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Running Head: COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS

College Freshman Success:

The Design Document of An Online Training Course for Incoming College Freshmen at the

University of North Carolina - Greensboro

Katie Hochstedt, LaTeisha Jeannis, Nathan Myers, Mary Vance

developed for

ECI 716 – Design and Evaluation of Instructional Materials

Instructor: Dr. Deniz Eseryel

North Carolina State University

December 11, 2017


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Needs Analysis……………………………………………………………………………………2

Learner Analysis………………………………………………………………………………..19

Context Analysis………………………………………………………………………………..35

Content Analysis………………………………………………………………………………..48

Design Blueprint………………………………………………………………………………..68

Web Prototype…………………………………………………………………………………109

Project Evaluation and Pilot Testing Plan …………………………………………………..116

References……………………………………………………………………………………...137

Appendices……………………………………………………………………………………..149
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Needs Analysis
Context

Universities across the country are facing decreasing persistence rates (​the number of

students who return to college at ​any​​ institution for a second year)​ (“Annual Persistence,” 2017).

The persistence rates at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are roughly

representative of both the national average and the UNC System. While persistence rates are

relatively low across various ethnicities for first-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students at

UNCG, these rates are noticeably lower among white students ​(Office of Institutional Research,

2017)​. Any intervention, though, will need to be appropriate to multiple ethnicities and cultures.

The phenomenon of decreasing persistence is detrimental to students, their families, their

communities, institutions of higher learning, and the economy of the United States. Research has

provided some key indicators that contribute to this failure of the institutions to support and meet

the needs of incoming freshmen. University administrators and faculty members must work

together to investigate the gaps in required skills of incoming freshmen to address the problem.

By providing incoming UNCG freshmen with key information and skills, we can ensure that

these students gain the critical knowledge necessary to transfer specific skills to their own

learning needs, thus leading to successful freshman years and future learning outcomes.

Statement of the Problem (Instructional & Performance Need)

The number of students graduating from universities in the United States is declining.

This, in part, is a result of low persistence rates among first-year college students. The

University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) had an average persistence rate in 2014 of

77% for first-year students. The data in Table 1 from the Office of Institutional Research at

UNCG shows the persistence rates of full-time freshmen from 2010–2014. The persistence rates
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vary from a low of 73.6% to a high of 77%. The university’s persistence rate is slightly higher

than the national average, but still translates to approximately 23%–26% of incoming freshman

who will not continue their university studies.

Table 1​​: Incoming freshmen who will not continue university studies (University of North

Carolina, 2017)

An article in ​College View i​ dentifies the top five reasons that freshmen drop out of

college (“Beware the Top 5 Reasons,” 2017). These factors are summarized in ​Appendix 1​. They

are general contributors that apply to universities across the country, including UNCG.

Although all the factors contributing to failure in institutions of higher learning cover a myriad of

individual issues, each one can be categorized into skill sets that can be developed. ​Dr. Doug

Shapiro the Executive Research Director of the National Student Clearinghouse states:

Getting past the first year, either by staying put or by transferring to another institution, is

one of the most important milestones to a college degree. Yet, many students are not

returning for their second year and, for too many of those, the option of finding a better

fit at a different college seems to be narrowing (“The Rising Cost,” 2014).

Research conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that the annual earnings of millennials

with a college degree earn $17,500 more than millennials without a college degree (“The Rising

Cost,” 2014). Over a lifetime the earnings gap is immense. Additionally, college educated
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millennials without a bachelor’s degree are significantly more likely to be unemployed (“The

Rising Cost,” 2014).

A secondary problem is that most college faculty members have no formal training in

teaching. An additional part of solving the dilemma of college freshmen dropping out of school

should include a thorough study of effective teaching methods for college faculty members and

possible training for faculty who teach incoming freshmen; however, this part of addressing the

problem lies outside the scope of this project.

Type of Needs Assessment

This needs assessment is a challenge needs assessment.​ ​According to the records of the

University of North Carolina – Greensboro, a public, state-supported university, approximately

23 – 26% of full-time freshmen students do not continue their education. The challenge is the

failure of the University of North Carolina – Greensboro (UNCG), a public, state-supported

university, to support and meet the needs of incoming freshmen in order to increase persistence

rates. The factors ​contributing to the failure to retain freshmen at UNCG are related to five main

issues affecting incoming freshmen:

● Too much change and too much information delivered at one time

● Poor prior preparation

● Financial concerns

● Outside demands from family and work

● Just a number effect – the large environment and lack of support from the University

Although each issue covers a variety of challenges, each one falls under the umbrella of

the University’s responsibility to support and meet the needs of incoming freshmen.
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Additionally, what makes this need a challenge is the opportunity to greatly improve persistence

rates by addressing the specific issues that are hindering student success. Working with

University administrators, faculty members, and students, the issues above can be addressed as

skill sets and knowledge/information that can be developed into individualized resources and

information. ​Each of the contributing factors is discussed in detail in Appendix 1.

The analysis is based on public data for the University of North Carolina – Greensboro.

Currently, UNCG has one course that is designed for

any first-year student enrolled in 0-29 credit hours at UNCG and guides students in an

examination of their role as engaged global learners in their personal educational

experience. Students are also introduced to the resources, skills, and competencies

essential to their academic and collegiate success at the University. Students who are

Exploratory majors (undecided) are required to enroll in Foundations for Learning (FFL

100). (“The University of North Carolina Greensboro Foundations,” 2017).

Table 2 shows the student learning outcomes for the Foundations of Learning Course(FFL 100)

at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

​Table 2​​: Student learning outcomes from freshman course (FFL 100-14 Syllabus, 2014)

As seen in the information provided, the existing course focuses on communication skills
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and is only required for freshmen who have not declared a major; however, “an estimated 20 to

50 percent of students enter college as undecided and an estimated 75 percent of students change

their major at least once before graduation” (Gordon, 1995, p. 54). In addition, Canadian

researchers determined that good grades are related to having a major close to one’s personality

and that there is a correlation between grades and a fit between personality and major (Jones,

2012). Therefore, in order to improve persistence rates, UNCG should provide a required

freshman course that is focused on academic, social, and life skills as well as personality and

career counseling.

Offering a college foundational courses will provide students an opportunity to become

acclimated with potential college life over the next few years. Additionally, this course would

introduce students to campus expectations and culture as well as providing students with the

opportunity to have practical and informed dialogue in regards to the university learning

environment. In order for a student to be successful in this course he/she must be willing to fully

participate, further investigate and contribute to the required discussions, often times using

personal experiences as a guide. Simply being present in the online community will not be

beneficial. Full immersion and understanding throughout the course with practical learning

experiences will contribute to the overall success and enhancement of the individual student. As

a result of this course students will work to determine items such as their own personal learning

style, career interests, communication style, and apply them to their overall learning with the

ultimate goal of obtaining the skills and knowledge needed to complete the four-year university

experience.
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Data Collection

Our data collection strategy focused on combining existing research of similar initiatives

with survey feedback from current undergraduate students and professors. For the first part of

our data collection, we looked into existing research on first-year persistence rates and the

influence of orientation-type courses. Because we are not working with a specific university on

this project, we utilized existing research to understand the relationship between orientation

courses and first-year persistence rates. Additionally, we wanted to understand the types of

learner needs that have been met through previous initiatives, such as the need for study skills

training or the need for financial literacy. We believe this will give us an overall picture of the

types of needs we can reasonably fulfill through our instructional materials. Overall, the

research we found is supportive of initiatives to provide first-year students with instructional

resources orienting them to college life.

Feedback is one of the most valuable fragments of instruction, assists with determining

additional needs and contributing to overall decision making. Even though we are not targeting a

specific client with this project, we believe that student feedback will be valuable in measuring

student perceptions of their first-year college experience and determining on a broad level how

well student orientation needs are being met. We created an online survey (see Appendix 3) to

ask students about their orientation experience and identify instructional needs. We made the

survey publicly available to any currently-enrolled undergraduate students, including freshmen.

Although our project targets first-year students, we believe that opening up the survey to

sophomore, junior, and senior students may help us gain additional insight. Sophomores and

upperclassmen have more experiences to draw from and have a proven understanding of what is
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required to be successful in college. This survey was posted publicly at Reddit.com on the

/r/samplesize subreddit. We plan to use this online survey method for other components of this

project.

We would also like to solicit feedback from professors who work with first-year students.

A professor survey (see Appendix 2) was created to measure their perceptions of freshman

student performance. We believe that professors can offer professional insight on changes in

student performance and skill deficiencies in incoming freshman classes. However, we

understand that there will be more challenges in analyzing professor data than student data.

Some professors may teach large lectures and rely on teaching assistants (TA’s) to conduct

student interactions on their behalf, so their own direct interactions with freshmen may be

limited. Other professors may not interact with enough freshmen to pass judgement on the group

as a whole. To control for this, we included a question asking respondents to estimate how many

of their students were freshmen. Respondents who say they teach a significant amount of

freshmen students will be given more weight than those who teach a proportionally small

number of freshmen. Because of schedule limitations, we were unable to solicit responses from

professors for our data analysis. Given additional time and resources, we would proceed with

distributing our survey to professors.

Feedback will also be used as an instructional tool throughout the research conducted.

Students who take the course will also be provided opportunities to solicit feedback in regards to

the course selected materials and content as well as the course resources and delivery. Such

feedback will be iteratively incorporated into our project design in keeping with Larson &

Lockee (2014) adapted ADDIE model. Student feedback will solicited at different points
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throughout the sequence of instruction. Course instructors and professors will also have the

opportunity to evaluate the growth of the participants and overall success levels.

Data Analysis

Research suggests that factors contributing to attrition rates among university students

include financial concerns, lack of engagement, and insufficient academic preparation.

McKinney & Novak (2012) highlight an association between students filing FAFSA and

attaining higher persistence rates. Kuh, Shoup, & Gonyea (2008) discuss a correlation between

participating in academically purposeful activities and increasing persistence rates across student

backgrounds. It is significant to note, also, that this correlation extends to historically

underserved student populations. Arguably the most obvious factor contributing to persistence

or graduation rates is academic preparedness. Students who have developed the skills to succeed

in academics prior to university-level study show a greater proclivity to persist and graduate

(Cejda, Rewey, & Kaylor 1998).

An analysis of the data collected also suggests that college freshmen benefit from

orientation courses provided in their freshman year. Burgette (2009) conducted a study on

freshmen at the University of Memphis who took an optional orientation course, and found that

freshmen who voluntarily took the course had significantly higher persistence rates than

freshmen who did not take the course. These findings suggest that providing instructional

resources to first-year students may lead to improved persistence rates compared to situations

where no relevant instructional resources are available. Another study (Vance, 2012)

investigated library instruction aimed at university freshmen to promote good study and research

skills. This study found that although there were no significant differences in the persistence
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rate, the students who took the course did have significantly higher grade point averages. GPA is

believed to be a factor which can influence students’ motivation to continue their studies, so we

believe that such training still fosters a positive experience for freshmen.

With the exception of a questionnaire administered through reddit.com to collect some general

information from current college students, the remainder of data for this project will be attained

through the UNCG website and through data from research and educational theory. For an

authentic university client and prior to beginning this project, it would be important to collect

information/data from various stakeholders regarding the College Freshman Success course,

including:

● Kirkpatrick Level I - Reaction: attitudes of incoming freshmen regarding college. These

would be the attitudes of incoming freshmen regarding: demographics - age, sex, race,

type of high school attended (public, private - parochial, non- parochial, homeschool),

their experiences in high school and their views about college - social and academic.

● Compare the high school grade point averages and standardized test scores (SAT and

ACT) for the previous five years of incoming freshmen to be used to compare the

correlation of this data to successful completion of the freshman year and persistence

rates.

● Analyze the high school grade point averages and standardized test scores (SAT and

ACT) of incoming freshmen to begin longitudinal tracking of the correlation of this data

to a successful freshman year and persistence rates and to previous years.

● Administer a pre-assessment test regarding knowledge of skills and information to be

presented in the course. This could be used to determine specific needs and individualize
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instruction depending on whether a student needs to learn skills provided in a specific

unit of the course or could move to the next unit.

● Conduct a survey of all faculty who teach freshman courses to understand their views of

reasons for success/failure of students in their courses and their ideas of ways to assure

success in their courses. This might provide other important units needed for the course.

In order to conduct the needs analysis of the actual data collected, during the initial stages

of the needs analysis, the creators designed an online questionnaire (Appendix 3). This

questionnaire included eleven questions that allowed for the designers to determine what college

students felt were strengths, weaknesses, and or needs of freshman students in college. The

survey was conducted through the medium reddit,com and was left online for no more than five

days. Students of all backgrounds and ranges were able to submit responses. On date of

submitting this needs analysis, there were nine respondents to the online questionnaire. While

this sample size is not large enough to provide a confidence level to transfer the results to college

students in general, the answers do provide some interesting feedback.

Those who responded to the survey were all enrolled in a college of university of some

sort. 33.3 % of those who responded to the survey were freshman or four year students, 22.2%

were sophomore or second year students, 11.1 percent were juniors or third year students and

33.3% we seniors or fourth year students. Of these particular students on a scale from 1-5 (1

being the lowest unprepared and 5 being the highest prepared) 55.6% fell at a level 4 and stated

as though their college or university provided them with the resources needed in order to be

successful during their transition to college and only 11.1% rated a number 1 with this level

stating that they felt unprepared with the resources provided for the transition to college.
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Although the students who are rated at a level 4 with providing resources, 77.8% of the total

students were in fact required to attend some type of freshman courses focused on the transition

to college, while 22.2% did not.

Based on the results (Appendix 4) of the survey, students who felt ​unprepared​​ with

important skills were:

● Study skills (44%)

● Time management skills (56%)

● Communication skills (78%)

● Budgeting/financial skills (56%)

● Meaningful engagement (44%)

Therefore, these students did not feel prepared to succeed in college. Additionally, although all

of the students had taken a personality assessment, 78% of them had not used the results to

explore majors and career path. One of the main purposes of administering the test (assisting in

career planning and guidance) had not been completed. The majority of the students indicated

that their universities could have helped them be more successful in their freshman year by:

● providing instruction on how to work collaboratively with classmates and professors

● providing guides and tools to assist with time management

● providing major/degree exploration assistance

Some other key resources provided by the universities, but rarely accessed by students were:

● Career Services (0%)

● Mental Health Counseling (33%)


● Tutoring Services (11%)


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● Writing Lab (11%)

The information obtained indicates that key knowledge and resources are not readily

known or accessed by students, thus reaffirming the research that students need better

preparation and a good match between personality and degrees sought. The resources conducted

through these surveys also correspond with the literature shared in which many students who are

provided with some type of freshman transition course also feel more prepared, obtain and

sustain more resources and achieve higher success rates as they go through their college or

university programs. Although the online survey did remain open throughout the project, no

additional data was submitted by students online.

Implication for Instructional Design

In an effort to combat low persistence rates and declining graduation rates in four-year

postsecondary institutions, we propose an instructional solution to provide users with resources

to mitigate factors contributing to those trends. This will take the form of an online,

module-based, asynchronous course designed for incoming university freshmen students.

Published research and our own data analyses suggest that providing information on and access

to resources in the following areas would benefit college freshmen:

● Personal and career exploration

● Learning strategies

● Financial resource assistance

● Planning for success

● Making meaningful connections

Personal and Career Exploration​​ When asked about their awareness of career services
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at their institutions, fewer than one third of respondents claimed to know a lot about it, while

none claimed to have used the resource before. Further, while 100% of respondents claimed to

have taken a personality assessment, fewer than one-fourth said that that assessment had been

used to explore majors or career paths. When asked what their institutions could have done to

make them more successful during their freshman year, 67% of respondents cited providing

better major/degree exploration assistance as an area to be improved. These trends suggest the

necessity that this project’s ​College Freshman Success​ deliverable include resources for students

to explore their own aptitudes and majors/careers that fit their strengths and interests.

Learning Strategies​​ When asked about how prepared they felt with regard to the study

skills required for success in college, more than half responded that they felt either unprepared or

neutral. Fifty-six percent of respondents cited providing instruction on how to work

collaboratively with classmates and professors as a way their institutions could have contributed

to their success during their freshman years. Similarly, 44% noted they would have been more

successful if their institutions had hosted classes on developing study skills (test-taking,

note-taking, memorization). Very few respondents, though, cited a need for resources on using

the university library or information on utilizing necessary technologies for coursework. These

responses highlight a need for instructional materials on developing general study skills rather

than on employing institution-specific resources like those available through the library or

specific technologies.

Financial Resource Assistance​​ With regard to preparation in budgeting and financial

skills, two-thirds claimed to feel either unprepared or neutral. Further, ​McKinney & Novak

(2012) highlight an association between students filing FAFSA and attaining higher persistence
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rates. ​For design, this implies a need to incorporate resources to help students create and

maintain a budget, resources to familiarize students with the financial aid application process,

and resources covering factors of general financial literacy.

Planning for Success​​ Eighty-nine percent of respondents noted that they felt either

unprepared or neutral in the area of time management upon entering college. Eighty-nine

percent also felt unprepared in their communication skills. Two-thirds of respondents noted that

their institutions providing guides and tools to assist with time management would have

contributed to their success, and 56% noted that instruction on how to develop good

communication/public speaking skills would have been beneficial. This data suggests a need to

design time management and communication development resources to be included in this

project’s instructional deliverable.

Making Meaningful Connections​​ In terms of the planning resources utilized, 11% of

students responded that they had used university tutoring services, 33% responded that they had

used university mental health services, and 11% responded that they had used university writing

services. This data suggests a need to present students with information on campus and virtual

resources that can contribute to their success in the university setting.

It is significant to note that respondents conveyed a strong familiarity with institutional

policies such as academic integrity policies. This suggests that the initial goal of including

resources on these types of policies is may not be necessary.

Data collected during this phase supports the needs highlighted by published statistics

and research. As a result, the project’s goals, aside from the sixth one, remain unchanged at this

point:
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● Students will explore career aptitudes and college majors, as well as the requirements of

each.

● Students will analyze their learning styles and multiple intelligence strengths and apply

them to university-level academic requirements.

● Students will apply constructive, professional communication techniques to university

scenarios.

● Students will identify and employ learning strategies necessary to success in

university-level academics.

● Students will identify campus and virtual resources that can contribute to their success in

the university setting.

Resources

Our team is remotely located and unable to meet in-person to work on project

components, so it is essential that we have the resources to maintain a strong online connection

with each other. Throughout the entire course of this project, all team members will need access

to a personal computer, Internet connection, cloud-based productivity software, and

collaboration software. We have selected the Google G Suite for our productivity suite as it is

user-friendly, cloud-based, and is free for all team members. Within the G Suite, we plan on

using Google Drive to store drafts and files, Google Docs for preparing reports and notes, and

Google Slides for developing wireframes in the Design Blueprint phase of this project.

Google Hangouts will be used for routine meetings where we discuss important design

considerations. Hangouts allows the group to have audio/video conversations from any location,

which is especially beneficial as we cannot meet in-person at all. Each team member will need a
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microphone to participate in audio conversations via Hangouts. Gmail will also be used for any

messaging that occurs outside of Google Hangout meetings. Both Hangouts and Gmail are also

free for all team members.

Beginning in the web prototype stage of this project, we will use a Learning Management

System (Canvas) to develop and host our working prototype. Each team member will need

administrative access to the Canvas course in order to add and edit content within the prototype.

All students participating in the course would require a compatible electronic device (a

computer is recommended) that would accommodate the software, updates, and learning

management system supporting the modules. The LMS selected for the delivery of the course

items would also need to be compatible for a variety within web instruction. Web instruction

would be provided through a series of instructional technology mediums that would help to

support and enhance student learning and best support the selected course materials.

Evaluation Plan

Multiple objective and subjective evaluation methods will be used to measure the

performance of this project, both in formative and summative capacities. Students participating

in the course will be given pre-course and post-course tests to objectively measure their

comprehension of key concepts. Post-course student surveys would measure whether students

are actively applying their skills in their actual coursework, and to what extent they are applying

those skills. We will also compare persistence rates over time to identify college-wide changes

in persistence following the implementation of the course. Administrative data from current and
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past years will be used to measure the rate at which first-year students are utilizing university

resources highlighted in the course.

Anonymous surveys will be given to students to collect feedback on the course and

identify whether they feel adequately prepared for their first year of college. We also plan to

survey professors of freshman-focused courses to understand their perspective on whether

student performance has noticeably changed, and in which areas it may have changed.
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Learner Analysis

Context

Research has provided some key indicators that contribute to the failure of postsecondary

institutions to support and meet the needs of incoming freshmen sufficiently to improve

persistence rates. Although freshmen must meet rigorous standards for admission to a university

(ACT or SAT testing, grade point average requirements, application essays, and sometimes

interviews), there is still a disconnect between admission requirements and ability to successfully

transition to college life. Several key elements have been cited for this disconnect:

● Too much information (and change) in a short period of time

● Poor preparation for college

● Money concerns/financial instability

● Outside demands/multiple demands for use of time

● Just a number effect/not knowing where and how to get help

Executive Summary

By providing incoming college freshmen with key information and skills, these students

should gain the critical knowledge necessary to transfer specific skills to their own learning

needs, thus leading to successful freshmen and future learning outcomes and increased

persistence rates. This project proposes the design of a course specifically aimed at assisting

college freshmen in navigating the stumbling blocks to success that have been attributed to

freshmen failure to complete or return to university academics. This study will specifically focus

on data that has been collected by the University of North Carolina - Greensboro (UNCG) and is

easily accessible through the University website. UNCG has a persistence rate that approximates
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the national average as well as key research regarding predictor of academic achievement in

college and groups that are at higher risk of failure in a college setting. Using statistics from the

University of North Carolina - Greensboro (UNCG) and other college data sources,

peer-reviewed studies on characteristics affecting first-year student performance, and our own

surveying of current undergraduate freshmen, we established a profile of our targeted learners.

Our analysis determines that based on the range of scores for GPA’s and standardized

testing, student capabilities, and a wide range of preparation levels provided by high schools, and

due to the lack of a freshman success course geared toward preparing students to deal with

academic, social, emotional, communication, career planning, and financial needs, a mandatory

freshman success course is essential. Due to the large number of students in each freshman class,

the course should be a web-based, online course with an instructor teaching/monitoring small

groups of students. The implications of our findings on the design of our project suggest that the

course will need to be designed for a wide range of student proficiency/knowledge levels and

that the design should incorporate a way for students to exempt portions of the course for which

they can demonstrate proficiency. Additionally, the course should provide a method for students

to practice the skills being learned and to display mastery/transfer of the skills through authentic

activities.
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TARGET AUDIENCE
Learner characteristics

The project will be based on designing a College Freshman Success Course for UNCG.

Tables 3 through 6 provide graphical information of the demographics at UNCG and comes from

the UNCG website under the College Portraits tab (University of North Carolina, 2017).

