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New Students Encouraged to Take Online Alcohol Abuse Course

Three universities have turned to an online course to help change first-year students' drinking attitudes and behaviors. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Florida State University, and Marshall University in Huntington, WV have all implemented EverFi's AlcoholEdu for College, a 2.5-hour, Web-based alcohol abuse prevention course that, according to the company, is taken by a third of all incoming students to four-year institutions in the United States each year.

Each of the new university deployments required incoming students in fall 2012 to take the course before they arrived on campus. It's provided free by the institution. The campuses used an "implied mandate"; students received letters from campus administrators letting them know they were expected to complete the program. According to EverFi, this approach to implementation has become a best practice in terms of ensuring the highest student completion rates.

The course is designed to be administered to an entire population of first-year students and provides quasi-personalized pathways for each student based on prior drinking experience. Schools that adopt the program can customize it with their own logos, survey questions, and campus resources. EverFi provides reporting to the institutional customers on who has taken the course and what their pre- and post-survey scores were. It also supplies data on alcohol use among its first-year students, frequency of drinking and high-risk locations, and overall attitudes. The program allows customers to benchmark their results against a national aggregate as well as comparable schools.

Marshall has also made a special program available to parents to introduce the concepts of the course, allowing them to review the lessons themselves and suggesting ways to discuss alcohol usage with their children. U North Carolina requires a passing score by students of at least 80 percent and also integrates the course into an "AlcoholEdu for sanctions" program for students who have been in incidents involving alcohol.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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