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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A Study of enrollments made in correspondence credit courses at the University of British Columbia during the academic year 1961-1962 Cameron, Dorothy Mary

Abstract

Correspondence courses for credit were first offered at the University of British Columbia in 1949. Since that time there does not appear to have been any type of survey or evaluation made of the service. The present study was undertaken to provide information about the service as it now operates and to form the basis for further studies where these might be found necessary. There were serious limitations upon the study, chiefly through lack or inaccessibility of needed data. From that available, a twenty per cent sample was randomly drawn from the 895 registrations made during the academic year of September 1, 1961 to August 31,1962. A count was made of the total correspondence population of the year to ascertain the numbers of completions, withdrawals and drop-outs for each of the ten courses then being offered. Otherwise the study was based on data drawn from the sample. The completion rate was found to be 32.2 per cent, low when compared to a gross completion rate of nearly sixty per cent found for the member institutions of the National University Extension Association in a survey in 1956. Five of the ten courses had a completion rate of twenty-five per cent or less, while the highest was forty-six per cent. Over seventy per cent of the registrants were in the Faculty of Education, with about twenty per cent in the Faculty of Arts. These students were in their First to Fifth year of university study, with the majority being in the Third. The completion rate was lowest for the Second year students and increased somewhat with each subsequent year. Of those who were new at the University, barely a quarter finished. Over half the registrants stated their previous session had been a summer session, and just under a quarter stated a winter session. The completion rate for both was approximately thirty-two per cent. Those who registered within six months of a previous session were found to achieve a better completion rate than those who had been away longer. This reversed entirely for those who had been a-way more than six years, all who returned after a longer time finishing successfully. The majority of registrations took place between August and November, with the best completion rate for those in September. These fall registrants also showed a tendency to finish in a shorter time than those who registered in the winter months. In a distribution for the length of time taken, two peaks were found, a greater one for those finishing under a year, a lesser one for those finishing before the two-year time limit. Time taken appeared to make little difference to grades, except for a small drop for those who took longest. Men and women made approximately the same grades, but in general the women took considerably longer. The women achieved the higher completion rate, 34.6 per cent, to 26.2 per cent for the men. The correspondence courses went out to students in each one of the Census divisions of the province. Forty-two per cent resided in the heavily populated Vancouver and lower mainland area, and it was noted these had a low completion rate. Numbers in other areas were too small to give reliable estimates, but the tendency was a rough approximation of the proportion of the population in each area. The main conclusion was that the correspondence service is not up to the high standards being established for the rest of the university, though the quality of instructor is there and also the need. Suggestions for further studies and improvements were made.

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