Providing developmental advising to first year engineering students often presents a number of challenges due to high student-to-advisor ratios. Our objective was to design and implement a student centered “flipped” advising experience using the University of Florida’s learning management system (LMS) to promote developmental advising and encourage student self-authorship.
The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering requires mandatory advising through the use of holds to prevent registration. Each First Year Engineering student is assigned an advisor that they will work with throughout their first year.
During the spring semester of 2016 we began requiring all first year engineering student to complete a five-semester plan before their mandatory meeting with their advisor during the registration period. Originally we had students upload their plan to Microsoft SharePoint, which was not part of our university’s LMS. For the fall 2016 semester we created a section for all entering first year students in Canvas, our LMS. Students already use Canvas for all of their university courses and therefore are familiar with its design and structure. The benefit of using an LMS is that it allows users to “organize content and multimedia resources into modules” (Steele, 2016). Our First Year Engineering module included basic information from advisors such as the First Year Engineering Advising syllabus and required students to upload their plan along with answering basic questions concerning their involvement with the university.
In the spring 2017 semester, we required students to update their plan, and added a series of short answer questions designed to help students reflect on their college experience and promote introspection about their values, i.e. who they are, who they want to be and what motivates them.
We have also developed a new orientation module for our newly admitted freshmen on Canvas. This will focus on presenting them with FAQs and other needed information pertaining to the college, as well as prompt students to begin the process of self-authorship.
97% Completion Rate of Canvas assignments during the 2016 – 2017 academic year and a 94% completion rate in the 2017 – 2018 academic year.
Reduction in number of students on probation from 25% down to 15% during the 2016 - 2017 academic year. A further reduction in the probation rate from 15% down to 12% during the 2017 - 2018 academic year.
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