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Welcome to the Success Toolkit

Why is this important? The toolkit provides a look into the student brain, serving as a practice refresher for faculty and staff. It allows us to check-in as a collective to help our students succeed.

Who does this involve? This refresher involves defining faculty, staff, and administrative roles when it comes to student success and course completion.

What does this mean? How can we implement this on campus?

the following are best practices:

Connect with Students

Create Immediacy

Connecting with students is an important way to help them feel valued. As the authority, it’s your job to create a sense of closeness to you and to their peers. When students feel connected, they are more likely to reach out for help, form study groups, interact in class and overall are more engaged students.

You can connect, by creating immediacy:

  • Be readily available to students and respond in a timely matter.
  • Encourage classroom discussion and allow students to share their experiences.
  • Give personalized responses to discussion posts, comments, etc.
  • Hold mini conferences with my students to get to know them and what their goals are.  

Humanize yourself and your course:

  • Encourage questions and keep an open dialogue with students.
  • Let students see your personality in lecture and activities.
  • Share personal examples that connect to the material.

Learn More! 

Recognize Different Learning Styles

Consider Multiple Intelligences

Considering multiple intelligences involves a varied approach to teaching, where instructors recognize that students have different strengths when it comes to learning. 

  • Provide a varied approach to learning considering the seven intelligences (interpersonal, intrapersonal, logical, kinesthetic, musical, spatial, visual).
  • Understand that a one-size-fits all approach will leave students behind.

Learn More! 

Include Active Learning

Including active learning means offering engaging learning experiences for students. Doing things that encourage movement, participation, and adapting to different learning styles invites supported learning communities.

  • Encourage learning communities with group work and peer teaching.
  • Include class discussions following a lesson or lecture demonstration.
  • Meet students where they are.
    • Post YouTube videos that fit into or relate to course content.
  • Provide student interested content to engage student learning.
    • Assign work that includes videos or social media when possible. 

Look at Equity Practices   

Looking through an equity lens offers a more inclusive approach to teaching. It starts with a willingness to recognize your own biases and how they may be influencing your teaching and grading practices.

  • Foster student belonging and reduce biases to remain socially conscious.
    • Clarify the difference between inclusion and belonging; belonging requires a group or a team.
  • Recognize cultural and contextual influences by providing holistic support.
    • Poll students at the start of the semester to find what matters to them to contextualize their learning and make it culturally and personally relevant.
  • Think about how your cultural biases influence your grades and expectations.
  • Understand that cumulative grading may not be the most equitable approach. Try to learn about different ways to grade.

Learn More! 

Support Your Students

Be Accommodating

Understand that students have different backgrounds, experiences, and levels of preparedness that may impact how they perform in your class. While it is important to maintain rigor, accommodations provide students with various needs, the opportunity to succeed. 

  • Consider flexibility for students to succeed without compromising accountability.
  • Consider accepting late work. Submitting an assignment late (with a point deduction or penalty if you choose) still allows them the opportunity to learn. Whereas, inflexibly in this matter lead to failing grades and loss of motivation.
  • Normalize LAP accommodations. Add information on your syllabus, encourage it in your classroom, take them to the learning center and let them know they are here to help.
  • Realize that students don't know what they don't know.
    • Do not assume they know how to use all types of technology. 

Celebrate Milestones

Celebrate student success in the classroom and through academic services. Milestones in the classroom might include making it to midterms or completing a major assignment, while you can connect students to resources on campus that lead to overall student success.

  • Celebrate big assignments and keep students informed on when they are due.
  • Direct students to the “suggested course sequence” on the portal for a list of milestones that they should be achieving.
  • Encourage students to get a Student Education Plan with counseling.
  • Provide checkpoints to monitor completion progress and connect students to helpful on campus resources.
  • Share acceptance letters, scholarships, and awards in class.
  • Visit the career center and use career tools on the campus website.

Learn More!

Provide a Sense of Community

Creating community allows students to feel connected to other students, the instructor, and the institution. Building rapport can enhance the climate of your classroom. 

  • Check-in with students during labs or in passing to avoid calling them out. 
  • Bring campus resources into the classroom and encourage students to connect to peer support networks.
    • Add information into your syllabus.
    • Invite guest speakers from campus services.
  • Encourage students to exchange contact information with a few classmates on the first day of class to offer peer to peer connection.
  • Form an inclusive environment by including preferred pronouns. 
  • Utilize tools like Canvas and CircleIn.
  • When utilizing group work, encourage students to introduce themselves.

Pull Students Back In

Reach out when students fall off track to bridge the gap between students and the instructor. Students agree that additional follow-ups and easy communication has made a significant impact on student success.

  • Reach out and follow-up when students miss an assignment.
    • The Canvas gradebook allows a quick option to “email students who have…” to select students who have missed an assignment or scored high/low as a quick way to reach out to students.
  • Reach out to students who are failing and work with them to create a plan.
  • Send weekly emails and/or announcements to create a virtual extension of your classroom.

Learn More!

Be Consistent

Stay consistent with how the content is delivered and how you communicate.

  • Establish a rhythm to the day/week/course to help with student focus.
  • Model the behavior that you want to see.
  • Post weekly announcements and update modules with clear assignment due dates.
  • Set the tone in the classroom so that students know what you expect.

Learn More!

  • Reference the Canvas Instructor Guide to stay consistent in how you communicate and deliver material. 
  • Utilize the Canvas Video Guide to become familiar with online resources.
    • In Noncredit, most students aren't in Canvas and rarely access their Hancock email. WhatsApp or GroupMe has been very helpful for connecting with students and sending a reminder link for Zoom classes.

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Additional Resources

The resources listed below are provided by theRPgroup, and they reinforce the five best practices created for our college. 

Learn about 10 Ways Faculty Can Support Student’s Success.

Read about 10 Ways Everyone Can Help Support Student Success.