College of DuPage sees increased student success with expanded academic support services
When COVID-19 sparked a statewide lockdowns and a transition to remote learning, many institutions of higher learning scrambled to adjust to challenges presented by the pandemic.
At College of DuPage, Learning Commons' staff mobilized resources to expand crucial assistance in an online format students easily could access.
The strategy worked, resulting in a 43% increase in student visits to academic assistance resources for fall 2020 over fall 2019.
"Academic assistance, including one-on-one guidance from staff, guided study groups and in-class assistance, drives retention and this can be seen in our results," said Learning Commons Coordinator of Operations, Outreach and Technical Support Angel Nance. "This past summer, 89 percent of students who attended guided study groups completed their courses successfully as compared to 69 percent of students who did not attend study groups."
Nance said the tutoring center's focus on key subjects helps student successfully complete classes and programs.
"While we offer assistance for students in disciplines across the academic spectrum, our focus on math, reading, writing and speech addresses subjects that not only cover general education requirements in degree and certificate programs, but also build skills in areas that are used in just about all other classes," she said. "Development in these core subjects is fundamental to college success and completion regardless of the discipline students are pursuing."
The academic assistance center serves students in any math or physics course, most chemistry, and some Computer Information Systems courses.
Staff is available to students by phone, email and Google Hangouts, with weekly Q&A Zoom sessions for select courses. Additional resources include final exam review sessions, as well as videos and practice problems to review skills.
Students can receive assistance in reading, writing and speech skills through remote assistance via video chat and email.
Students work with staff to improve reading comprehension, textbook strategies and any course-related writing.
Staff help students develop presentations and provides opportunities for students to practice presentations.
In addition, Learning Commons provides support for students in the English Language Acquisition program.
Coursed-based tutoring, meanwhile, provides one-on-one support from peer and professional tutors. Students receive live online assistance via Blackboard Collaborate and through email and phone calls. Students also have access to video and digital handouts covering topics such as anxiety, concentration, managing time, staying organized and test taking.
"We have worked to identify and remove barriers to academic support and integrate tutors into classes as much as possible," she said. "Tutors are available by email, phone and social media, and take the initiative to reach out to students and keep in touch with faculty. We also ensure that tutors are using the same technology the students and faculty employ for the course, as well as staying flexible. This means changing the tutoring schedule and providing additional assistance when needed, and revising plans according to faculty wishes."
Learn more about Learning Commons at cod.edu/academics/learning_commons/