A few weeks ago I gave a presentation to my fellow professors at the Electrical Engineering Department. Among many others, I introduced the graduation rate concept. I talked about the importance to measure completion. Using data acquired from our own database, I built a devastating graph. Some of them looked at the graph with astonishment; others with indifference. In fifteen years our department did not graduate one single student in six years. To get their diploma, students took at least seven years.
The Texas Tribune newspaper. They built an interactive graphic that enables comparisons between 38 texan universities on a range of factors, from four- and six-year graduation rates to tuition and fees to degrees awarded. However, I used only the graduation rate measurement.
To many of my fellow professors, the concept was new. So it was helpful to compare among different texan universities. For instance, I used the examples that were given by Hamilton Reeve.I compared Texas Southern University (graduation rate less than 3%) with Texas A&M University (graduation rate 51%).
At the Electrical Engineering Department, there are many factors that are out of our control. But still we could have a positive impact on time-to-degree. Just to get the very bad level of Texas Southern University would be a success for us.
And it is this situation that makes me wonder if EdX ideas on higher education could help developing countries.