Inside out: An evaluation of the College 101 experience

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O'Shea, Thomas
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Larry Ebbers
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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Campus orientation and first year experience programs are becoming an everyday part of campus life at institutions across the country. One such program at Kirkwood Community College is College 101. College 101 is a semester long course designed to aid in the students' successful transition to Kirkwood academically, socially and personally. My research focuses on learning why students are enrolling in the course, influences on their decision to enroll in the course, what expectations they have for the course and to gain feedback from them on what aspects of the curriculum are beneficial to their success, and what aspects are not beneficial to their success in college.

Data for the research were gathered in three specific formats. First, focus groups with three College 101 courses were randomly selected from the 22 sections being offered in the 2012 fall term. The focus groups were conducted within the last 3 weeks of the 2012 fall semester. A total of 32 students, 23 female and nine males participated in the focus groups. From the focus groups, six students, four females and two males, agreed to continue with the research project and went through two semi-structured interviews concentrating on the individual units of the College 101 curriculum. After the interviews were concluded, a faculty focus group was done with several faculty members who have taught the College 101 course. The focus group was designed to get feedback on the College 101 curriculum from the faculty perspective.

Upon completion of data collection, several themes emerged related to why students were taking College 101, what motivations students had for taking College 101, whether students' expectations were being met in College 101 and students' and faculty feedback on each unit of the College 101 curriculum. The data helped provide several key recommendations for Kirkwood Community College as they continue to evaluate the future of the College 101 course.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013