Scaling evidence-based education technology (edtech) products in the postsecondary market is challenging. Developers need to figure out how to break into classrooms long dominated by commercial publishers – and how to attract funding when investors tend to focus on the much larger and less fragmented K–12 market.
During my first semester at Wake Tech college, I was not well acquainted with resources such as student success coaches, advisors, and tutoring services. However, once I became aware of them and started using them, I discovered how helpful they can be. New college students face a variety of challenges, and one effective way to overcome these hurdles is to seek help.
Being a college student can be hard, especially for first-time students. We tend to think we will have everything together, but we are often wrong. We are starving for the learning we will experience in college, but we don’t quite have all of the study habits or knowledge about how to interact with our instructors that are necessary for us to grow.
The term self-directed learning—as we are currently using it within the Postsecondary Collaborative—encompasses an intricate set of mindsets and intrapersonal skills that students use to manage their learning. Though educators and researchers often think of them as discrete skills, we theorize that they are more powerful together than alone.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed that online learning is here to stay, but it also revealed knowledge gaps around how to support all students to learn effectively online. As a result, educators are now highly motivated to develop new models for online teaching and learning that build students’ skills and motivation to learn.
Pima Community College in Arizona is a Hispanic-serving institution that enrolls about 43,000 students, many of whom are working and have families. With 40% of students fully online, and more in virtual and hybrid courses, the college ensures that online courses are not just pale imitations of in-person courses and that their design takes into account how students learn.
In 2020, Macomb Community College combined the college’s academic literacy and writing center and academic content tutoring center under one administrative team, allowing the college to reimagine tutoring services to better meet the needs of our students enrolled in remote, online, hybrid, and in-person courses. This shift—combined with the educational impacts we observed from COVID-19—encouraged us to apply what we had learned in working with students on reading and writing to other disciplines such as math, business, and physics and to develop new ways to support self-regulated learning across disciplines.