Wednesday, August 5, 2009

From an Advisor

The new to college student has many faces and backgrounds.

The new to college student could be:
    1) adult learner that is changing a career but never attended college(this is a first year Adult Student)
    2)..a student with disabilities
    3)..a student from a color community(e.g.African American, Asian and Pacific Islander American, Latino, Native American, multiracial and biracial)
    4)..a LGBT(lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) student 
    5) International student
    6)...a first-generation college student facing first-year challenges
    7)..a veteran
    8) honor student

I am sure there are many other faces but the above list just gives a few.

From a Rehabilitation Specialist

He or she may (or may not - if from economically disadvantaged circumstances) be computer/tech savvy, but mostly in ways which improve their social life.  Because the person is so busy with their own personal agenda - whether it be a part-time job (due to a multicultural family of origin or other circumstance that demands additional outside income), caring for kids or extended family, or trying to maintain a hectic social agenda, reaching that person will probably require the following:

(1) A venue and method of delivery that captures their interest (since we're competing with many other demands).

(2) Both tech and non-tech options to successfully complete their course assignments including the capability to meet the course requirements by using EITHER mode. (I've come to this conclusion after helping various students with the required "My Math Lab" component of all the developmental math classes....some students get lost in trying to figure out how to operate such a program in addition to just meeting the content requirements of the program).  Also, options to meet the needs of economically or learning disadvantaged students and physically disabled students (especially the hearing and visually impaired)....the LearnLab setting would be one means that might reach more students.

(3) Content that is presented in a manner that covers necessary material, but also does not overwhelm the student with information.  Students want to get to "the meat" or the important points QUICKLY and in a manner that can be easily retained (eg. use of acronyms, mneumonics, etc.) or PROGRAMMED into a device for retention, because their time to absorb information is limited (or at least they think so, because of all the other information and tasks they are juggling). This point is becoming more obvious to me as the cyber world grows, and even my best students (I'm not referring to my economically or learning difference students here) complain about "information overload".  Such a Learning Frameworks course might even address this issue, i.e., how to successfully manage all the information available to them at their fingertips without becoming overwhelmed.

(4) LEARNING BY DOING:  Content that is assimilated by having to actually use it "in action" during the term they are enrolled in the course, i.e., not only through (for instance) cooperative learning exercises, but - for example - through a portfolio (or similar approach) where the student successfully demonstrates the application of their Learning Frameworks objectives in another course they are concurrently enrolled in.  This would be of high importance to me, because of my own experience here at Richland where I've attended professional development classes - especially computer/Groupwise related courses - and then experience a lack of time to sufficiently implement the tips I've garnered from the classes.  For instance, our entire workgroup took a calendar-sharing training about 1 ½ years ago, and we have yet to implement much of anything from that training due to lack of time to follow-up on what we gained from that session.  I'm just now going back to use the HELP section to re-learn (some from scratch) what was provided in the session.

and that last thought brings me to my 5th and final suggestion:

(5) A FOLLOW-UP Resource:  A webpage and/or other delivery method (for those who are not computer savvy) which the student can easily access after exiting the course in order to refresh their memory and/or gain additional information and tips to support them as they continue on with their studies.

The above may be a tall order, but hope the ideas help!

From Another Advisor

My best suggestion if for you to come by the Advising Center any time and work with Advisors as they see actual new to college between, you can pick our brains!  We see the new to college students before anyone else (except for Admissions).

From a Long Time English Instructor Turned Administrator

I guess it doesn't really matter what the new to Richland students look like: fat, thin, blonde; what matters is how prepared they are, and they are not, at all. From what I've heard and experienced, most don't know how to take notes, make an outline, or even have realistic expectations of the responsibilities of being students at Richland: turning in papers on time, coming to class and once there, not leaving early, and recognizing that the instructor has better credentials than they do and that what the instructor says to them has greater authority than their opinion. It has been interesting dealing with Millennia students. They come to my office to argue a grade, and their argument is that the instructor is merely expressing an opinion about their paper, and the students' opinion is just as valid. New students coming out of the DISD also have the added deficiency of extreme grading leniency and little to no homework.

Older students new to Richland also have unrealistic expectations. They often have conflicts with life situations versus their classes, and they expect to be excused for their excessive absences because, after all, they couldn't help what caused them to miss. That, and most of them seem to wear their hearts on their sleeves and get very hurt and angry if the grade they receive on a paper is not what they expected. They're often scared and not very confident in the first place, so any obstacle is seen as a threat.