Table 3​​: Demographics at UNCG (University of North Carolina, 2017)

Table 4​​: Demographics at UNCG (University of North Carolina, 2017)


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​General Descriptors

Based on data from 2015, the freshman class at UNCG has approximately 2,773

freshmen, an average age of 18, and 81% of them live on campus. The freshman class of

students predominantly calls North Carolina home (93%). Only 5% of the freshman class come

from outside states and just 2% from other countries. Women account for 66% of the school

population and men account for 34% of the university population. Additionally, 52% of the

population is white, 28% African American/Black, 7% Hispanic, 5% Asian, and the remaining

8% divided among two or more races, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander,

International, or not reported. Approximately 49% of UNCG students are considered low income

students and 72% of the students borrow money to pay for their education at UNCG. While most

of the students are from North Carolina, this geographic congruence does not translate into a

homogenous group of learners.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Experiences

The middle 50% of the testing ranges for new freshmen beginning in the Fall of 2015 are

as follows:
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Table 5​​: Freshmen background and test scores (University of North Carolina, 2017)

The admissions rate for UNCG is 59%. This means that for every 100 students that apply,

59 students will be accepted (UNCG Requirements for Admission, 2017). Additionally, the

average GPA is 3.62 (strongly competitive) and the average combined SAT score (new SAT) is

1110 (competitive), and the average ACT score is 22 (moderately competitive) (UNCG

Requirements for Admission, 2017). Like most universities, there is a wide range of admissions

scores (GPA and standardized testing). Looking at additional data, Table 6 indicates that 79% of

freshmen are in the top 50% of their graduating class; however, that leaves a large number in

lower groupings. Research suggests that while these numbers would imply that the students

possess the key skills to succeed in college in their freshman year, “high school grades are the

best​ predictor of college grades” (Strauss, 2014, p.1).​ In fact, according to a report from

GradNation, “E​ach GPA point dropped in high school cuts a student’s chances of graduating

from college by 50%” and “​affects his or her later chances of success exponentially” (Wang,

2016, p. 1).

Based on the data and the research, the freshman class will be missing key skills for
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success. This course proposes to teach a range of skills, including soft skills and technology

skills. Each student will begin the course with a variety of unique skills and unique skill deficits.

The data cannot show the gaps in specific knowledge, skills, and abilities and the variety of

prior experience that affect learning outcomes in different ways for each student. In particular,

successful design will require ascertaining the learners’ prior knowledge, since “a learner’s prior

knowledge and experiences play a major role in their learning success, and significant variate in

the prior knowledge of your learners can complicate your instructional design” (Larson &

Lockee, 2014, p. 53).

Table 6​​: High school background of freshmen (University of North Carolina, 2017)

Attitudes, Motivation, Perceptions

A key consideration regarding the learner will be motivational goal orientation”learners

must have a will as well as the skill to learn” (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p. 53). By “connecting

learners with personal goals” which “exercise a substantial influence on their motivation, as do

their interests” (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p. 53). Thus, it will be critical to demonstrate to learners

how the time spent on this course will be of benefit to them in order to make the course a part of

the learners’ personal goals.


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Disabilities/Perceptual limitations

Since the course will be web-based, the design will meet Section 508 of the Americans

with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the WCAG 2.0 requirements (WCAG 2.1 in 2018) at the AA

level for web-based course design including the four principles of web accessibility:

1 - perceivable

2 - operable

3 - understandable

4 - robust

(WCAG Overview, 2017)

DATA COLLECTION PLAN

The data collection plan for our learner analysis will rely on a combination of reviewing

existing student characteristics from a target school (UNCG) and collecting our own survey data

from current first-year students. We chose to review statistics from a sample school to

understand the characteristics of a typical freshman student population at a public 4-year

institution, and use that information as a general guide for our instructional content. Surveys will

be used to gather data on specific characteristics of current-year students, so that we can compare

our results to our collected UNCG statistics and compile a more detailed profile of potential

learner needs and motivations. Existing research will also be used to shape the content of our

student survey, as well as to identify any factors which have affected the performance of

first-year students and to what extent those factors have affected these learners.

Using Larson & Lockee (2014) five learner characteristics as well as our research on

factors influencing freshman performance, we created a survey for current undergraduate


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 26

freshmen. Because we are not targeting a specific client or university with our project, we

posted this survey publicly on Reddit.com’s /r/samplesize subreddit. Although we understand

that a publicly-available survey could give us a larger variance in responses, we still felt it

important to collect data from current-year freshmen to understand the general characteristics of

today’s students.

Below, we have listed the five learner characteristics and the survey elements created to

evaluate each of those characteristics.

Learner Characteristics:

1. Demographics ​- Several demographic questions were included on the survey including

age, gender, ethnicity, and parents’ educational background. We feel that parents’

educational background will be a particularly useful demographic as it is shown that

first-generation college students, or students who are the first in their families to attend

college, tend to have more challenges in transitioning to college as well as lower overall

persistence rates (Gibbons, 2016).

2. Physiological ​- To understand which accessibility features should be prioritized in our

project, we asked students whether they are receiving an accommodation for a physical or

learning disability through their university. We chose to include a prefer not to answer

option for students who may feel uncomfortable responding to this question.

3. Cognitive Abilities​​ - Our survey asked students whether they have taken any honors,

Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. This information

will be helpful in understanding if current freshmen have prior experiences with taking

rigorous, fast-paced courses similar to those they would experience in college. Although
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 27

studies show that AP courses are not a reliable indicator of college performance

(Klopfenstein, 2009), we believe that measuring such courses can still provide insight on

students’ feelings of confidence and preparation. We also asked for a general range of

their high school GPA, which is shown in research to be a reliable indicator of college

performance (Strauss, 2014).

4. Prior Knowledge ​- In addition to asking students about their past honors, AP, and IB

courses, we also asked about their parents’ highest level of education. Students whose

parents have completed a college degree tend to transition more easily to college life than

students whose parents did not attend college. Our survey also asked students whether

they attended high school in the United States, as international students attending a US

college may face additional cultural challenges in acclimating to college life.

5. Motivation and Other Affective​​ - To understand students’ motivations towards taking

an orientation course, we asked students about their willingness to take an orientation

course if provided with the opportunity. We also asked students to choose from a list of

concerns they may have about college in order to measure their confidence levels in

certain areas. Concerns with a high response rate may be tied to key learning needs, and

students may be more motivated to use instructional resources to address those concerns.

In addition to the above questions, we also included one question regarding students’

housing situations which will be utilized in our context analysis. As we are collecting data on

the same target audience (current freshmen) for both our learner and context analyses, we felt

that it would be more convenient to include the question in this survey rather than create another

separate survey for the context analysis.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 28

If time permits, additional data will also solicited via the use of a survey for feedback

from professors who work with first year students. The insight provided by these individuals

related to the performance and insufficiencies of incoming transitional students will be of great

assistance to the study. Having this research will also allow for us to determine the needs of the

incoming students and challenges as related to the learner characteristics solicited from the

students themselves.

As mentioned in the overview section of this learner analysis, we also decided to review

available data from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro. UNCG is a good fit for our

data collection as its persistence rate is consistent with current national averages, so we believe

that their data will reflect the characteristics, needs, and motivations of a typical college student

population. As we are limited in our ability to directly survey students, this data will be a helpful

benchmark for understanding whether our survey results are consistent with a typical college

population or whether our results highlight different learner issues not represented in existing

data.

Existing research, in respect to the learner, will be a component of data collection. The

prior research that will be accumulated will include investigations that properly correlate to

first-year persistence rates and the influence of orientation-style developments and courses. It is

significant that we have preceding research in addition to the survey in order to assist with

determining a more accurate account of the relationship between first-year persistence rates of

these students and orientation style progressions. The research assembled will concentrate on

learner needs that have been met through some of the previous initiatives. This will help to

contribute to the overall understanding of what freshman students will require as they go through
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 29

the proposed course, as well as the instructional materials that would be appropriate for this

study. Gathering and assessing existing research will allow us for us to provide a more refined

assessment of the survey results gathered.

ANALYSIS OF THE DATA / FINDINGS

While this project does not have direct access to students at UNCG, a great deal of

information is available through the UNCG website and other institutions that conduct university

research. In addition to the learner characteristics and analysis of the learner obtained through the

data extracted from the UNCG website (above), some general information was also obtained

from two questionnaires that were administered online to university students from various

institutions.

The initial student survey (Appendix 3) was aimed at obtaining general information about

college students at all levels regarding their experience/success/challenges in college. While the

sample size is not large enough to provide a confidence level high enough to transfer the results

to college students in general (or the students at UNCG), the answers do provide some

interesting feedback. Based on the results (Appendix 4) of the survey, many university students

generally feel ​unprepared​​ with important skills, namely:

Study skills (44%)

Time management skills (56%)

Communication skills (78%)

Budgeting/financial skills (56%)

Meaningful engagement (44%)


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 30

Additionally, although all of the students in this survey had taken a personality

assessment, 78% of them had not used the results to explore majors and career path. One of the

main purposes of administering the test (assisting in career planning and guidance) had not been

completed. The majority of the students indicated that their universities could have helped them

be more successful in their freshman year by:

● providing instruction on how to work collaboratively with classmates and professors

● providing guides and tools to assist with time management

● providing major/degree exploration assistance

As part of the learner analysis, a second survey (Appendix 5) was administered to

freshmen in order to obtain information specifically related to freshmen university students.

Again, the sample size is not large enough to provide a confidence level high enough to transfer

the results to college students in general; however, additional useful information was gathered.

Below is the relevant information based on results from the survey (Appendix 6). The average

age of respondents is 18 years old which is also the average age of a traditional college freshman.

Some results of the study that need to be evaluated further and that might have an effect on

course design are:

● There does not seem to be a relationship between the reported GPA and the student’s

confidence in his/her preparation to succeed at college work. However, research shows

that high school grades are an effective predictor of college success ​(Hiss, 2014), and that

students with better high school grades tend to perform better in college. Our results

suggest a disconnect between students’ perceived and actual performance.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 31

● There does seem to be a correlation between the number of honors/Advanced

Placement/International Baccalaureate courses taken and the respondent’s confidence in

his/her preparation to succeed at college work. That is, the students who reported having

taken more than 4 of these advanced course, all reported feeling very prepared or

extremely prepared for college.

● Generally, the students whose parents had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher from a

four-year university were more likely to have taken more than four advanced classes.

● Approximately 73% of the respondents reported being concerned about getting

overwhelmed by coursework and not having good enough study/research skills to keep

up with course demands; however, 73% of these same students would be unlikely to

voluntarily enroll for a class to help with these skills. Based on Larson & Lockee (2014),

“Students must have a will as well as the skill to learn” (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p. 53).

It seems evident that these students have the skill to learn, but aligning their goals and

motivation to the course design will be critical.

● Approximately 45% of the respondents indicate having concern about balancing

personal life and school (time management and with making new friends and

connections, but again, the majority of these same student would be unlikely to enroll for

a class to help with these skills.

More evaluation of these results should be done to determine if these findings are

supported through larger research.

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

Variations in demographic background suggest a need for multi-tiered sensitivity. For


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 32

the purposes of our project’s design, this will translate to focused attention on creating content,

resources, videos, etc. that are not specific to any one cultural, national, or socioeconomic

background.

Potential variances in physiological ability highlight a need to focus on ADA compliance

in the creation of all of our materials. The most prominent and directly applicable actions we can

take will include making sure that videos include closed captions and/or transcripts, making sure

that instructionally significant images include alt text or long descriptions, making sure that the

website and any ancillary resources are accessible via screen reader technology, and making sure

that text and background colors are properly contrasted.

Published research and our own data analyses suggest that providing information on and

access to resources in the following areas would benefit college freshmen:

● Personal and career exploration

● Learning strategies

● Financial resource assistance

● Planning for success

● Making meaningful connections

Trends in personal and career exploration suggest the necessity that this project’s ​College

Freshman Success​ deliverable include resources for students to explore their own aptitudes and

majors/careers that fit their strengths and interests. Student survey responses also highlight a

need for instructional materials on developing general study skills rather than on employing

institution-specific resources like specific technologies or those available through the university

library. With regard to preparation in budgeting and financial skills, survey results indicate that
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 33

students feel relatively unprepared, and this effect will presumably be magnified for students

who are the first in their families to attend college. For design, this implies a need to incorporate

resources to help students create and maintain a budget, resources to familiarize students with the

financial aid application process, and resources covering factors of general financial literacy.

Further, with regard to planning for success and making meaningful connections in the university

setting, learner responses indicate a need to design time management and communication

development resources, as well as materials addressing campus and virtual resources that can

contribute contribute to student success to be included in this project’s design deliverable.

Data collected during this phase supports the needs highlighted in our needs analysis. As

a result, the project’s goals at this point remain static:

● Students will explore career aptitudes and college majors, as well as the requirements of

each.

● Students will analyze their learning styles and multiple intelligence strengths and apply

them to university-level academic requirements.

● Students will apply constructive, professional communication techniques to university

scenarios.

● Students will identify and employ learning strategies necessary to success in

university-level academics.

● Students will identify campus and virtual resources that can contribute to their success in

the university setting.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 34

Context Analysis
Overview for Context Analysis

An undergraduate degree is seen as a must-have credential for many competitive jobs.

However, the number of university students who do not complete their studies is increasing

(“Annual Persistence”, 2017), putting these students at risk of having worse career or income

prospects in the future than students who do complete their studies (“The Rising Cost”, 2014).

The transition from high school to college life, or lack thereof, can significantly influence

students’ motivation or ability to complete their 4-year degree. Our research from the needs

analysis and learner analysis shows that current students do not feel adequately prepared for this

transition, and feel that their universities could be doing more to help them have a successful

freshman year. Our team has chosen to design a course targeted at undergraduate freshman

students to address common first-year issues and develop critical skills which will aid them

throughout their college experience. This part of our report focuses on the context in which our

course will be used and applied at a typical public 4-year university.

After a review of data from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), as

well as data from our self-conducted student survey, we identified the performance, learning,

cultural, and theoretical contexts for our instructional resource. The performance context shows

that students will have numerous relevant opportunities to apply skills acquired from the course.

The learning context indicates that the amount of student preparation varies significantly among

incoming freshmen, and that our resource should be flexible to adapt to different learner

experience levels. Analysis of the cultural context shows that students have few opportunities

outside of their chosen plan of study to acquire the skills covered in our course, and that the

course should have a central message which is applicable to students across all majors. Our
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 35

theoretical context focuses on cognitivist theory. With the theoretical context in mind, we intend

to focus on designing content which informs students of critical university resources and learning

skills, provides opportunities for students to apply their skills, and helps students build useful

connections within their university community.

Data Collection & Analysis Plan

The data collection plan within this context analysis is very similar to the previous plans

discussed throughout the needs analysis and learner analysis. In order to identify specific

outcomes and revise performance measures, existing peer reviewed research will be used in

addition to collecting survey results from first year undergraduate students. The existing research

collected has also helped to develop the survey that was used to partition first year undergraduate

students. The data collected throughout this time period will be used to determine specific factors

which may have impacted student performance during their first year as an undergraduate, as

well as the factors that may have had an overall impact on their learning.

Existing research was collected in regards to the first-year learner characteristics as well

as data associated with the decreasing persistence rates and the contributing factors. As

researchers, we will attempt to determine specific skills and the critical knowledge that first-year

undergraduate students should possess in order to be successful during their first year at an

institution. The majority of the existing research used has been collected from the University of

North Carolina - Greensboro (UNCG). This data was accessible via the institutions website.

Having this data will also allow for the researchers to gather a better understanding of the needs

of these first-year undergraduates along with additional resources, such as peer reviewed studies,

additional college resources and examinations, and our very own student survey. The student
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 36

survey titled “College Freshman Success” (Appendix 1) was placed on Reddit.com for several

days in order to gather and determine various traits and characteristics of the learner.

An analysis of the findings was generated, in order to determine the levels of student

preparation in areas such as study skills, time management, communication skills, budgeting and

financial skills, engagement levels and awareness of resources on campus, utilization of the

resources, understanding of university policies, use of prior assessments, as well as a general

overview of current undergraduate success levels. In order to determine whether or not the data

was valid and reliable, researchers checked the results by sorting the data and determining its

final implementation, and discussing any discrepancies within the survey data. From all of the

data collected it was determined that developing a web-based, online course would be best. This

course would be taken with assistance from an instructor with small groups, and would be

designed for students with a wide variety of skill levels, while allowing for students to receive

instructions and approaches in regards to personal and career exploration, learning strategies,

financial resource assistance, planning for success, and making meaningful connections. Once

students were able to successfully complete the course, researchers would then analyze the

results of student preparation and additional persistence rates. From the analyzation process,

researchers would be able to reflect and eventually revamp and revise, in order to conduct the

study again if needed.

Performance Context
Assessing the performance context entails the evaluation of “the environment where new

knowledge and skills will be used” (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p. 60). The knowledge acquired

through the College Freshman Success program will be practiced and used in conjunction with

the additional courses in each student’s schedule, thus allowing the freshmen to practice and
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 37

implement the skills that are being learned. The performance context will be reviewed based on

the four factors described by Larson & Lockee (2014): physical characteristics, support, social

aspects, and relevance of skills and knowledge.

1. Physical characteristics: ​The freshmen will be practicing and using the skills/knowledge

as they are acquired and throughout the Freshman College Success course. The goal is to

provide multiple and continuing opportunities for the students to transfer the new

knowledge to authentic learning situations, thus reinforcing the skills. Research supports

the notion that “I​t doesn’t matter what subject you teach, differences in students’

performance are affected by how much they engage in deliberate practice” and

“Deliberate practice involves attention, rehearsal and repetition and leads to new

knowledge or skills that can later be developed into more complex knowledge and skills”

(Brabeck, Jeffrey, & Fry, 2016, p. 1). The specifically designed utilization of rehearsal of

critical skills should lead to knowledge transfer and successful completion of concurrent

and subsequent courses.

2. Support: ​The learning will be supported by the course instructors and by the course

design itself. Acquisition of new skills will be demonstrated by successful utilization of

the skills in other courses. For example, a unit focused on learning note-taking skills

would direct students to select preferred note-taking models, utilize them in other

courses, and submit a copy of those notes to the instructor through the learning

management system. This deliberate practice would reinforce skill development, help the

student select the most appropriate note-taking skills, and improve overall academic

skills. The submissions to the College Freshman Success course are graded; however, the
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 38

true long-term rewards or consequences will be in the outcomes (grades) from other

courses and from future courses. Additional support will come from university experts in

the fields of college resources, such as advising, career counseling, academic support, and

other pertinent areas.

3. Social Aspects: ​As mentioned under support, the students in this course will work with

an assigned faculty member and other university mentors and resources. Since all

freshmen will be taking the course, students will be encouraged to collaborate and work

together to find the most useful and efficient learning tools and methods. Typically,

freshmen live in dorm settings, so the sense of community developed in the housing

situation could also be used as part of forming a community of freshmen learners.

4. Relevance of Skills and Knowledge: ​The skills that are being acquired through the

course have been determined through research to be of critical importance to performance

and persistence in college. The main challenge will lie in demonstrating the positive

outcomes produced through utilization of the course’s lessons and resources and getting

buy-in from first-year university students. If the students learn and practice the skills

provided, the results should have a positive effect on lifelong learning.

Learning Context

The targeted students within this study are those who are considered true first year

undergraduate students. These students are expected to have studied and graduated from a

comprehensive high school program and have earned no prior college credits through an actual

course provided at a higher education institution. Due to the requirements of the first-year

undergraduate student, these particular individuals should possess similar characteristics and
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 39

abilities. Considering the diverse nature of education, it is understood that these individuals may

also possess a wide range of actual college preparation levels. As a result of this probable

variety, this course will also offer a wide range of instructional resources. This instruction

included within the course will ultimately allow for students to adapt their own learning styles,

abilities and knowledge to the content that this being provided in order to determine their own

success both throughout the course as well their time and experiences succeeding the instruction.

The course provided will be via an internet medium which students can access from their

choice of electronic device. It is understood that students’ access may vary, and in regards to

this, the medium selected will accommodate these needs to be accessed from a variety of

electronic devices. It is also recommended that the course be provided by an instructor with very

small groups of students. In this case, it is assumed that the institutions would also provide a

computer lab of some sort in order to accommodate the course needs. The medium chosen will

still accommodate a variety of electronic devices in order to support students outside of the

classroom environment.

Instructional requirements for the course are limited, as this course only requires an

electronic device and compatible hardware and software. Due to its electronic focus students

may access this course from any location and environment that suits their learning. Specific

software may be required in order to support the assessments and links provided throughout the

course and used as additional learning resources.

The course created will allow for students to address their own specific learning needs.

For instance, the assessments and resources provided within the course will also allow for

students to personalize their learning experiences. Assessments administered will provide


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 40

students with their own personal learning styles, scores, etc. that may be used to determine

additional skills and contribute to supplementary learning throughout and after the course has

concluded (the conclusion from the Myers Briggs exam may be used to impact a second

assignment within the course). Researchers understand that ambiguous scores/results of

individual students will be determined and used. As a result, the course materials and

assignments will apply to a wide variety of learning styles and include various learning

strategies. Assessments may be diversified, from multiple choice to direct application.

Cultural Context

Many colleges and universities place a high value on independent study and initiative,

and UNCG is no exception. With the help of an advisor, students select courses which meet

their schedule, fulfill major or graduation requirements, or simply pique their academic interests.

Because UNCG offers more than 100 majors, students can end up with unique plans of study

which may or may not overlap with those of their peers.

Within classes, students can interact with their classmates to work on assignments,

conduct research, or resolve questions about the course topics. They could also interact with any

peers who are taking a different session of the same course, or who have taken the course in past

semesters. These classmates may or may not be pursuing the same majors or areas of study. In

fact, many freshman-focused courses tend to include students across all majors and areas of

study.

Each class is led by a professor and covers topics which are specific to that class. In each

class, the professor provides assistance to students within the context of that specific course. In

other words, a professor in Economics 101 will assist students who have questions about Econ
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 41

101, but will not help with questions about English 101 - a different class from a different

department. If students have questions about course materials, they are expected to know which

course the material relates to and which professor they need to contact.

This concept of independent study and initiative expands into the rest of student life as

well. If students have questions about financial aid, they are expected to seek out the financial

aid office. If they have questions about finding a job or internship, they are expected to seek out

the career center on their own. If they need tutoring assistance, they are expected to reach out to

the writing lab. And so on.

Although the independent, self-motivated culture of most colleges provides a great

amount of flexibility to students, it also has the potential to overwhelm students who are not

prepared for the transition. If students do not understand what resources are available to them or

how to access them, they risk missing key opportunities or falling out of good standing. If

students lack the skills to communicate with their classmates and professors, they may not be

able to fulfill course objectives. Left unaddressed, these issues can create a snowball effect

leading to lower GPAs, reduced student motivation, and reduced persistence rates.

With this cultural context in mind, the course will be designed under the assumption that

this will be students’ first, and possibly only, opportunity to explore these topics outside of their

individual course plan. Having a centralized course will ease the transition to college life while

accommodating for differences between students’ individual experiences, classes, or plans of

study. Emphasis will be placed on topics with broad appeal and implications for students,

regardless of their major or plan of study. The university resources highlighted in the course will

be ones which are available to the full student body, but the course will also cover how to search
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 42

for additional resources which may be unique to a student’s specific major. Because of the

importance of independent study and initiative, we may also need to consider adding some

degree of learner control to our course, allowing them to seek out topics and activities which are

of higher personal value to them. However, given our findings from the needs analysis and

learner analysis, we would need to ensure that any control we give to learners still prevents them

from skipping over key topics altogether.

Theoretical Context

The theoretical context for this project is based in cognitivist theory. Cognitivist theory

“focuses on the growth and change of mental knowledge structures” and thus “believes that the

goal of the educator is to design instruction that helps the learner effectively process, code,

retrieve, and transfer information” (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p. 77). These components of

processing, coding, retrieving, and transferring information will be essential to establishing the

necessary skills - note-taking, test-taking, time management, and others - into habits of academic

life. A supporting idea comes from research about repetition and habits. Since research shows

that the best time to change everyday behaviors is when there is a change in performance context

(Neal, Wood, Quinn, 2006), the physical change in location that most freshmen make and the

complete disruption of normal habits should provide a new performance context that when

combined with establishment of new skills would create new and lasting behaviors.

