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Ljwaks
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There are alternatives to linear design that also may stimulate completion. One that I favor is called CPOM - Core Plus Option Modules. The design is simple enough. The price of further admission is completing the first 'core' module. Then you get to select from a number of options. This is even a bit like a newspaper. Just about everyone, even the astrology addicts, scans the front page. Then they turn to whatever floats their boats - sports, comics, global news, stocks, whatever. So in a CPOM design on any topic, the "front page" is a module that introduces some basic background knowledge, terminology, indications of the cognitive map of the topic. Then there would be some number of option modules -each lasting e.g. one or two weeks. Course completion would consist in finishing the core plus some small number of option modules - lets say 3. Further, for those not completing the core, we can even chose to disregard them in our retention statistics, on the ground that we never had them. In my almost 50 years of university teaching I never included the kids who dropped out in the first week in my final stats. By mid term they were nowhere to be found on any of my course printouts. We could even have CPOM exams. Everybody takes section 1 (core) and then selects the other sections based on which modules they select to be tested on.
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May 7, 2010