Flipped Student Services: Restructuring How We Support Today’s Students
Tammi McKinnon, Career Pathways Initiative, South Arkansas Community College
Faced with diminishing resources, educational institutions are finding it increasingly difficult to provide the services students need. South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado is solving that problem with StudentLingo, a provider of online, interactive on-demand workshops, action plans, and resources focused on helping students achieve their academic, personal, and career goals.
More and more students today are taking classes online, and even students in more traditional face-to-face settings expect access to supporting information 24/7. StudentLingo meets that expectation with workshops covering areas such as academic and career exploration, reading and writing strategies, learning to learn, personal management, and online learning. (For a complete list of workshop titles, visit http://www.innovativeeducators.org/studentlingo-s/77.htm.) The StudentLingo website tracks student achievement and reports to the client institution. Some workshops are available in Spanish. All are ADA compliant.
StudentLingo has been available to South Arkansas Community College teachers, staff, and students since January of 2012. SouthArk's Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) is designed to help parents acquire employability skills. Workshops such as "Writing Effective Resumes and Cover Letters," "Mastering the Job Interview," and "Exploring Careers and Choosing a Major" support the career facet of CPI. Others such as "Financial Literacy," "Overcoming Procrastination," and "Setting and Accomplishing Realistic Goals" help students develop personal skills. The topics discussed in the workshops have proven valuable to students. To receive financial benefits (e.g., assistance with child care, gas vouchers, books, tuition and fees, and laptops with Internet access), CPI students are required to view one workshop a month from a list chosen by a counselor. In the past, when conventional workshops were used, no matter how many sessions were provided, some CPI students were unable to attend because of class, work, or family demands. With StudentLingo, that problem no longer exists.
Many of the CPI students are first-time, first-generation college students. For those students, the workshops on stress management, time management, study tips, and test anxiety have been especially useful. The general information in "What It Takes to Be a Successful College Student" and "Maximizing Your College Experience" has proven beneficial to students just beginning college.
Our SouthArk Success classes (freshman orientation) also use the StudentLingo workshops to help students become acclimated to college life. Because they are online, the workshops and action plans can be assigned as homework.
Last year StudentLingo workshops were used for remediation in SouthArk's Early Alert program. Early Alert is designed to identify at-risk students at the beginning of the struggle so that they can remain in and pass their classes. Workshops such as "Learning Strategies Every Student Should Know," "Discover Your Learning Style," and "Improving Student-Faculty Relationships" provide helpful information to students in this situation.
For more information, contact the author at TMckinnon@southark.edu.