Provision of Courses
MEASURE A: Provision of Courses
The first FTE measure we need to consider is one based on the inputs made available to ODL students relative to those provided in conventional schools, colleges or universities. These inputs are normally measured in terms of course, subject or module enrolments, since those studying through ODL may not have as heavy a course load (i.e. take as many courses per year) as their counterparts in full-time education.
STEPS in applying this method:
- a. Identify the total number of course/subject/module enrolments by ODL students.
- b. Identify average number of courses/subjects/modules taken by FT students per year.
- c. Multiply b above by the number of years required to complete the course in conventional education.
- d. Divide a by c.
- FTEPC = TSEODL ÷ (ASEFT × YFT)
- FTEPC = FTE Measure A: Provision of Courses
- TSEODL = Total Course/Subject/Module Enrolments by ODL students
- ASEFT = Average Course/Subject/Module Enrolments by Full-Time students
- YFT = Number of Years FT Students must study before sitting exam
The main advantage of this approach to establishing FTE is that it is straightforward and easy to calculate from data that is readily available in the ODL institution’s own student records database. Open schools, colleges and universities tend to favour this approach, as it accounts for the actual inputs they provide to registered learners. Regardless of whether students make use of what is available to them or complete the courses they have registered for, most of the institution's expenditure per student is incurred in providing course materials and organising tutorials.
However, it does not account for student drop-outs. In general, the rate of early termination (drop-out) is higher for courses offered through ODL, though it can also be quite high in traditional institutions. Likewise, in many cases, the rate of examination failure among ODL students is higher than for those in conventional education, but this approach does not account for this difference in the two modes of provision.