While the course designers have determined that a cognitivist approach is best suited for

the design of the ​College Freshman Success​ course, Larson & Lockee (2014) indicate the

importance of considering the viewpoints of key stakeholders in the design process. While there

are multiple stakeholders involved in the program, including students, course instructors,
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 43

advisors, program directors, student services staff, and university leadership, the primary

stakeholders are the students taking the course and the instructors teaching the course. The

difficulty in aligning the design viewpoint and the viewpoints of the stakeholders lies in the large

and diverse number of freshmen course participants (each with his or her own view of learning)

and the various theoretical viewpoints of instructors. According to Larson & Lockee (2014),

“You should attempt to align the assumptions you use as the foundation for your

instruction with the assumptions you use as the foundation for your instruction with the

assumptions of the learners and those that may be facilitating the instruction. If this is not

possible, be sure to explicitly state your assumptions in some way and acknowledge that

they may be different from those using or taking the instruction.” (Larson & Lockee,

2014, p. 76)

Consequently, although the goal is to align assumptions with those of the learners and

instructors, it will not be possible to access that information and revise the course materials each

year based on the new instructors and learners. For this reason, the designers have determined

that cognitivist theory is best suited for aligning the course design and assumptions about

learning from recognized learning theories. (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p. 76)

Implications for Instructional Design

According to Larson & Lockee (2014), “The most successful learning takes place in the

same context (where the learner will use the skills and knowledge after instruction) and the

learning context (where the learner actually receives instruction (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p.

64).” This project’s performance context essentially comprises the entire university setting.

Students will apply their learning through their interactions with institutional resources such as
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 44

the financial aid office or the university writing center, through elements of their coursework like

group collaborations or communications with instructors, and through personal skills, like

effective study habits, that they develop.

As such, instructional design of this project will need to focus on exposing students to

these contextual elements and make explicit connections between the skills being developed and

their applicability within the university setting. The challenge will be to convey these

connections explicitly while developing skills generally enough to support transfer of learning to

multiple contexts. For this reason, instruction for this project will need to include activities that

both highlight specific resources students will need to utilize and draw on multiple scenarios that

require different forms of application.

Course design will support deliberate practice in skill acquisition and development by

providing for consistent and scaffolded instructor feedback. Since the objectives of this project

ultimately involve students meeting success in courses throughout their college careers,

providing opportunities for instructors to comment on the quality of the quality of skills they

expect students to exhibit in their usual courses will represent an important scaffold to student

success.

It is important not to overlook the social aspects of learning, especially when developing

a purely online learning environment. Including some form of learning community in the

course’s design can benefit students in two primary ways. First, students can contribute to one

another’s learning through the sharing of strategies, resources, tools, etc. that can supplement the

materials introduced in the course itself. Second, an online learning community can act as a

muddiest point forum, where students discuss areas of misunderstanding and where their
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 45

classmates and instructors can help to mitigate any confusion. To accomplish these two goals,

course design will have to have to include some form of learning community, most likely in the

form of unmediated discussion forums.

In an effort to address students’ various learning styles, it will be important to build a

multimodal approach to content delivery. This project’s design will have to ensure that each

topic is introduced and expanded upon through various forms of purposeful media. A balance

will have to be stricken between the need for multimodal instruction and the appropriateness of

various media to a particular topic.

Students will access the course primarily using laptop or desktop computers; however,

there are certainly times when they will need to review materials on-the-go. To ensure that

students have access to content on any device, development of the course will have to be done in

a platform that will allow the creation of a responsive website. This will ensure functionality

even if students need to access the course from their phone or tablet.

It will also be important to provide access to students who have various disabilities as

they relate to online learning. Potential variances in physiological ability highlight a need to

focus on ADA compliance in the creation of all of our materials. The most prominent and

directly applicable actions we can take will include making sure that videos include closed

captions and/or transcripts, making sure that instructionally significant images include alt text or

long descriptions, making sure that the website and any ancillary resources are accessible via

screen reader technology, and making sure that text and background colors are properly

contrasted.
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 46

Because learners in this course will be brand new to college, and will not have had a

course in this online platform before, a necessary piece of the design will be to acquaint students

with the course website. This can take the form of a tutorial video pointing out various elements

of the site’s functionality. From a theoretical perspective, instructional design for this project will

be based in cognitivist theory. Designing within the cognitivist paradigm will be important for

the transfer of learning to actual college courses.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 47

Content Analysis
Overview for Content Analysis

Decreasing persistence rates have been an inverse obstacle within the nation's higher

education system as a whole. Obtaining an undergraduate degree is a critical part to remaining

competitive within today’s job market. The decreasing success levels of freshman students have

ultimately impacted and contributed to the steady decrease in the persistence rates within higher

education as a whole. Using past supporting research and a recently conducted analysis of

content, culture and the learner (incoming freshman students), we have found that universities

are simply not meeting the needs of incoming freshman students. Common issues for first year

students include a lack of success for freshman in regards to their academic, social and financial

transition to university life. Universities are not providing resources for students to practice and

learn the necessary skills needed to be successful in the university setting, they are not providing

opportunities for freshman to apply the skills that they do have or gain, they are not allowing

students to build connections within their universities, and they are not informing students of the

resources available to them to assist in their success at the university level.

The website created will house a course for incoming freshman students to obtain the

skills listed above. Best practices will be addressed and applied and students will have the

opportunity to continuously use academic, social and financial skills as well as opportunities and

occasions to practice these skills as they go through the course. As stated in the content analysis,

the content within the design will follow the guiding theory of cognitivism.

The goals for the course are listed below:


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 48

Terminal Goal:

● Students will establish knowledge, skills, and strategies for succeeding in university-level

courses and adapting to the rigors of college and adult life.

Subordinate Course Goals:

● Students will explore career aptitudes and college majors, as well as the requirements of

each.

● Students will analyze their learning styles and multiple intelligence strengths and apply

them to university-level academic requirements.

● Students will apply constructive, professional communication techniques to university

scenarios.

● Students will identify and employ learning strategies necessary to succeed in

university-level academics.

● Students will identify campus and virtual resources that can contribute to their success in

the university setting.

With these goals in mind, our group has developed detailed learning objectives to support

them. Using Bloom and Gagne’s taxonomies, the learning domains of each objective were

identified. A KASI map was created to classify the specific knowledge and skills that learners

would develop through the course. Finally, we conducted a task analysis to explore the tasks

which learners would need to perform to achieve our enabling and terminal objectives, and

identified the assessment items that would be used to measure learner performance with each

task.
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 49

Learning Objectives

After reviewing the needs, learners, and context, we have divided the course content into

three modules, with 2-3 lessons per module. Each module has a terminal objective which guides

the individual lessons within that objective. The three module objectives are listed below.

Module Objectives:

● Module 1: ​Students will identify their personality type and will explore how their

personality type influences their academic and career interests, as well as their learning

style. Students will also identify strategies for incorporating their learning style into their

learning activities and will begin applying those strategies throughout their course

studies.

● Module 2:​​ ​Students will develop essential skills for succeeding in their academic studies,

including communication skills, study skills, and time management skills, and will apply

these skills in their current and future college courses.

● Module 3: ​Students will demonstrate awareness of their university community after

learning the university’s academic and conduct policies, as well as identifying helpful

resources available to students. Students will also develop sound financial literacy by

learning about personal budgeting, student loans, and financial aid.

Each lesson will have its own enabling objective which defines the methods that students

will be using to achieve the desired outcomes, as well as supports the terminal objective for that

module. The eight lesson objectives are listed below.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 50

Lesson Objectives:

Module 1:

1. Using personality assessment resources, students will define their individual learning

style(s) and apply their identified style(s) in university courses.

2. Using personality and career assessment resources, students will evaluate potential areas

of study or career paths which match their interests.

Module 2:

3. Given common university scenarios, students will apply constructive, professional

communication practices when interacting with professors, staff, or peers.

4. Given scenarios of different types of courses and assignments, students will identify and

apply appropriate strategies for learning course material, taking notes, and preparing for

exams.

5. Given a scenario with a typical academic schedule, students will apply time management

skills towards developing a plan for attending classes, completing assignments on time,

managing group work, and managing extracurricular activities.

Module 3:

6. After reviewing university policies on academic integrity and conduct, students will

demonstrate their knowledge of these policies through an online quiz.

7. Given a sample scenario based on an average student’s financial background, students

will develop a personal budget which meets the scenario’s criteria, and will identify any

university resources which could provide further financial aid.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 51

8. After reviewing a list of key university resources, students will demonstrate their

knowledge of these resources and their benefits through an online quiz. Additionally,

based on an understanding of their individual needs, students will identify which

resources, if any, they may need to use during their university studies.

For each lesson objective, we applied both Bloom and Gagne’s taxonomies to classify the

type of learning and the skills learners would be expected to develop. Table 7 shows these

findings along with sample assessment items for each objective.

Table 7:​​ List of learning objectives with relevant Bloom and Gagne domains
Objective Bloom and Gagne’s Assessment Sample Items
Learning Domains

1. Using personality Understanding Students will complete a questionnaire


assessment resources, Applying to define their learning style(s). They
students will define their Cognitive will respond to a scenario-based
individual learning style(s) prompt (Appendix 9) by applying their
and apply their identified learning style(s) and discussing how
style(s) in university courses. that application can benefit their
academic success.

2. Using personality and Understanding Students complete an exploratory


career assessment resources, Evaluating research form (Appendix 8) in Google
students will evaluate Cognitive Docs to compare careers based on
potential areas of study or personality assessment results.
career paths which match
their interests.

3. Given common university Applying Students will demonstrate specific


scenarios, students will apply Cognitive interpersonal communication skills by
constructive, professional Interpersonal Skills responding to scenario-based prompts
communication practices (Appendix 10) in an open-response
when interacting with format. Instructors will use a
professors, staff, or peers. skill-based rubric to assess student
application.

4. Given scenarios of Evaluating Using a Google Doc organizer


different types of courses and Applying template (Appendix 11), students will
assignments, students will Cognitive select appropriate learning,
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 52

identify and apply appropriate Intellectual Skills note-taking, and exam prep strategies
strategies for learning course based on scenario needs. They will
material, taking notes, and then defend the applicability of their
preparing for exams. selections.

5. Given a scenario with a Evaluating Students will create and evaluate a


typical academic schedule, Creating time-management plan using a Google
students will apply time Cognitive Docs template (Appendix 12).
management skills towards Attitude
developing a plan for
attending classes, completing
assignments on time,
managing group work, and
managing extracurricular
activities.

6. After reviewing university Remembering Students will respond to


policies on academic integrity Cognitive multiple-choice and open-response
and conduct, students will quiz items.
demonstrate their knowledge
of these policies through an
online quiz.

7. Given a sample scenario Evaluating Students will use an online budgeting


based on an average student’s Applying tool to create a budget incorporating
financial background, Creating scenario-based criteria. They will
students will develop a Cognitive analyze and evaluate the finished
personal budget which meets budget, and discuss how specific
the scenario’s criteria, and university resources could benefit
will identify any university them with regard to particular budget
resources which could items or in terms of the scenario itself.
provide further financial aid.

8. After reviewing a list of Remembering Students will respond to


key university resources, Understanding multiple-choice quiz items and will
students will demonstrate Applying apply understanding of their personal
their knowledge of these Cognitive needs by responding to an
resources and their benefits Intellectual Skills open-response prompt.
through an online quiz.
Additionally, based on an
understanding of their
individual needs, students
will identify which resources,
if any, they may need to use
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 53

during their university


studies.

The overarching goal of this project’s assessment plan is to ensure transfer of learning by

allowing students to demonstrate their learning in general terms and across multiple scenarios.

Although the assessments address several levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, the primary goal is

application of the skills developed throughout each module. Accordingly, upon completion of

the course, students should be able to apply these skills to address many needs in many scenarios

throughout their college careers. It is important for students not only to build these skills, but

also to know when and how to use them effectively.

Procedural and Topic Analysis

From Table 7, we found that every objective is connected to the cognitive domain, which

will make a cognitive task analysis essential for our project.​ ​ ​Larson & Lockee (2014) describe

that a cognitive task analysis is focused on the desired performances and the associated level of

prior knowledge. In developing our lessons and assessments, we will pay close attention to how

learners would be expected to perform at the end of each lesson and design content which helps

learners achieve the desired performance state. Table 7 also makes good cases for conducting

activity and subject matter analyses for the objectives involving attitudes and intellectual skills,

respectively. Because activity analysis focuses on “relating new knowledge to prior knowledge”

and the ability to transfer learning which occurs when “learners effectively store information in

memory and generalize its use in similar situations, as well as appropriately transfer it to

different situations” (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p. 83), we will want to look at how students will

translate what they have learned into their actual university studies. Subject matter analysis will
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 54

be beneficial for the lessons which are more focused on delivering information (particularly the

lessons involving learning university policies and resources), and we will look at the structure of

each subject to ensure that it will be relevant to our learners and objectives.

A KASI map was created to identify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that would be

developed through each part of the course. Table 8 shows our KASI map for Lesson 1, and the

full course map can be found in Appendix 7 of this report. Our KASI map revealed that

knowledge and attitudes will be required to achieve all of our learning objectives; every lesson in

the course has at least one required item in the Knowledge and Attitude categories. Skills will

also need to be developed in certain parts of the course, namely Module 2 which focuses on

establishing study, time management, and communication skills. Only one lesson, the lesson

covering communication skills, will require interpersonal skills. Students will only be required

to complete each lesson once, although we would provide the option for students to revisit the

course material at any point during their undergraduate studies. To accommodate differences

between learners’ prior knowledge, we believe that the difficulty of each lesson should be easy

or moderate, and that no lesson would be considered particularly difficult by learners. Each

lesson will have a priority of either essential or important, with most lessons being considered

essential. Our learner and context analyses showed that students are unlikely to go out of their

way to learn this material, so we believe that demonstrating the priority and value of the course

will provide extrinsic motivation for learners to complete the course (Dirksen, 2016).
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 55

Table 8: ​KASI Map for Lesson 1 of Course

College Terminal Goal: Students will establish knowledge, skills, and strategies for
Freshman succeeding in university-level courses and adapting to the rigors of college
Success and adult life.

Module Title: How does your personality affect your college


Module 1 experience?

Terminal Objective: ​Students will identify their personality type and


will explore how their personality type influences their academic and
career interests, as well as their learning style. Students will also identify
strategies for incorporating their learning style into their learning
activities and will begin applying those strategies throughout their course
studies.

Lesson 1 Title: Your Personality and Your Learning Style


Lesson 1
Enabling Objective: U ​ sing personality assessment resources, students
will define their individual learning style(s) and apply their identified
style(s) in university courses.

Knowledge Attitudes Interperson Skills Frequency


al Skills Difficulty
Priority

Types of Motivated to Identify F: 1x


learning reflect on personal D: E
styles. personality learning P: E
Relevance type to style based
of improve on
personality learning personality
to learning experience. assessment
style. results.
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 56

Task Analysis

Module 1: Understanding Yourself

Lesson 1:​​ Your Personality and Your Learning Style

Using personality assessment resources, students will define their individual learning style(s) and

apply their identified style(s) in university courses.

● Perform a self-reflection (goals, obstacles, opportunities, personal strengths/weaknesses)

● Learn more about yourself by taking personality type tests:

○ True Colors​ personality test

○ Myers-Briggs personality test


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 57

● Learn about the Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

○ Explore the historical view of the Intellectual Quotient (IQ)

● Learn about Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory

○ Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory (Video 1)

○ Multiple Intelligences interview with Howard Gardner (Video 2)

○ Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Strengths Finder

● Explore what type of learner you are - visual, auditory, kinesthetic (your own multiple

intelligences) and how you learn best.

○ North Carolina State University Learning Styles Inventory​ - to assess learning

preferences

● Reflect on how your multiple intelligences and information about your own IQ might

influence your own learning.

● Students respond to a career survey based on personality traits.

● Assessment Item: Students complete an exploratory research form in Google Docs to

compare careers based on personality assessment results.

Lesson 2:​​ Your Personality and Your Career

Using personality and career assessment resources, students will evaluate potential areas of study

or career paths which match their interests and personality.

● Reflect on the career that you envision for yourself.

● Think about the subjects in which you perform best.

● Examine possible careers that correspond to your Myers-Briggs, ​True Colors​, and

multiple intelligences assessments (determined in Lesson 1).


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 58

○ Careers that correspond with Myers-Briggs personality testing

○ More information about your personality type and your future career

○ Which careers match your skills?

● Compare your ideas for your career choice to see if they align with the information about

your personality type and compatible careers.

● Explore the University of North Carolina - Wilmington website: ​What can I do with a

major in ...

● Examine the majors at your university which might correspond with your desired career

path.

● Assessment Item: Students will complete a questionnaire to define their learning style(s).

They will respond to a scenario-based prompt by applying their learning style(s) and

discussing how that application can benefit their academic success.

Module 2: Essential College Skills

Lesson 3:​​ Effective Communication Skills

Given common university scenarios, students will apply constructive, professional

communication practices when interacting with professors, staff, or peers.

● Examine the importance and purpose of good communication skills from ​Skills You

Need ​website​.

● Investigate and understand different type of communication skills and associated

communication etiquette.

○ verbal

○ non-verbal (body language, facial expressions)


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 59

○ interpersonal

○ listening

○ written (professional emails)

○ teamwork and group meetings

● Formative assessment: students will practice etiquette associated with each of the above

communication types individually as they move through the module’s content.

● Assessment Item: Students will demonstrate specific interpersonal communication skills

by responding to scenario-based prompts in an open-response format. Instructors will

use a skill-based rubric to assess student application.

Lesson 4:​​ Effective Study Skills

Given scenarios of different types of courses and assignments, students will identify and apply

appropriate strategies for learning course material, taking notes, preparing for tests, and taking

tests.

● Note-taking Skills

○ Examine ​How to take great notes (YouTube video)​.

○ Investigate ​Cornell notes​.

○ Learn ​More about Cornell notes​.

○ Watch ​Cornell notes video​.

○ Download a ​Cornell notes template​.

○ Investigate ​Outline notes​.

○ Download an ​Outline notes template​.

○ Investigate ​Mind mapping notes​.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 60

○ Learn ​More about mind mapping notes​.

○ Explore ​note-taking applications to help with your work​.

○ Learn ​How to take notes from a textbook

○ Practice using the different note-taking methods in your courses this week.

○ Determine which seem(s) to be most effective for you and under what

circumstances.

○ Formative assessment: poll students on their preferences after going through this

section of content. Include checkboxes for each type of note taking and a text box

for a brief (1-2 sentence) explanation.

● Memorization Skills

○ Learn different techniques for memorization

○ More memorization techniques

○ Practice using the different memorization techniques in your courses this week.

○ Determine which seem(s) to be most effective for you and under what

circumstances.

○ Formative assessment: students play memorization game (created in H5P and

delivered within course module).

● Test Preparation Skills

○ Tips for studying

○ More tips for studying

○ Practice the test taking preparation skills listed in the articles and use some of the

tips to study for your next test.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 61

○ After receiving the results of your test explain how the study tips helped and what

(if anything) you would change in studying for your next test.

● Test-taking Skills

○ Test-taking strategies and techniques

○ Make a list of test-taking strategies that you plan to use in taking your next test.

○ After receiving feedback from your test, explain how the test-taking strategies and

techniques helped you and any changes you would make for the next test.

● Assessment Item: Using a Google Doc organizer template, students will select

appropriate learning, note-taking, and exam prep strategies based on scenario needs.

They will then defend the applicability of their selections.

Lesson 5: ​Effective Time Management Skills

Given a scenario with a typical academic schedule, students will apply time management skills

towards developing a plan for attending classes, completing assignments on time, managing

group work, and managing extracurricular activities.

● Time Management Skills​ (from ​Skills You Need website)

○ The Priority Matrix

■ Utilize the Priority Matrix to map out tasks that you need to do.

○ Avoiding procrastination

■ Make a plan to avoid procrastination.

○ Creating a schedule

■ Learn the importance of creating a schedule.

○ Steps to making a schedule and sticking to it


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 62

■ Make a schedule that works for you and your work.

○ Motivation
■ After reading the article about motivation, map out your ritual and routine

and schedule your motivation.

○ Setting goals

■ Set goals for success.

● Assessment Item: Students will create and evaluate a time-management plan using a

Google Docs template.

Module 3: College Resources

Lesson 6:​​ Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

● Read the ​information from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities​ at UNCG.

● Watch the tutorial and take the quiz​ related to academic integrity and student conduct at

UNCG.

● Assessment Item: Students will respond to multiple-choice and open-response quiz items.

Lesson 7:​​ Managing Your Finances

● Money tips for college students

○ Examine money tips to use while in college.

● Ways to manage your money while in college

○ Explore ways to manage your money.

● Assessment Item: Students will use an online budgeting tool to create a budget

incorporating scenario-based criteria. They will analyze and evaluate the finished

budget, and discuss how specific university resources could benefit them with regard to

particular budget items or in terms of the scenario itself.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 63

Lesson 8:​​ University Resources

● Academic advising

○ Meet with your advisor to make an academic plan for degree completion to learn

about:

■ your academic plan for attaining your degree

■ your academic program of study

■ your degree requirements

○ Submit this plan as a formative assessment.

● Financial Assistance

○ Expert voices: Webinar with campus finance representatives to learn about:

■ Financial aid

■ Grants

■ Scholarships

■ Work-study programs

○ Formative assessment: students discuss which of these elements will be most

beneficial for them personally and explain how to take advantage of those

opportunities.

● Student Health Services

○ Expert voices: Webinar with campus health services representatives to learn

about:

■ Illness and injury management

■ Appointments with a nurse


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 64

■ Appointments with a nurse

■ Physicals

■ Flu shots and other vaccinations

■ Substance abuse

■ Sexual health services

■ Mental health counseling

● Campus Security

○ Expert voices: Webinar with campus security officers to learn about:

■ Campus safety

■ Security escort system

■ Roadside assistance

■ Dorm security

■ Underage drinking laws

■ Parking regulations

■ Parking lot surveillance

● Technology Services

○ Expert voices: Webinar with campus technology services to learn about:

■ Access to course information

■ Assistance with Google tools and Web 2.0 tools

■ Assistance with computer issues and other technology/access problems

■ Assistance with email and communication tools

■ Assistance with online courses


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 65

○ Formative assessment: students find contact information for the appropriate office

to contact about specific tech-related issues.

● Tutoring and support services

○ Expert voices: Webinar with tutoring and support services to learn about:

■ Academic coaching

■ Writing center

■ Math tutoring

■ Small group tutoring

■ Assessment of student learning

■ Career services

■ Understanding career paths

● Assessment Item: Students will respond to multiple-choice quiz items and will apply

understanding of their personal needs by responding to an open-response prompt.

Prerequisites

Since the ​College Freshman Success ​course will be a required course for all first year,

traditional freshmen students, no prerequisite courses or skills will be required. It is assumed that

all of the freshmen have met the university’s minimum admission requirements. Since the

purpose of the course is to address the unique skills deficits of each student and to build on

existing skills, no specific prerequisites will be expected.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 66

Design Blueprint

Overview for Design Blueprint

The design blueprint is intended to synthesize the key design elements — instructional

goals, learning objectives and outcomes, and content sequencing. This design blueprint

communicates the visual appearance of the learning environment and provides an idea of the

user-interface and navigational formatting.

Based on the task analysis, the College Freshman Success course goals are as follows:

Terminal Goal:

● Students will establish knowledge, skills, and strategies for succeeding in university-level

courses and adapting to the rigors of college and adult life.

Subordinate Goals:

● Students will explore career aptitudes and college majors, as well as the requirements of

each.

● Students will analyze their learning styles and multiple intelligence strengths and apply

them to university-level academic requirements.

● Students will apply constructive, professional communication techniques to university

scenarios.

● Students will identify and employ learning strategies necessary to succeed in

university-level academics.

● Students will identify campus and virtual resources that can contribute to their success in

the university setting.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 67

The course has been divided into three modules with the following terminal learning objectives:

● Module 1: Understanding Yourself - ​Students will identify their personality type and

will explore how their personality type influences their academic and career interests, as

well as their learning style. Students will also identify strategies for incorporating their

learning style into their learning activities and will begin applying those strategies

throughout their course studies.

