Non-traditional Students?

4 10 2013

Recently we’ve had some great discussions in our ED593:Design and Teach an Online Course including a talk about lessons we have learned from our “non-traditional” students. When I read those posts I thought I understood what faculty were talking about. But, after reading Clinton’s blog post (below), I am now wondering, what we really mean by that term “non-traditional” students, and, is it really a) accurate or b) helping us as educators to categorize students in this manner?

Brian Murphy Clinton, the executive director of Enrollment Management for the Northeastern University College of Professional studies feels that using the term ‘non-traditional’ marginalizes the very population of individuals that universities cater to! I hope you’ll take the time to read his post: “Is there Really Such a Thing As a Nontraditional Student?”

You can click the image to find his article. Let us know if you agree or disagree!

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2 responses

7 10 2013
Mary Purvis

After reading that article, I admit to a pang of guilt for having, even if inadvertently, marginalized my students. But now I wonder how I should refer to them. Are they older students? Returning students? Alaska Native students? Or is it even necessary to find a label? Maybe we should approach each student as the individual they are and meet them where they are. Years ago, I had older Alaska Native students returning to college to get ahead. Today, I have both young and old faculty who are taking a class to become better online instructors. Hope I offend no one with the age comment!

7 10 2013
Robin Gilcrist

After reading the article I came to the conclusion that we should just stop labeling students, period. I am neither old or young, because it depends on who is making the judgement. I am also neither a traditional nor non-traditional student since according to the article 75% of college students are not enrolled right out of high school; therefore, I am an average mainstream student who is neither old or young.

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