What About Me?!

I do not know why I never realized this before.  Maybe I did realize it but was just too dumb to think it all the way through.  Here I have been thinking about my persistence story when according to statistics I did not really persist.  Looking at http://collegecompletion.chronicle.com/ tells me that I am one of the 2.1 million students that did not actually graduate.  I did not persist within the definition of the phrase “persistence to graduation.”  However, I did graduate.  I did persist.  I think it is a shame that those numbers are not accounted for.  What about the transfer students?  What about me?

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UW-Madison Scorecard

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I will admit, I am extremely proud of my undergraduate institution.  I LOVE being a badger.  I have been one in spirit since I was a little girl.  I officially became one in 2010.  Graduated as one in May of 2012.  Ever since then I have been boasting about Sconnie Nation with no intention of stopping.  Honestly, that is student affairs for you.  You fall in love with your undergraduate so much that you want to keep living that experience for the rest of your life while helping other students do the same.

Now, all this talk about persistence has really got me thinking about the UW in a way I had not before.  The Department of Education recently released Scorecards on every higher education institution in the United States.  Wanting to continue my boasting, I looked up Madison.

Luckily for me, Madison has a lot to boast about.  The cost is in the low medium range at a little under $15,000 per year.  They graduate 82% of students within 6 years, which is on the high side of the high end of the scale.  Also “1.4% of borrowers defaulted on their Federal student loans within three years of entering repayment.”  The national average is around 13%.  Madison must be doing something right.  On Wisconsin!

Read More at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/higher-education/college-score-card

How To Succeed in College Without Even Trying?

As I sit down and begin reading Increasing Persistence by Habley, Bloom, and Robbins, I start to realize just how many factors really play into student success.  I know that we have talked about it MILLIONS (literally millions) of times during class but seeing the statistics and research really makes a bold statement.  This week’s reading really gave some perspective that I had never thought of but also reaffirmed what I already knew.

For instance, the chapter of student engagement was fairly basic for me.  I work in the Office of Student Life on campus.  I know that student engagement, leadership, and service to the community make a student more likely to persist.  I know this because I see it play out five-days a week in the office.  I know that my students are more likely to do well in their courses than others because they have a reason to succeed beside themselves.  Most of my students have to have a 2.5 or higher to keep their position.  This is a motivator for them.

However, the chapters on academic preparation and psychosocial characteristics were something relatively new for me.  It was not that I did not realize the importance of these two things.  It was more that I just had not really put a name to the two.  Of course it makes sense that retention and persistence is correlated with how well a student does in high school.  If a student is not motivated in high school he or she probably will not be highly motivated by the free living lifestyle that college offers.  Also, if a student is having troubles with believing he or she should be in college, he or she is less likely to stay there.  Self-concept and support from peers and family are very important factors that play into a student’s success.

For me, once I found my niche at Wisconsin, persisting was not hard.  I was right where I wanted to be with the people I wanted to be with.  I was able to motivate myself.  I consider myself very lucky.  However, before I got there, I was extremely unhappy.  However, based on all the factors I read about today, as a student affairs professional I would have never pegged myself as a student with persistence issues.  If I was administering a MAPs Test at BSU to myself, I would have scored in the low risk category.  However, as everyone who knows my persistence story will tell you, I was more than a risk.  I guess my story just goes to show that not all predictors of success are real.  It isn’t a science.  Some people can’t succeed in college without even trying.  Some people, like myself, really had to work at it.

 

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MOOC Hysteria

I found this interesting remake of a classic Beatles song when googling pictures of MOOCs.  I thought I needed to share it with you.

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“Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc.
There’s nothing you can teach that can’t be scaled.
Nothing you can grade that can’t be AI’d.
Nothing you can tweet but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy.

There’s nothing you can say that can’t be video’ed.
No one you can show that can’t be animated.
Nothing you can do but you can copy how to be you
in time – It’s easy.

