The following is part of a memorandum from the president of Humana University.
"Last year the number of students who enrolled in online degree programs offered by nearby Omni University increased by 50 percent. During the same year, Omni showed a significant decrease from prior years in expenditures for dormitory and classroom space, most likely because instruction in the online programs takes place via the Internet. In contrast, over the past three years, enrollment at Humana University has failed to grow, and the cost of maintaining buildings has increased along with our budget deficit. To address these problems, Humana University will begin immediately to create and actively promote online degree programs like those at Omni. We predict that instituting these online degree programs will help Humana both increase its total enrollment and solve its budget problems."
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.
In this argument the author predict that the institution of online degree programs will help Humana University increase its total enrollment and solve its budget problems. To justify the prediction author cites one example of the nearby Onmi University where increased enrollment of online study students and decreased spend for dormitory and classroom is observed last year. The author claims creating and promoting online degree programs like those at Onmi can increase the enrollment and decrease the expenditures for Humana University. The prediction is based on several assumptions including the relationship between the online degree programs and its enrollment and expenditures last year at Omni University, the convenience and effectiveness to open the online degree at Humana University. However, the prediction is not convincing since some assumptions proved unwarranted will undermine the prediction. To evaluated the prediction some questions should be answered related to these assumptions.
Giving the example of the nearby Omni University, the author wants to prove the online degree programs can greatly increase the enrollment of Onmi University. The author claims that there is a 50 percent increase of the number of students who enrolled in online degree programs. However, what's total number of the students enrolled in online degree programs or the ratio of the number of online students to the total number of student in Omni University is unknown. If the number of students attending the online program only takes a very small part, for example 10 students to 1000 student of the whole university, the increase is not very exciting. Even if the students of online programs take a large part and increased a lot last year. What's about the total enrollment of the university last year? It is possible that the total enrollment decreases due to some economic reasons. The author should get it clear whether the increase of students enrolled the online programs can be benefit for the total enrollment of Omni University. If so, the conclusion that the online programs can promote the enrollment of Omni University is reasonable.
The author also claims the expenditure for dormitory and classroom space can decrease due to the online program. However, there is no evidence provided supporting this claim. What's the real reason for the decrease of the expenditure is unknown. For example, the Omni University may proposal an effective policy last year to regulate the use of the dormitory or classrooms. The students may be asked to live outside the University to spare the cost of dormitories. These reasons are all possible and unknown for us. The author should answer whether the online program is the main reason for the decrease of the expenditures.
Granted that the online programs at Onmi Univerty are effective on its enrollment and economy, it may be not suitable for Humana University. It may be very different between Onmi University and Humana University. The Humana University has no experience on the online program before and the professors in Humana University may be not interested in the online courses. Also students may not want to attend the online program of Humana University. Also the cost to open the online program should be considered. Whether the spend of money and time for purchasing the computers, preparing the PPTs or advertising for the program can help Humana University increase the enrollment and spare the cost for maintaining the buildings? Is it valuable? The detailed analysis of the online programs and the university should be taken before making the decision.
Although opening the online program may be one effective trial for the Humana University, the prediction proposal by author is hasty. We just don't know whether it is effective for the online degree programs to increase the enrollment, and whether the Humana University is suitable to open the program. Before answering these questions, the prediction can't be evaluated effectively.