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Colleges Making Connections

Counseling-enhanced developmental learning communities at Skagit Valley College (WA) strengthen both developmental education and learning support. In the Skagit model, counseling and teaching faculty work collaboratively to incorporate college success skills into course content. Topics are tailored to meet the specic needs of the class and to support student learning and success overall. Students who participated in these learning communities in fall 2008 had a pass rate (C or better) of 74%, signi- cantly higher than the 68% pass rate of students in stand-alone developmental courses.

  • e learning communities also improved retention — 91% for students in the learning

communities versus 85% for students in stand-alone developmental courses. rough Community Colleges Can, Skagit Valley personnel also worked with peers at Aims Community College (CO) and Delta Community College (MI) as they developed similar programs.

Coastal Bend College (TX) improved graduation rates by requiring supplemental instruction (SI) along with other interventions for students in Intermediate Algebra and College Algebra. Students were required to take two hours of SI. e program also included peer tutoring, time management training, study skills, and student orienta- tion. Students who participated in the SI math classes were able to earn certicates and degrees faster, generating a 16% graduation rate aer three years, compared with the average Coastal Bend graduation rate of 19% aer six years.

Iowa Valley Community College Grinnell (IA) launched its Year of the Team initiative in fall 2008. is initiative sought to improve student engagement in the area of active and collaborative learning. Year of the Team had a straightforward goal: All students taking courses at IVCC Grinnell during the 2008–09 academic year would be involved in collaborative work in all of their classes. us, faculty who already incorporated group work into their classes were encouraged to expand and improve on traditional group activities. Faculty who typically lectured were encouraged to implement an aspect of team or group work in their courses. e college currently is collecting data to evaluate the program, focusing on improved retention and increased student satisfac- tion regarding the learning experience. Ultimately the college aims to ensure that more graduates are prepared for the world of work, where collaboration is an expectation.

Connections on Campus

Although students are most easily engaged in the classroom, the campus community oers untapped opportunities to help students forge deeper connections through shared experiences.

For example, 41% of students report that they never worked with other classmates outside of class to prepare class assignments. Nearly half of all students (47%) report that they never discussed ideas from their readings or classes with instructors outside of class.

For more information about CCSSE and the 2009 surve , visit www.ccsse.org.

A lot of students know or enjoy music, and I m a musician, so we talk about music, and you can see some of them light up. ou kno , we re fishermen in a way. ou throw the line out. Are you going to go for that? No? How about that?’ ‘ eah!’”

  • Faculty member

“I have two instructo s [who have] such life expe iences and sto ies. I just sit there in awe and learn ... . I go home and, “Oh my God, class was just wonderful today!”

  • Female student

2009 Findings 13

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