Improving Learning

Get helpful tips and expert advice on boosting your GPA. This section will provide valuable tips on studying, mentor programs and how to avoid academic probation. Examine the latest trends in student motivation techniques, take a good look at online learning, and find resources to guide you on the path to success.
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Updated February 22, 2017 |
Community College Case Studies: 3 Lessons on Improving Learning
As community colleges continue to grow in popularity, some campuses are experimenting with how they can improve learning. Be inspired by three case studies that follow the successes of community colleges in their quest to take learning to a new level.
The significant role community colleges will play in the country's economy has been underscored by the White House over the past few months with the first annual community college summit taking place in Washington this fall. However, in order for community colleges to become the relevant player that President Obama wants them to be, the current dismal graduation rates at community colleges across the country will need to increase. To that end, the initiative known as "Achieving the Dream" has been implemented to recognize community colleges performing above national standards and use those tools to elevate other colleges to a higher level as well.
 
Achieving the Dream is committed to assisting community colleges better serve their students so more students can realize academic and professional success. Colleges participating in the movement agree to carefully analyze their current procedures and student outcomes and develop and implement new strategies to improve student outcome overall.

In addition, participating colleges agree to monitor their progress and report their findings to Achieving the Dream so that other colleges can benefit from their knowledge and experience. This year, the organization learned three important lessons on improving learning from two of the participating community colleges in their pool.
 
Reducing Achievement Gaps = Increased Student Retention

Valencia Community College in Florida offered a number of programs for under-prepared students coming to the campus for the first time – more than 100 programs, in fact. However, the piecemeal approach to improving student performance
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Updated December 20, 2016 |
Why You Should Strive to be on the Dean's List
Making the dean’s list at your community college may earn you scholarships, recognition, and improved job prospects. Learn about effective strategies that can help get you onto the dean’s list.
Nearly every community college and university across the country includes a dean's list, a roster of students who have performed particularly well during the previous semester or school year. The dean's list has traditionally been a prestigious honor for which to strive during your years of higher education because it demonstrates a commitment to academic excellence and the ability to rise to the workload, however heavy it might become. Whether you are just entering the hallowed halls of academia, or are currently working through your degree program, we have a list of reasons to strive for the dean's list and tips to help you get there.
 
What is the Dean's List?
 
According to Wikipedia, the dean's list is "a category of students in a college or university who achieve high grades during their stay in an academic term or academic year." The term is primarily used in North America, but some European institutions offer a dean's list as well.
Requirements for making the dean's list vary from institution to institution, but most mandate a specific number of course hours to be taken and a set GPA to be maintained during the term or school year. It is important to inquire with the advisement center or your academic counselor regarding the specific requirements for the dean’s list at your college.
 
Benefits of the Dean's List
 
The benefits of making the dean's list also vary from school to school, with some colleges even offering additional financial aid to students who make
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Updated February 17, 2017 |
Learn about California's CalPASS program and how it has benefited community college students and their transition to four-year universities.
A majority of California’s school districts, community colleges, and four-year universities are participating in CalPASS, a groundbreaking program that is improving their students’ academic success.   
 
The CalPASS program makes student achievement data from kindergarten through college available to teachers of all levels. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that CalPASS “has collected 346 million student records on 25 million students, including information on demographics, student performance and test scores.”  However, students’ test scores are not connected to any personal or identifying information.  Instead, teachers, professors, and administrators at all levels of California’s public education system can view the data trends, using the information to determine their instructional decisions.
 
CalPASS, which stands for California Partnership for Achieving Student Success, is based in Grossmont Community College in San Diego. It was started in 1998, when Brad Phillips, then the director of research, planning, and academic services at Grossmont, realized that there was no existing channel through which he could ascertain how students from his two-year college were performing academically after they transferred to four-year colleges. Phillips decided that he needed to create such a system so that teachers and administrators could use the information to improve how students are taught.
 
How CalPASS has Benefited Community College Students
 
By allowing instructors to access educational data spanning from kindergarten to college, California’s community college students have enjoyed a myriad of benefits. 
 
Aligns High School and Community College Curriculum
 
According to its newsletter, CalPASS aims to “reduce barriers between the segments [of the public education system] and
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Updated December 07, 2016 |
How Your iPod Can Help You Earn Better Grades at Community College
Your iPod can stream so much more than simply music! Learn about how you can view your community college lectures on your iPod, using this small piece of technology to improve your grades and academic experience.
Gone are the days when iPods were strictly limited to playing music. Since iTunes launched iTunes U in 2007, iTunes and iPods have become powerful tools for community college students, teachers, and lifelong learners of all ages. Students can select from a wide variety of video and audio lectures to download and then play these lectures on their computers, iPods, or other mp3 players.

Best of all, all iTunes U content is available to the public free of charge. You may not have realized it, but your iPod can become a learning resource that will improve your grades at community college!

ITunes U, which Apple describes as “possibly the world’s greatest collection of free educational media,” is a section of the iTunes store in which research universities, four-year colleges, and community colleges can post audio and video files. Apple’s website lists the current number of audio and video educational files at over 200,000, and the number continues to grow as more and more colleges begin podcasting their most popular courses.
 
iTunes U and Community Colleges
 
Community colleges are rapidly joining the ranks of iTunes U participating institutions – and with good reason. Community college students often work in addition to going to school, and the ability to make learning more mobile is often highly coveted. A recent article in Community College Week noted that although it is unlikely that a community college will have the funds to give every student an iPod as Duke University did
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Updated December 02, 2016 |
The Benefits of Community College Minority Mentoring Programs
Learn about how minority mentorship programs at community colleges are improving academic performance and graduation rates, as well as providing a medley of benefits.
While all mentoring programs help improve student performance and graduation rates, some community colleges are finding that minority mentorship programs are even more beneficial.  Colleges across the country are celebrating the outstanding results achieved through the collaborative efforts of on-campus minority mentoring programs.  As the Education Resources Services Center articulates, “Mentoring is a process that can increase the retention of minority students, with larger numbers graduated and hired for faculty positions.” 
To discover the benefits of minority mentoring opportunities, consider what some of the top performing organizations have been able to achieve with their local community college support.   
 
Examining the College Student Spectrum
 
According to the Community College Review Journal, diversity among community college student populations is constantly shifting.  In fact, recent US Census Bureau reports show that 42.3 percent of African Americans enrolled in college programs are specifically taking courses at community colleges.  50 percent of Native American college students, as well as over 55 percent of Hispanic college students, are also enrolled in classes at various community colleges. 
 
However, as the Community College Review Journal asserts, “Despite these changes, these populations of students may be confronted with many issues that are detrimental to their retention and success, such as lower levels of academic preparation in high school, lower socioeconomic status, and greater alienation in these institutions.” 
 
Due to these specific challenges, many community colleges report higher dropout rates and lower academic achievement results from minority students.  To address these issues, some college leaders believe that providing
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Recent Articles
February 24, 2017
A new policy by Santa Monica College will charge higher prices for in-demand classes – more than four times the standard tuition rate! Scholarships are already being set up for low-income students to help them pay for those classes.
February 24, 2017
Which community colleges produce the greatest number of degrees? We analyze a report that details the top producing community colleges across the country.
February 24, 2017
President Obama’s call to community colleges in his recent State of the Union Address elicited reactions from community college officials across the country. We’ll report on what some said and how some colleges are already the “community career centers” upon which Obama has called.
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