Well, I hope I haven't degenerated into a bitch session--that's not my intent at all. I want students to find some balance between their expectations and the reality of being in college. I'm not sure how to resolve that. Perhaps you might have various instructors from different disciplines come with copies of their syllabi and talk to the students about what they require in their courses and how they grade.

From an Advisor

The majority of new to college students usually come from parents who either have no college education or no more than a community college education. The majority do not know what they want to major them. They know college is different from highschool, but they don't know how. They usually don't have a lot of money for classes, but they are willing to do the best they can and many depend on financial aid. Most will end up in at least one or two developmental courses.
I hope that helps. What will this course be called? We already have a Learning Frameworks class called HDEV 1300. Is that the one you mean? Is this going to be mandatory in addition to HDEV 0092, which is already mandatory for all new students who do not pass into college level courses?
If a student can only afford to take two courses one semester, it sounds like this student may have to do HDEV 0092 and then HDEV 1300 or Learning Frameworks course, unable to take any other course for that first semester. Is this correct? Can you tell me more.
This is particularly important to know as an advisor. I imagine my boss knows all about this?

From a Teacher of International Students

I teach international students, and our enrollment has increased by leaps and bounds. According to me, the "new student" at Richland is:
...mostly oriental
    black haired

    shy, frightened
    has very limited English
    is confused
    in culture shock
    wants to learn English very quickly

From a Long Time Advisor

As advisors, we see so many different types of new-to-college-students!Each semester we see such VARIETY in their ages, life stages, socioeconomic backgrounds, family educational aspirations, cultural differences, and you can name many other variations that make our students somewhat unique from those possibly found at other colleges.Just yesterday working in the advising center I had a woman who is 56 going  to school for the first time who had been helping the elderly in their homes. She wanted to start at Richland but then go on to El Centro for Vocational Nursing. I also had a young man who was here to sign up for 5 classes (required number for the military), and then was going off to the army. He was all of 19 years old with a wife and a child. I also had another student right out of high school with high reading and writing scores who needed his math assessment testing.

Is it possible, Gary, to actually some of these very new to college students to have them give us input about what would like to see offered in a class like this? As professionals we have a good idea of relevant topics; however, I don't know that we do many focus groups with actual students to see what their needs are...

My ideas for relevant topics:
Career planning
Campus resources
Library tutorials
Study skills
Time management
Investigating class formats (DL, cooperative learning, learning communities, studies abroad, honors, global studies, etc.)

Good luck with this very worthwhile endeavor!

From a Long Time Chemistry Instructor

Good luck with this.  It is vastly needed.  I would say that my entering young students cannot read and follow instructions.  That can be a real hazard in a chemistry lab!  Perhaps because my style of learning involves reading the directions, I tend to give detailed written instructions for assignments, for how to make a grade, for extra credit - everything!  So, it's very frustrating to me (why bother?) when students seem to not have a clue about how to proceed.

From a New Instructor

To me, the new student typically doesn't know how colleges work with the different degree structures or understand what a major or minor is.  The new student doesn't also know how to do career research to help find their job interests in real life beyond college.  The new student also doesn't know things about making decisions regarding expenses during college and how to manage them by making smart decisions with health insurance, car purchases, etc.

It is these things that I have found a need to counsel students on.

From an Interested Person

Here are a few of the big things I notice my night student's lack in knowledge in regards for the use of eConnect and eCampus, as well as, the opportunities the Career Services and the Center for Tutoring and Learning Connections offer.

I believe this may be because they are not use to having someone help them for free.  Well, ok, these services are part of their tuition, but they do not see it that way.  And, everything being available electronically surprises several of people of all ages.

From a Veteran High School Specialist

I have just finished working with a around 700 high school seniors who had not yet made a college plan in their senior year.

Here's their profile: largely from under-represented groups (our target); primarily Hispanic followed by African American, Asian and a smattering of Anglo, most qualify for free or reduced lunch. A large percentage were born into a language other than English but have attended US schools for much of their lives.  Not many exempted from TSI based on TAKS, SAT or ACT scores,  very few make our cutoff scores on Accuplacer, quite a few can't read at college level or perform well with grammar but for some reason manage to pass the essay portion of the Accuplacer at a higher rate than one might expect.  As for math, even those who are in Pre-Calc or Trig have difficulty with the Accuplacer math assessment--why,you ask?  Well, they forget how to work fractions, percentages, decimals, and manipulate  algebraic properties AND they are so use to using a graphing calculator they've forgotten or never learned the math theories that are the foundation for the buttons they're pushing. (They're not really good about prepping for assessment either, even though they get plenty of information about how to do so.)  Most will need some financial assistance to attend college.  Most will be working while attending college.  Almost all will be living at home while attending college.  Their parents are very interested in their welfare and will attend sessions the college offers re enrolling in college, even if their child chooses not to attend.

