What’s Needed in “College 101″: How To Learn
Most colleges now offer a introductory student-success or “College 101″ course designed to help ease the transition into higher education, reports Caralee Adams on the Education Week website. New research shows students benefit from those efforts, but the impact is not long-lasting:
“The study by the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, includes interviews with 169 students, faculty, and staff, and observations of College 101 courses in 19 classrooms at three community colleges in Virginia. Researchers found students in the courses did improve their skills and knowledge of college resources. However, there wasn’t enough time in class for students to apply and practice the new skills. (The classes evaluated in the study were one credit and met just once a week.) And the courses were separate from the academic departments on campus so the lessons were not reinforced in other classes.
The authors concluded the courses were too broad and would be more effective focusing on fewer topics in more depth, with input from college faculty and staff. They recommend academic faculty be brought in as instructors in these success classes and weave in some of the skills into their regular courses. The study also suggests that the design of the class be more interactive and include activities requiring students to demonstrate they’ve grasped the concept.” (Read more here.)
I was curious about the content of these courses, so I took a look at the study itself. It noted that College 101 classes cover a wide variety of topics, from time management and goal setting, to financial management and budgeting, to healthy relationships and drugs and alcohol.
No doubt many new college students need guidance in some or all of these areas. But I’m struck that none of these “College 101″ courses address how students will go about learning in college. Research shows that students understand little about how learning and memory work, and don’t know much about practical, evidence-based strategies that will help them do well in their classes. Doesn’t it seem like this information should be included in a course called “College 101″? I sure wish someone had told me about these things when I was starting college—how about you?