Student Touchpoints

New Student Orientation became a mandatory requirement for 10 pilot programs in spring 2011. Program Orientations were created and added to the intervention for an additional group of programs. Both parts became mandatory, and students needed to attend or make up these sessions to avoid holds on their accounts. This intervention became even more powerful when Welcome Days were added to provide additional information to new students right before their classes started. Program orientation was paired with Welcome Days in order to provide students with just-in-time program information. The College increased the number of sessions, scaled to all our locations, created a way for students to register for the sessions in advance, and purchased 50 laptops to accommodate the sessions. A redesign of the academic calendar from a 17-week semester to a 15-week semester provided for an open week before classes which employees reserved for the important Welcome Days activities. Understanding that there will be exceptions to any plan, the College created make-up orientations and online video orientations to ensure that all students would receive this vital information in a timely manner. All new students are now required to attend or make-up all three parts of the Touchpoints intervention (New Student Orientation, Program Orientation, and Welcome Days) ensuring that employees will have multiple chances to engage with students, answer their questions, and provide them with information before they reach the classroom.

Success was demonstrated through an increased course pass rate and persistence for new program students who attended. This clearly illustrates what the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) has been researching and demonstrating on a national scale. Students who are actively engaged with faculty, support staff, and each other are more likely to succeed in the classroom and attain their goals. It also reinforces our hypothesis that adding more touchpoints with students (both before classes started and then continued by faculty using shared classroom strategies) would lead to improved student course success. Evidence gathered through feedback surveys and focus groups led to additional improvements to the Touchpoint interventions throughout 2015-16.  A new online orientation introduces students to the Blackboard learning management system and contains resources they can refer to throughout their college career. In addition, all new students meet with an advisor in group or one-on-one appointments to create an academic plan as part of their new student registration experience. Faculty participate in all aspects of the Welcome Days activities to engage with students and orient them to their program. A new infographic was also developed to clearly communicate the learning outcomes for each intervention. Students who failed to register for a session were enrolled by staff and received their schedule via letter. Participation in the events increased by about 10% following these actions. In June 2015, NWTC opened its newly remodeled Welcome Center where students meet for orientation in high tech, dedicated spaces designed to reflect the new NWTC model of early engagement.  Students who miss a scheduled session can walk in and work with staff at the Welcome Center to get all of their questions answered quickly and efficiently.  NWTC has presented this model at state, regional and national conferences in 2014-15, including Dream 2015.

Data shows that students who participate in one or more of these activities are more likely to pass their courses successfully—82.3% for students who participate versus 68.6% for students who do not.  In addition, students who participate are more likely to persist to the next term—84.6% versus 66.4% of new students who did not participate.  The positive impact of these interventions continues beyond the first year, as students who participate persist to the third term at a higher rate (58.6%) than those who did not participate (42.9%).

ID 15555

To contact this college about this intervention, take note of the ID above, ID #15555, and then fill out the intervention contact request form

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