Registration has begun for the fall semester and the Learning and Opportunity Center is off to a great start. This fall’s course offerings will include more of the general education courses we saw offered for this spring semester: math, English, speech, history, and the like. In addition, we will be partnering with: the Adult Education Department to offer GED courses; the Community and Continuing Education office, and the Small Business Development Center to offer courses in their specialized arena.
Many of our students who have taken classes here this semester will be joining us again in the fall to continue their education. Preliminary feedback has been that the students are enjoying the new Rock Valley College site. Of specific note are the comments related to the smaller class sizes, increased access to college resources, and availability of instructors.
We are working to see an increase in the presence of academic advising and student life. In addition, this fall will present increased opportunities for students to feel the added support that comes with cohort modeling in the college arena. Such support will include a more intentional linkage of instruction, advising, case management, and workshops. This linkage will be manifested in the following ways.
The cohorts are initially defined based on a student’s reading level. Dependant on the student’s placement into the reading and English courses, they will see a more streamlined method of teaching between these two curricula. In addition, the students will be “touched” by some staff in a variety of venues. They may see their financial aid advisor teaching the educational planning sessions, their academic advisor teaching their student development classes, and their case manager providing presentations in any of the above mentioned classrooms or workshops. This will allow those students to develop a more holistic relationship with those staff and faculty who are working with them to be successful as the student pursues their educational plan.
The case manager will meet with the student at various points throughout the semester to “touch base” and ensure that any concerns or barriers that have materialized are being addressed. Specifically, once the need for case management is determined, along with the reasons why, appointments are established with the student based on need. Appointments may be held weekly, monthly, or three times per semester, and this may change (increase or decrease) as the semester progresses, based on individual need.
At a minimum, students receiving case management will meet with the Director of the LOC to at the beginning of the semester, prior to mid-terms, and prior to final exams. Any concerns arising from the faculty, student, or director perspective are addressed at this point, if they have not already been broached for topics of conversation.
Topics covered with all students, regardless of individual need, include: planning for the upcoming registration period and financial aid status (that is, have they applied for future semesters, followed up on appropriate financial aid intake paperwork, etc.), identifying areas of success and areas that need improvement based on the success of the current semester. Discussion also includes planning proactively for upcoming semester.
Please feel free to contact the Learning and Opportunity Center at 815-921-4290 for additional information.