I know this is just one segment of our 2009 class but, I would bet good money it comes close to the median description you'll be developing.

From an Adjunct Instructor

I can tell you that he/she looks like someone who doesn't know how to manage time outside of the classroom well, is likely to learn by trial and error, and definitely does not know his/her learning style ( nor how to use reading strategies, such as SQ4R.

From a Committed Advising Administrator

They run the whole gammit. First generation college students to parents & siblings that have all attended ahead of them. 

A high percentage are not anywhere near prepared for college work in regard to their level of learning, study skills, time management skills, and critical thinking skills.

Very diverse cultures and for the most part have been raised in sheltered environments. 

They don't understand how the courses in core tie into their overall college career and life career, even though it is covered in a required online orientation & then again at a registration orientation. 

They need to hear things appx 4 times before it begins to have meaning.

They are more non-traditional students than traditional in that for the most part they all work at least part-time jobs, most full time jobs while trying to attend school and be successful.  Many have home responsibilities as well.

Many more than disclose are on behaviorial modication medication for all sorts of afflections that effect their learning.

I could probably write for another 30 minutes, but this is brushing the surface for my 2 cents worth.

From a Journalism Instructor

The students we get have no idea how to study, do work before they get to
class or take notes during class. They expect the professor to hold their
hand. I think they think that since we are a community college, we are just
a continuation of high school and we are not for real.

They need to have a tour of campus including the library and be made aware
of the extras that they qualify for. They need to be exposed to the web and
signed up for the Twitter messages so they can stay in touch.

Also, it would be nice for them to tell us what they are looking for.

From a CE Training Specialist

I don't get to work with credit students very much however I do have CE students that register for credit courses concurrently.  One thing I believe would be helpful for any new college student whether credit or C.E., would be to have something regarding how to be a successful student when taking courses online as opposed to on campus.

From a Student Assistant

Hello ... I love this question!

I am a student assistant in the ACCESS Center here at Richland, which is why I received your email.

As a new student just two short years ago I will tell you that she is someone who is by choice or circumstance re-evaluating her life and wondering where to go next. She is nervous about taking classes because she hasn't been in school for a very long time. She is wondering how she will possibly fit in with other students who may be up to 20 years younger than she. She is scared that she will not be able to handle classes in addition to taking care of her family. She is unsure of what will be required of her. She is excited about her future. She has been in the workforce for many years making less than the national average and has come to realize the value of a college degree. She is needing help and information about how to pay for college. She will be a good student and will receive great grades. She is a long-time consumer and will expect to receive what she paid for. She may need help maneuvering around eCampus and eConnect and will not understand what "Lect, Web" or "OnlinePtl" means when trying to register for a math class.

She will also come to see her time at Richland as "one of the best things she ever did!" She will be very proud when she walks across the stage in May to receive her Associates Degree and will cry tears of joy when she receives her acceptance letter from TWU's Nursing School. She will miss Richland College because it has supported her, encouraged her, motivated her, and accepted her. 

Haiku From a Very Caring Advisor

When I think of the face of our students, there are so many images. We see single parents struggling to improve their situation, who need all the help they can find.
I see returning adults, who are fearful of failure but usually set the bar very high in the classroom.
I see young students out of high school, who can't go to a four year school, although their skills are excellent.
I see young students out of high school, who do not have college level skills but want to complete a degree.
I see young students out of high school, who have no desire to be here, but their parents tell them they must be here and take a full load for insurance purposes.
I see students who are here taking a full load so they are able to receive the maximum financial aid package.
I see students who did not complete high school, but they want to continue their education.
I see students who work full time, have a family , and still manage to do well in the classroom.
I see students who are at a crossroads in their lives and know they don't want to continue in their career path, so they are looking for change or to follow their instinct.

An Interesting Exchange from a Long Time, Experienced Reading Instructor

>>> Joe Cortina 6/10/2009 9:20 AM >>>
Thanks for your response, Becki, and thanks also from the feedback from Allatia.  Again, please know that I'm in complete support of the new EDUC 1300 Learning Frameworks course and, indeed, would be happy to advise and/or provide support to the curriculum commitee for this course. 

