Before I worked for a software company, I worked in the community and technical college system of Washington State. Nine and a half of those years, I worked at Lower Columbia College. My most rewarding years at LCC were spent in the eLearning office, helping students and teachers use technology for teaching and learning. So, while I wasn't a teacher, I got to help people get ready for a healthy start to their year.
Five things that we did to help students at the beginning of each term:
- In the week before classes began we ran hands on technology boot camps for students. We gave invitation cards to counselors and staff who had contact with students and asked them to invite any student who seemed receptive to attending. We also included info about the boot camps in all emails going out about enrollment in classes that used the LMS.
- On days two and three of the term we ran roster reports for all fully online courses and then had work study students call online students who hadn't logged into their classes yet to make sure they had their login info and knew what to do.
- Teachers could nominate students who did particularly well in their courses to become mentors via the tutoring center. These mentors went to the physical classrooms of the next term class to introduce themselves or posted in the online class for fully online classes and were then present in the online courses to help review students draft papers, etc.
- In the learning center, technology coaches were available to help students try to troubleshoot problems with computers, online courses and using software. We also had a small lab off to one side, equipped with technology that students might encounter in the classroom so they could come practice presentations and lab work
- All of our student help videos were available with captions and with transcripts. We found that 80% of students surveyed found the transcripts helpful - not just for students with disabilities.