only do 66.67%.

3) Streamlined reporting – This would be a way for everyone at WGU (enrollment, financial aid, mentors, etc) to report suspected financial aid fraud.  A trigger for a mentor might be a student saying “I’ve reached 66.67% SAP, I’m not going to do anymore”.  They enrolled for a full-time load and when they say they do not plan to do a full-time load – that’s fraud.  A trigger for financial aid might be when  student calls and asks “What happens to my financial aid if I don’t complete all my courses”.  The report of such incidences needs to be tracked and FOLLOWED UP ON by a team made up of a representatives from management, mentoring, financial aid, enrollment, etc.  The entire university needs to know we have a ZERO tolerance for fraud.  This should be a metric that is reported quarterly to all staff (i.e. “We have investigated 201 instances of financial aid fraud.  We have turned 10 cases over to the Dept of Ed. We have handled 156 cases internally.”, – you get the idea).

OK, that’s enough of my ideas (and the ones I’ve stolen from others).  Let me hear from you!

Bob – if you’re working on an idea for change, now would be a good time to float it out here.   Maybe Jenny should comment?

Remember everyone, if you don’t like the idea you must outline “why” you don’t like the idea and you must supply an alternative.  No “that is stupid” or “that sucks” will be tolerated :)  I expect more from you than that!

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