Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Welcome to the first NYS On Course Educator’s Blog

Some months ago, we thought it would be a Wise Choice to connect colleagues throughout NY state who are using On Course resources by forming our own “Success Group” to share ideas, resources, strategies and programs to help students become more responsible, active learners. We were very pleased with the positive response. This is our first bi-monthly entry and includes some great ideas , programs, and strategies happening at various colleges across the state, along with contact information. In addition, in each bi-monthly entry you’ll find one college/program featured in depth, to get a broader picture of how schools are using On Course in various venues across the campus.
We think this is going to be a great way to gather/share ideas, but don’t take our word for it; read on………………

Featured College February 2008
Corning Community College: Our First Year Experience class in which we use the On Course text course is taking off. Last fall, we offered 11 sections of this two-credit hour class and all of them were filled to capacity. This spring we have seven sections, once again, several sections have no seats available. We expect so much growth in this course that we are offering another On Course Workshop at Corning Community College so that we increase our pool of qualified instructors. Attending On Course Workshop I is a prerequisite to teaching the class, and many of us have also attended On Course II. This April will be the third time we’ve brought an On Course Workshop to CCC.
One of the reasons we like to offer the training on site is because many of the attendees are from our local high schools. High school guidance counselors, teachers, and other staff are experiencing On Course so that they can incorporate the principles into the high school environment. Corning Community College offers several sections of our FYEX1000 course for college credit at two area high schools. This class is taught by high school teachers, and we anticipate many more high schools to be on board this coming fall.
At the end of each semester, I ask my FYEX students to write “legacy letters” to the next semesters’ students; they share information about the class that they think new FYEX students need to know. These letters include some wonderful personal testimonials about On Course that I use to publicize the class. Students listen to other students, and if they loved the class and found it beneficial, others will enroll. Currently, the class is not mandatory, so we had t-shirts and magnets printed that promote FYEX/On Course.
We also had the On Course text customized with a picture of our very own campus and students on the cover. The first pages of the book include a listing of CCC Resources, and a welcome letter from our President, who writes about the importance of the course content. As an instructor using the On Course text, I can attest to its effectiveness. It is now the fifth week of classes, and I have 100% retention in all three of my sections of FYEX
LIZ LAMBERT - Director, Student Success Center

Here are some other great On Course ideas across the state:

Bronx Community College
At Bronx Community College we are still in the pilot stage. Currently 6 sections of our Freshman Year Program Course are using the textbook. All of the six sections are part of a learning community .We teach 52 sections of Freshmen Seminar. So, right now we are in the convincing business. Two in the department have attended Level I of On Course training; so we are lucky that 6 are willing to pilot the program. One problem we are having is that the class meets for I hour once a week for 15 weeks, so diving deep can become an issue.
Jennifer Misick, PhD.

Clinton Community CollegeI have attended Workshop I and will attend Workshop II in March. I believe I have the distinction of being the only criminal justice professor to go through Workshop I.
I use a number of techniques in my classes, and I have one colleague (who this was also mailed to) who uses some of the activities in class. As far as how On Course is used on campus, this spring I will be teaching a 3-credit course called 'Back On Course' for students being readmitted after academic dismissal (grant funded). I am in the process of putting that all together and have already received suggestions and guidance from ambassadors. I have used/adapted a number of the strategies already online. And I use one or two every year when we have our first year orientation at the end of summer (about 50-60 students).
Catherine K. Eloranto

Finger Lakes Community College
We are not using On Course in any formal sense at Finger Lakes Community College; I have attended both On Course I and II and use his philosophy and many of the activities when I teach or in the Academic Support Center. I am also planning to attend the On Course conference in the spring.
Stephanie Olsen

Nassau Community College
I have been teaching "NCC101" which is Nassau Community College's approach to College Orientation, Success and Retention. I am the only member of the faculty that adopted ON COURSE so far. For the past three years, I have used Skip's brain. I have realized a stronger retention compared to my colleagues. I have collected well-over 100 letters of "thanks" for changing student’s lives. I attend high-level decision-making committee meetings regarding the NCC101 future and plan to present my findings next Fall...I am having difficulty putting together the college-wide statistics in my simple faculty position. I've been around here for ten years and getting NCC to adopt ON COURSE is a career goal for me.
Michael Raab

Jamestown Community College
I teach Human Services, so I use On-Course both to enhance individual student responsibility as well as a tool that future human service workers can use in their work with clients to increase motivation and cultivate change. I use On-Course in several courses I teach, including Introduction to Human Services, Field Placement, and Poverty and Social Class in America. The areas I focus most on are Inner voices, creator statements, and the wise choice process, which give students concrete tools and mental models to apply the helping theories I already teach. I additionally use On-Course in our Student Success course, a requirement for all first-time full-time freshman, using the great “On-Course” game developed by my colleagues, puzzles for analyzing group dynamics, and many other techniques I learned at On-Course to increase student engagement in the material.
Catherine A. Iannello, MSW

Jamestown Community College
I teach Anatomy & Physiology I/II lecture at Jamestown Community College. Two years ago, I switched instruction from mainly lecture-based to mainly active-learning based. It was quite a challenge, and I have much to learn, but so far it seems students, in particular borderline C students, are benefitting from becoming more active in and out of class. As part of this switch, I work hard to create a culture of personal responsibility in the classroom. This includes an initial session on taking responsibility, to using an active learning syllabus, to the design of in-class activities which require students to not only participate but do much of the teaching. In order to help them take responsibility, I also require students to read and create their own set of notes prior to coming to class. They then, take pop quizzes on the assigned reading. We also have a review session for the class and I’ve been struck by how students now ask questions about things we haven’t yet covered in class.

I’ve also developed two other activities for the course to supplement the personal responsibility issue. One activity I do after the first exam where I ask students to determine what worked and what didn’t work to prepare for the exam. I put them in small groups and have each group develop and present a summary of learning strategies they think is most effective for suceeding in the course. The other activity I do is on self-management. I’ve found students need a great deal of help in learning how to manage what I ask of them in this course so I take a whole class session and do a self-management activity which is structured directly from the On Course textbook.
Ellen Lehning

Ulster Community College
We will begin to implement the On Course teachings this coming semester at Ulster. We will be using the textbooks in our COS 101 College Skills 101. Students are placed by advisement, reading level on COMPASS test, need, or recommendation. We are looking at making the course mandatory. It will be the only textbook for the course as the work in the text requires a lot of reading and writing .
Dolores Quiles,

The College of Saint Rose
Currently I teach a study skills based course to students on academic probation working to get off of it. I have adapted a lot from On-Course but I don’t have a large enough budget to purchase the course materials. So as you can imagine it is difficult at times and I would love to find out what others are doing in similar situations.
Marcy Nielsen

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