I do understand that students will still be required to take DREA and DWRI courses in order to eventually enroll in core courses like ENGL 1301, HIST 1301, etc. 

But my concern is this:  Let's assume a student wants to enroll for nine credit hours and this student's assessment scores place him or her into DREA 0093, DWRI 093 and DMAT 0091.  As you know, this student will need all three of these courses eventually, but is not required to enroll in ALL of them each semester.  If this student is allowed to enroll in EDUC 1300, it is conceivable that he or she will be advised to enroll in DREA 0093, DMAT 0091 and EDUC 1300, thereby delaying enrollment in DWRI 0093.  (EDUC 1300 will certainly have some appeal to both advisors and students beacuse it is a new course and because it will carry a 1300-level number.)

I don't think Allatia's comment that "A DREA 0093 student could probably do well in the Learning Frameworks course" is a reason to invite them to do so--given the fact that it may cause them to delay remediation in any area.

And aslo, Allatia suggests that EDUC 1300 will be "a course that will assist the 'college ready' student to be successful in his or her learning in college level academic pursuits," but this will be a contradiction in terms if DREA 0093 and DWRI 0093 students (who are by TSI standards not 'college ready') are allowed to take EDUC 1300, a course designed for 'college ready' students. 

I realize that we're in the preliminary stages of the development of the Learning Frameworks course, so I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share my concerns (and support) early on. 

Again I would like to say that, as a veteran DREA instructor, I know students completing the DREA (and DWRI) sequence would benefit from an additional couse such as EDUC 1300 as they launch into taking core courses.  (Indeed, our district used to offer READ 1301 and READ 1302, advanced reading and study skills courses.  Unfortunately, the necessary attention invested in administering the TASP, THEA and TSI programs caused the removal of these courses from the district's curriculum.)

Thanks for allowing me to contribute to this discussion, Becki.


>>> Becki Williams 06/09/09 3:55 PM >>>
I asked Allatia Harris for some feedback to your questions/comments.  The Core Curriculum Committee has not prescribed/decided eligibility for enrollment in the Pre-Core Learning Frameworks course, which will likely be called EDUC 1300 Learning Frameworks. The new committee charged to help implement this aspect of the new core will be consulting others, such as you to guide them in the design of the course.  (Mary Darin is also on the committee).    Please let me know your reaction to Allatia's comments.  I appreciate your feedback and questions.  Please contact me at any time with information and/or concerns.  We intend to provide communication and ask for feedback as we move ahead.  Thanks, Becki

Here's Allatia's feedback:

I think the committee should discuss plans for those students in the top
level developmental courses. A DREA 0093 student could probably do well
in the Learning Frameworks course.

I think students in the DREA 0090 and 0091 courses would benefit more
from either the traditional HD0092 or possibly the HDEV 1310  

HDEV 0092   Student Success (3)
In this orientation course, students are introduced to academic and
personal goal-setting and learning skills that enhance their chances for
educational success. Students will learn how to develop positive
attitudes toward themselves, improve communication and decision-making
skills, and make effective use of campus resources. This course supports
students enrolling in other appropriate remediation. (3 Lec.)
Coordinating Board Academic Approval Number 3201015212

HDEV 1310    Career Exploration/Planning (3)
This is a Common Course Number.
An introduction to the process of career decision-making, educational
planning, and job searching. Topics include analyzing personal career
interests, values, and aptitudes; surveying and researching career
fields with related educational and training requirements; practicing
the decision-making process; and basic job search skills such as
completing applications, writing letters of application, developing and
using resumes and interviewing. (3 Lec.)
Coordinating Board Academic Approval Number 5204010004

In my opinion, those students with serious reading and writing
deficiencies are not ready for what you want to accomplish in LRNG 1300
or even HDEV 1310. In order to help them, you would have to water down
the curriculum to a point that no one would benefit.

So - I would say the DW/DR 0090 and 0091 students are not eligible for
LRNG 1300 (and HDEV 0092 is not a substitute for LRNG 1300). I would let
committees discuss and debate what is appropriate for the students in DR
or DW 0093.

Does this help?

