Continuous Enrollment and Expandable Course Sections

Author Information
Author(s): 
John Sener
Author(s): 
The Sloan Consortium
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Northern Virginia Community College
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Northern Virginia Community College offers continuous enrollment throughout the semester and expandable course sections to improve access.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

How this practice supports access: Continuous Enrollment and Registration--NVCC/ELI students can register for most ELI courses any day the college is open. Based on registration date, students are assigned a start date, which are assigned every two weeks to give students at least 16 weeks to complete a course. Expandable Sections at NVCC enable single course sections to serve students without the need or administrative hassle of opening up additional course sections. This enables one section to serve larger numbers (as many as 200 or more) of students; it also enables a single section to serve any number of students within that range rather than having to wait for a new section 'fills up' before offering it. Faculty are compensated based on faculty workload formulas which provide for multiple course workload credit for single sections. Course capacity is limited by total faculty workload capacity; when a faculty member's maximum workload is reached, the course is closed to further enrollment.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Course enrollment data indicate that a small but significant percentage of ELI students take advantage of ELI's continuous enrollment policies. Student satisfaction surveys indicate that ELI students value and appreciate the flexibility and convenience that continuous enrollment brings and the greater availabilty of course secttions affords.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

Low

Other Comments: 

An increasing number of ELI course sections are being filled to capacity and closed early during the registration period. Possible factors include increased popularity of online courses in general and offered courses (e.g., information technology) in particular, and budget constraints which have reduced available faculty workload during the summer semester.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Barbara Hatheway, Assistant Director, Extended Learning Institute
Email this contact: 
bhatheway@nvcc.vccs.edu