● Module 2: Essential College Skills - ​Students will develop essential skills for

succeeding in their academic studies, including communication skills, study skills, and

time management skills, and will apply these skills in their current and future college

courses.

● Module 3: College Resources​​ - ​Students will demonstrate awareness of their university

community after learning the university’s academic and conduct policies, as well as

identifying helpful resources available to students. Students will also develop sound

financial literacy by learning about personal budgeting, student loans, and financial aid.

The design blueprint and the design prototype will focus on the development of one portion of

the overall course:

Module 1: Understanding Yourself

Lesson 1:​​ Your Personality and Your Learning Style

Terminal objective: Using personality assessment resources, students will define their

individual learning style(s) and apply their identified style(s) in

university courses.
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 68

Overview of Design Plan

Instructional Plan Big Picture

This project’s instructional plan incorporates cognitivist learning theory to prepare

freshman university students for success in their post-secondary education. The course’s

learning context is web-based; however, so too is much of the performance context. For this

reason, the course integrates both learning and performance contexts on multiple occasions.

Where these contexts do not overlap, instruction focuses on transfer of learning through

scenario-based practice.

The course comprises eight lessons, divided into three modules. Each lesson aligns to a

specific learning objective. Module 1 covers objectives that fall under the umbrella of

Understanding Yourself, which are represented by lessons on Your Personality and Your

Learning Style and Your Personality and Your Career. Module 2 includes objectives that fall

under the umbrella of Essential College Skills, which are represented by lessons on Effective

Communication, Effective Study Skills, and Effective Time Management Skills. Module 3

covers objectives that fall under the umbrella of College Resources, which are represented by

lessons on Academic Integrity and Student Conduct, Managing Your Finances, and University

Resources.

Content within the lessons will include reading, exploring university and outside

resources, completing ungraded activities, and completing assessments. Student learning in each

lesson will be assessed through completion of a summative activity designed to evaluate multiple

skills developed throughout the lesson. Each lesson will also include multiple formative

assessment activities designed to allow students practice with individual skills and resources
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 69

before synthesizing that learning in a transferable way.

Instructional Strategies Big Picture

Content in each unit will be introduced through written text and/or video. The purpose of

these introductory sections will be to contextualize the resources and skills that students will be

expected to employ within the lesson. Written and video content will also be utilized throughout

each lesson to provide further information and contextualization regarding individual resources

and skills as they are covered. In addition to context-based text and video, modules will also use

these instructional formats for tutorials on relevant skills and resources.

Learning will take place primarily outside of the course website. Students will spend a

majority of their time exploring individual resources, applying skills, and working to synthesize

multiple examples of each. Although each module will be very structured, students will also

have a significant element of choice in many lessons. For instance, students will be allowed to

choose careers/majors to explore and compare, they will be able to experience multiple

notetaking methods and choose which works best for them, and they will create time

management plans based on their own personal priorities (academic and otherwise). A balance

between structure and choice will both support student learning for new university students and

increase motivation by highlighting personal applicability.

Because this project’s focus is primarily on developing applicable knowledge and skills,

assessments will focus primarily on application. This is the case for both formative and

summative assessments. The main difference between each lesson’s formative assessments and

its summative activity is that the formative assessments will generally allow students to apply

one particular skill or area of knowledge while the summative activity will allow students to
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 70

synthesize multiple skills or areas of knowledge before applying them to scenarios based on

real-world needs.

Alignment to Learning Theories, Instructional Design Principles, and Previous Analyses

This project’s content is designed to reflect cognitivist learning theory – the idea that

“learning is a change in knowledge” (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p. 83). Cognitive theory

approaches learning by focusing on “discrete changes in internal mental associations and states

of knowledge” where “the learner is actively involved in acquiring knowledge and forming

internal mental structures (schemas) by building on and adjusting prior knowledge” (Larson &

Lockee, 2014, p. 83). Many of the skills required for the successful completion of a four-year

university are introduced from early ages. The skills are built upon year after year, and each

student arrives as a freshman with a unique set of academic skills and prior knowledge. This

course will integrate cognitivist theory within which students will build upon their level of

expertise and prior content knowledge.

Alignment between cognitivist theory and instructional design (Ertmer & Newby, 2103):

● Types of learning

○ Complex forms of learning: The material included in the ​College Freshman


Success i​ s best taught using cognitive theory because “cognitive theories are

usually considered more appropriate for explaining complex forms of learning

(reasoning, problem-solving, information-processing)” (Ertmer & Newby, 2013,

p. 52). The ​College Freshman Success ​course requires these reasoning and

problem-solving skills needed to utilize acquired knowledge in everyday practice.

● Prior knowledge: The instructional design must incorporate a student’s prior knowledge
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 71

and build on the previously acquired knowledge. According to Ertmer & Newby, in

cognitivism theory “Prior knowledge is used to establish boundary constraints for

identifying the similarities and differences of novel information” (Ertmer & Newby,

2013, p. 52). For the skills needed for successful learning outcomes and knowledge

transfer, students must be able to put knowledge into practice.

● Transfer of knowledge: The instruction provided in the ​College Transfer Success ​course

will provide practice which will support the student’s ability to transfer material into an

authentic environment – the classroom. In the case of the ​College Freshman Success

course, learning outcomes depend on the successful transfer of knowledge into practice.

For example, a lesson involving instruction on note-taking can only be successful if the

student is able to transfer the knowledge into accurate and useful note-taking skills.

● Guidelines for incorporation of cognitivist theory (Larson & Lockee, 2014) that will be

incorporated in the course design:

○ Providing explanations

○ Providing practice with feedback

○ Helping students connect new knowledge with prior knowledge


○ Motivating by providing choice to learners


○ Eliminating non-essential information

○ Chunking instruction

The course’s learning objectives will be based on Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction as a

framework to support and guide the instructional design. These events of instruction will guide

the design ​for each module, which will include informing learners of the objective(s), stimulating
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 72

prior learning, presenting the stimulus, providing learning guidance, eliciting performance,

providing feedback, assessing performance, and enhancing transfer. The course will integrate

Gagne’s verbal, cognitive, and intellectual domains of learning by requiring students to discuss

content/information, utilize different means of facilitating thinking and schema-building, and use

knowledge skills to solve problems within specified parameters.This course is focused primarily

on application of skills. Although students will have to remember, understand, analyze, and

evaluate content, scenarios, etc. throughout the course, they will be assessed mainly on their

synthesis and application of component skills to address complex needs.

The course’s objectives are based on the needs identified in current academic literature

and by questionnaires administered to university students. The overarching intent is to improve

persistence rates at the postsecondary level. To accomplish this, this project will target

first-semester university freshmen. To ensure that the course has broad enough appeal to benefit

students of all backgrounds, measures will be taken to keep content accessible to all levels of

physical ability and to make certain it is culturally non-specific. The course modules will be

structured to develop specific skills in support of that goal. Each module’s content will introduce

information, resources, and skills, and provide opportunities for students to synthesize and apply

their learning.

Instructional Plan

Module 1: Understanding Yourself

Module Objective: ​Students will identify their personality type and will explore how their

personality type influences their academic and career interests, as well as their learning style.

Students will also identify strategies for incorporating their learning style into their learning
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 73

activities and will begin applying those strategies throughout their course studies.

This module will encourage students to explore their personality type and its implications

towards their college life. This module will feature two lessons which will cover how to apply

personality type concepts towards identifying your learning style and towards potential career

interests. Both lessons will feature text-based online instruction with links to relevant external

resources (e.g. external personality assessment tools). Students may review the text instruction

and links at any pace that is comfortable for them, and they may return to the course page at any

point to refer back to the content. At the end of each lesson, students will be asked to complete

an online questionnaire to define their learning style and career interests. For the learning style

lesson, students will also complete an online scenario-based prompt to discuss how their learning

style could be applied to a real-world situation. After the scenario prompt has been completed,

students will be able to review a text explanation of the problem and potential solutions, giving

them the opportunity to reflect and self-assess on their previous response.

Module 1 Content Outline

● Introduction

● Lesson 1.1: ​Your Personality and Your Learning Style

○ Introduction

○ Self-Reflection - What are your strengths, weaknesses, and goals?

○ Personality Tests

■ True Colors Personality Test Link

■ MBTI Personality Test Link

○ Learn about IQ
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■ IQ History Link

○ Learn about Multiple Intelligences Theory

■ Link to Video 1

■ Link to Video 2

■ Multiple Intelligences Strengths Finder Link

○ Explore Your Learning Style

■ NCSU Learning Styles Inventory Link

○ Self-Reflection - How might IQ and multiple intelligences affect your

learning?

○ Activity

■ Complete Learning Style Questionnaire

■ Complete Learning Style Scenario Prompt

○ Scenario Activity Explanation and Review

● Lesson 1.2:​​ Your Personality and Your Career

○ Introduction

○ Self-Reflection Activity - Reflect on desired career and favorite subjects

○ Careers Based on your Personality Type

■ Link to Explore Careers Based on MBTI

■ Link to Article on Personality Type and Careers

■ Link to Careers Matching Your Skills

○ Self-Reflection Activity - Compare career ideas to personality type.

○ Explore majors
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■ Link to: What can I do with a major in… resource

○ Self-Reflection Activity - explore majors at your university

○ Activity

■ Complete Career Interests Questionnaire

● Conclusion

Introduction: ​The module will begin with an introduction which will explain the module

and lesson objectives and emphasize the importance of understanding your personality type,

attitudes, and learning styles within the context of college life. Examples would be used to

illustrate situations in which college students have benefitted from the topics within this module.

Showing a clear, defined purpose that is relevant to the target learners will motivate them to

continue through the lessons.

Lesson 1.1: Your Personality and Your Learning Style: ​Lesson 1 will contain several pages

of text-based instruction covering topics on personality type and learning style.

Lesson 1.1 Introduction:​​ This text page will expand on the module introduction by

explaining the utility of understanding your personality type and learning style. Learners

will be motivated to review the rest of the lesson, as they will understand how the topics

can benefit their own goals.

Self-Reflection 1: ​ To introduce students to the idea of personality types, students will be

asked to reflect on their own strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Examples of strengths,

weaknesses, and goals will be provided on the page to guide learners during their own

self-reflection. This activity will serve as an ice breaker so that students can develop a

general idea of their expected performance before beginning the more-specific


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personality assessment activities on subsequent pages.

Personality Tests: ​The text will define what a personality test is and how they are

commonly used. Examples of similar-age students will be used to illustrate how both

tests are used in day-to-day college life. The history and application of two types of

personality tests will be explained: The True Colors Personality Test and the

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). External links to both a True Colors and MBTI

assessment tool will be provided on the page, and students will be encouraged to try both

types of tests to see what the results are.

Learn About IQ: ​The text on this page will explain what the Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

is and how it is relevant to learning styles. Building on concepts learned from the

Personality Tests page, the text will explain how IQ is different from personality tests and

how it can be applied towards self-reflection. A link to a relevant article about the

history of IQ will also be provided on this page.

Learn About Multiple Intelligences Theory: ​The text will define and explain Howard

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory, its relation to IQ and personality types from the

previous sections, and its applications towards learning styles. External links will be

provided to two relevant videos which expand on the discussion, as well as a Multiple

Intelligences Strengths Finder which students can use in identifying their strengths.

Explore Your Learning Style:​​ This section will explain different types of learning

styles and how they can be derived from the personality type, IQ, and multiple

intelligences concepts from the previous sections. An external link to the NCSU

Learning Styles Inventory will be provided so that students can try applying their ideas
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into a real-world framework.

Self-Reflection 2:​​ For reference, students will be shown a basic review of the topics they

have covered so far in the lesson, so that they do not have to return to previous pages to

review important concepts for this activity. Students will be asked to reflect on how their

IQ and multiple intelligences may influence their own learning. Sub-questions, such as

“How would they influence your learning in a physical classroom? Or an online class?”

would also be provided to contextualize students’ responses.

Activity:​​ For the first part of the activity, students would be asked to complete an online

questionnaire to identify their learning style. The questionnaire will ask questions about

the personality type, strengths, and weaknesses they have identified earlier in the lesson.

At the end of the questionnaire, students would be given a feedback page with the best

match for their learning style. For the second part of the activity, students would be

given a scenario of applying their learning style towards a group project, with team

members who each have different learning styles. Students would be asked to complete

questions related to the prompt.

Students are introduced to Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences with a

description of activities/tasks that fit best with each type of intelligence.

Scenario Activity Explanation and Review:​​ After submitting their scenario prompt, a

text explanation would discuss the problem and possible approaches to the solution.

Because the prompt is open-ended, feedback on this page would not be specific to the

student’s own response.


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Lesson 1.2: Your Personality and Your Career: ​ Lesson 1.2 will continue directly after

completion of lesson 1.1 and will build on to concepts learned in lesson 1.1. Text-based

instruction will be used to discuss the relevance of personality type to potential career interests.

Lesson 1.2 Introduction: ​ The introduction will provide a basic review of personality

concepts covered in lesson 1.1, as the concepts will be utilized again in lesson 1.2 and

students may have taken time in between completing lessons 1.1 and 1.2. The

introduction will continue by discussing how personality can influence your career

interests, and how you can identify meaningful academic and career paths. Examples

will be used to show how similar college students have applied their personality type

towards finding a dream job.

Self-Reflection 1:​​ Students will be asked to reflect on their favorite academic subjects

and desired career path. This reflection will be motivating because it focuses them on

goals they are personally interested in (i.e. learning how they can achieve their desired

career).

Careers Based on Your Personality Type: ​This page will discuss the connection

between personality and career paths, as well as the idea that some careers appeal to

certain personality types. Three resource links will be provided: Explore Careers Based

on MBTI, an article about Personality Type and Careers, and a tool for Careers Matching

Your Skills. Learners will be motivated to explore the links as they will help them reflect

on career paths which are relevant to their interests. Examples of students, their

personality types, and their career paths would also be shown to illustrate how these

concepts can work together. Both short-term (recent graduates) and long-term
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(experienced alumni) examples would be used to demonstrate the lifelong relevance of

the course material.

Self-Reflection 2: ​Students will be asked to consider their personality type and the

careers they explored in the previous section. Learners will reflect on how their

personality type may help them pursue their career interests, and how to use those

strengths to their advantage. Again, students are motivated by the fact that they are

exploring career paths which are of specific interest to them.

Explore Majors: ​ Building upon career interests established in the earlier sections,

students will learn how to explore potential majors. Rather than provide a description of

all common majors, many of which may be irrelevant to the learners’ interest, instead this

section will talk about the steps one could take to learn about majors at their university.

A link to an external: What can I do with a major in… resource will also be used as a

general reference for those whose university may not have a similar resource.

Activity: ​ Students will complete an online career interests questionnaire where they will

answer questions about their academic and career interests. The feedback page will

explain the general area which matches the student’s responses (business, health, science,

education, etc.) and will reiterate topics from the Explore Majors section on how to learn

more about potential career paths and majors. Because of the broad backgrounds of

students using the course, the feedback will focus on how to conduct further individual

research.

Module 2: Essential College Skills: Examine, Investigate, Explore

Module Objective: ​Students will develop essential skills for succeeding in their academic
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studies, including communication skills, study skills, and time management skills, and will apply

these skills in their current and future college courses.

Module 2 Content Outline

●​​ I​ ntroduction

●​​ L
​ esson 2.1: Effective Communication Skills

○​ I​ ntroduction

○​ S
​ kills You need website

○​ I​ nvestigate and Understand different types of communication skills and

associated communication etiquette

■​ V
​ erbal link

■​ N
​ on-verbal link

■​ I​ nterpersonal link

■​ L
​ istening link

■​ W
​ ritten link

■​ T
​ eamwork link

○​ F
​ ormative Assessment – Communication types

○​ S
​ cenario Based Prompt Responses

●​ ​ ​Lesson 2.2: Effective Study Skills

○​ I​ ntroduction

○​ N
​ ote-taking skills

■​ E
​ xamine link

■​ I​ nvestigate link
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■​ L
​ earn link

■​ W
​ atch link

■​ D
​ ownload link

■​ I​ nvestigate link

■​ D
​ ownload link

■​ I​ nvestigate link

■​ L
​ earn link

■​ E
​ xplore link

■​ L
​ earn link

■​ P
​ ractice using note-taking methods in courses

■​ D
​ etermine the most effective note-taking method for you

■​ F
​ ormative assessment – poll on student performance

○​ M
​ emorizing Skills

■​ M
​ emorization techniques link

■​ M
​ ore memorizing techniques link

■​ P
​ ractice using memorization techniques in courses

■​ D
​ etermine the most effective memorization tool for you

■​ F
​ ormative assessment – memorization games (H5P)

○​ T
​ est Preparation Skills

■​ T
​ ips for studying link

■​ M
​ ore tips for studying link

■​ P
​ ractice using test preparation skills
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■​ E
​ xplanation of how study tips have helped and what you would change

○​ T
​ est-taking skills

■​ T
​ est taking strategies and techniques link

■​ C
​ reating a list of test-taking strategies

■​ E
​ xplanation of how the test taking strategies and techniques have

helped

■​ G
​ oogle doc organizer - select appropriate earning, note taking, and

exam prep strategies based on scenario needs

●​ ​ ​Lesson 2.3: Effective Time Management Skills

○​ I​ ntroduction

○​ T
​ ime Management Skills link

■​ T
​ he Priority Matrix link

●​ M
​ ap out tasks that you need to do

■​ A
​ voiding procrastination link

●​ M
​ ake a plan to avoid procrastination

■​ C
​ reating a schedule link

●​ L
​ earning the importance of creating a schedule

■​ S
​ teps to making a schedule and sticking to it link

●​ M
​ aking a schedule that works for you and your work

■​ M
​ otivation link

●​ M
​ ap out ritual and routine and schedule motivation

■​ S
​ etting goals link
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●​ S
​ et personal goals for success

○​ C
​ reate and Evaluate a time-management plan using a Google Docs template

Introduction: ​The module will begin with an introduction, which will explain the

module and lesson objectives and emphasize the importance of having general effective college

skills such as communication skills, study skills, and time management skills. Examples would

be used to illustrate situations in which college students have benefitted from the topics within

this module. Showing a clear, defined purpose that is relevant to the target learners will motivate

them to continue through the lessons.

Module 2 – Lesson 2.1 Effective Communication Skills: ​Lesson 1 will contain several pages

of text-based instruction covering topics on effective communication skills.

Module 2 – Lesson 2.1: Introduction:​​ This text page will expand on the module introduction

by explaining the importance of having effective communication skills. Learners will be

motivated to review the rest of the lesson, as they will understand how the topics can benefit

their own goals.

Explore Good Communication Skills:​​ This section will explain the importance and

purpose of good communication skills. An external link to the Skills You Need Website

will be provided so that students can examine what effective communication is and apply

in regards to a real-world framework.

Types of Communication Skills Activity: ​The text will define the different types of

communication type associated with communication etiquette. Links in regards to verbal

communication, non-verbal communication, interpersonal communication, listening,

written communication, and teamwork will all be provided in order to allow for the
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students to research additional information on each.

Formative Assessment: ​As students move through the module content they will practice

etiquette associated with each of the above communication types.

Scenario Activity Explanation and Review:​​ After submitting their scenario prompt, a

text explanation would discuss the problem and possible approaches to the solution. A

skill-based rubric will be used to assess the student’s application of knowledge, allowing

students to demonstrate specific interpersonal communication skills.

Module 2 – Lesson 2.2: Effective Study Skills: ​Lesson 1 will contain several pages of

text-based instruction covering topics on effective communication skills.

Module 2 – Lesson 2.2: Introduction:​​ This text page will expand on the module introduction

by explaining the importance of having effective study skills.

Explore Note-taking Skills:​​ This section will explain the importance and purpose of

good note-taking skills. An external link to the following will be provided so that

students can examine what effective communication is and apply in regards to a

real-world framework:

o​ H
​ ow to take great notes

o​ C
​ ornell notes

o​ M
​ ore about Cornell notes

o​ C
​ ornell notes template

o​ O
​ utline notes

o​ M
​ ind mapping notes

o​ M
​ ore about mind mapping notes
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 85

o​ N
​ ote-taking applications to help with your work

o​ H
​ ow to take notes from a textbook

Note-taking Activity:​​ For the first part of the activity, students would be asked to

practice using the different types of note taking skills in their class for the week. Students

will then determine which note-taking method would be the most effective for them and

under what type of circumstances. The questionnaire will ask questions about the

student’s preference in note taking along with a brief section that allows for the students

to give a brief explanation of their choice.

Explore Memorization Skills:​​ This section will explain the importance and purpose of

good note-taking skills. An external link to Learn different techniques for memorization

and more memorizing techniques will be provided so that students can examine the

different memorization techniques.

Memorization Skills Activity:​​ For the first part of the activity, students would be asked

to practice using the different types of memorization skills in their class for the week.

Students will then determine memorization method would be the most effective for them

and under what type of circumstances. Students will then play a memorization game to

assess their learning.

Explore Test Preparation Skills:​​ This section will explain the importance and purpose

of good test preparation and studying skills. An external link to Tips for studying and

more tips for studying will be provided so that students can examine what effective test

preparation and study skills are apply in regards to a real-world framework.

Test Preparation Skills Activity:​​ For the first part of the activity, students would be
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asked to practice using test preparation skills for an upcoming exam. After receiving

results of the test students will explain how the study tips helped and what (if anything)

they would change for the next test in an open response format.

Explore Test Taking Skills:​​ This section will explain the importance and purpose of

good test taking skills. An external link to Test taking strategies and techniques will be

provided so that students can examine what effective test taking skills are and apply in

regards to a real-world framework.

Test Taking Skills Activity:​​ For the first part of the activity, students would be asked to

practice using test-taking skills on an upcoming exam. After receiving results of the test

students will explain how the test taking strategies and techniques helped and any

changes they would make for the next exam.

Conclusion: ​Using a Google document organizer template students will select appropriate

learning, note-taking, and exam preparation strategies based on scenario needs. Within this

document the student will write and defend the applicability of their selections.

Module 2 – Lesson 2.3: Effective Time Management Skills: ​Lesson 1 will contain several

pages of text-based instruction covering topics on effective communication skills.

Module 2 – Lesson 2.3: Introduction:​​ This text page will expand on the module introduction

by explaining the importance of having effective study skills.

Explore Time Management Skills:​​ This section will explain the importance and

purpose of good time management skills. An external link to The Priority matrix,

Avoiding Procrastination, Creating a schedule, Steps to making a schedule and sticking to

it, Motivation, and Setting goals will be provided so that students can examine what
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effective time management skills are and apply in regards to a real-world framework.

Activity:​​ For this part of the activity students will be required to map out the tasks that

they need to do. They will also create a plan that will allow for them to avoid

procrastination. From the research completed the student will have learned the

importance of creating a schedule and then will create a schedule that works for that

individual students and their work. After reading the article about motivation, the student

will also map out their ritual and routine, schedule their motivation and set goals for

success.

Conclusion:​​ During this required activity students will use a Google document template

to create and evaluate a time management plan of their own.

Module 3: College Resources

Module Objective: ​Students will demonstrate awareness of their university community after

learning the university’s academic and conduct policies, as well as identifying helpful resources

available to students. Students will also develop sound financial literacy by learning about

personal budgeting, student loans, and financial aid.

