I will be taking a course over the next three months about Learning Theories and assessing your own teaching. Although I have taught in the classroom in the past, my work in the past 12 years in student services has been in the area of creating/sustaining the Tutoring System we have at the college and retention projects. Yes, I meant to capitalize Tutoring and System. One of our goals has been to make Tutoring Services a credible and responsive system of academic supports for students. One of the roles, I have as a Retention Coordinator is to train and supervise tutors in their practice of tutoring. So there is teaching there. I work with groups and individual students primarily in the area of English, Writing and Communications, check check, more teaching. And finally, I do in-class workshops mostly on the Writing Process, Citation Skills and Study Strategies. I like to think that involves teaching as well. But for, at least the first part, of this course, I want to focus on a Retention Project – THRIVES.
THRIVES is a set of modules developed in Blackboard, our LMS, for 1st semester students at St. Clair College. I am the lead faculty for this project. While I can’t give you access to the modules as they exist in our LMS, you can follow along by reading the OER textbook online and viewing the videos created for THRIVES on Youtube.
All 1st semester students at the college are enrolled in THRIVES. This means, I currently have over 6,000 students. Thankfully, they have not all emailed me at the same time. There are a number of questions that I want to ponder – how do we improve participation, how do we judge effectiveness, and how do we improve the learning environment.
One of the challenges is that the “course” is not mandatory, it does not appear on students’ class schedules and we haven’t figured out a good way to introduce THRIVES to students. Another issue is that, presently, there is no student to student communication options and the instructor/student communication is primarily through announcements and email.
I don’t know if the course I am taking on Learning Theories will help answer my question, but I believe using THRIVES as my focus may spark some new ideas. I hope to document some of my thoughts here over the next few weeks. You are welcome to follow along.