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Published February 16, 2016 | Multidisciplinary

Key Components for Student Success Available 24 hours a Day!

There is no greater pleasure for anyone working in education than to see students succeed. The elements that contribute to the success of students at the college level are varied and involve many different services and individuals, each playing an important role on the pathway to success.

We often think of teachers when first contemplating student success, but teachers are not the only ones that provide students with the essential tools and resources they need to persevere during their time at CEGEP. For many students their first semester at CEGEP is a large adjustment, which can bring a great deal of stress and anxiety. But this is not the only challenging time: midterm, exam periods and even a student’s last semester at their college can be extremely stressful. This is where the experts working in Student Services can be of great help to students at any time of the academic year.

At Champlain College Saint Lambert the professionals and staff working in the Student Services department decided to create video tutorials based on their in-class workshops. Debra Polomeno, a Psychologist at Champlain College Saint Lambert, explained that although her department was already providing workshops on key issues for students, they knew that they were not reaching all of the students who were in need of help. A working group got together to try to find solutions. Lucy Caldwell, an intern from McGill University, suggested that video tutorials, posted on YouTube, would allow access to the information provided in the workshops at any time of the day or night, in the privacy of their own home and would reach far more students in a way that students enjoyed. Debra saw this idea as a new and exciting way to connect with as many students as possible.

Putting the Project Together

Spear-headed by Lucy Caldwell, the project started taking shape and received financial assistance from the Entente Canada-Quebec. Topics for the video tutorials were determined after informal surveys of students showed that Time Management, Stress Management and Procrastination were at the top of the list of what students were struggling with the most. Once the topics were selected, the content for the videos could start being gathered and prepared. There was already information from the existing workshops that could be used, and Debra explained that they obtained further content from professional development activities that the counsellors had recently attended. The next step was planning how to put the video tutorials together in a dynamic way. The team didn’t have to look very far for help with ideas. They turned to the staff at the Library, who had already created similar types of videos in the past. Their expertise led the team to choose PowerPoint and Prezi as interactive presentation tools. The Camtasia screencasting software was used to film the animated presentations and Lucy lent her voice to the videos. A YouTube channel was created and used as the space to host the videos for easy access by the college population.

Each of the three topics, Time Management, Stress Management and Procrastination were divided into segments in order to keep each tutorial short and easy to watch from start to finish. 

Time Management is broken down into three segments:

  1. Understanding Where Your Time Goes
  2. Getting Organized
  3. How to Study Effectively

Stress Management is also broken down into three segments:

  1. What is Stress and How Does it Affect the Body?
  2. Understanding Your Own Stress
  3. How to Cope with Stress

Procrastination is broken down into two segments:

  1. Understanding Procrastination
  2. How to Stop Putting Things Off

Addressing Another Issue that Affects Success

Student Services decided to tackle another troubling topic for students, in a separate initiative - that of Cyberbullying. This project used the medium of a video, a short, but very effective video clip. Debra explained that “There were several cases of Cyberbullying taking place on campus that year, so a proactive educational approach was utilized to address this important issue. One of the steps taken was to develop a video on Cyberbullying.” There was also a series of 6 workshops on developing a positive digital identity offered to students by a specialist. The video, Cyber Bullying, was added to the YouTube channel of the college, in addition to the other tutorials.

Getting the Message Out

The video on Cyberbullying and the video tutorials were, and still are, used in the workshops that Student Services provides to students. They add lively alternatives that can be used over and over again, and even the Library uses them in some of their workshops. One element in the original project that remains to be completed is the promotion of these resources. High turn-over in the department in recent years (due to retirements and various leaves) has delayed the promotion of these videos which were first created in 2012. Student Services is now looking at the best ways to inform students that these videos are available to them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere!

Another college in the Champlain network has benefited from these resources as well. Student Services at St. Lawrence College was looking into creating very similar tools as they also saw a need to equip students with as many tools for success as possible. Thanks to the generosity of College Saint Lambert, links to all 8 video tutorials and the video on Cyberbullying are available on the school’s website, under  Student Help.  

Equipped with these new resources, the Student Services Department at College Saint Lambert has expanded the traditional methods of counselling students. The creation of these tools has led them to explore the idea of on-line resources as well as social media as a way of supporting students.

Has your CEGEP started using on-line resources as a way of providing students with tools for success? If so, tell us what has been done and please include the links to the resources if they are available on-line!

Born and raised in Montreal, Debra Polomeno has been working as a Psychologist at Champlain College Saint Lambert since 2007. During her years at Saint Lambert, she has provided guidance counselling services as well as personal and career counselling to the students. Happy to be back after a maternity leave, she is now undertaking the promotional side of this project.

Debra Polomeno

Debra Polomeno has been working as a Psychologist at Champlain College Saint Lambert since 2007

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