Module 3 College Resources

● Introduction

● Lesson 3.1: Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

○ Introduction

○ Information from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities link

○ Integrity and Student Conduct Tutorial link

○ Respond to Multiple-choice and open response quiz items


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○ Formative Assessment – Communication types

○ Scenario Based Prompt Responses

● Lesson 3.2: Managing Your Finances

○ Introduction

○ Money Tips for College Students link

■ Examine the money tips provided

○ Ways to manage your money while in college link

○ Online budgeting tool to create a budget based on scenario based criteria

● Lesson 3.3: University Resources

○ Introduction

○ Academic Advising

■ Meet with your advisor to make an academic plan for degree completion

■ Submit this plan as a formative assessment

○ Financial Assistance

■ Webinar with campus finance representatives

■ Formative assessment – discuss which of the elements provided in the

webinar will be the most beneficial and how to take advantage of those

opportunities

○ Student Health Services

■ Webinar with campus health services representatives

○ Campus Security

■ Webinar with campus security officers


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○ Technology Services

■ Webinar with technology services

○ Tutoring and Support services

■ Webinar with tutoring and support services

○ Respond to multiple choice quiz items and apply understanding by responding to

the open-response prompt

Introduction: ​The module will begin with an independent exploration from provided

links, which will explain the module and lesson objectives and emphasize the importance using

college resources provided. Examples would be used to illustrate situations in which college

students have benefitted from the topics within this module. Showing a clear, defined purpose

that is relevant to the target learners will motivate them to continue through the lessons.

Module 3 – Lesson 3.1: College Resources: ​Lesson 1 will contain several pages of text-based

instruction covering topics on effective communication skills.

Module 3 – Lesson 3.1: Introduction: ​This text page will expand on the module introduction

by explaining the importance of having effective communication skills.

Explore College Resources that Discuss Academic Integrity and Student Conduct:

This section will explain the importance of using college resources in order to obtain

knowledge in regards to academic integrity and student conduct and expectations. An

external link to information from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will

be provided so that students can examine what college resources are available to them

and apply in regards to a real-world framework.

Multiple Choice Activity: ​For this part of the activity students will be required to
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respond to a multiple-choice quiz provided. This quiz will help to determine the student's

knowledge and gained knowledge in regards to the accessibility of college resources on

academic integrity and student conduct as well as where to locate them and how to make

use of these resources.

Module 3 – Lesson 3.2: ​Managing Your Finances: Lesson 1 will contain several pages of

text-based instruction covering topics on effective communication skills.

Module 3 – Lesson 3.2: Introduction: ​This text page will expand on the module introduction

by explaining the importance of having effective communication skills.

Explore College Resources that Discuss Managing Your Finances: ​This section will

explain the importance of using college resources in order to obtain knowledge in regards

to managing your finances. An external link to Money tips for college students and ways

to manage your money in college will be provided so that students can examine what

college resources are available to them and apply in regards to a real-world framework.

Budgeting Tool Activity: ​For this part of the activity students will use an online

budgeting tool to create a budget incorporating scenario-based criteria. The student will

then analyze and evaluate the finished budget, and then discuss how specific university

resources could benefit them with regard to particular budget items or in terms of the

scenario itself.

Module 3 – Lesson 3.3: University Resources: ​Lesson 8 will contain several pages of

text-based instruction covering topics on effective communication skills.

Module 3 – Lesson 3.3: ​Introduction: This text page will expand on the module introduction by

explaining the importance of obtaining and becoming knowledgeable regarding University


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Resources.

Exploration of College Advising: ​Students will explore and learn about the

importance of using an academic advisor in order to plan for degree completion, to learn

about academic programs of study, creating an academic plan for attaining a degree, and

information in regards to degree requirements. Students will be required to meet with

their academic adviser.

Creating a Plan for Degree Completion Activity: ​Students will create a plan for

degree completion. For this part of the activity students will be required to

create a plan for degree completion. From the research completed the student will have

learned about the requirements involved in order to attain a degree, decide on an

academic plan of study, and become knowledgeable about the requirements for the

degree.

Obtaining a Degree Formative Assessment: ​As students move through the module

content they will practice etiquette associated with requirements related to deciding on

and obtaining a degree.

Financial Assistance Exploration: ​Students will explore obtaining financial assistance.

Students will explore and learn about financial assistance while attending a university.

Students will be required to attend a scheduled webinar with campus finance

representatives in order to learn about financial aid, grants, scholarships and work-study

programs.

Financial Assistance Formative Assessment: ​As students move through the module

content they will practice etiquette associated with requirements related to obtaining
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financial assistance. Students will be required to discuss which elements will be the most

beneficial to them and explain how to take advantage of those opportunities.

Health Services Exploration: ​Students will explore obtaining student health services.

Students will explore and learn about illness and injury management, scheduling

appointments with the nurse, scheduling physicals, flu shots and vaccinations, substance

abuse, sexual health services and mental health counseling. Students will be required to

attend a scheduled webinar with campus health service representatives.

Campus Security Exploration: ​Students will explore campus security and the services

offered. Students will explore and learn about campus safety, security escort systems,

roadside assistance, dorm security, underage drinking laws, parking regulations, and

parking lot surveillance. Students will be required to attend a scheduled webinar with

campus security representatives.

Technology Services Exploration: ​Students will explore technology services and the

services offered. Students will explore and learn about how to access course information,

how to obtain assistance with Google tools and web 2.0 tools, assistance with computer

issues and other technology, assistance with email and communication tools, and

assistance with online courses. Students will be required to attend a scheduled webinar

with technology services representatives.

Technology Services Formative Assessment: ​As students move through the module

content they will practice etiquette associated with requirements related to technology

services. Students will be required to find contact information for the appropriate location

and personnel members related to specific technology related issues.


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Support Services Exploration: ​Students will explore tutoring and support services

Students will explore and learn about academic coaching, the writing center, math

tutoring, small group tutoring, assessment of student learning, career services, and

understanding career paths. Students will be required to attend a scheduled webinar with

tutoring and support staff representatives.

Conclusion: ​During this required activity students will use a Google document template to

respond to multiple choice quiz items and apply their understanding of their personal needs by

responding to an open-response prompt.

Instructional Strategies

In previous phases of our project, we have relied upon Robert Gagne’s work in

developing our instructional product. In our content analysis, we used Gagne’s five types of

learning taxonomy to classify the learning needed to achieve each of our eight lesson objectives.

From this process, we found that every objective required cognitive strategy, and others also

required development of intellectual skills and attitudes. After reviewing potential instructional

design strategy frameworks, we concluded that Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction framework

would be the best fit for our project and would also complement our findings from his taxonomy

in the Content Analysis.

Gagne’s Instructional Design Theory focuses on “learned capabilities or learner

outcomes” (Larson & Lockee, 2014, pg. 102). The learner outcomes are based on the assumption

that there are different types of learning and that different instructional conditions are most likely

to bring about these different types of learning” (Larson & Locke, 2014, pg. 102). Gagne’s

theory intentionally focused on the mental implications of the learning and the materials
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provided were based on provided learning conditions. As a result of the learning, retention levels

will be heightened and some aspect of the learner’s lives will be enriched (Larson & Locke,

2014,).

Below, we have listed each of Gagne’s nine events and discussed the design decisions for

our product which will fulfill each of those events.

1. Gain attention​​ - Attention will be managed throughout the course using realistic

examples, explanations of how the course can benefit learners, and active engagement.

At the start of each lesson, a story about a college student will be featured to illustrate

how the content from the lesson helped that student in their college studies. These stories

will be written in first-person to make the story feel more personal and relatable, whereas

the rest of the lesson is written in a more formal third person point-of-view. These

examples will grab attention because they are written in a different “voice” from the rest

of the lesson and speak to how the student can personally benefit from the content in the

lesson they are about to complete. Students will be engaged with the story and will be

motivated to continue moving through the subsequent pages of the lesson. To maintain

attention throughout lessons, we also utilize activities which require active engagement

from the learner, such as self-reflection prompts. These activities will be spaced

throughout each lesson so that students must continually engage with the material as it is

presented.

2. Inform learners of objectives​​ - Learning objectives will be presented during the

introduction of each lesson so that students know what to expect throughout the lesson.

Our course design also allows students to navigate at their discretion to previous pages
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within the lesson, including the lesson objective page. This gives students continual

access to lesson objectives if they feel the need to review it, no matter where they are in

the lesson. In addition to presenting objectives at the start of each lesson, objectives are

also included as a reference on the course’s home page. The homepage listing will help

students with recalling the objectives for each lesson without having to go into each

lesson individually to get that information.

3. Stimulate recall of prior learning​​ - In our learner analysis, we determined that it would

be challenging to predict what prior knowledge, if any, learners had about our course

topics. Although our lesson content is very broad and it seems rational that most learners

would have experience in at least one of the lesson topics, we decided that it would be

best to assume that all learners have no prior knowledge of the course material. For this

reason, we are not planning to actively stimulate recall of prior learning within the

course. That said, the content for each lesson will be written so that learners who do have

prior knowledge will be encouraged to recall that information. For example, Lesson 1

features common types of assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI),

True Colors Personality Test, and Intelligence Quotient (IQ). By using accepted names,

definitions, and examples in our discussion, learners who have taken one of these

assessments will be more likely to recall their experience and test results.

4. Present the content​​ - We will utilize a Learning Management System (LMS) to present

our course online. After completing the needs and learner analyses, we determined that

an asynchronous online format would be ideal for reaching the target audience and

achieving the desired objectives. The format and platform for our course is user-friendly,
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and some students may already have experience in taking courses through an LMS. This

simple, relatable format will help learners focus on the course content instead of on the

features or navigation of the LMS itself. Most of the instruction will be text-based, with

additional graphics, videos, and external links included to supplement the course content.

This mix of media will help in managing learners’ cognitive load so they are not

overwhelmed with too much visual or verbal information (Clark & Mayer, 2016).

5. Provide “learning guidance”​​ – Throughout the entire module a number of rubrics for

each structured activity will be provided. These rubrics will allow for the user to have an

understanding of the task at hand within the activity itself. These rubrics and activities

will provide the learner with a visual tool that will allow for them to understand why the

task is important and gather a better understanding of the concept being taught. The

rubrics and activities will also be used as an evaluation tool for both the learner and the

designer. The learner will be able to determine their own personal needs as they go

through this transitional period and the designer will be able to gather information and

data related to not only the needs of the learner but the needs of the course and freshman

transitional students as a whole. Finally, the rubric will also act as communication tool in

which will allow for the learner and designer to foster some type of discussion.

6. Elicit performance -​​The activities within the provided module allow the learner

opportunities for practice. Each activity provided will allow for the learner to discover,

demonstrate, and evaluate exactly what the have learned about themselves in regards to

their needs during the freshman transitional period. These activities will provide the

learner with new information about themselves during each step/activity as the progress
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through the module. These activities also build upon one another at points. For instance

students may have just completed an activity in which they gather information about their

learning skills. These skills will then be used and applied when completing a reflective

activity within the course or outside of the course in students’ everyday lives.

7. Provide feedback -​​ Learners are provided several opportunities for self-reflection and

general feedback at the end of each prompt. Each activity within the modules provides

the learner the opportunity to reflect on what knowledge, skill or opportunity was

presented during the actual learning activity. This reflection may be completed via a

writing prompt or reflective activity, or simply by taking the learned skills and applying

them to an additional activity. The learners are also provided the opportunity to solicit

feedback. This feedback is provided in the form of surveys given to the learners prior to,

during, and after taking the module. This feedback will allow for the designers to

determine the route they will take and assess the learners, as well as the mediums and

activities used to enhance the course itself.

8. Assess performance - ​Throughout the learning students are encouraged to assess their

assignments and determine how they have done on each activity. Each activity will

include a rubric and a reflective activity. Each of these items will allow for the learner to

determine what went well and what didn’t, their own personal strengths and weakness,

additional tools needed outside of the learning in order to increase their chances of

success during the transitional period, as well as the knowledge and skills gained

throughout the activity itself that will be carried on to other activities both within the

course and outside for the course.


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9. Enhance retention and transfer​​ – One of the ultimate goals of the course itself is to

increase the attrition levels of freshman students at the college and university level.

Throughout the course the designers continuously encourage students to apply the lessons

concepts to the next activity within the course but also outside of the course and

continuously throughout the students daily lives. This idea is supported by the realistic

scenarios and activities featured within the course, such as scenarios for studying for a

test or creating a personal budget. Through these scenarios, students will more clearly

visualize how they can apply the skills and knowledge from the course in their own

real-world experiences. If students follow through with applying these skills

appropriately, students’ success levels (academically and socially) should be enhanced

and retention rates should increase.

Instructional Message Design

As explained in the Overview section of this report, given the large size of this course,

this section will focus only on message design for Module 1, Lesson 1.1 (Your Personality and

Your Learning Style). Our group developed a wireframe in Google Slides to simulate the

message and course design. Click on ​this link​ to access the wireframe in Google Slides. Images

of each part of the wireframe are also included below.


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Web Prototype

Overview for Web Prototype

The web prototype provides the opportunity for designers, stakeholders, and users to

experience the course, including:

● course organization

● course format

● curriculum

● interactions between students and instructors, students and peers, and students and

content

● learning tools, assignments, and assessments selected for the course

The web prototype provides the end users and stakeholders with a realistic idea of the

final product. Those who will make use of the course itself will be considered true incoming

freshmen of a post secondary institution. The web prototype synthesizes the key design elements

(instructional goals, learning objectives and outcomes, and content sequencing), communicates

the visual appearance of the learning environment, and provides an idea of the user-interface and

navigational formatting.

We chose Canvas as the platform for our online, asynchronous course. Among the

reasons for selecting Canvas were its ease of use during the design process, ability to support

features needed for the course (quizzes, open-ended text responses, and external videos and

links), and ability to share course content publicly. Learners can access the Canvas course at any

time from any location of their choosing.


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As discussed previously, the course has been divided into three modules which will

address all terminal and enabling learning objectives:

Below is the link to the College Freshman Success web prototype:

● URL: ​https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/BPLCHF

Prototype Composition

Due to the large size of our course, our web prototype will only include content for

Module 1, Lesson 1 of the course. The subsequent lessons in the course are laid out on the

homepage to illustrate the full scope of the project, however the links to those lessons are

disabled for the purposes of this prototype.

Module 1: ​Understanding Yourself

Lesson 1: ​Your Personality and Your Learning Style

Terminal objective: Using personality assessment resources, students will define their

individual learning style(s) and apply their identified style(s) in

university courses.

This lesson takes an estimated 1.5 - 2 hours to complete and includes several interactive

activities, such as reflection prompts and surveys, which must be submitted prior to completion.

The lesson should be completed in the order provided in the course, but learners may spend as

much or as little time as they need on each part of the lesson.

Navigation is managed by Next and Back arrows at the bottom of each page. The

appearance and location of the navigational buttons is the same on every page of the lesson.

Appendix 14 includes screenshots from Lesson 1 of the Canvas course, while ​this link

will show the working version of the prototype.


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Design Rationale

During our needs and learner analyses, we found that our target audience will be in many

different locations, with highly varying course schedules. This would make an in-person course

very difficult to implement and manage. Knowing this, we decided that an online, asynchronous

solution would the ideal delivery method for the target learners.

While determining which online course platform to use, we identified three major goals

that we needed to fulfill with our platform choice: a) Ease of use, b) Support of interactive

features, and c) Easy learner access. After reviewing these goals against potential platforms, we

concluded that Canvas was the ideal choice for our project.

● Ease of Use​​ - Canvas has a very straightforward design which is easy for designers to

work with. The process of bringing our content and activities into Canvas felt simple and

we ran into very few issues while setting up the prototype. Also, Canvas allows for

multiple designers to work on the course simultaneously, meaning that our group could

update the course remotely at any time. We also believe that Canvas’ user-friendly

platform would make it easy to hand the course off to another designer outside of our

group at a later point.

● Support of Interactive Features ​- After completing the design blueprint, we realized

that we needed a platform which could support activities with open-ended text responses

and embedded quizzes and surveys. Canvas provides support for all of these features and

furthermore gives the ability for instructors to review activities submitted by individual

students. Additionally, Canvas supports embedded Youtube videos and links to external

websites, both of which are needed for this course.


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● Easy Learner Access ​- Because our course is not targeting a specific college or

organization, we intend to share this course with a public audience. This way, students

from any college or background can take and benefit from the course. Canvas allows for

courses to be shared publicly, and any learner may utilize the course at no cost to them.

Canvas also provides excellent support for different types of Internet browsers, both on

desktop and mobile devices. Because we cannot predict or control which types of

devices students use to complete the course, we believe that Canvas’ broad support will

maximize the number of learners who can successfully utilize the course.

After using Canvas to implement Lesson 1, our group is very pleased with the

performance and features offered by this platform.

Additional Design Considerations include:

The layout, screens, images, and design of the product have been specifically designed to include

proven design principles. From Clark & Mayer (2016), specific design principles that have been

incorporated are:

1. The Multimedia Principle of:

a. including “relevant visuals as part of the interaction design” (Clark & Mayer,

2016, p. 287)

b. aligning “directions in on-screen text so that learners can easily access all the

important elements in one location” (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 287)

c. using “on-screen rather than keyboard input modes to minimize split attention”

(Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 287)

2. The Coherence Principle of:


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a. “avoiding e-Lessons with extraneous words” (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p.153)

In this project, the focus has been on creating concise text and content to facilitate

learner understanding by “presenting only material that supports instructional

goals” (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 151)

The material for this course has been selected to support instructional goals. In carefully

selecting material, the course design will support all learners, but more specifically students who

have less prior knowledge/skills are more likely to struggle with the college curriculum.

3. The Contiguity Principle of placing “screen words near the part of the on-screen graphics

to which they refer” (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 91)

4. The Segmenting Principle of “breaking the lesson into chunks, and by placing each

chunk of text near the part of the graphic that it describes” (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 398)

This process assists in alleviating the anxiety and cognitive load placed on the learner by

providing simple screens which only include essential information (Clark & Mayer,

2016). In the ​College Freshman Success ​course, the course has been divided into

modules which have been subdivided into lessons with each lesson requiring

approximately 2-3 hours to complete.

The design also incorporates graphic and multimedia design principles discussed in the book

entitled ​White Space is not your Enemy ​(Hagen & Golombisky, 2017). Some important layout

principles that have been included in the design are:

1. A focal point – each slide of the prototype design highlights a particular topic or item

through the use of a photograph or a box that draws the attention of the student.
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2. Positive and negative space - “Whether positive or negative, space is more than a key

element in graphic design. Space is a requirement” (Hagen & Golombisky, 2017, p. 47).

The design incorporates both positive and negative space to enhance flow and readability.

The writing in the slides is broken up through the use of boxes or the amount of text to

provide for a balance of positive and negative space.

3. Gestalt Theory - (Proximity) – The design follows the principle of Proximity – placing

the necessary knowledge/information close to the task (Dirksen, 2016). For example,

definitions, corresponding descriptions, videos, and self-evaluations are placed close

together for quick reference by the student.

4. Fonts – The fonts were chosen to follow the ​White Space is Not Your Enemy​ guidelines

for readability and visibility – particularly selecting a font that is sans serif for easier

readability and using black text on a white background to exceed the WCAG 2.0 AA

guidelines for color contrast. (Hagen and Golombisky, 2017)

Other important design features incorporated based on ​Designing with the Mind in Mind

(Johnson, 2014) include:

1. Visual Structure - The course follows the idea that “the more structured and terse the

presentation of information, the more quickly and easily people can scan and

comprehend” (Johnson, 2014, p. 29). For this reason, each screen has been developed to

follow as similar a pattern as possible among slides so as to facilitate navigation of the

course.

2. Consistency (in the user interface) - “The more consistent the operation of different

functions, or the more consistent the actions of different types of objects, the less users
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have to learn. If everything worked the same way, you would not have to remember

much” (Johnson, 2014, p. 105). Thus, the user interface of the ​College Freshman Success

course has been designed with consistency of use and consistency of form in mind. “We

learn faster when operation is task focused, simple, and consistent” (Johnson, 2014, p.

152). We have applied this idea in design of the interfaces and within the course itself.

Design Constraints

The main constraint of our design is that it does not target any specific college or

organization. Although this decision allows us to capture a wider audience of learners, it also

prevents us from adapting the course material for those specific communities. For example, one

lesson discusses the value of understanding your college’s policies on academic integrity and

personal conduct. While the lesson details how a student would identify and comply with these

policies at a ​typical ​college or university, students’ experiences may vary at their own institution.

Dirksen (2016) emphasizes that content should be relevant to learners to foster motivation and

maximize learners’ feelings of value from the course. By keeping some course elements broad

and not making them specific to a certain university, we do risk losing learner motivation and

attention. That said, we believe that our course is as relevant as it can be for the broad target

audience we defined. Many elements in the course encourage students to explore topics within

the context of their specific college or university, such as doing an independent search for their

college’s academic policies.

We mentioned earlier in this report that Canvas offers excellent support for a diverse

range of browsers and devices, however we acknowledge there are also limitations to using

Canvas. First, the embedded surveys, quizzes, and text response prompts may not be optimized
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for mobile devices, which some learners may favor over desktop and laptop computers. Mobile

device users may be expected to do more scrolling between page elements, whereas PC and Mac

users will likely be able to review course content on the same page. If a mobile device separates

content on the page, requiring users to track and scroll between lesson concepts, learners may

lose focus on the content and their learning retention may be hindered (Clark & Mayer, 2016).

Formative evaluation of mobile device users may shed light on which changes, if any, we may

need to make for that audience. Another option could be to restrict the course only for use on

desktop and laptop computers, although this could alienate learners who do not have those types

of devices or who favor using mobile devices, potentially leading to motivational issues.

Our use of external links and videos also introduces limitations for users with

accessibility needs. External YouTube videos, for example, may not include closed-captioning,

which could be essential for hearing-impaired learners and is required under Section 508

standards (United States Access Board, 2000). Because we cannot control the content or

functionality of these external resources, there is a risk that users may run into accessibility

issues with these parts of the course. A solution could be for our group to replace the external

content with our own self-made content, where we could control the availability of accessibility

features, although this could require more time and budgeting than would be available to us. In

terms of self-created content within the course, Canvas does provide accessibility support for its

courses as well as an accessibility checker to identify potential issues (Canvas, 2017).

Project Evaluation and Pilot Testing Plan

This portion of the Instructional Design process will focus on the measurement of student

learning (assessment) and the determination of what has been learned (evaluation) (Larson &
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Lockee, 2014). The assessment of learning is conducted through both formative and summative

assessments. According to Larson & Lockee (2014), assessments serve three basic purposes:

1. Assessment for learning (pre-testing to determine prior/existing knowledge before course

completion – diagnostic testing and throughout the course – summative testing)

2. Assessment of learning (post-course – summative testing)

3. Assessment as learning (throughout the course and post-course – to encourage students’

self-evaluation of learning)

In addition to providing assessments that follow the three purposes highlighted above, a final

evaluation has been performed through our pilot study and will also be conducted with the

course participants each year. These results will be analyzed longitudinally over time to assess

the effectiveness of the course materials.

Formative Evaluation Plan

Purpose

The purpose of this evaluation is to provide iterative feedback upon which to improve

this project’s instructional materials. “​Continuous evaluation​ produces feedback that facilitates

continuous improvement​ of the instruction” (Larson & Lockee 2014, p. 10). Formative

evaluation of individual materials, as well as usability and accessibility, was undertaken

throughout each stage of the design process. Because this course will be implemented

repeatedly, formative evaluation will also be conducted during each offering, beginning with the

pilot test. Evaluations will need to take into account the course’s objectives, and all adjustments

will need to be made in support of those goals.

Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation will provide a framework for judging the effectiveness
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of this course’s various elements (Table 9). We will assess student reaction, learning, behavior,

and results with regard to the course’s terminal objective of developing ​knowledge, skills, and

strategies for succeeding in university-level courses and adapting to the rigors of college and

adult life.

Table 9:​​ Indicators of Success

Kirkpatrick’s Levels Goals Indicators of Success

Level 1: Reaction Students find the course ● Course analytics of student participation
content engaging and ● Instructor’s subjective analysis of
have a positive overall engagement trends (measured in survey)
experience ● Students’ feelings toward the course
(measured in survey)

Level 2: Learning Students develop the ● Assessment data as students move through
skills and knowledge the course
defined within the
course goals

Level 3: Behavior Students transfer their ● Performance on scenario-based


learning to performance assessments within the course
contexts ● GPA as a metric of successful application
of skills within all classes

Level 4: Results* Students remain in ● Annual enrollment data


college and meet with ● Cumulative GPA
continual success ● Four-year cohort graduation rates
* Results will inform summative evaluation, but this information will also be used to make

necessary adjustments after each course lesson/module.

