Oct 092005
Authors: Kristen Majors

Response to AlcoholEdu

-Survey of students who had completed the course by Sept. 1-

3 out of 4 students said they knew more about BAC after taking the course.

1 out of 3 students said they knew more about the ways that alcohol affects someone's ability to give consent for sex.

Self-assessed knowledge about the effects of alcohol more than tripled.

62 percent found the course interesting.

72 percent would recommend it.

72 percent found the course helpful.

First-year students from CU-Boulder called the online AlcoholEdu program they were required to take last year "long, tedious and dull," said Robert Maust, chairman of the university's Standing Committee on Substance Abuse. On the other hand, the majority of CSU students approved of the program.

"Generally, people have been supportive of it," said Pam McCracken, director of Alcohol and Drug Prevention and Education at CSU. "We know we had some 'displeased customers,' if you will, but we also had some people say it wasn't so bad and they understood why we were doing it."

Contrary to popular belief, the program is not actually required for first-year students. It is, however, recommended that they take it in order to "reiterate the information they already know and expand on some things that might be new to them," McCracken said.

"The letter was drafted to strongly encourage it, but there was never anything that said this was required," she said. "We did not want to set up this adversary relationship between administration and first-year students."

The only instance in which AlcoholEdu is required is if a student violates a drug or alcohol policy on campus. The student will then be asked to complete the program if he or she has not already done so.

Of the 3,800 first-year students that are currently registered, 1,200 have completed the entire course.

"We've been pleased with our numbers," McCracken said. "We had a good response rate. We felt we had students that did it and hopefully found something meaningful out of it. We don't expect them to have liked taking it."

Last year, CU-Boulder required that students complete the course in order to register for the spring semester. This year the university discontinued the program.

"We were looking at several different programs last year when we settled on AlcoholEdu," Maust said. "We are continuing that process. We're looking at several different programs before we decide on any one of them."

CU was able to offer AlcoholEdu to its students last year at no cost to the university due to a grant it received. The program would have cost $48,000 this year, and the university "didn't want to buy it for that price," Maust said.

CU now offers its students e-Chug, an anonymous online course that takes 10 to 15 minutes, as opposed to the approximate three hours it takes to complete AlcoholEdu.

According to a survey students completed after taking the AlcoholEdu course, not everyone minded the three hours they spent learning about various alcohol-related subjects like blood alcohol content (BAC) and the effects of alcohol on the body.

Others decided not to participate in the course.

"I kept putting it off, and then I found out there were no consequences for not doing it," said Chade Peeters, a freshman business major. "I don't really feel like it would benefit me a great deal."

It has not yet been decided if AlcoholEdu will be continued next year. The program was originally implemented on recommendation from the Alcohol Task Force. The university wanted to "get information to first-year students in a timely way that would be cost effective," McCracken said. "It was something that was talked about, investigated and researched and then it was decided that this was the course to go with."


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