Online Program Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction. In most industries these words are the mantra that companies march by. In education though, the needs of the students sometime take a back seat to other considerations- first and foremost, what is easiest for the institution, in this case the easiest way to assess students in online programs.

Why do I say that? Where else would you make your customer, a student in your online program- the fastest growing and most profitable part of the education today, jump through so many hoops to take an exam. Or conversely, in fear of making it too hard, or encouraging dare I say it – cheating, you make tests open book, project based, or collaborative. Or in a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil world, relying on the honor system.

What hoops you ask?
Here are some of the options that students are given for taking exams for their online classes:
1. Come to campus to take the test.
2. Go to a testing center (and pay the cost).
3. Find and get approved a proctor to watch the student take the exam.

Not exactly easy as 1-2-3.
All of these methods take one of the prime reasons for taking an online class in the first place- convenience of time and place, and turns it on its head making it terribly inconvenient for completing the class.

Why do universities do this?
One reason is that up to now they haven’t been able to figure out a better way to do it. The online world is relatively new, and requires a different way of approaching delivery and assessment. Another reason is that students haven’t complained, either because they don’t know of better alternatives, or because they have no choice.
But the online world differs from bricks and mortar education in one important respect. There is no physical capacity issue constraining the supply of courses, nor is there any limitation on geography- students can matriculate from all over the world, all without leaving the comfort of their home.

What does all of this mean?
It means that with the supply of courses increasing, the choices that students have will increase, and the need to compete for their business.

Steve Lesser, VP Sales & Marketing

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