“Their success is my success” states Beth Aydelott, popular writing and literature instructor at Lane Community College. Kayla talks with Beth this week about engaging and encouraging community college students. For Beth, this process starts before the semester begins when she sends a welcome email with access to the syllabus, readings, and the assignment list. Beth thinks this helps them feel a bit more secure before the first day of class.
Beth and Kayla talk about many other strategies, most of which have relationship building at their core. Some of the strategies Beth explains include creating an informative yet concise syllabus, using a variety of formats for materials and communications in the learning management system, giving students choice, eliminating costly textbooks, and being available to students in-person, online, and over the phone. Students also feel supported by receiving prompt and thorough feedback on assignments.
In addition to building relationships with her students by sharing information about herself and expressing authentic interest in her students’ lives, Beth helps to build community between students. Because community college students vary greatly in age and life experience, they have a lot to learn from each other. Finally, Kayla and Beth discuss the importance of building confidence in K-12 students as a way of nurturing their success in college.