This Work in Progress paper will focus on the learning skills modules that were developed in the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). These modules were developed to provide first-year students with tips on topics such as time management and avoiding procrastination, note taking, preparing for classes and exams, and reading science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) textbooks. Included in the modules were a tutorial on how to set up a Google Calendar, a self-assessment of their strengths and areas for improvement, links to available resources, and advice from graduating seniors.
These learning skills modules were developed as one component of the Student Success Initiative within the School of Engineering at GVSU. The motivation for the Student Success Initiative and the development of the learning skills modules is the improved retention of the first-year students in the engineering program. The retention of students from the Introduction to Engineering Design I course to the Introduction to Engineering Design II course has historically been in the range of approximately 33% – 36%. A multi-pronged approach has been taken to help provide students with the skills and resources to be successful, access to academic support, creating a sense of engagement and community among students and within the School of Engineering.
The learning skills modules were developed to be incorporated into a first-year seminar. While the first-year seminar is under development, the modules were incorporated into an Introduction to Engineering course. This course is not a required course for engineering majors and there are non-majors that take the course, however, many students that are considering an engineering major and are taking the pre-calculus courses in preparation for the engineering foundation courses also take Introduction to Engineering. Therefore, it allowed for the modules to be utilized so that the results of their implementation could be reviewed for further updates.
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