A Prototype for Educational Planning Using Course Constraints to Simulate Student Populations

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Executive Summary

Distance learning universities usually afford their students the flexibility to advance their studies at their own pace. This can lead to a considerable fluctuation of student populations within a program's courses, possibly affecting the academic viability of a program as well as the related required resources. Providing a method that estimates this population could be of substantial help to university management and academic personnel. The authors describe how to use course precedence constraints to calculate alternative tuition paths and then use Markov models to estimate future populations. In doing so, they identify key issues of a large scale potential deployment.

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