Making a business case for the design and development of a first year experience programme(FYEP) for students enrolled in an open distance and e-learning university
Abstract: Transitioning from school education to post school education environments is a traumatic and trying experience for students, whether it is at undergraduate or postgraduate level. The question then begs, what are institutions of higher learning doing in order to strategise and put into place intervention programmes to bridge the gap of student experience between school and post school education? Is student induction and orientation enough? The answer is simply no! I opine that unless higher education institutions design and develop a formal and structured programme as a strategic student retention tool, there is no way that we can promote “graduateness” of our students. I believe that unless we implement a formal and structured programme, we will not be able to encourage and maintain student success. In this article, I make an overarching business case for the design and development of a first year experience course for open distance and e-learning at higher learning institutions. I also make recommendations on how the University of South Africa can develop, design and implement a structured first year experience programme (FYEP) as a strategy to improve student retention, reduce student attrition rates, thereby enhancing graduateness of its students. There is a paucity of information regarding specifically how a FYEP must be designed and developed for ODeL institutions. While many universities have implemented the first year experience for social and academic integration.