April

In addition to what all students need, what does April (traditional age student, new mother, takes all courses online, local, undecided major) need.

Phase 1

  • Majors and Minors Programs would offer students information about the various majors and minors offered on campus. Department Chairs could describe course requirements as well as helpful skills and interests. Career opportunities, internships and post degree programs would be presented. A reference guide website can be downloaded. http://www.marist.edu/careerservices/pdfs/majmin0910.pdf

*Assessment of skills and computer technology, online review of responsibilities and skills necessary for online learners to be successful

  • As April is local but currently taking all classes online, it may be helpful for her to have a "virtual tour" of campus outlining important services and how to find them online and in person.
  • Academic advising
  • Faculty advising
  • Opportunities for informal communication
  • A strengths test/career counseling to elaborate on what she is gifted in- this may provide some direction about what major is best suited for her
  • Ability to take classes in different genres to find what she is interested in without having to declare a major right away—she will be more successful is she makes her own choices at this stage
  • When she needs to decide on a major
  • Equipment and software needed for DE courses
  • Tips for creating success online
  • Availability of local baby-sitting services
  • Info regarding the existence of local/online support groups for students with children/social clubs/activities
  • Time management
  • stress management
  • health/wellness
  • financial aid/special programs/scholarships/work study, tutoring

Phase 2

  • Student Parent Playgroup could offer more than a traditional support group. Students could meet other students who are meeting the demands of parenthood and student life. Connections could be made with fellow student parents and children would be an active part in their parents’ educational journeys.

*Online study skills preparation, time management and possibly organizational skills. I would also recommend a mentor (perhaps someone who has been a new mother while taking online coursework) to mentor the student and help them with coping skills

  • How to access support such as learning about time managment or stress management, if not part of student support at institution
  • Clear academic calendar dates and course requirements/responsibilies
  • Technical support beyond 8-5pm traditional hours
  • Info regarding work-life balance
  • What services are available from the office of distance learning
  • Instructor expectations
  • How to use tools in LMS
  • Physical locations of student support service offices
  • Exam schedule and location

Phase 3

  • PLAN for Success (Student Inventory ) What has been working so far? What is not working?

Typically by week two the amount of work and the intensity of course content becomes apparent. Where time management and study strategies may have been abstractions, they are very concrete issues now. Developing a study plan and a specific time during the week is essential. Inventories and Study Plan templates could be posted online. Calendars similar to what lotus notes and google offer could be used.

  • Body and Mind Assessment- Identifying stressors, time management, procrastination,prioritization techniques, fitness for eye strain, wrist –carpal tunnel, back health,etc. This student is juggling parenthood and school.
  • Online community involvement. May help to be introduced to other new mom / students.
  • Critical institution wide deadlines
  • Finding and utilizing college resources for academic, financial, & personal support
  • Academic plan development to help decide on major/program
  • Connections to faculty
  • Career services, online career assessments and other career exploration websites
  • Possible personal counseling to assist in balancing motherhood, school, and other demands, and to discuss next steps
  • Hours and availability of child care if students were to attend on-campus activities. Is there drop-in available? Fees for child care on an occasional basis

Phase 4

  • Interactice Career Forum and Career Fair-The career forum will not only give the students a chance to see the direct marketing principles learned in the classroom come to life, but will also allow them to see that the same communications tools they use daily on an informal basis. Career Fair: Information about companies who provide or subsidize childcare or offer flex-time would be available.
  • Reassess goals
  • Job Placement
  • Resume development, etc.
  • Child care at transfer college

How does this contribute to success?
*Student would receive information about the various majors offered at the college while reviewing their personal interests, skills, and career goals. Students would feel more motivated if they knew that the courses and majors they were choosing were personally relevant, appropriate and marketable. This would help students “learn self-development strategies so that they can accept responsibility for developing their own skills, according to Floyd and Casey- Powell.

  • The demands of school and parenthood can be overwhelming. A support group could offer networking opportunities and a strong connection to other students at college. A student who is invested in the college experience and environment would develop a sense of academic responsibility and accountability. Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs suggests that strategies for inclusion would create “a sense of community that is important to the success of many students.”
  • Knowledge of what is necessary for technology requirements is very important. A student with outdated systems or perhaps someone who has special programs on their computers cannot access the various online sites necessary for student interaction.
  • Would assist April to plan her very busy life with many competing demands in order to be able to find the time to do the necessary reading, assignments, etc.

*Provides support from someone who has actually been through being a new mother and taking classes. This person will be invaluable if it is done right and provide April with support as she faces new and challenging situations.

  • reduces feelings of isolation
  • able to set academic goals
  • increase socialization
  • online chats, support for new roles (mother & student)
  • financial support allows her to continue education and reduces stress over finances
  • keep her informed
  • allow her to plan in advance
  • Course requirements not a surprise

Who responsible?
*Career Services could offer a Major and Minors Forum in conjunction with Faculty or Administrators from all Academic Fields.
*College Activities could schedule informal meeting times twice a month.
*Mentoring is done through a variety of programs but would need be done collaboratively with the online learning program.

  • Advisors
  • counselors
  • faculty
  • financial aid/student services personnel
  • tutoring
  • testing
  • club sponsors/advisors
  • distance learning staff
  • Faculty take larger role after course starts but other providers still communicate information to students

Best delivery?
*This program could be designed as a webinar with a visual power point if individuals could dial in or access a link from the Career Services website.
*Playgroups would be on campus however those not able to attend could arrange to talk to participants on Facebook.
*Asynchrounous delivery of a webinar.
*For moms with very young children, the use of Skype might be very handy in retaining the personal touch while possibly involving the kiddos.

  • Blended - some online, some face-2-face
  • questionaire
  • demo course
  • tutorials
  • Use multiple avenues to communicate
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