Category Archives: Spring 2020 Issue 1

Transition to Remote Delivery – What We’ve Learned

by Clare Creighton & Marjorie Coffey

Like all of OSU, the Academic Success Center (ASC) has spent the last few weeks getting programs and services up and running remotely. We’re happy to report that all ASC services are available. You can visit our website to learn how to access each one.  So, what have we learned in the process? Besides the fact that we love seeing pets in meetings, of course.

Creating Meaningful Interactions

While it seemed easy from a technical standpoint to conceive of delivering services through Zoom, we wrestled with replicating elements we valued from in-person interactions. Abbey identified a challenge for Academic Coaching “to maintain the quality of conversation and relationship building that students have come to know and appreciate.” The coaching team asked, “How can we convey care, listening, and support through video/phone conversations that feel more distanced?” Before facilitating webinars, Sarah and Julia grappled with how to validate responses and engagement with a large group online. Preparing for Supplemental Instruction (SI), Chris and Angela have asked, “How can we cultivate the same sense of community in a remote environment that students experience at in-person study tables?” We’ve tried many strategies for meaningful interactions in services and are using weekly meetings and debriefs to learn more from experiences this term.

Supporting Staff

One of the biggest “lifts” in preparing for remote services was making sure student staff were prepared. While we’d previously dabbled in remote formats, there has been a lot to learn around technology. Our biggest asset in the learning process has been our student staff. Over spring break, a team of coaches helped to experiment, troubleshoot, and explore the set-up before coaching went live. Clare says they were “creative, responsive, dynamic and energized” during the process. Strategists launched the Zoom room to replace walk-in consultations. Anika noted that “a huge part of the strategist role [has always been] adapting their approach, so it makes sense that they’ve taken to this so well.”

The ASC’s training and professional development for student staff is grounded in skills like independently evaluating situations, responding to student needs, and debriefing experiences to learn from them. We’ve been able to capitalize on these foundational skills; and coaches, strategists, and SI leaders have done an amazing job thinking through service delivery in the remote environment.

We’re also acutely aware of the need to personally support student employees. Anika stresses how important is to remember that “we are all human and are experiencing this change in different ways.” This also means thinking differently about availability. Abbey has arranged “regular drop-in hours where coaches can chat about whatever is on their mind, debrief appointments, or ask questions.” We’ve noticed an important part of our job these days is the support we provide to student staff, each other, and campus partners as we navigate remote work.

Adapting to New Environments

Our professional staff’s work environments have changed as well. Marjorie now has a window, and ready access to Selena albums, leading to spikes in productivity mid-afternoon. It’s not all fresh air and Entre A Mi Mundo in terms of change though. Anika has noticed that working remotely, “you miss out on some of those spontaneous conversations that can spark new ideas.” Clare has found that “being pulled in multiple directions from work to childcare is going to require a new organizational system,” and notes that, “[she has] a lot of appreciation for student parents right now.”

These changes have not been easy on any of us, and our team is mindful of the challenges facing the OSU community as we engage remotely. At the ASC, we’re doing our best to make navigating this term a little smoother and hopefully a little less isolating. To that end, we’ve found value in communicating frequently, being flexible, showing up as human beings, and, above all, demonstrating compassion for ourselves and others.

Does SI Improve Student Performance?

by Chris Gasser

Hi Everyone!

Your friendly Supplemental Instruction (SI) Coordinator here to tell you about some awesome findings in the SI world. First, just as a quick reminder, SI offers group study tables for challenging courses at OSU. Spring term registration is open, and we still have plenty of space for students to join remote tables. Now on to the exciting things.

During the past year, SI teamed up with Dr. Nicholas Martens from Institutional Research to answer some tough SI questions: Is there selection bias in SI?  How much does SI actually help students? At what point should we consider a student an SI student? Using the past 4 years of data, including data from BI 21x, BI 23x, BI 33x, CH 23x, MTH 251, and PH 20x, we have answers for you.

In what ways, if any, are SI students different than Non-SI students?

Before we look at the impact of SI, many people ask about selection bias. Are students who elect to participate in SI different from students who don’t participate? Looking at the data, the following differences were found to be significant between the two populations. SI students are disproportionately female, have higher OSU cumulative GPAs and high school GPAs, have lower ALEKS math placement scores, and lower SAT/ACT scores. When it came to ethnic category, international status, first-generation status, age (as a binary of <25 & 25+), and Pell eligibility, there was no practically significant difference. These findings demonstrate that SI is serving many students proportionally across most demographics, while also reminding us that caution is needed when comparing SI to non-SI students.

Do students retaking courses and participating in SI earn higher grades?

One analysis looked at students who retook an SI supported course but who did not complete SI on their first course attempt. This analysis used a matched pair-design, matching by student and sorting into groups based on whether or not the student used SI on their second course attempt. While students typically do better on their second course attempt, this analysis showed that students retaking a class who used SI in their second attempt not only earned higher course grades their second time through, but earned over a half of a course grade higher than students who retook the course without using SI.

