Revving up!

Welcome to MCC, new students! I’m Casey Reid, the current coordinator for the College 100 classes at MCC and English faculty. Many of you have already written your “Why am I here?” emails to your College 100 instructors, but this article from today’s Chicago Tribune helps provide even more reasons for why it is important to talk with instructors and establish a professional relationship with them: “Advice for New College Students.”

I’ve been talking with the College 100 instructors, and they are excited about working with you! All of us want you to be successful and believe you will and can be successful, so we are going to try to load you up on resources. One resource you (and, if applicable, your parents) might want to check out is for help coping with the transition into college life. We know stress and time management can be a problem, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

You may already be looking for ways to get involved on campus. Look no further: Check out the blog, MCC Students Online for updates about what is happening at MCC.

You’re going to do great! See you soon.


Hello, Peer Leaders!

Peer Leader logoOn Friday, June 8 at Blue River, 44 MCC students completed training to become the first group of MCC Peer Leaders. In keeping with much research into the important role peers can play in student success, the Peer Leaders have been trained to assist with the Big Event and College 100 classes.

To find out more about what MCC Peer Leaders can do, please visit the Peer Leader page from MCC’s website or like the new MCC Peer Leader Facebook page.

To request a Peer Leader for a College 100 class, email your Campus Life and Leadership Coordinator. Several Peer Leaders will be attending the College 100 Kick-off Par-tay, so please make time to meet and thank them for stepping up to volunteer time to help our new incoming students! Thank you, Peer Leaders!


Congrats, Grads!

Many people are in the college biz because we love watching students learn, grow, and change–and, ultimately, transfer or graduate. Today, around 830 MCC students will be graduating and crossing the stage at Municipal Auditorium, making all of us proud. It may have taken two years, four years (our average graduation rate), six years, or much longer for students who left and came back. No matter the struggles and stumbles along the way, you made it, graduates!

Here’s an inspirational video to remind us of what it can take and what we all need to get across the finish line: 1992 Derek Redmond and the Olympic Spirit

(Thanks to Sharon Soares for finding this gem.)

Exciting Developments for COLL 100!

Hundreds–yes, hundreds–of MCC employees are involved as instructors, mentors, committee members, and support.  I can’t thank everyone enough for the time, energy, and talent you have devoted to our students! Here are a few recent developments in our College 100 work for which I am eternally grateful:

  • Leawna Parker and Tana Neill in Enrollment Services have been working quickly and diligently to check enrollment problems when we suspect they are related to the COLL 100 MetroSoft programming. Thank you, ladies!
  • Jeff Wilt, Misty Chandler, Kelli Cronk, Julianne Jacques, and Mindy Johnson stepped up to act as instructor mentors. When you’re needing to process/discuss a classroom experience, they are happy to help. Mary McMullen-Light offered to mentor instructors through the Final Project in College 100, also. Thanks, team!
  • The next time you see them, please thank Amy Slater, Kristen Brumley, Misty Chandler, Kim Prosak, and Nicole DeShay-Inzauro for putting together an excellent group of Peer Leaders to help us in our courses! When you want a student perspective in class or help running an activity, contact them to request a Peer Leader.
  • Thank you, Connie Migliazzo, for writing a grant to help us fund name tags for the Peer Leader program! Cross your fingers that we are accepted.
  • Melissa Giese in Institutional Research is leading our assessment efforts and has been tremendously helpful with the first year student suvey–thank you!
  • Shelley Carney, adjunct reference librarian at Longview, constructed a spectacular library guide for COLL 100. The guide covers all major areas of the class. Use it to find resources for both you and your students. Thank you, Shelley!
  • Last but not least, thank you Kathryn Barker, Deanna Snyder, and Sharon Soares for making our online sections sparkle. Sharon, the new voice of College 100, has been recording voice and captioning for our PowerPoints, as in this example: 12 Things I Wish My Students Knew.

I’m sorry if I am forgetting anyone. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the College 100 Kick-Off Par-Tay on Thursday, Jun 21 from 3-6 p.m. @ the BTC’s Conference Annex. Thank you all!

Courage, Compassion, Connection–and Vulnerability

I know the idea of stepping in front of a class of 25+ strangers can shake a person up.  College 100’s debut this fall will commemorate my tenth year of teaching, and I’m bracing myself for the possibility that I will see just as many flaws in my work as I did when I first taught–only this time, the flaws will be magnified by a few thousand students!

For those of you who are nervous about taking the plunge into teaching, that’s okay: Embrace it.  It’s good that you’re nervous, excited, anxious, worried, and whatever else you are feeling. According to Brene Brown of the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work, those emotions are indicative of vulnerability, something you have to have to create connections with others. Connection–yes, there’s that word again. It’s what we want to do in College 100, and it’s what people like Vincent Tinto have been writing for years: If our students connect to others at college–if they feel valued, if they are expected to succeed, if they have support, if they have clear direction, if they are engaged in learning–they are more likely to be retained and to graduate.

To help create the conditions so we can connect with our students, let’s get vulnerable for a bit.  Spend 20 minutes watching this funny, engaging TED Talk with Brene Brown, where she discusses her research about “The Power of Vulnerability.”  I encourage you to heed her advice and

  • have “courage to be imperfect” in your classrooms,
  • show compassion for yourself and then your students,
  • provide genuine connection to/with students “as a result of authenticity,”
  • and most of all “embrace vulnerability.”

After all, “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change . . . vulnerability is not weakness,” Brown says.

What are some of your favorite thoughts from the TED Talk? How can you apply Brown’s ideas to your work with new students?

