According to the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), college drinking contributes to about 1,700 student deaths and nearly 600,000 injuries each year. In an attempt to curb this trend, St. John’s has implemented a new mandatory online course for incoming students called AlcoholEdu.
This year’s freshman class was informed that they were required to complete this online course as part of their orientation. Some students felt the presentation of AlcoholEdu was rather dull.
“It’s really boring at times.” said freshman Matthew Stoner.
Rosario DiGangi agreed. “Some of the facts are great to know, but it really doesn’t hold your interest,” he said. “I think if the information were presented in a more entertaining way, you would retain more.” Others felt that the amount of time it takes to get through the online program can be grueling and that breaks could be more of a hindrance than an aid.
“If you decide to take a break, there’s a good chance that you’ll start forgetting some of the facts.” said Jeffrey Joseph.Another problem is that students are given loads of information that may be quickly forgotten.
“Everything leads up to the test,” said Joseph. “Beyond the test, all the information kind of loses its purpose.”According to Outside the Classroom’s official website, more than one million students at over 450 college campuses have used the AlcoholEdu program.
Developed by Outside the Classroom Inc, AlcoholEdu is “an online alcohol prevention program” that educates students on the effects of alcohol on the brain and body, ways to avoid drinking, and ways to help others who have a problem or are at risk of developing one.
AlcoholEdu is designed to accommodate all kinds of students, from heavy drinkers to non-drinkers. Students answer a series of questions beforehand regarding their gender and their alcohol use, among other things. The program is then based on these responses, meaning some students may experience a completely different course than others.
The entire program is divided into two sections and can be completed in one 2 Ω to 3 hour period, although taking short breaks is recommended.
The first part, which consists of various facts and information about alcohol and responsible drinking, is the most time-consuming.
Part one culminates in an exam based on the information and statistics given. For the test students are required to score a 75% or better in order to pass and fully complete the course.
The second section consists of a survey. While students thought the AlcoholEdu program was informative overall, most agreed that it is primarily up to the individual person, not an online course, to decide if drinking is for them.
“If you come to college with the intent to drink, [AlcoholEdu] isn’t going to stop you from drinking,” said DiGangi. “You just have to figure it out for yourself.”