Audience

The audience for formative assessment of this project comprises the students who will

enroll in this course, as well as any instructors who will implement the course. The students will

be first-semester university freshmen. Having been accepted into college, these students will be

expected to have a basic level of academic achievement in their backgrounds, but will otherwise
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represent all different cultures, ethnicities, physical abilities, nationalities. Because of these

varied student backgrounds, an important element to evaluate will be accessibility, both in terms

of ADA standards and in terms of informal sensitivities. In addition to accessibility, general

usability must also be evaluated. Instructors must also be taken into account in this regard. This

course is being developed with the assumption that it will change hands from instructor to

instructor fairly regularly. Usability for a new instructor must also be closely evaluated.

Major Objectives/Evaluation Questions

Evaluation objectives for this project include ensuring that students are able to meet the

course’s learning objectives and are supported in doing so. Employing Kirkpatrick’s model,

student reaction and learning will be assessed to inform this evaluation (Eseryel, 2002).

Reaction was measured through pilot testing and subsequently by analyzing course evaluations

once the course is implemented. Learning can, of course, be evaluated by assessing student work

submissions within the course modules, as well as by accessing analytics within the learning

management system.

Resources and Evidence

Evidence of student learning and of meeting course objectives will be collected using

Canvas, the course’s learning management system. Student work will be assessed objectively

using assignment rubrics and subjectively at the instructor’s discretion. Grades given by the

instructor based on student achievement and growth will provide the primary basis for any

evaluation of learning in the course. As such, the only external resource necessary to inform this

area of evaluation will be the instructor himself or herself. Many of the resources within the
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course offer students the opportunity to evaluate their own skills, aptitudes, etc., but do not

convey any indication of achievement.

Student reaction to the course will be evaluated by examining several indicators of

engagement. The instructor can look at each student’s level of participation in discussion

forums, group assignments, etc. Course analytics which examine data such as the time each

student spends in the course, how often they access the course, etc. are available within Canvas

and can also provide a glimpse into students’ reactions to the course, as well as the correlation

between engagement and learning. Course surveys provide another indicator of student

engagement, which is generally used as a summative evaluation but which can also be used

formatively to improve future course offerings. Prior to the course’s initial offering, the web

prototype was also piloted with a group of high school students. They were tasked with working

through the module and providing subjective feedback throughout. This feedback was used to

improve course elements before publishing the live course.

Stages of Formative Evaluation

Evaluation has to be undertaken iteratively throughout development, and must pervade

every stage of the development process. When designing each lesson in the ​College Freshman

Success​ course, our group will evaluate the alignment of enabling objectives to the terminal

objective. Further, we will evaluate whether instructional approaches and assessments support

the objectives. During development of lesson 1, we kept these same questions in mind, but also

focused on user experience, specifically attitude, ease of navigation and accessibility. In addition

to formative evaluations to monitor course progress, the formative evaluation plan for lesson 1

also included an expert walk-through and a pilot test from the first course module. Using the
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Dick and Carey (1991) three-stage model (as cited in Morrison, et. al., 2007) would have been

ideal for design of lesson 1 of this project. This would have provided for one-to-one evaluation

beginning early in the process, continuing to small-group evaluation, and finally a field test;

however, lack of time and lack of access to university freshmen to participate in these evaluation

method determined our use of the expert walk-through followed by a small group field test.

While time constraints did not permit the use of the entire model (only the field testing

portion was used), as the remaining course lessons are developed, based on the Dick and Carey’s

three-stage model (as described in Morrison et. al., 2007), formative assessment will be

performed as shown in Table 10.

Table 10: Stages of Formative Evaluation

Stage Instructional Phase Purpose Learners Measures

One-on-One Development of each To assess: Appropriately - Observation of


evaluation lesson/module and of - overall impressions selected learner
the entire course of course individual - Interview with
(after expert - appeal/ ability to UNCG learner
walk-through) motivate freshman - Attitude survey
- course content students - Interview of
- course directions learner
- general attitudes - Learning
- time needed to management
complete system analytics

Small-group Preliminary/draft of Provides: Small groups - Observation of


evaluation each lesson/module - an authentic course (8-20) of learners
and of the entire environment on a incoming - Interviews with
course small scale UNCG learners
(before field testing) - an indication of freshman - Attitude survey
strengths of the students - Results of student
lesson/ module/ performance on
complete course practice, testing
and areas needing - Learning
improvement management
system analytics
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Field testing Completion of design Observe: Incoming - Performance and


of each lesson/ - actual class of attitude survey
module and of the implementation on UNCG - Learning
entire course a small scale freshman management
- feasibility of use students system analytics
on a larger scale
- interaction with
portions of course
revised during
previous formative
evaluation
- effectiveness of
lesson/module and
the entire course

Additionally,, an expert review of each lesson/module and of the entire course will be

performed in order to evaluate the course aesthetics, content accuracy, and adherence to design

theories and principles based on the rubric (Appendix 20). Finally, a self-assessment survey will

be administered to sophomore, junior, and senior level students at the end of each school year

(Appendix 18) to evaluate continued use of the skills obtained during the ​College Freshman

Success​ course and to evaluate far transfer of skills in other varied and more advanced courses.

The results of this continued self-assessment tool will serve as both a formative and summative

instrument.

Initial Findings of Expert Walk-through for Module 1, Lesson 1

The findings from the expert walk-through can be found in their entirety in the pilot

testing report (Appendix 15). The expert walk-through of the lesson was performed by peers in

the instructional design course. The peer evaluators were provided access to the course lesson

and based on an instructor provided rubric (Appendix 20), the lesson was evaluated based
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specific criteria related to:

1 - course goals and objective

2 - instructional design

3 - aesthetics

4 - navigation

5 - narrative

Based on the expert walk-through (Appendix 20) conducted by North Carolina State University

College of Education graduate students, several areas for improvement were noted for

implementation. The areas that were determined to need improvement were:

● adding a time estimate for each lesson (to assist students in managing course load)

● adding student collaboration for lessons that are conducive to this type of activity)

Initial Findings of Pilot/Field Test for Module 1, Lesson 1

After conducting the expert walk-through, a pilot test was conducted. Since a group of

university freshmen was not readily available for the pilot test, a small group of college-bound

high school seniors was selected for the pilot testing. After completing the Module 1, Lesson 1,

these students participated in a short survey (Table 12 in Appendix 15). Based on these survey

results, the following areas for improvement were suggested:

● adding color to the website

● making the website more eye catching

● including less reading

Since the designers had a rationale regarding the appearance and content for each of these

suggestions (such as the color based on accessibility guidelines), no changes were made based on
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this feedback; however, the large variation in amount of time needed to complete the lesson will

be reviewed and analyzed. Following pilot testing, additional adjustments were made based on

student assessment data, as well as learning analytics compiled within the LMS.

Methods for Formative Evaluation

Pre- and post-course surveys prepared for students and instructors (Appendices 16 and

17), a survey given to students in subsequent years to review continued application of skills

acquired (Appendix 18), and a survey of instructors who teach freshmen (Appendix 19) will

provide valuable information regarding acquisition and transfer of knowledge learned in the

College Freshman Success ​course.

Analyzing evaluation data will require examining collection resources and picking out

trends and specific action areas. In order for indicators of student learning to be utilized

effectively, it will be important to understand what exactly they indicate. If, for instance, ten

students in a class of fifteen score poorly on an assignment, they may have simply not done the

work and failed as a consequence. More probably, though, there was a problem with the

assignment itself. It is often necessary to delve deeper into an issue to address it effectively.

Analyzing student responses item-by-item or criterion-by-criterion might be necessary to

uncover specific trends that can be addressed.

Looking for trends in course analytics and survey results also sheds light on issues falling

under the umbrella of student reaction. Are there specific points in the course where

participation dips? Do surveys indicate that the course was difficult to navigate? Are students

scoring poorly in certain parts of the course but not in others? Is there a correlation between

engagement and achievement? Examining the data will require looking for specific trends that
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might not be obvious from a cursory look. Analyzing these figures in an effort to improve the

course will require a taking purposeful and inclusive approach to scrutinizing all data sources.

These data sources will be approached following Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation.

Specific emphasis will be placed on data, such as course analytics and student survey results,

reflecting student reaction to the course content, as well as assessment data reflecting student

learning. We will further analyze student performance on scenario-based assessments and GPA

trends as indicators of students’ learning transfer.

Summative Evaluation Plan

The ultimate purpose of this summative evaluation is to measure performance

improvement in specific skill areas that contribute to overall student persistence rates. Specific

performance improvement will be expected in the form of test taking skills, study skills, note

taking skills, memorization skills, and test preparation skills. Improved performance in these

areas will translate, then, to an increase in the university’s overall persistence rates. In order to

determine if a design is successful, one should plan with the end in mind (Larson & Locke,

2014). In order to determine whether or not the design of the course was successful, the creators

will conduct a summative evaluation procedure at the end of the course (Larson & Locke, 2014).

Conducting a summative evaluation after the instruction has taken place will allow for the

creators to uphold the process of “continuous evaluation and feedback in order to facilitate the

continuous improvement of the instruction” (Larson & Locke, 2014, p.10). This procedure would

include soliciting feedback in regards to students’ personal feelings and preparedness, testing and

measuring student comprehension of course concepts, collecting and analyzing data of first year

student’s usage of university resources and measuring the persistence rates of freshmen who
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completed the course. During the summative evaluation, data collected will reflect what the

learners experienced, whether or not the learners gained the intended knowledge, and whether or

not there is room for improvement (Larson & Locke, 2014). Having data in regards to the items

posted above would allow for the creators to gauge the needs for future courses as well as the

needs of the students themselves.

Methods for Summative Evaluation

The goal and intention of the course created was to positively impact and contribute to

the overall persistence rates among college students. In order to assess whether or not the

persistence rates were in fact impacted, the creators of this course assessed the amount of

performance improvement through specific skills such as test taking skills, study skills, note

taking skills, memorization skills, and test preparation skills. Pre- and post-course surveys will

also be given to students in order to gauge their success levels in each of these areas listed. The

pre-survey for students (Appendix 16) will be given prior to the beginning of the course. This

specific survey is reflective and measures the student’s self-assessment of preparedness in the

areas listed above. Once the course is completed, students will then be required to fill out a final

survey (Appendix 17). This survey will measure feelings of preparedness after completions of

learning that has taken place throughout the course. The pre- and post course surveys will be

used in conjunction to evaluate changes in skill level and confidence in ability to succeed.

College professors will also be required to fill out a survey (Appendix 19) in order to measure

their observations of changes in student performance. Additionally, as mentioned in the

description of formative assessment methods, the continued self-assessment of students

(Appendix 18) in their sophomore, junior, and senior years will provide both formative and
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summative feedback. This specific survey will measure student’s success levels over time as the

student progresses through college.

In order to evaluate the course as a whole, the information from the surveys will be

reviewed and the data collected and analyzed. The creators will determine the results of student

learning in specific areas. For example, if students feel as though they have gained skills in areas

such as note taking and have shown growth or skills that may be used in other areas, this increase

may ultimately contribute to their persistence rates. Analyzing the amount of growth and use of

these particular skills will help to determine whether or not there may be a positive increase in

college student persistence rates. Professor input regarding the growth that they have seen, as

well as experiences with their students in their courses due to the learning that has taken place in

during the course, will also be analyzed and used to determine student success rates.

Taking the time to examine student success rates can also allow for the creators to

determine whether or not additional areas of focus and/or skills would need to be included in the

course itself. It would also help to determine additional needs of college students, as well as

skills that college students are lacking as they go through the higher education process. The data

collected as a summative task would be purposeful in determining the impact of the course on

these specific performance gaps as well as any particular revisions that would need to be made

(Larson & Locke, 2014).

Instruments

The instruments used within the summative assessment of this project are final surveys

given to the students who complete the course (Appendix 17), as well as an assessment of

applied use of skills developed through instruction in the course. The survey instrument would
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 126

allow for creators to get a better understanding of how the content may have been beneficial or

lacking benefit to those who took the course. This would also allow creators to understand what

content should be included, what content freshmen require and how the students may use the

content. The assessment of skills would be completed at the end of each year of college (after

subsequent years - sophomore, junior, senior) to determine the ongoing expediency and transfer

of previous knowledge obtained through the course. Students will be more aware of their

personality type and the learning styles and will ultimately be able to apply these items to their

own learning.

Table 11 explains the assessment approaches and instruments that will be used to

measure each of the eight learning objectives from the course. The assessment approaches for

each objective include a mix of in-course activities to affirm students’ understanding and

application of concepts from the lesson, as well as post-course surveys designed to measure

students’ application of lesson concepts in their real-world experiences.

In determining the instruments and assessment items, our group is challenged by the fact

that we do not have direct access to our target learners. Our target learners are located in many

different locations. For this reason, our instruments must be remotely distributable and must be

designed so that a student can complete the entire assessment themselves without outside

assistance. Furthermore, because students would be taking the course voluntarily, the

instruments should not be too invasive or time-consuming. Learners may not be motivated to

complete an assessment if they feel it would require more time than they are willing to offer.

After reviewing potential assessment options, we felt that online activities and surveys would

provide the ideal balance of convenience and data needed for this evaluation.
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 127

Activities within the course, such as quizzes and scenario prompts, will be used to

measure learners’ understanding and application of course concepts. These activities are not

only a great way to encourage learning retention, but a good early indicator of how students are

applying ideas learned throughout the course. Table 11 includes samples of the specific

activities used in each lesson, and detailed explanations of those activities are discussed in the

design blueprint section of this report.

Surveys will be important instruments in both our formative and summative evaluations.

Prior to beginning the course, students will be asked to complete a self-reflection survey

measuring their feelings of preparedness in key areas (Appendix 16). After completing the

course, students will be prompted to fill out one final survey (Appendix 17) with the purpose of

identifying changes in students’ feelings of preparation as well as collecting formative feedback

on the course design. As part of our evaluation plan, we will also send an online survey

(Appendix 19) to university professors to gauge whether their students’ performance has

changed following completion of this course.

For the summative evaluation, we also aim to measure transfer of learning, as well as

long-term student performance, including cumulative GPA and persistence rates year-to-year.

following completion of the course. To do this, students would be asked to complete a

self-assessment at the end of their sophomore, junior, and senior years (Appendix 18), featuring

topics from the course. The self-assessment would ask students to reflect on their college

experiences and discuss which skills from the course, if any, have helped them. The instructor

survey (Appendix 19) will also be circulated and will ask instructors to assess the quality of

students’ skill application to new and varying situations.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 128

Effectiveness of the Learning

The effectiveness of learning can be determined by the student responses during their

evaluation. Students will have the opportunity to provide feedback regarding the usefulness of

the course and what was presented within each lesson. Having direct feedback from the students

in regards to what was beneficial and what wasn’t will be helpful to the creators of the course.

The effectiveness of learning may also be determined by the impact that the specific lessons

(self-assessments) have on the future learning of the students taking the course. If students are

able to make use of what they learned, such as being aware of their personality type or

determining a career path, as they go through college and life, it is fair to say that the there was a

positive impact on the students learning.

Efficiency of the Learning

The time required for students to reach their desired objective may deviate based on each

student. Although students may take these self-assessments, as a class students are still able to

base the amount of time needed to master an objective on themselves and their required learning.

Creators of this course estimate that each lesson should take approximately two hours to

complete.

Although the course is designed for individual student completion, support staff may be

beneficial to the success of the course. Creators suggest that a faculty member or facilitator work

with and mentor students through each lesson to provide practice, feedback, and suggestions.

Staff and personnel will also be needed to facilitate contacts with college resources and experts

in the topic areas.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 129

This course is designed for students to make use via the Internet. Although no specific

location is required it is suggested by the creators that students take this course within a

classroom computer lab. The electronic devices used must be equipped with basic software and

internet capability.

Project Costs

The only project costs are related to designer salary costs within the university. Any

designer hours would come from university employee salaries. Additionally, the time invested by

other staff members is already part of the University expenditures. No additional money will

have to be spent on a new learning management system or outside expenses. Making use of the

medium Canvas which is already owned by the University, allowed for an interface that did not

add to the University’s expenses. All resources within the course utilize free electronic resources

that could be accessed via the Internet. Post secondary institutions may choose to charge students

a cost for taking this course if they so choose. Most universities charge a flat fee for any courses

taken during the duration of a student’s academic career at that particular college or university.

Attitudes of Stakeholders

The attitudes of the stakeholders will be measured through the use of feedback surveys

(Appendix 17). Some of these feedback surveys will take place as students go through the course

in order to measure their own personal learning. At the end of the course students will be given a

feedback survey in regards to the navigation and accessibility of the course as well as its

usefulness and relevance to the first-year college student experience.

Long-term Benefit
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 130

The items presented throughout the course will have a number of long-term benefits.

Module one will focus on a list of self-assessment and self-awareness tools that students will

take in order to get a better understanding of their personality types and learning styles. Being

able to determine their own needs, as an individual will have a lasting impact as students

continue throughout their academic career and through the remainder of their lives. Students will

take with them the information gained through future schooling and future employment.

The transfer of learning and performance related to study skills, test taking, and note taking after

having students take the course will be assessed and determined by including questions within

the survey given to professors (Appendix 19) that will provide the creators with feedback in

regards to overall student success over time and through courses.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 131

Table 11: ​List of Learning Objectives with Relevant Assessment Instruments for
Module 1, Lesson 1

Objective Instructional Assessment Sample Assessment


Strategy Approach Items

1. Using personality Asynchronous online Reflection activities Students will


assessment resources, lesson with requiring application complete a
students will define self-guided activities. of concepts from the questionnaire to
their individual lesson. define their learning
learning style(s) and style(s). They will
apply their identified Post-course survey to respond to a
style(s) in university determine whether scenario-based
courses. students have used prompt by applying
concepts from the their learning style(s)
lesson in their actual and discussing how
college experiences. that application can
benefit their
academic success.

Survey questions
(Appendix 4) ask
whether students
have applied their
learning style in their
college experiences.
(Questions 2, 5, 7)

2. Using personality Asynchronous online Reflection activities Students complete an


and career assessment lesson with requiring application exploratory research
resources, students self-guided activities. of concepts from the form in Google Docs
will evaluate lesson. to compare careers
potential areas of based on personality
study or career paths Post-course survey to assessment results.
which match their determine whether
interests. students have used Survey questions
concepts from the (Appendix 4) ask
lesson in their actual whether students
college experiences. have explored careers
using their
personality type.
(Questions 3, 4, 5)
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 132

3. Given common Asynchronous online Reflection activities Students will


university scenarios, lesson with requiring application demonstrate specific
students will apply self-guided activities. of concepts from the interpersonal
constructive, lesson. communication skills
professional by responding to
communication Post-course survey to scenario-based
practices when determine whether prompts in an
interacting with students have used open-response
professors, staff, or concepts from the format. Instructors
peers. lesson in their actual will use a skill-based
college experiences. rubric to assess
student application.

Survey questions
(Appendix 4) ask
whether students
have utilized
communication skills
covered in the lesson.
(Question 6)

4. Given scenarios of Asynchronous online Reflection activities Using a Google Doc


different types of lesson with requiring application organizer template,
courses and self-guided activities. of concepts from the students will select
assignments, students lesson. appropriate learning,
will identify and note-taking, and
apply appropriate Post-course survey to exam prep strategies
strategies for learning determine whether based on scenario
course material, students have used needs. They will then
taking notes, and concepts from the defend the
preparing for exams. lesson in their actual applicability of their
college experiences selections.

Survey questions
(Appendix 4) ask
whether students
have utilized study
skills in their
real-world
experiences.
(Question 6)

5. Given a scenario Asynchronous online Reflection activities Students will create


with a typical lesson with requiring application and evaluate a
academic schedule, self-guided activities. of concepts from the time-management
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 133

students will apply lesson. plan using a Google


time management Docs template.
skills towards Post-course survey to
developing a plan for determine whether Survey questions
attending classes, students have used (Appendix 4) ask
completing concepts from the whether students
assignments on time, lesson in their actual have utilized time
managing group college experiences. management skills in
work, and managing their real-world
extracurricular experiences.
activities. (Question 6)

6. After reviewing Asynchronous online Reflection activities Students will respond


university policies on lesson with requiring application to multiple-choice
academic integrity self-guided activities. of concepts from the and open-response
and conduct, students lesson. quiz items.
will demonstrate their
knowledge of these Post-course survey to Survey questions
policies through an affirm recognition of (Appendix 4) ask
online quiz. university policies. whether students
have applied
knowledge of
university policies in
their actual studies.
(Question 7)

7. Given a sample Asynchronous online Reflection activities Students will use an


scenario based on an lesson with requiring application online budgeting tool
average student’s self-guided activities. of concepts from the to create a budget
financial background, lesson. incorporating
students will develop scenario-based
a personal budget Post-course survey to criteria. They will
which meets the determine whether analyze and evaluate
scenario’s criteria, students have used the finished budget,
and will identify any concepts from the and discuss how
university resources lesson in their actual specific university
which could provide college experiences. resources could
further financial aid. benefit them with
regard to particular
budget items or in
terms of the scenario
itself.

Survey questions
(Appendix 4) ask
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 134

whether students
have used financial
planning resources.
(Question 7)

8. After reviewing a Asynchronous online Reflection activities Students will respond


list of key university lesson with requiring application to multiple-choice
resources, students self-guided activities. of concepts from the quiz items and will
will demonstrate their lesson. apply understanding
knowledge of these of their personal
resources and their Post-course survey to needs by responding
benefits through an determine whether to an open-response
online quiz. students have used prompt.
Additionally, based concepts from the
on an understanding lesson in their actual Survey questions
of their individual college experiences. (Appendix 4) ask
needs, students will whether students
identify which have utilized
resources, if any, they university resources,
may need to use and which resources
during their they have utilized.
university studies. (Question 7)
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 135

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“The Murky Middle.” Retrieved from

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/09/10/maximize-graduation-rates-colleges-s

hould-focus-middle-range-students-research-shows​.

(2017). Retrieved 18 October 2017, from

http://www.mdc.edu/main/images/Social_formal_outline_note_taking_system_tcm6-323

73.pdf

(2017). Retrieved 18 October 2017, from

http://www.nova.edu/yoursuccess/forms/outline-notetaking-method.pdf

(2017). Retrieved 18 October 2017, from

http://www.pstcc.edu/counseling/_files/pdf/test-taking-hints2.pdf

(​2017). Retrieved 18 October 2017, from

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-choice/201704/7-tips-setting-achievable-goals
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 145

(2017). Retrieved 18 October 2017, from

http://www.uwec.edu/ASC/resources/upload/Cornell-Note-Taking-System.pdf​(WAI), W. W.

(n.d.).

WCAG Overview ◦ Web Accessibility Initiative ◦ W3C. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from

https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag

Wang, A. X. (2016, December 08). Each GPA point dropped in high school cuts a student’s chances of

graduating from college by 50%. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from

https://qz.com/858192/high-school-gpa-exponentially-determines-students-chance-of-college-ba

chelors-degree-education-report-says/

Want a Bright Financial Future? Do These 5 Things in College.​ (2017). ​The Balance​. Retrieve​d

18 October 2017, from

https://www.thebalance.com/managing-your-money-while-in-college-2385965

11 Ways to Overcome Procrastination.​ (2017). ​Psychology Today.​ Retrieved 18 October 2017,

from

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Weissmann, J. (2012, March 29). Why Do So Many Americans Drop Out of College? Retrieved

September 01, 2017, from

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out-of-college/255226/

​What Can I Do With A Major In: Career Center: UNCW​. (2017). ​Uncw.edu​. Retrieved 18

October 2017, from​ ​http://uncw.edu/career/WhatCanIDoWithaMajorIn.html


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 146

Which Careers Match Your Skills?.​ (2017). ​Educationplanner.org.​ Retrieved 18 October 2017,

from

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Writer, R. (2017). ​Want to Be Successful? Stick to a Schedule.​. ​Entrepreneur.​ Retrieved 18

October 2017, from​ ​https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234145

Writing Effective Emails: Getting People to Read and Act on Your Messages.​ (2017).