All you need is Mooc, all you need is Mooc,
All you need is Mooc, Mooc, Mooc is all you need.
Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc, Mooc.
All you need is Mooc, all you need is Mooc,
All you need is Mooc, Mooc, Mooc is all you need.”

Is there validity to this?

Read more at:http://cogdogblog.com/2012/07/17/mooc-hysertia/

MOOC? What’s a MOOC?!

Reading about MOOCs in the Chronicle was helpful but this isn’t the place where I really came to understand the concept of a MOOC.  That came from a woman on Ball State’s campus named Christy Blanch.  Christy is a doctoral student who really loves comic books!  She will be teaching a MOOC within the coming months, if she isn’t already. 

MOOCs are massive open online courses.  Basically, anyone from anywhere in the world can sign up for a MOOC, for free.  The idea is to offer a truly expansive education because students will be interacting with others from all over the world.  Not only does the course intend to teach its subject matter but also diversity, and how to work well with others.  All of which are skills a learner can take to the bank.

While online education is not known for being the most effective learning tool, MOOCs are hoping to turn the tables around.  Since they are so new, it will take a few years to determine their effectiveness.  I hope that this new, open access educational tool lives up to the hype.

TWIC: Texting While In Class

I have to admit it; I am extremely guilty of this.  I have definitely texted during my graduate classes.  I did it all throughout high school, my undergraduate, and now here.  Why would it be any different?  I graduated my high school with a 4.0; I graduated the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a 3.6; currently I have a 3.8 at Ball State.  I do not think that my technology use really impedes my grades.  I know I could do a lot better if I turned off Hulu or Netflix and did my reading but what is the point?  Why would I stop doing something entertaining to do something that at times is extremely boring?  If I’m doing well then its fine. 

Unfortunately, this is a commonly held belief by our students.  How can I advise students to study more when I can’t get myself to do it?  That’s hypocritical and that is not who I am.  However, there are plenty of students out there who think they know what they are doing but when you look at their grades it is another story.  Students are not taking accountability for their grades.  It is always, “I was in the wrong major” or “I couldn’t understand my professor because he is Chinese.”  Rarely do you hear students saying, “I partied too much, that is why my grades suck” or “I just didn’t try.”  The use to technology in classrooms is only making those students who skate by suffer even more.  I always admired the teachers who did not allow us to have computers in class because to me they really got it.  And because of that rule, I was always their’s for 50 minutes every MWF, no one else’s.

Nation of Wimps & Helicopter Parenting

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This article is my mother in a nutshell.  I love her to death, do not get me wrong, but my mother and father have micromanaged just about every aspect of my life, up until coming to Ball State.  They hate that I am so far away and they keep telling me I need to apply for jobs back in Wisconsin.  They would love for me to move back home and sit on the couch for the rest of my life too, but that isn’t going to happen.

I believe most of this behavior, at least in the case of my parents, stems from my brother.  My brother was diagnosed as Autistic when he was 16 or 17.  My mother and father knew he wasn’t “normal” from an early age and took him to doctor after doctor until he was diagnosed.  My mother quit her job and became a stay-at-home mom.  Basically that meant she just took care of my brother, I was never much trouble.  My mother did everything for him because she had to.  She tries to do the same thing with me but she does not realize that I do not need that. 

To bring it full circle, I believe that is why a lot of this conversation on “wimps” is happening.  Children are being diagnosed with disorders and then parents think they have to coddle their children because of it.  The children then cannot accomplish anything on their own, like my brother.  My mom thought it was a big deal over winter break when he microwaved pizza bagel bites for himself for dinner.  MOM!  He is 25 years old!

America is so afraid of failing their children they cannot see the ways in which they have already failed us.  Generation on a Tightrope talks about the increase in helicopter/lawnmower parents “because they roll over everything in their paths to ‘defend’ their cubs” (pg. 79).  In doing so you are fighting all your children’s battles for them.  How is that helping them?  One day you will be gone and the child will be like a zoo animal released into the wild.  He or she is doomed before their lives have even started because they do not know how to hunt or how to defend themselves.