Recently we had this French course conducted at IIIT Hyderabad. The profs were from CIEFL. I have been posting a lot about the course in earlier posts. I thought I would share some conclusions I derive from the course.
In the beginning when I sent a mail asking for names I got around 120 replies. Yes I knew many of them just wanted to keep it as backup, so I estimated the number of serious students to be around 60. Unfortunately the course cudn't start at time and it could not have been made a regular course. It started at time when one mid semester exams were already over. (The course finally started on 28th Jan). So the course was clearly made a Non-Academic course taken by student only for interest as there won't be any mention of same in the gradesheet.
Dean based to his experience asked me to have a commitment fees from student so that they take it only if they are interested. We decided over an agreement which helped in getting approx 40% payment from students and rest by the institute (this was b'coz the course was not part of curriculum, thanks to Dean we were not required to pay all the money ourselves)
The course finally started with around 30 students paying fees on time and others asking to enter when the faculty finally started taking the classes. Since languages courses can´t have more than 30-35 student in one batch. I had to stop allowing ppl from registering for the course. What happened during the course left me amazed. Slowly students started bunking the classes. The number of student coming regularly was getting lower in every class. By the end of Feb the strength would have easily come down to 15-20, after Feb the attendence decrease was even more shocking. In the last few classes we had attendence like 5-4-3 and so on.
I was seriously shocked to see such a decline in interest of students over time. I can't help but conclude that attendence rule and grades are must to have the students come to class. Even things like Language courses which is totally started on basis of interested student and not a compulsion cannot maintain the strength over time then compulsory courses will surely have lots of problems in doing the same. Committment fees didn't seem to work out well either. May be its just my way of thinking....
(More about French Learning in later posts)