Mindtools.com.​ Retrieved 18 October 2017, from

https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/EmailCommunication.htm

Vance, J. M. (2012). Measuring the Impact of Library Instruction on Freshman Success and

Persistence: A Quantitative Analysis. ​ Communications in Information Literacy,​ Vol 6,

(1), pp. 49 - 58.


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 147

Appendices

Appendix 1: ​Skills addressing the top 5 reasons for dropping out of college

Top 5 Reasons for Translation into Skills to be developed


dropping out of educational/life
college competencies

Too much, too fast Understanding yourself Identify:


Career exploration ● Learning style
● Personality type
● Careers that match personality type

Poor preparation Learning strategies ● Identify essential college resources: advising,


tutoring, computer labs, writing labs, library
and research
● Develop:
- Note-taking skills
- Test-taking skills
- Information processing skills
- Memorization techniques
- Strategies for improvement
- Understanding of academic integrity
- Ability to calculate/determine current
GPA
- Understanding of guidelines for
satisfactory academic progress

Money concerns Money management ● Identify essential college resources: financial


skills and financial aid, work-study programs
resource assistance ● Establish and follow a budget

Outside demands Planning for success Develop:


● An academic plan for completing college
● Time management skills

Just a number effect Making connections ● Identify essential college resources


● Develop communication skills
● Identify essential college resources: advising,
counseling
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Appendix 2​​: Sample survey given to professors

1. As part of your job, do you work with undergraduate freshman/first-year students?


a. Yes
b. No

2. If you had to estimate, what percentage of your students are freshman/first-year students?
a. 1 - 25%
b. 26 - 50%
c. 51 - 75%
d. 76 - 100%

3. Overall, I feel that freshman/first-year students are adequately prepared for the
requirements of a 4-year college degree:
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

4. Based on your experiences, please indicate how proficient you feel freshman/first-year
students are in the following areas:

1 - No 2 - Slight 3 - Moderate 4 - Good 5 - Excellent


proficiency Proficiency Proficiency Proficiency Proficiency

Study Skills

Time
Management
Skills

Communication
Skills

5. I feel that students fully understand the university’s academic integrity policies.
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
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d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

6. Overall, I feel that students are aware of the key resources available to them through the
university (e.g. academic advising, tutoring services, writing lab).
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree
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Appendix 3​​: Needs analysis survey given to current college students to determine what college
students at all levels see as strengths/weaknesses/needs of freshmen college students.

1. Are you currently enrolled in an undergraduate program?


a. Yes
b. No

2. What is your current year of undergraduate study?


a. Freshman
b. Sophomore
c. Junior
d. Senior

3. Were you required to attend a freshman seminar course which was focused on a transition
to college?
a. Yes
b. No

4. As a freshman transitioning to college life, I feel that my college provided me with the
adequate resources to be successful.
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

5. When you started college, how prepared did you feel in the following types of skills?

1 - Not 2 - Slightly 3 - Neutral 4 - Somewhat 5 - Extremely


Prepared Prepared Prepared Prepared

Study Skills

Time
Management
Skills

Communication
Skills
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Budgeting and
Financial
Planning

Meaningful
Engagement in
College Life

6. Which of the following types of university resources are you aware of? (check all that
apply) (Likert Scale)
a. Academic Advising
b. Career Services
c. Mental Health Counseling
d. University Library
e. Tutoring Services
f. Writing Labs

7. Which, if any, of the following university resources have you utilized? (check all that
apply)
a. Academic Advising
b. Career Services
c. Mental Health Counseling
d. University Library
e. Tutoring Services
f. Writing Labs

8. I have read and fully understand my university’s policies regarding student conduct and
academic integrity.
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

9. Have you taken a personality assessment before (e.g.: Myers-Briggs Type


Indicator/MBTI)?
a. Yes
b. No
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10. If you answered yes to question 8, have you ever used the results from your personality
assessment to explore relevant majors or career paths?
a. Yes
b. No
c. Not Applicable/Have not taken a personality assessment

11. What could your college have done to make you more successful during your freshman
year? Check all that apply.
a. Host classes on developing study skills (test-taking, note-taking, memorization)
b. Ensure that students understand academic and conduct policies
c. Inform students of key resources available at the university
d. Provided information on how to work collaboratively and convey ideas
e. Provided information/toolbox to assist with time management (digital
tools/resources)
f. Provided better advising assistance
g. Provided degree exploration assistance
h. Provided career guidance
i. Provided communication and and/or public speaking instruction
j. Provided assistance on learning organization skills
k. Provided instruction for technology (computers, office tools, email, internet,
Google tools, course management system)
l. Other:
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Appendix 4: ​Results from needs analysis student survey

Question 1:

Question 2:
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Question 3:

Question 4:
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Question 5:

Question 6:
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Question 7:

Question 8:
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Question 9:

Question 10:
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Question 11:
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Appendix 5:​​ Learner Analysis survey given to current undergraduate freshmen

1. What is your age? (Open entry)

2. What is your gender?


a. Male
b. Female
c. Prefer not to answer

3. What best describes your ethnicity?


a. White/ Caucasian
b. Black/ African American
c. Hispanic or Latino
d. Native American or American Indian
e. Asian/ Pacific Islander
f. Other
g. Prefer not to answer

4. Which type of high school did you attend?


a. Public high school
b. Private (non-church affiliated) high school
c. Private (church affiliated) high school
d. IB program
e. Early college program
f. On-line high school
g. Home school
h. Other

5. Did you attend and graduate from high school in the United States?
a. Yes
b. No

6. Is English your primary language?


a. Yes
b. No

7. Are you currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program?


a. Yes
b. No
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8. When did you begin your undergraduate studies?


a. Immediately after graduating high school
b. After taking 1 year between high school and college (often called a “gap year”)
c. After taking more than 1 year between high school and college

9. What was your average GPA in high school?


a. 3.5 - 4.0
b. 3.0 - 3.4
c. 2.5 - 2.9
d. 2.0 - 2.4
e. Under 2.0

10. Did you take any honors, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB)
courses in high school?
a. Yes
b. No

11. If yes, how many honors, AP, or IB courses did you take during high school?
a. 1 - 2
b. 3 - 4
c. 5 - 6
d. 7 or more

12. What is the highest level of education achieved by your parents?


a. No high school diploma or GED
b. High school diploma or GED
c. Some college credit, no degree
d. Associate’s Degree
e. Bachelor’s Degree
f. Master’s Degree
g. Doctoral Degree
h. Post-Doctoral studies

13. On a scale of 1-5, rate how prepared you feel in your first year of college. (Likert scale)

14. What concerns do you have about your freshman year of college? (check all that apply)
a. Getting overwhelmed by coursework
b. Not having good enough study/research skills to keep up
c. Not confident in my own knowledge/ability to succeed
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d. Trouble balancing personal life and school


e. Concerns about tuition/ personal budget/ making ends meet
f. Unsure how to make new friends and connections
g. Don’t know what university resources are available/ Don’t know where I can get
assistance if I need it
h. Not having good support from professors/advisors

15. If you have any of the above concerns, do you feel that your university currently does
enough to help you resolve them? (Likert scale)

16. If you were offered a course covering how to transition to college life, how likely would
you be to take the course? (Likert scale)

17. Are you receiving any accommodations for a physical or learning disability from your
university?
a. Yes
b. No
c. Prefer not to answer

18. What best describes your current living situation?


a. Living in on-campus dormitory
b. Living in independent off-campus housing
c. Living off-campus in parents’ house
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Appendix 6:​​ Results from learner analysis survey

Question 1:

Question 2:
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Question 3:

Question 4:
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Question 5:

Question 6:
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Question 7:

Question 8:
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Question 9:

Question 10:
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Question 11:

Question 12:
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Question 13:

Question 14:
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Question 15:

Question 16:
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Question 17:

Question 18:
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Appendix 7:​​ KASI Map for Entire Course

College Terminal Goal: Students will establish knowledge, skills, and strategies for
Freshman succeeding in university-level courses and adapting to the rigors of college
Success and adult life.

Module Title: How does your personality affect your college


Module 1 experience?

Terminal Objective: ​Students will identify their personality type and


will explore how their personality type influences their academic and
career interests, as well as their learning style. Students will also identify
strategies for incorporating their learning style into their learning
activities and will begin applying those strategies throughout their course
studies.

Lesson 1 Title: Your Personality and Your Learning Style


Lesson 1
Enabling Objective: ​Using personality assessment resources, students
will define their individual learning style(s) and apply their identified
style(s) in university courses.

Knowledge Attitudes Interperson Skills Frequency


al Skills Difficulty
Priority

Types of Motivated to Identify F: 1x


learning reflect on personal D: E
styles. personality learning P: E
Relevance type to style based
of improve on
personality learning personality
to learning experience. assessment
style. results.

Lesson 2 Title: Your Personality and Your Career


Lesson 2
Enabling Objective: ​Using personality and career assessment resources,
students will evaluate potential areas of study or career paths which
match their interests and personality.

Knowledge Attitudes Interperson Skills Frequency


al Skills Difficulty
Priority
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 172

Procedures Value Identify F: 1x


for taking personality personality D: E
personality assessments type from P: I
assessments. and their use assessment
Personality in academic results.
assessment and career Evaluate
results. decisions. academic
and career
options
based on
personality
type.

Module Title: Essential Skills for Succeeding in College


Module 2
Terminal Objective: ​ Students will develop essential skills for
succeeding in their academic studies, including communication skills,
study skills, and time management skills, and will apply these skills in
their current and future college courses.

Lesson 3 Title: Communicating Effectively with Professors and Peers


Lesson 3
Enabling Objective: ​Given common university scenarios, students will
apply constructive, professional communication practices when
interacting with professors, staff, or peers.

Knowledge Attitudes Interperson Skills Frequency


al Skills Difficulty
Priority

Professional Value Effective Verbal F: 1x


communicat communicat communicat communicat D: M
ion best ing ion between ion skills. P: E
practices. professionall professors Written
y with and peers. communicat
professors ion skills.
and peers.

Lesson 4 Title: Effective Study Skills


Lesson 4
Enabling Objective: ​Given scenarios of different types of courses and
assignments, students will identify and apply appropriate strategies for
learning course material, taking notes, and preparing for exams.

Knowledge Attitudes Interperson Skills Frequency


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 173

al Skills Difficulty
Priority

Study skills, Recognize Study skills F: 1x


note taking value of Note taking D: M
skills, study skills skills P: E
memorizatio and Exam
n skills. motivated to preparation
Strategies apply them skills
for applying in
study skills. coursework.

Lesson 5 Title: Effective Time Management Skills


Lesson 5
Enabling Objective: ​Given a scenario with a typical academic schedule,
students will apply time management skills towards developing a plan
for attending classes, completing assignments on time, managing group
work, and managing extracurricular activities.

Knowledge Attitudes Interperson Skills Frequency


al Skills Difficulty
Priority

Time Recognize Time F: 1x


management value of management D: M
strategies time skills P: E
and best management
practices and apply
time
management
strategies in
academic
studies.

Module Title: Making the Best of Your College Experience


Module 3
Terminal Objective:​​ Students will demonstrate awareness of their
university community after learning the university’s academic and
conduct policies, as well as identifying helpful resources available to
students. Students will also develop sound financial literacy by learning
about personal budgeting, student loans, and financial aid.

Lesson 6 Title: Academic Integrity and Student Conduct: Know Your


Lesson 6 Responsibilities
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 174

Lesson 6 Objective: ​After reviewing university policies on academic


integrity and conduct, students will demonstrate their knowledge of these
policies through an online quiz.

Knowledge Attitudes Interperson Skills Frequency


al Skills Difficulty
Priority

Academic Value good F: 1x


integrity conduct and D: M
policies. integrity and P: E
Student motivated to
conduct follow
policies. university
Graduation rules.
requirement
s.

Lesson 7 Title: Managing Your Finances


Lesson 7
Enabling Objective: ​Given a sample scenario based on an average
student’s financial background, students will develop a personal budget
which meets the scenario’s criteria, and will identify any university
resources which could provide further financial aid.

Knowledge Attitudes Interperson Skills Frequency


al Skills Difficulty
Priority

Personal Value good Creating and F: 1x


budgeting financial maintaining D: M
strategies. planning personal P: E
Financial and budgets.
aid budgeting.
resources Motivated to
available to maintain
students. budget and
Student minimize
loan/aid debt.
procedures.

Lesson 8 Title: What Resources are Available to Me?


Lesson 8
Enabling Objective: ​After reviewing a list of key university resources,
students will demonstrate their knowledge of these resources and their
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 175

benefits through an online quiz. Additionally, based on an


understanding of their individual needs, students will identify which
resources, if any, they may need to use during their university studies.

Knowledge Attitudes Interperson Skills Frequency


al Skills Difficulty
Priority

Important Motivated to Identifying F: 1x


university use relevant D: E
resources. university resources. P: I
Procedures resources to
for improve
accessing college
university experience..
resources.
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Appendix 8: ​Career Comparison Organizer from Module 1

Based on your career assessment results, select the three career choices you find most interesting.
You will use these three career choices to research and compare.

Career Option 1: Career Option 2: Career Option 3:

Give a brief
description of what
this career entails.

What degree does this


career require? How
many years of
schooling?

What is the average


starting ​salary for this
career?

What about this


career is most
appealing to you?

What about this


career seems like a
challenge to you?
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Of the three career options you researched, which one seems most appealing to you? Why?

Grading Rubric

5 points 3 points 1 point


Completion Student compares all aspects Student compares all aspects Student analyzes all aspects of
of at least three career choices of at least two career choices at least one career choice
from the list generated by from the list generated by from the list generated by
their personality assessment their personality assessment their personality assessment
results results results

Quality Student demonstrates depth of Student analyzes/evaluates Student does not demonstrate
analysis and evaluation of each career’s opportunities analysis or evaluation of
each career’s opportunities and challenges shallowly challenges and opportunities
and challenges for each career

Evaluation Student provides a clear and Student evaluates his/her final Student evaluates his/her final
deep evaluation of his/her career choice shallowly OR career choice shallowly AND
final career choice and does not connect his/her does not connect his/her
connects justifications to justifications to personality justifications to personality
personality assessment results assessment results assessment results

Total ____ / 15
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Appendix 9:​​ Lesson 2 Prompt

Ensure you have completed the learning styles questionnaire. Based on your personal learning
style(s), please respond to the following prompt in 250-500 words.

You have a biology exam coming up at the end of the week. Create a plan that will help you to
optimize your studying experience. Make sure you are as specific as possible and that you tie
your plan into your personal learning style(s).

Grading Rubric

5 points 2.5 points 0 points


Completion Student creates a study plan Student either fails to include Student fails to include
addressing specific steps in specific steps OR the plan is specific steps AND the plan is
250-500 words. less than 250 words or less than 250 words or
significantly more than 500 significantly more than 500
words. words.

Quality Student bases study plan steps Student either does not Student does not explicitly
his/her specific learning explicitly base study plan base study plan steps on
style(s), makes these steps on his/her specific his/her specific learning
connections explicit, and learning style(s) OR does not style(s) AND does not provide
provides justification for each provide justification for each justification for each step.
step. step.

Total ____ / 10
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 179

Appendix 10: ​Lesson 3 Sample Prompts

Scenario A​:
You have just finished a group project and submitted it to your professor for grading;
however, a member of your team has sent you a message explaining that they forgot to include a
section of their assigned work in the submission. The project’s due date has now passed.
Following the guidelines you have seen for positive and effective communication, compose an
email to your professor that will help you to resolve this situation.

Scenario B​:
Your have gotten a grade back on a project that you recently turned in. Based on the
rubric and the professor’s comments you should have had an A, but you were given a B instead.
Using effective and positive communication strategies, compose an email to the professor that
will help you to resolve this situation.

Scenario C:​
You are working on an extended group project. One of your teammates has failed to
meet the past two deadlines agreed on by your group. Decide whether you should contact this
teammate directly or whether you should bring the situation to your professor’s attention. Once
you decide, employ effective and positive communication strategies to compose an email to the
appropriate person in order to resolve the situation.

Scenario D:​
You are taking a course in a subject that is not your strong suit, and you are struggling
with the material. You need to speak with your professor to try to get some extra support, but so
far you have not been able to get a response by email. When you finally do get a response, she
tells you to call her office during her designated office hours. You have tried to call during those
hours yesterday and the day before. When you try again today, you again cannot get through.
Using positive and effective communication techniques, write out a voicemail that you would
leave for this professor in an effort to resolve the situation.

(Continued on next page)


COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 180

Grading Rubric

Focus on the big Get to the point. Stick to the facts. Use professional
picture.​​ Don’t Don’t waste time Be careful not to language.​​ Don’t
get bogged down and effort beating communicate use excessive
in the details. around the bush. based on emotion slang, internet
Everything Make sure the or opinion. Use jargon, etc.
mentioned should message recipient statements
pertain to the knows what you supported by fact.
message’s main are trying to say.
point. TOTAL

5 points Yes Yes Yes Yes


___ / 20
0 points No No No No
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 181

Appendix 11:​​ Strategies Organizer Template

Based on each scenario, identify appropriate strategies for learning course material, taking notes,
and preparing for exams, and provide specific justifications for each of your choices

Scenario

You have a political science exam coming up in two weeks. You know from your course syllabus that the
exam format will consist of three long-form essay questions. How will you ensure your success?

Strategy #1 Justification #1

Strategy #2 Justification #2

Scenario

You are taking an art history course that is very lecture-heavy. You are struggling to keep up with all the
content. What strategies can you use to improve your learning?

Strategy #1 Justification #1

Strategy #2 Justification #2
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Appendix 12:​​ Time Management Plan

You will use the template below to create a time management plan for a week. Make sure you
plan for all of your class time, as well as nine hours of study time for each class (to satisfy the
3:1 course load ratio). You also need to set aside time for any jobs or other obligations you will
have during the week, as well as plan for leisure time.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

6:00 am

7:00 am

8:00 am

9:00 am

10:00 am

11:00 am

12:00 pm

1:00 pm

2:00 pm

3:00 pm

4:00 pm

5:00 pm

6:00 pm

7:00 pm

8:00 pm

9:00 pm

10:00 pm

11:00 pm
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Appendix 13: ​References for appendices 8-12

Academic Integrity | Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities​. (2017). ​Osrr.uncg.edu​.


Retrieved 18 October 2017, from​ ​https://osrr.uncg.edu/academic-integrity/

Alston, S. (2017). ​Scientifically, The Best Ways To Prepare For Final Exams | Big Ideas Blog.​
Blog.suny.edu​. Retrieved 18 October 2017, from
https://blog.suny.edu/2013/12/scientifically-the-best-ways-to-prepare-for-final-exams/

Career Center. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2017, from


http://uncw.edu/career/WhatCanIDoWithaMajorIn.html

Cornell-Notes-for-Students (AVID) - TeacherTube.​ (2017). ​TeacherTube.​ Retrieved 18 October


2017, from
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google&utm_medium=video&utm_campaign=preroll&utm_term=search&utm_content=
video-ads

Effective Note Taking in Lectures and Class Using Mind Maps - Focus.​ (2017). ​Focus​. Retrieved 18
October 2017, from​ ​https://www.mindmeister.com/blog/effective-note-taking/

How to Make a Schedule​. (2017). ​wikiHow​. Retrieved 18 October 2017, from


https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Schedule

How to Take Great Notes.​ (2017). ​YouTube.​ Retrieved 18 October 2017, from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAhRf3U50lM

Jung Typology Test™. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2017, from


http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Lifehacker.com​. Retrieved 18 October 2017, from


https://lifehacker.com/5837191/five-best-note-taking-applications

Mind Maps®: A Powerful Approach to Note-Taking​. (2017). ​Mindtools.com​. Retrieved 18


October 2017, from​ ​https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_01.htm

Motivation: The Scientific Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated​. (2017). ​James Clear​.
Retrieved 18 October 2017, from​ ​https://jamesclear.com/motivation

PART 1: Learn How to Memorize – Top 6 Memorization Techniques | OneClass Magazine​.


(2017). ​OneClass.​ Retrieved 18 October 2017, from
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https://oneclass.com/blog/york-university/4671-part-1-learn-how-to-memorize-top-6-me
morization-techniques-2

Personality Type and Careers.​ (2017). ​The Personality Page.​ Retrieved 18 October 2017, from
https://www.personalitypage.com/html/careers.html

Reading texts: note taking, marking and underlining​. (2017). ​Studygs.net.​ Retrieved 18 October
2017, from​ ​http://www.studygs.net/marking.htm

The Action Priority Matrix: Making the Most of Your Opportunities.​ (2017). ​Mindtools.com.​
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The Best Jobs for All 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types in One Infographic. (2016, August 17).
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https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/time-management.html

Want a Bright Financial Future? Do These 5 Things in College.​ (2017). ​The Balance​. Retrieve​d
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Which Careers Match Your Skills?.​ (2017). ​Educationplanner.org.​ Retrieved 18 October 2017,
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Writer, R. (2017). ​Want to Be Successful? Stick to a Schedule.​. ​Entrepreneur.​ Retrieved 18


October 2017, from​ ​https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234145
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 185

Writing Effective Emails: Getting People to Read and Act on Your Messages.​ (2017).
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21 Best, Easy Memorization Techniques for Students.​ (2017). ​Developing Human Brain​.
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https://www.skillsyouneed.com/personal-skills.html

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(2017). Retrieved 18 October 2017, from​ ​http://library.uncg.edu/tutorials/index.aspx?m=8

(2017). Retrieved 18 October 2017, from


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s-for-college-students

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73.pdf

(2017). Retrieved 18 October 2017, from


http://www.nova.edu/yoursuccess/forms/outline-notetaking-method.pdf
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 186

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(2017). Retrieved 18 October 2017, from


http://www.uwec.edu/ASC/resources/upload/Cornell-Note-Taking-System.pdf
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Appendix 14:​​ Screenshots of College Freshman Success Course in Canvas (Module 1, Lesson 1)

Note: The pink bar that appears at the bottom of each screenshot is a part of the student view
mode for course designers. This bar will not appear in the final version shown to students.

Home Screen and Main Menu:

Lesson 1 Introduction:
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Self-Reflection #1a:

Self-Reflection #1b:
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Self-Reflection #1c:

Assessing Your Personality Type:


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True Colors Test:

True Colors Career Options:


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Jung Typology Test:

Jung Typology Career Options:


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Activity: Reflecting on Personality Tests:

Learning about IQ:


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Multiple Intelligences Theory:

Gardner Video #1:


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Gardner Video #2:

Exploring Your Multiple Intelligences:


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Learning Styles Questionnaire:

Self-Reflection #2:
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Self-Reflection #3:

Careers Based on your Personality Type:


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Activity: Comparing Careers


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Appendix 15: Pilot Testing Report

Pilot
Part I. Introduction
Formative evaluation of our web prototype was conducted in November 2017. The
evaluation consisted of 1) an expert review, and 2) a pilot test with college-bound students. Due
to the date (mid-November) of the completion of the ​College Freshman Success c​ ourse
prototype, a group of incoming college freshmen was not available for pilot testing. For this
reason, it was determined that a small group of college-bound, high school seniors would
complete the web prototype:
Module 1: Understanding Yourself
Lesson 1: Your Personality and Your Learning Style
Terminal objective: Using personality assessment resources, students will define their
individual learning style(s) and apply their identified style(s) in
university courses.
Feedback was collected from both the experts and high school seniors, and a set of
recommendations was created after analysis of the feedback.