“Come Along and Ride on a Fantastic . . .”

This post is a shout out to College 100 instructors. Some of you have background in student development theory, but many of you do not. I’ve been reading up on it in my attempts to shape and reshape College 100 to best fit students’ needs and institutional constraints. I know theory is not everything’s cup of tea, but I think it can be useful for informing our practice, especially since there is so much of it out there about college students.

So, indulge me a bit. I’ve found a few videos that our good intros to student development theory. The first one will take around 50 minutes, so watch this at home with some popcorn and a beverage–and, preferably, someone else who would be willing to talk about the theory: Introduction to Student Development Theory.

The second one is much shorter, and if you find yourself with 10 extra minutes (ha!), gather up your fellow College 100 instructors in your office and talk it over: Why Freshman Seminar and College Student Development 101.

For a resource more closely tied to first-year students, don’t forget to browse the resources at the National Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. Finally, Laurie Hazard, counselor and educator, has some good two-minute take away videos related to student study habits, and Carol Dweck of Stanford is one of the key researchers on motivation and mindset, a concept that is essential for students because student mindset and locus of control (one’s ability to see one’s self as having some control over one’s life vs. seeing external factors as controlling one’s life) is correlated with whether a student will use the tips and strategies we provide. We have to help our students change their mindset and internalize their locus of control–otherwise, they won’t use what we give them!

Check it all out in small chunks as you have time. Then, think about this: How could you use ideas from student development theory or mindset research to rethink what you do at MCC? How could you integrate these ideas into your work to be more effective? Are the ideas relevant at all? How so? Why or why not?

Prepping for the Fall: Motivation Matters!

Like many general education classes, COLL 100 is a class that instructors will have to sell to students, as many students will not understand why they are taking the class or how it will help them. If the class is to be successful, students must perceive the class to be useful–not a blow-off!

Consequently, motivating students will be essential.  Check out this link, “Motivating College Student Learning” from Exploring How Students Learn, a website by Bill Cerbin, psychology professor and director for the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Thanks to Zola Gordy for passing along the website information; it has been added to the Instructor links list.

“Money, Money, Money, Muh-nay!”

Please put your hands up for our Financial Aid Managers and Enrollment Managers across the district: Rowdy Pyle, Rene Bennett, Pamela Yeager, Robin Stimac, Lisa Fannan, and Rossann Downing educated 50 COLL 100 instructors about financial aid regulations and activities for our classes–so far! If you did not make it to a meeting, you have several options for learning this content:

  • Attend a Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) presentation at the BTC (room CC249) on April 4 about Student Federal Aid Basics, 17 about Financial Literacy, or April 24 about Loan Default Prevention. Each presentation is presented twice per day, once from 11:00-12:00 and once from 4:30-5:30. The April 17 presentation from 11:oo-12:00 will feature 30 high school students playing the MDHE financial literacy game that is an option for COLL 100.
  • You can find PowerPoints from the recent Financial Aid presentations in the COLL 100 Dropbox folder if you click the Course Activities folder and then click 13Financial_Aid_and_Literacy.
  • I will hold a refresher this summer.

COLL 100 Teaching Tip: As I noted in the meetings, it will not be possible to cover both financial aid and financial literacy in one day. Prioritize financial aid on the day it is scheduled in your class, and if you have spare time in your class schedule, please consider covering financial literacy.  Pamela forwarded several good online resources to help students with their personal finances. They are included in the links, as well as below with descriptions from Pamela:

  • – This resource is provided by the National Endowment for Financial Education.  It has been around for more than 30 years and is committed to educating Americans on a broad range of financial topics and empowering them to make positive and sound decisions to reach their financial goals.  It is set up much like an actual course study.
  • One For Your Money – – One stop shop for financial tips and money management information.  There are videos, articles, podcasts, and other financial tools such as Money 101 classes, Financial Literacy Challenges, with help for everyone from high school seniors to adult learners.
  • – Free on-line budgeting tool that provides the necessary tools for people to meet their financial goals.
  • – This is a good site that utilizes an interactive website with a self-paced curriculum and partners it with presentations and a printable guide to help users get on the path to financial literacy.
  • – Jumpstart is a national coalition of organizations that are dedicated to improving financial literacy for students between the ages of kindergarten and college.  This site is designed with all ages in mind with some really good online activities.
  • – This site is the financial literacy arm of the US government. represents a collaborative effort of over 22 federal organizations to educate citizens about proper money management.  It is a great online source and if you call 888.MyMoney (888.696.6639) they will send you a free personal financial toolkit.

Thank you, everyone!

NMC Horizon Report 2012 and the Age of Apps

The New Media Consortium published its 2012 report (view the short YouTube version here) about trends in higher education and listed apps as an emerging trend for instructional use.  Here are a few articles that cover hot or best apps for education:

Many of the apps in these lists are free, including myHomework for iPhone (which helps students keep track of assignments), Evernote for iPhone (which allows students to record notes and lectures), and StudyBlue for Apple products (which lets students make flash cards and take them everywhere).

What apps do you use that students might find useful?

Hello MCC!

Welcome to The First Year @ MCC, a blog dedicated to helping students succeed during their first year as an MCC student.  The blog will include information pertinent to College 100: First-Year Seminar, including relevant campus events, strategies for new students, suggestions for employees and COLL 100 instructors, and tips for community members who may be trying to help a new student.

We–MCC students, employees, and community members–are some of the best resources we have to help new students.  Here’s a good video of Longview students discussing study strategies.

What advice do you give students to help them study?