You are designing a course that will assist the "college ready" student
to be successful in his or her learning in college level academic

>>> Joe Cortina 6/5/2009 9:01 AM >>>
Hi, Gary ~

As a lifelong developmental reading instructor, I'm curious about and
interested in the development of the new Core Curriculum Learning
Frameworks course--and happy to learn that you're representing Richland
on the district's committee.  Let me say first that I support the
introduction of this course completely and without reservations.  My
experience has taught me that students can, indeed, benefit from "up
front" help provided to them at the beginning of their post-secondary
academic journey.  And I do understand that the Learning Frameworks
course will address a very broad array of skills and success-oriented

I do have a concern, though, that when the course is launched in the
fall of 2010 it might inadvertently divert students from developmental
courses (DREA, DWRI, and DMAT) that they need.  So, my first question
is, "Will students be allowed to take the Learning Frameworks course if
their TSI assessment scores indicate that they need to take DREA?"  Or,
put another way, "Will students need to have met their TSI requirements
in reading and writing (as they do for other core curriculum courses)
before they will be permitted to enroll in the Learning Frameworks
course?"  If Becky and her CC committee have already ruled on this
situation, I'm afraid I just missed this part of the explanation.  Do we
have an answer for this concern of mine at this point?

Gary, as you continue your work on this committee and consider issues
related to developmental reading skills, critical reading/thinking
skills, and study skills, please know that I'll be happy to advise you
if you think I could be of assistance.


From a Reading Instructor Who Recently Did a Major Course Redesign

OPRIE did a recent survey of our students in the   new redesign classes.  Our population is mostly first time in college students, and many come from impoverished backgrounds.  The majority are female, and there is a significant percentage of ESL students.  The bulk range in age from 18-25.  There are also many Latino and African Americans, two of our retention-related KPI issues being addressed in course re-design.

There's a huge gulf between college work and what they did (more accurately didn't do) in high school.  Until recently, many have been unable to bridge the divideIt's also fair to say that our students frequently lack support for their efforts from parents and peers.  This is especially true when it comes to motivation and persistence.  About 1/3 of our students in 0093 give up before they finish the course (about .25-to-.33 don't even take the course exit assignment!) .  In DWRI, we are addressing the problem with study skills workshops.  For example, we use LASSI to teach students about their deficiencies.  In addition, developmental education students typically lack good technology and social skills. 

For another source, take a look at SENSE from UT-Austin.  Survey of Entering Student Engagement looks at entering students across the country; it also provides great information on developmental education students.  In fact, SENSE team participated with OPRIE in a focus group of our instructors.  I hope this helps, Gary.

From an Administrator in a Doctoral Program

Here is some links to CCSSE and SENSE data. Richland participates in both surveys so the information can provide a general understanding of the characteristics and perceptions of the "new to college student." Digging deeper, Bao and Fonda might have the information related to the "Richland new to college student."

Of course the feedback from our other Thunderducks will also enhance the picture of this "student."


From a Music Instructor

To me, the new student typically doesn't know how colleges work with the different degree structures or understand what a major or minor is.  The new student doesn't also know how to do career research to help find their job interests in real life beyond college.  The new student also doesn't know things about making decisions regarding expenses during college and how to manage them by making smart decisions with health insurance, car purchases, etc.

It is these things that I have found a need to counsel students on.

From the Advising Desk

At my desk here in Advising, a significant minority of students that I have seen who are new to the college are transferring in from another district, or are currently attending an university and are taking summer classes.
I have also seen a few who started at an university and did not do well, so after a short break decided to start all over here at RLC.
It appears that the majority who I have seen have recently graduated high school, or are about to graduate. They come from all walks of life, and a minority also arrive with their parents to talk with me.
I would estimate that more than 1/2 have other commitments including work commitments and a majority of those students work full or nearly full time.


The Question: NEW TO RICHLAND STUDENT - What does she look like?

The answer is not blonde and 5 ' 2". Well, I guess it sometimes is, but that's not the point of the question.

I'm on the district committee that is charged with developing a new required course for students who enter college with less than 12 credits. This was one of the recommendations of the DCCCD Core Curriculum Group headed by Becki
Williams last year. It's currently called the LEARNING FRAMEWORKS course and is scheduled to begin in  Fall 2010..

Our first assignment is to come to the next meeting and tell the committee what the "new to college student" looks like at Richland.

Since that covers a lot of territory I thought I'd get some help. From YOU. If you're game.

The idea, of course, is to build a profile so we'll KNOW who we're going to be teaching. So we can tailor the course to their real needs.

Feel free to contribute just a little piece or an extended dissertation. Thanks in advance :)
                                                                                                         Gary Duke, 6/4/2009