Brief Description of Web-Based Instruction:


Decreasing persistence rates (​the number of students who return to college at ​any
institution for a second year)​ (“Annual Persistence,” 2017) are of increasing concern to
universities across the country. The increasing number of university students who do not
complete their degrees affects students, their families, their communities, institutions of higher
learning, and the economy of the United States. Research shows that by completing a college
degree, students can improve their income earning potential over their lifetime. Research also
shows that most freshmen do not feel adequately prepared for their university coursework - a
contributing factor to the poor persistence rates. By providing incoming college freshmen with
key information and skills, these students should gain the critical knowledge necessary to
transfer specific skills to their own learning needs, thus leading to successful freshmen learning
outcomes.
The ​College Freshman Success ​(web-based) course Those who will make use of the
course itself will be considered true incoming freshmen of a post secondary institution. The
course utilizes Canvas as the platform for this online, asynchronous course. Among the reasons
for selecting Canvas were its ease of use during the design process, ability to support features
needed for the course (quizzes, open-ended text responses, and external videos and links), and
ability to share course content publicly. Learners can access the Canvas course at any time from
any location of their choosing.

Stakeholders:
The stakeholders in the course will be:
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Primary stakeholders:
- incoming freshmen students who will be participating in the course
- instructors who will be supporting the course materials
Secondary stakeholders:
- student advisors
- university and university administration

Focus of Evaluation/What Was Evaluated (Include Evaluation Questions):


The focus of the Pilot Testing Plan was on Module 1, Lesson 1 of the ​College Freshman
Success Course​. The purpose of the evaluation was to obtain feedback from students related to
their thoughts regarding:
- the delivery system of the course (Canvas)
- clarity/possible sources of confusion with the module
- the appropriateness/usefulness of the information
- the course’s ability to motivate and maintain user attention

From these general goals, we developed a series of questions which we hope to answer
through the results of this evaluation:
1. How do learners feel about the content of the course? Do they feel that the course would
be helpful in preparing them for college life?
2. How do learners feel about the online platform (Canvas) used to deliver the course?
3. Were there any areas of Lesson 1 which were particularly effective or ineffective? If so,
which areas?
4. Were there any technical problems with the online course which hindered learners’
ability to complete lesson activities? If so, what were the technical issues?
5. At this stage, does any content within the lesson need to be revised by the design team in
order to resolve issues raised by the above questions? If so, how should it be revised?

Who Conducted the Evaluation:


The pilot study was distributed to a group of high school seniors currently attending
Garner Magnet High School in Garner, North Carolina. The students completed Lesson 1 (Your
Personality and Your Learning Style) of Module 1 (Understanding Yourself) and completed a
survey (Table 12). The evaluation was conducted by the course designers.

Part II. Methods and Procedures


What Evaluation Methods or Tools/Instruments Were Used:
The evaluation consisted of an expert review of the course, as well as a pilot test by
students close to our target audience.
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For the expert review, we submitted our web prototype (Module 1, Lesson 1) to
classmates in ECI 716, all of whom are currently studying learning and instructional design at
either the Master’s or Doctoral levels. Reviewers were asked to look through the course and
provide formative feedback based on their knowledge of instructional design theory and
application, as well as their own personal experiences with the course. The experts were not
asked to answer any specific questions; they were told to simply provide any constructive
feedback they wanted to give. Open-ended feedback was collected over the course of one week.
Following the feedback period, our group collectively reviewed and discussed the feedback. As
a group, our main goal was to identify which, if any, constructive suggestions we would like to
act upon before releasing this course to a wider audience. Feedback responses were analyzed by
group members to determine common themes or suggestions in the feedback. Items which are
mentioned frequently by multiple users will be prioritized in our group discussions.
Furthermore, we will also make note of any technical issues reported by the experts and address
them separately from proposed content changes.
For the pilot test, we identified a group of five high school seniors who intended to
pursue college after graduation. There were several factors which influenced our decision to use
high school students instead of college students for this pilot. First, the timing of our pilot test is
in November, which is a difficult time for many college students. Finding college students who
would have availability while studying for finals and preparing for the holidays would be
challenging. Second, high school seniors have no experience in a college environment and it
could be reasoned that they would be more receptive to the topics covered in the pilot than a
college student who has already completed one semester of their studies. Third, because we are
not targeting a specific university or client with this course, we do not have direct access to a
pool of college students who could be potential testers.
The high school seniors were asked to complete Module 1, Lesson 1 of the course during
a classroom activity. After completing the lesson, students were asked verbal questions about
their experience by an instructor, who was also responsible for compiling the responses into a
table (Table 12).

Questions asked to students:


1. What do you think about the medium (Canvas) used to deliver the content? Do you think
it was effective or should we have used a different medium?
2. Was the Module easy to navigate?
3. Is this a course that you would want to take during your first year of college? Why or
why not?
4. Do you feel as though this course was useful and relevant to your needs as a college
student? Why or why not?
5. Do you feel as though the course can be improved and how?
6. Do you think there are any long-term impacts of the course?
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7. How much time did it take for you to complete the course?
8. Any suggestions?

We chose open-ended questions which encouraged students to provide detailed responses


if they desired. Although open-ended, subjective responses can be more time consuming to
analyze, we felt that this was an appropriate trade-off given our relatively small pilot group size.
At the end, we also provided the opportunity for students to provide additional suggestions so
that we could collect feedback on items which may not have been addressed with the main
questions.

How Was Collected Data Analyzed:


Our group reviewed and discussed the results from the expert review and student pilot
test during our routine meetings. Because the expert review did not require experts to address
specific questions, we reviewed responses from each expert and discussed their suggestions and
issues. Suggestions/issues which appeared multiple times from multiple experts were considered
a higher priority, as these could be indicators of larger-scale concerns. From the pilot test,
student responses were collected and compiled into Table 12. Because these testers were
responding to specific questions, this table was used to identify patterns and trends in responses.
Our main goal with this analysis was to determine whether any changes need to be made
to the course content or design before it is introduced to a wider audience. As a secondary goal,
we also wanted to determine whether there were any technical issues which would preclude a
student from successfully completing the course.

When and How was the Evaluation Conducted:


The expert review was conducted online through a forum on the ECI 716 Moodle page.
Our web prototype was posted on November 14, 2017, and we waited for a period of one week
for experts to provide their feedback. Experts were welcome to review the prototype at any time,
and were encouraged to spend as much time as they felt necessary on reviewing the lesson.
After the one-week period, our group began to review and discuss the feedback through our
ongoing group meetings.
The student pilot test was conducted around the same time in November as the expert
review. One of our group members arranged for five high-school seniors to participate in the
pilot during a normal day of class activities at their school, Garner Magnet High School.
Students were given access to the Canvas course and were asked to complete Lesson 1 in the
web prototype. After completing the lesson, students were asked verbal questions about the
course (see Table 12 for a list of questions and responses), and the pilot test coordinator wrote
down their verbal responses.

Part III. Findings


Student Pilot Test
Finding a group of appropriately aged, college-bound students was difficult at this time of
the year. For this reason, there are only 5 respondents to the survey about lesson 1; however,
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there was consistency in their responses. More testing needs to be done, but we were able to
obtain some valuable information. The survey results were:

Question 1 participant comments:


#1: Canvas was good. It made it easy to go through.
#2: Canvas was easy to use.
#3: You should not have used any other site.
#4: You could have used any medium but Canvas was fine.
#5: I think Canvas was a good tool.

Question 2 participant comments:


#1: Yes, it was easy to understand.
#4: Yes, I was not confused at all.
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Question 3 participant comments:


#1: Yes, it made you think.
#2: Yes, because it helps you with planning for the future.
#3: Yes, it made me think about myself.
#4: Yes, it allowed for me to see how I was different from others.
#5: Yes, it included some stuff that I had never seen before.

Question 4 participant comments:


#1: Yes it made me think about my future.
#2: Yes, it gave really good, clear instructions taught me something different about myself.
#3: Yes, it guided me through a lesson that taught me more about myself.
#4: Yes, not every college student has this information about themselves.
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Question 5 participant comments:


#3: Add some color to the website.
#4: The actual website does not catch my attention right away.
#5: I had to read a lot and not everyone enjoys a lot of reading. Add some other items.

Question 6 participant comments:


#1: Anytime you find out something new about yourself it is helpful. I can use the new stuff as I
go through college.
#2: Yes, I will from now on.
#3: More information about me that I didn’t know. Now I will know something new and can use
it more.
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#4: Yeah, I can keep using the surveys to see how I change while in college.
#5: It gave me information about a career I can use later.

Recommendations from expert (peer) group:


The recommendations from the expert (peer) group are provided in Appendix 21. Some
of the common, positive responses that describe the web prototype are:
● professional
● clear alignment between goals and content
● easy to follow (banner with important information and navigation buttons)
● clear directions
● well-written
● good use of reflective activities
● helpful for incoming freshmen
● online videos and quizzes are helpful

Some suggestions for improvement include to:


● move the career section to a new module
● create a collaboration component in which students interact/communicate with other
students (class Wiki, social media hashtag, discussion forum)
● include length expectations for assignments
● check that personality test results rubric is not double counting responses
● provide time expectations for each lesson
● eliminate the True-Color career option that repeats for orange
● edit the personality quiz wording to match with the original online version
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Table 12: ​Responses from Student Pilot Test

Question Response #1 Response #2 Response #3 Response #4 Response #5

What do you think about Canvas was Canvas was You should You could I think
the medium used to good. It made it easy to use not have used have used any Canvas was a
deliver the content? easy to go any other site medium but good tool.
(Canvas) Do you think it through. Canvas was
was effective or should fine
we have used a different
medium?

Was the Module easy to Yes, it was easy Yes Yes Yes, I was not Yes
navigate? to understand confused at
all

Is this a course that you Yes, it made Yes, because Yes, it made Yes, it Yes, it
would want to take during you think it helps you me think allowed for included
your first year of college? with planning about myself me to see some stuff
Why or why not? for the future how I was that I had
different from never seen
others before

Do you feel as though this Yes, it made me Yes, it gave Yes, it guided Yes, not Yes
course was useful and think about my really good, me through a every college
relevant to your needs as a future clear lesson that student has
college student? Why or instructions taught me this
why not? taught me more about information
something myself about
different about themselves
myself
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Do you feel as though the No No Add some The actual I had to read a
course can be improved color to the website does lot and not
and how? website not catch my everyone
attention right enjoys a lot of
away reading. Add
some other
items.

Do you think there are any Anytime you Yes, I will More Yeah, I can It gave me
long-term impacts of the find out from now on information keep using information
course? something new about me that the surveys to about a career
about yourself it I didn’t know. see how I I can use later
is helpful. I can Now I know change while
use the new something in college.
stuff as I go new and can
through college use it more.

How much time did it take 2 days About 3 hours One whole About 6 hours One day
for you to complete the a day for two day
course? days

Any suggestions? No None No Not at this No


time

Part IV. Recommendations


From Pilot Testing
Feedback from testers indicate that Canvas is an effective medium through which to host
the course. One benefit about using Canvas, as opposed to building a website from scratch, is
that navigation elements are built in and the tool’s user experience (UX) has been tested
extensively and regularly improved. Although the user does not have a lot of navigational
freedom within each module (only Previous and Next buttons), our course requires a linear
progression, which may have contributed to the testers’ positive comments. In other modules, it
might be necessary to add in a self-created navigation pane to allow students direct access to
other pages within the module.
Two testers noted that the website was not eye-catching and that it should have more
color added or be made to more readily grab the user’s attention. While many of the course’s
aesthetics are controlled by Canvas and cannot be altered, it would certainly be feasible to add in
more images or other design elements. At the same time, it would also be necessary to ensure
that nothing is added that detracts from the content or muddies navigation, accessibility, etc.
This module was designed to take three hours to complete. Testers, though, consistently
indicated it took about twice that amount of time. It could conceivably be possible to pare down
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some of the course’s content while still allowing for robust and illustrative assessments. One
tester noted that the amount of reading was overwhelming. One way to pare down the content
could be to replace certain textual content with multimedia that conveys the same information
and achieves the same end result.

From Expert Walk-through


Based on responses from expert walk-throughs (Appendix 21) conducted by North
Carolina State University College of Education graduate students, we have identified
opportunities for improvement in moving forward with the development of this ​College
Freshman Success c​ ourse. One response noted the potential benefits of including a time estimate
for each lesson. A student’s ability to plan out their workload can be a major contributor to their
success in an online course. Including these time estimates will help students to make these
plans effectively. There were also responses suggesting the incorporation of collaborative
elements within the web prototype. While student collaboration is a best practice for online
education, the lesson objective for students to ​define their individual learning style(s) and apply
their identified style(s) in university courses is more conducive to personal introspection and
individualized learning rather than collaboration. That said, there are more lessons than not
within this course that will in fact be conducive to collaborative learning environments, which
we will take into account moving forward.
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Appendix 16: Survey Given to Students Before Course

1. Currently, how prepared do you feel in the following types of skills?


1 - Not 2 - Slightly 3 - Neutral 4 - Somewhat 5 - Extremely
Prepared Prepared Prepared Prepared

Study Skills

Time
Management
Skills

Communication
Skills

Budgeting and
Financial
Planning

Meaningful
Engagement in
College Life

2. Which of the following types of university resources are you aware of? (check all that
apply)
a. Academic Advising
b. Career Services
c. Mental Health Counseling
d. University Library
e. Tutoring Services
f. Writing Labs

3. I have read and fully understand my university’s policies regarding student conduct and
academic integrity.
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

4. Have you taken a personality assessment before (e.g.: Myers-Briggs Type


Indicator/MBTI)?
a. Yes
b. No
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5. If you answered yes to question 8, have you ever used the results from your personality
assessment to explore relevant majors or career paths?
a. Yes
b. No
c. Not Applicable/Have not taken a personality assessment
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Appendix 17: Survey Given to Students After Course Completion

1. Are you a current undergraduate freshman who has completed the College Freshman
Success (CFS) online course?
a. Yes
b. No

2. After taking the course, how prepared do you feel in the following skills?

1 - Not 2 - Slightly 3 - Neutral 4 - Somewhat 5 - Extremely


Prepared Prepared Prepared Prepared

Study Skills

Time
Management
Skills

Communication
Skills

Budgeting and
Financial
Planning

Meaningful
Engagement in
College Life

3. Please rate how much you agree with the following statement: I feel that the College
Freshman Success course has given me the tools to become more successful as a college
student.
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

4. Of the topics covered within the course, which one did you find ​most ​useful?
a. Module 1: Understanding Yourself
b. Module 2: Essential College Skills
c. Module 3: College Resources
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5. Please explain why you felt this was the most useful module. (Open-ended response)

6. Of the topics covered within the course, which one did you find ​least​​ useful?
a. Module 1: Understanding Yourself
b. Module 2: Essential College Skills
c. Module 3: College Resources

7. Please explain why you felt this was the least useful module. (Open-ended response)

8. Did you experience any technical issues which affected your ability to complete the
course?
a. Yes
b. No

9. If you answered “yes” to question 8, please describe your technical issues. (Open-ended
response)

10. Is there any additional feedback you would like to share on the course? (Open-ended
response)
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Appendix 18: Survey Given to Students After Course Completion (in subsequent
sophomore, junior, and senior years)

1. What is your current year in the university?


a. Freshman
b. Sophomore
c. Junior
d. Senior

2. The ​College Freshman Success​ course has helped me understand my learning style and
how to adjust my learning style to my instructor’s teaching style.
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

3. Was the ​College Freshman Success​ course helpful in selecting a college major?
a. Yes
b. No
Explain your response:

4. How many times have you changed majors after completion of the ​College Freshman
Success​ course?
a. 0
b. 1
c. 2
d. 3
e. more than 3

5. The career counseling and career exploration portion of the ​College Freshman Success
course helped me choose a major and career path that is suited to my personality and
skills.
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

6. Which of the following skills covered in the ​College Freshman Success c​ ourse have you
used throughout your college career? Check all that apply.
a. Study skills
b. Note-taking skills
c. Memorization skills
d. Test preparations skills
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e. Test taking skills


f. Time management skills

7. Which of the following college resources introduced in the ​College Freshman Success
course have you utilized to assist your progress through college: Check all that apply:
a. Rules about academic integrity
b. Managing finances and financial aid
c. Academic advising
d. Campus security
e. Technology services
f. Tutoring and support services
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Appendix 19: Survey Given to Professors

1. As part of your job, do you work with undergraduate freshman/first-year students?


a. Yes
b. No

2. If you had to estimate, what percentage of your students are freshman/first-year students?
a. 1 - 25%
b. 26 - 50%
c. 51 - 75%
d. 76 - 100%

3. Overall, I feel that freshman/first-year students are adequately prepared for the
requirements of a 4-year college degree:
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

4. Based on your experiences, please indicate how proficient you feel freshman/first-year
students are in the following areas:

1 - No 2 - Slight 3 - Moderate 4 - Good 5 - Excellent


proficiency Proficiency Proficiency Proficiency Proficiency

Study Skills

Time
Management
Skills

Communication
Skills

5. I feel that students fully understand the university’s academic integrity policies.
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

6. Overall, I feel that students are aware of the key resources available to them through the
university (e.g. academic advising, tutoring services, writing lab).
a. Strongly Agree
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b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree

7. Have you seen improved performance related to study skills, test taking, and note taking
after having taken the course?
a. Strongly Agree
b. Slightly Agree
c. Neither Agree Nor Disagree
d. Slightly Disagree
e. Strongly Disagree
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Appendix 20: Expert Walk-through Course Rubric

Evaluator:___________________
Project Name:________________
Date: __________________________

Expert Walkthrough

Evaluation
Observations & Suggestion for Improvement

Goals and Objectives clearly


articulated to learners

Instructional Design
·​​ ​Instruction adheres to the
principles of the model articulated
in the document and all model
elements are present in the
prototype
·​​ ​Instruction provides an
appropriate feedback and
correctives mechanism
·​​ ​Prototype aligns with design
provided in Part 1-5 of project
·​​ ​Instruction provides clear way
to differentiate

Principles of Aesthetics are


addressed
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 218

Navigation
·​​ ​Clear, easy navigation
·​​ ​Functionality is consistent with
design
·​​ ​Help function present

Narrative
·​​ ​Clearly describes all aspects of
the prototype
·​​ ​Supports choices with the
literature from the course
·​​ ​Includes an analysis of possible
constraints on the use of the
prototype

Other Comments
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Appendix 21: Expert Walk-through Feedback

Response #1
• November 15, 2017
Your group created an awesome first module and I really like the topic with one son in college
and 1 son on his way to college. The transition from highschool to college can be very difficult
and to make students aware about their learning, personality styles is a great start to make them
succesful in college.

The first module in the course is an easy step by step module. The homepage is clear and
explains clearly the content. I like the lay-out and the introduction with a real story. It would be
nice to add 1 or 2 real stories with different perspectives.

I like the flow of the different assignments with the use of a next or previous button. The banner
with important information as Due date, points, submitting at the top of the page makes the
expectations clear.

I love that you incorparated the tests and they were accesible. I think I would prefer to reflect
after each test instead of reflecting at the end and ask these questions after every test before
moving on to the next test.

Another thought that I had after viewing this module is to start with and focus only on the
personality assessments and reflect and talk about their own learning styles and make students
aware about what they need to succeed in the first semester. And move the part about possible
careers and comparing careers to another module.

Overall, I think you did a really great job on creating a course that is really needed for freshman
entering college.
Response #2
• November 16, 2017
Very professional! The site looks great.
The directions are well-written and easy to follow. The tests (color, learning, etc) are a great
way to engage the students. I did not think that I was a green. I think I have changed from blue
since being in grad school.

This does not require a change but I wonder how the multiple intelligence interact with the
growth mindset. It bothered me to hear Gardner say that some kids are not good at math.
You may want to include a statement or something about the classes that they have to take not
taking learning style and personality into account. Assignments and responsibilities do not
always align with these things. I was just thinking that I wish my undergrad classes were taught
the way I learn.

Excellent!
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 220

Response #3
• November 16, 2017
Nice work group!

I liked the organization of your course. Good flow and interesting material, well organized.
I think the written self-reflection part was an important component but I wonder how reflective
participants are likely to be. I think these might prove more helpful after participants move
through some of the multiple choice tests that give a little insight. Moving them to later in the
module might help them build an understanding of self before they were asked to delve into a
personal narrative.

I think you've outlined future modules nicely. I do think this would be helpful for incoming
freshman.

I think it might be interesting to have a component where students could find or communicate
with other students that have similar interests and scores. Maybe a class wiki or communication
spot where participants are engaging with one another. This could be helpful as they start
choosing classes. They could get recommendations on classes they have enjoyed or have heard
great things about based on interests/learning styles.

Really well done! Very thorough and impressive!

Response #4
• November 16, 2017
Great use of Canvas. Canvas is extremely user-friendly and your group did a wonderful job
organizing the site. The true colors quiz was very in-tune and appropriate for participants. Each
of the options throughout the quiz made the reader take their time and actually reflect on which
words fit them the best. The beginning of the module opening with strengths, weaknesses, and
goals was also very well placed. Many college students (and even college graduates) have no
idea what they want to do in the future and their careers will change multiple times throughout
their young adult lives. Having students reflect will open themselves up to as many possibilities
as possible and will definitely increase the likelihood their college education is as efficient as
possible.

Response #5
• November 17, 2017
What I loved:
● Professional, very nice aesthetics
● Organized and easy to follow layout
● Goals and expectations are laid out so I know what I am getting myself into
● Embedded personality quiz is very convenient
● Use of tabs within pages is a great organization technique
● Personality Results Rubric is a GREAT strategy for ensuring participants know what is
expected of them in order for them to succeed in the course
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 221

● Embedded Youtube videos are very convenient


● LOTS of great content, with reflections woven throughout. There is a clear alignment
between goals and content! I think college freshmen would benefit greatly from
participating in this module! I wish I had taken it as a college freshman!

Things to consider:
● Include a length expectation for the Self-Reflection assignments. Should participants be
writing a paragraph, page, etc...?
● The Personality Results Rubric seems to be counting Reference to Test Results in two
spots - so if someone does not include that, they will be docked twice
● It might be nice to have Time Expectations for each section of the module, so participants
who are completing on their own can plan and estimate their engagement in the module.
For example, under the "Assessing Your Personality Type" you can list a range of time
(30 min- 1 hour) of expected engagement time. That will help people plan their
successful completion.

Response #6
• November 19, 2017
Hello!

Your Canvas site is very well thought out. Each portion of Module 1 is great to be able to allow
for college freshmen to work through their own inner strengths and weaknesses. Your site is
professional, straight forward and seems highly useful to supporting your ID project goals with
college freshmen.

It would be great to have some collaboration piece or connection piece for the students to
connect in some way, perhaps supporting their peers. Maybe a social media hashtag or
discussion forum, something to connect to their generation could support the success of your
program and also supporting the students involved.

Overall a wonderful ID project web prototype! Well done.

Response #7
• November 22, 2017
I like the layout of your website. It is well-organized and appealing. I also created my website
on Canvas but did not have a chance to see how things look like and thanks to your group, now I
know.

The content of your course is really good and suits the purpose of the course perfectly. I am
amazed that in a short period of time, your group could design and create such a good course and
website.

It is helpful that you use online videos for resources to help students understand themselves
better.
COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS 222

The things I would suggest are:


-The true color career options repeat for orange color.
-The personality quiz is rather long which is fine because I know that you use the personality test
online with empirical evidence. However, I think the wording of the questions in the quiz are
different from its original online version which uses a Likert scale. I was confused sometimes
with the wording and hence, the quiz seems difficult and took me more time to complete it.