Why I Created This Book
In the beginning my motivation in compiling this resource was to create a textbook that matched the learning outcomes of the course that the EDCP articulation committee had recently created. In other words, I needed the textbook for my students and so did many other colleges in the province. Creating the textbook would provide a resource for a course that gave ABE students another course option for adult high school graduation – particularly important for students who aren’t math and science oriented. I loved the idea of creating an open text, as I support the concept of open educational resources (OER) to help keep costs down for students and to provide flexibility and ease for instructors who can reuse, adapt, and remix open materials to meet their needs. The timing was right and the funding was available.
What I started to realize as I became entrenched in the project was that I was putting to paper a compilation of the advice I give to students every day. As an ABE instructor and an education advisor, I see the pitfalls that overwhelm students on a regular basis. I see both the ways they set themselves up for failure and, conversely, the ways they adopt successful habits. I have worked in adult education for over thirty years, and – as I near the end of my career – in a way, writing this book was a cathartic exercise of compiling a tremendous amount of my experience and expertise.
My experience teaching and education advising has made me very aware of the struggles that many students go through. Being a good student does not necessarily come naturally; productive study habits are learned. Unfortunately, student retention rates and graduation rates are adversely affected because many students never learned what it takes to achieve success. Student Success can help develop strong study skills and inform students of campus services that can aid them along the way.
I believe in the value of education. I believe in life-long learning. I personally learned the hard way in my earlier years of education about the many bad habits that students form that only cause barriers to success. I experienced the difference in confidence and quality of learning when I implemented good, strong study habits when I embarked on graduate studies as a very mature (i.e. very old) student. Sharing some of this acquired wisdom regarding the habits that help students experience success just seems to make good sense.
One thing that I found really interesting in the process of writing the book was how many times I needed to take my own advice as I was writing it. It was almost eerie how many times it happened. For example, as I was writing the section on personal wellness, I was writing about the importance of keeping balance in one’s life, making sure to make time for physical exercise and fresh air. At the time of writing I had spent numerous very long days head down, writing content for the book. As I wrote, I realized my back and shoulders were aching, and I desperately needed physical exercise after so many countless hours at the computer. It was in the rereading of what I had written that it struck me how much I needed to heed my own counsel. Similar incidents happened in other chapters. Ultimately, this demonstrates that many of the skills require continual practice. Just when you think you have mastered something is when a new circumstance challenges you to practice the skill in a different way.
It is my hope that by using this text, students will develop skills that will set them up for a positive post-secondary experience that will reduce stress and frustration, and increase successful outcomes and graduation attainments.
To the Students
A Note About Videos: There are videos throughout the text from external sources. For those reading the online copy, videos can be watched directly in the text. If you are reading a paper copy or a PDF, the text will provide direct URLs to where you can watch the video. You can also find those links in the back matter of the text named List of Links by Chapter.
Intended Audience: This book is useful for all college and university students, whether you are a young student barely out of high school, an older student making a career change, or a parent whose children have grown and gone and who is starting a new chapter of life. It is relevant whether you’ve never gone to college or whether this is your third time round. Regardless of your circumstances, you will likely want to make your educational experience worthwhile, learn the most you can, and do it in an efficient effective manner. My hope is that the concepts in this text will help you along the way.
All the best as you embark on your educational journey.