Develop Early Warning and Faculty Advising Systems
To strengthen our student success efforts, we also must improve early warning and faculty advising methodologies. Many of our students are at-risk academically, socially, emotionally, or economically, and need extended mentoring through early intervention and advising.
The growing use of learning technologies at the College is both a problem and an opportunity. On one hand, more student activities now take place away from the eye of an instructor. In these cases, by the time midterm results flow in it can be too late to intervene – and a student may be at risk of dropout. On the other hand, the analytics built into many learning technologies can offer an early warning.
At their best, analytics give a snapshot view of test scores, time spent on task and levels of engagement with the course. These can be compared against other student performance, with an alert to the instructor if a student begins to fall behind.
Two College pilots, in Business Information Technology and Primary Care Paramedics, will redesign their LEARN online materials around two principles: 1) Assess early – assess often and 2) Measure engagement from the start. The Teaching Learning Technology Centre (TLTC) will train instructors to produce and monitor new metrics and Student Services will coordinate supports for students identified as ‘at risk.’ The last step is to compare results from year to year. Did the attrition rate change? Did overall class scores improve or decline? Do instructors report a better sense of student progress in their class?
Building strong relationships between students and instructors is a critical step on the path to student success. Since 2005, the College has run Paths to Success as a College-wide initiative. This survey initiative is meant to connect students with services and supports, inform them of events of interest, and engage them in the College community. The Paths survey initiative also is meant to help connect, inform and engage instructors, program coordinators, Chairs and Deans – primarily through the Faculty Advising process. Faculty Advising is intended to build faculty-student engagement by encouraging students and faculty to meet early in the program. While this often occurs naturally, the Paths to Success survey initiative helps encourage this as a more common or natural practice.
One strategic goal of this SEM initiative is to enhance Faculty Advising practices in each program. This enhancement has begun through feedback sessions from current advisors about their best practices based on the different advising models already in place. The objective is to develop advising models that encourage strong student-faculty relationships, without burdening instructors with additional work.
For faculty advising information and training support, contact:
SEM Project Manager