The blessed occasion is almost upon us here at Centralia College.
Start of the term – Yay!
There are some important things you can do as an educator or student services member to help students start the term off well. Having a friendly face, giving clear directions or expectations are a couple of ideas, but the big one I’m talking about is all about that bass. Ok, not that bass, but Week Zero, which is pretty awesome, too.
What the heck is Week Zero?
“Week Zero” has been established at schools around the world for the past several years – since the advent of eLearning, web-enhanced, hybrid and online courses. It all started with the idea that while the world keeps advancing and moving forward with the latest and greatest technologies, not all students have ever heard of them, let alone used them for school where they’ll get graded for it. So, to put students minds at ease as to what they could expect in the courses, the technology they’d need to use and any potential problems they’d encounter, Week Zero was born.
The idea behind Week Zero is a prep week with no stakes attached to it.
It’s a week where students could look around, familiarize themselves with how to get around the classes, practice submitting things, read the syllabus and ask for help on technology they don’t understand up front while familiarizing themselves with resources.
The research shows that students who have a better understanding of what’s expected of them before the start of the course have a much higher success rate than those who don’t. This is especially crucial for first-time students, online and hybrid students, students returning to school after a long absence and Running Start students. It would be like starting a brand new job and being expected to hit the ground running, having no idea what you’ll be doing, when/where you should show up, what tools you’ll be using, what language you’ll be speaking, what you should wear, or who you should speak to.
Week Zero at Centralia College
Here at Centralia College, Week Zero started in Angel the week before the term started. All classes were automatically opened to students to start moving around in and there was a course where people could go in and practice submitting assignments, posting in discussion forums, taking quizzes, etc.
Now, with Canvas, instructors are able to publish their courses themselves and can choose whether or not to have them open during Week Zero. We still publicize Week Zero for students and HIGHLY recommend to instructors to publish their courses and have some welcome and introductory material for students because this is so CRUCIAL to student success.
What can you do to support students with this?
If you’re in student services, let students know about this resource when they register, get advised, convey nerves around the start of the quarter, express they’ve been out of school for a while, ask when they can access their courses, express difficulties, etc.
If you’re an instructor, be prepared for Week Zero. Publish your course a week before the term starts. Have a welcome page when students enter your class that greets as well as directs students where to go, what to do, gives expectations, directs to resources, etc. Don’t assume students know everything. You can put some orientation material in the course to have students practice assignments, quizzes and discussion forums, but make sure these are not graded. If you’d like assistance in creating any of these or ideas for what to do, just ask eLearning – we’d be more than happy to help!
***Remember, you can always refer students to eLearning for help and support if they ask you something you’re not sure about or how to do. ***
Walk in support: NW corner of Kirk Library
Phone: (360) 736 – 9391 ext. 672