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Archive for April 13th, 2022


Our PLC is Wizzy WIGging It With 4DX

I have to be honest. When people started throwing around the term 4DX last year, I tuned them all out. After teaching for over 30 years, I think I’ve pretty much seen everything come and go over the years. It wasn’t that I’d planned to not participate. As I’ve said before, I’m a team player, so you want to play 4DX? I’ll play. I may not like it, but somebody somewhere thinks this is worthwhile. So I’ll play, but I’m going in blind.

So our department set up two professional learning communities (PLC), and apparently, we’re doing a good job of making and keeping our goals each week. Our team lead informs us that we are at 94% for making and keeping our goals. That’s good. Attendance is not so great, but seriously, I think we’ve all figured out that meeting once a week just to say you’ve done what you were supposed to do is a bit of a waste of time. That’s indicated by our 41% attendance last week. But overall, I get a sense that our team really wants to reach our goal.

What is our goal?

Well, apparently we have an overall college super goal and then 3 Battle WIGs. A WIG is a wildly important goal. Each departs chooses a WIG to align with any of the three institutional Battle WIGs. Below are our goals.

GCC SUPER GOAL: Increase completion with equity from 23% to 33% by Fall 2024.

  • Battle WIG #1- Increase headcount of the new-student fall cohort with equity from 3,395 to 3,500 by October 2022.
  • Battle WIG #2- Increase student successful course completion with equity from 62% to 65% by October 2022. <–WE ALIGNED TO THIS ONE
  • Battle WIG #3- Increase Fall-to-Fall retention with equity from 54% to 57% by Fall 2022.

Our Dept WIG: Because we value learning, we will increase student successful completion with equity from 67.3% to 70.3% averaged across all department course offerings by October 2022.

Each week we’ve come up with some really good interventions to help our students be successful in our courses, but I’m getting a sense that most of us are not seeing any changes in student success. All the things we are trying can’t help a student who is just over his or her head. I think many students have this unrealistic view of what it takes to be successful in college. Our students have jobs. They have families. They have a lot going on. And then they register for 3-4 college courses and think they have enough time to be successful. Well, we’re all learning that these students are not set up to succeed. We’re doing all this outreach only to discover that many of our students are never going to be successful because they are already behind the 8-ball.

We recruit them and tell them to register. It’s affordable. We have flexible courses. You can take online courses or live-online. What we should be telling students is how much time it takes to be successful in a course. They need to be told to map out their time on a calendar and see how much time they have left for a course. They need to be told about support on campus before they start a class and perhaps given some suggestions for how to ask for help and/or how to read the course syllabus. But the most important skill they need is how to motivate themselves to do their work.

With all the weekly interventions we’ve tried this semester, most are met with silence. Students don’t even reply. After just two weeks into the semester, I was ghosted by a number of students. And those who did reply had excuses and promises to submit the missing assignment which never did materialize. Those that I could get to talk to me said they just didn’t have enough time to do all the work and seemed surprised that they had so much to do in one class, which is the case when you register for an 8-week or even a 12-week class.

Sadly I think we’re wizzy WIGging to no avail. I think the best interventions are those that could happen before students register for their courses. I think it’s too late for most after the course has started. They can’t quit their job. They can’t quit their family. So what’s left? Not doing their coursework. Basically quitting school before they’ve actually started.