A second analysis conducted using linear regression produced a noteworthy inferential finding: the coefficient of impact on student course grade was .09 per SI attendance. In SI, we claim that students who complete SI earn on average 1/3 to ½ a grade point higher than non-SI students. The .09 coefficient x 4 times of SI attendance = .36 average course grade increase, falling right above that 1/3 course grade point and further supporting the claim that participation in SI increases average course grades.

These analyses provide strong evidence that SI really benefits students. Unsurprisingly, the more a student participates in SI, the greater the impact of the program. I’d love to share more of our findings with you, or talk about how we can get more students to experience the benefit of SI. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at chris.gasser@oregonstate.edu.

Spotlight – Collaboration with College of Business

by Sarah Norek

At the ASC, we love connecting with colleges and collaborating to support students. Getting the college perspective and offering our take on student success allows us to tailor resources to meet the needs of students within a college.

Our partnership with the College of Business (COB) is one example of how we’ve created meaningful opportunities for students to get additional support. We’ve partnered with COB on workshops, Supplemental Instruction (SI), and course guides. We’ve appreciated the opportunity to create resources that speak directly to the unique needs and experiences of COB students.

The visual below provides insight into these collaborations. Click on the visual to view full-size.

ASC Collaboration with College of Business

While we’re in a new learning landscape this spring, we’re buoyed by the work of our campus partners and excited to find even more ways to collaborate with colleges.

If you read about a resource and want to learn more, visit the linked websites for ways connect. We’re eager to develop college-specific resources to support your students’ success. Let’s do cool stuff together!

Staff Picks – Tools to Support Online Learning

There are many tools to support your students’ success as they adapt to remote or online learning. Here are some recommendations from ASC Staff. Click on the visual to see the full-size version of each tool.

Anatomy of an Email

Chris Gasser

Anatomy of an Email

My favorite resource from the remote and online learning page is the Anatomy of an Email visual. Honestly, as a student I probably racked up tens of hours sitting in front of a blank screen wondering how in the world to write an email to an instructor. The anatomy of an email resource makes it so easy to see how to style an email to be professional, effective, and concise!

Weekly Calendar

Clare Creighton

Weekly Calendar

I’m a big fan of the Weekly Calendar. It’s a tool that works in many contexts. Creating a schedule for the week can help students find or make time for what’s important to them. Now that we’re all working from home it seems even more important to have a way to delineate work vs. play, make time for relaxation, and stay productive with more distractions. The Weekly Calendar is one of the best antidotes to procrastination. If I sketch out what I’m going to work on and when, I’m more likely to follow through with that plan.

Elements of a Productive Study Space

Anika Lautenbach

Productive Study Space

My favorite resource is the Productive Study Space worksheet. As someone who’s working full time and doing an online graduate program, I definitely understand how challenging it can be to make your space work. This tool helps students consider how to get in the mindset for remote working or studying, how to set up and stick to a schedule, and what to do if they’re not able to dedicate a single space to work or study. These considerations have been crucial to helping me continue to do my work this term, and this tool can definitely help other students think about what will work for them.

10 Questions to Ask about Your Course

Sarah Norek

10 Questions

I wish I’d asked these sorts of questions when I was in college. Asking and answering these questions equips students with a kind of a blueprint. They figure out how to engage in the course, who they can go to for help, and how assignments will impact to their grade. Knowing these details early on sets a student up with an understanding of the course’s trajectory and expectations. If they run into any challenges later, already knowing how to reach out—and who to start with—can be a huge stress reliever.

Note-Taking 101

Marjorie Coffey

Note-Taking 101

In synchronous lectures, information might be lost if notes aren’t taken. In contrast, online content often remains available, making note-taking feel less urgent. Even when learning remotely, note-taking is an important starting point for recording information to later transfer to long-term memory. I like the Note-Taking 101 packet because it provides strategies for taking notes and making effective use of those notes throughout the study cycle. When I staff the ASC table for events (for graduate or undergraduate students), the note-taking packet always goes fast! Also, this packet has unicorns in it. And unicorns are cool.

Interested in more tools and strategies to share with students? Check out our Remote & Online Learning webpage.

Welcome to The Success Kitchen

We generated the name and concept for our new publication long before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we approach spring term. In many ways, I think it applies now more than ever. From snacking to stress-baking, am I the only one spending more time in the kitchen?

Cooking and baking are, for me, an act in experimentation, sometimes planned and sometimes reactive and improvised. I’m not alone here either. The media group America’s Test Kitchen is known for the work they do testing recipes, cooking equipment, ingredients, and highlighting not just their results, but the process and learning along the way.

The title of this publication, The Success Kitchen, draws inspiration from that design. We at the Academic Success Center want to share with you some of the things we’ve explored, learned , read about, developed, and implemented. We want to share successes and pass along the learning when things didn’t work out as planned. And we want to spark conversations, highlight the work of others, and share collaborations that took us somewhere exciting—all around the theme of student success at OSU.

So, this is our inaugural issue of The Success Kitchen. We hope you’ll enjoy what’s to come, and we invite you to be a part of the process. If an article sparks an interest, please reach out and join the conversation. Consider partnering with us on a feature. Not to belabor the metaphor, but we’re eager to share what we’ve been up to in our “kitchen” and we want to know what you’re cooking up too.

~Clare Creighton

Director, Academic Success Center