What does it mean to be 'fault tolerant' and how does it help with retention?
Submitted by Kathy_Tracey on May 5, 2018 - 12:59pm
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We recently had a very active discussion about the Scarcity mindset and it lead me down the road to discovery about program development and what it means to be 'fault tolerant.' We know our students have difficulty with multiple challenges, but by design, our programs often have little flexiblity. If a student misses too many classes, they are dropped from the program. One of the most powerful lines I read as I researched the Scarcity mindest is the concept of strategies. By their very definition, strategies presume a student has a choice to resolve their challenge.
For example, last week, I had a student get called in to work. We were in the middle of class. His choice was to not go to work and potentially loose his job OR leave class. Our institution has strict attendance policies and leaving class early or missing class (often due to work conflicts) places this student in jeopardy of being dropped.
The idea of being 'fault tolerant' is to account for human error and / or to diminish the consequences and results of mistakes.
So, how to we design programs that address the flexibility that students often need while still achieving the outcomes required by our institutions? Is there a difference between fault tolerance and enabling students? And is it really a lack of 'soft skills' like time management or a lack of resources?
I'm looking forward to your insight and ideas.