TJC offers class for students with low grade averages

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By Alexis Long

Student Life Editor

What was once called CPSS until it’s name change in 2012, RISE is a slightly different version of the Learning Frameworks course. One of the main differences, according to Lead Academic Advisor Kathy Patterson, is that it is a developmental class, whereas Learning Frameworks is a credit course.

“[RISE] has never been a credit class so the grade you make in it does not affect the student’s GPA, but it does count towards your semester hours,” said Patterson.

The Learning Frameworks course is usually targeted for incoming freshmen so they can learn about time management, financial responsibilities, etc.

“Financial aid is always a big issue with our students,” said Patterson. “A lot of students, they don’t really take it as seriously as I think they should and take advantage of the information that is provided to them… Our effort as a college is to help give that student the information they need to be successful.”

Although students taking the RISE class aren’t required to see an advisor monthly, they may have a “block” on their account if they try to register for classes.

“It isn’t necessarily a “hold”… If they don’t have any advising holds or financial holds, they can actually try to go in and register for classes but it isn’t going to let them progress because they have a “block” on their account,” said Patterson. “We are required to see students who are on academic probation or suspension.”

According to TRiO Academic Retention Specialist and RISE professor Greg Parham’s syllabus, the course focuses on “critical thinking processes that promote positive self-awareness and personal achievement.” RISE is not part of the General Education Core Curriculum and it does not apply to SCANS.

Although Parham likes to use different platforms to teach the students, none of the course is taken online.

“I always try to do activities, you know, keep them interested,” Parham said. “What I don’t like is when they just sit there with a blank look on their face.”

The course is 16 weeks long and learning objectives vary from week to week. During the first week, Parham works with the students on the transition from high school to college. The students then move on to dealing with time management.

“When we talk about time management, I put a number on the board and say, ‘Hey, I won $1,440 and I’m going to give it to you,’ and I’ll tell them they can spend it all in one day,” said Parham. “When they get done and they have ‘bought’ their stuff, I erase the board and I say, ‘1,440 is the number of minutes in the day, how did you spend your time?’ and they see how easy it is to spend the ‘money’.”

The students also do assignments to help them with goals, listening, and note taking.

“I ask the students, ‘How many of you took notes in high school?’ and most of time, half of the room or less will raise their hands,” said Parham. “Well, taking notes is a very important part of college so they find the best methods for them.”

During week eight, the students take tests to see what type of learning style they are.

“The test factors in because if they learn visually and they have an instructor who is an auditory learner, they have to understand that the instructor is going to teach them that way and they may have to switch modes in order to understand the lesson,” said Parham.

The students also do a research paper, which, according to Parham, isn’t really a research project.

“I always tell them to find something they are interested in,” said Parham. “For instance, there was a girl last semester who worked at Freebird’s and she had a really neat PowerPoint about what goes into preparing the burritos.”

Parham added that the student’s manager allowed her to bring a tray full of food for the entire class.

Before Finals Week, students do a career exploration section that allows them to research the careers they are interested in.

“They look into the dress code, pay, benefits and the ability to move up,” said Parham. “It allows them to see if this is really want they want to do and do a report on it.”

Like TJC’s diversity around the campus, the course is as well. Parham said that in the spring semester, he taught a 57-year-old student who worked at ETMC in the maintenance department and decided to come back to school.

Parham sends the students weekly emails to remind them of TJC’s services around campus, like the tutoring and workshop centers, and attaches PowerPoint presentations as well as any YouTube videos he uses in his lessons.

“There’s many people who find out they are on academic suspension and they have to take this class… they’ll just say, ‘Well, forget that,’ and then they won’t come back to school,” said Parham. “One of the things I tell them is that I respect that they have chosen to take the class and are doing what they have to do to get back to a good standing. They need to know that somebody cares about their futures, what they are doing and what they want to achieve.”

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