Tennessee using the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to spur colllege completion

The APSU app is pretty slick, and I've heard their provost sing its praises. One of its uses is help students choose which course among electives he or she should take by predicting the letter grade for each option--based on the student's previous course work and other factors. I'm sure it can predict success much better than a human advisor.

As far as the prior learning piece--meh. Our nontradtional degree programs here have had options for earning credit for prior learning for over 20 years.  It hasn't proven to be a recruiting too nor widely popular. 

To read The Tenured Radical's slant on this news release, visit her blog: Who Needs A Faculty Advisor When You Can Have An Adaptive Advising Tool?

More Tennessee undergrads may get a robo-nudge
Haslam announced Monday that the state will use a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to extend an Austin Peay State University program that uses computer programs to predict students’ grades and help select their classes to three other campuses.

Haslam said Tennessee also hopes to award college credit for professional experience and to set up organizations that will advise state colleges on ways to improve graduation rates.

“Everybody that goes to a public college is subsidized,” Haslam said. “Our responsibility is to help make certain people realize there is some urgency to complete.”

The award from Gates-affiliated Complete College America is enough to pay for designing the programs, Haslam said. But to keep them going, additional funding will have to be found — most likely in the state budget.

One program has already been rolled out at Austin Peay. The Clarksville university has been using software to suggest course offerings to students based on their past grades and requirements for their majors.

The Haslam administration hopes to roll out similar programs at three more Tennessee universities. None has agreed to do so yet, but the program eventually will supplement in-person guidance within a state university system in which there are about 400 students for each advisor, officials said.

“A lot of students come to school and they know they want to major in something,” said Haslam, “but they don’t have the foresight and the planning to know what all is required to get to that end goal.”

The other two programs are still in development.

In one program, the state will development a “prior learning assessment” policy so that older students can earn credit for their job experiences, speeding their path to graduation. In the second program, the state will establish three “completion academies” to help schools improve graduation rates.

The first of these academies will be attached to Middle Tennessee State University, state officials said. The locations of the other two have not been established.

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