Academic CAFÉ helps VC foundational students move ahead
 VC student Eman Ibrahim, left, works with English as a Second Language Instructor Anastasia Futrell in the Academic Cafe. The Cafe  helps foundational students to move forward through the developmental course requirements before the end of a semester.
VC student Eman Ibrahim, left, works with English as a Second Language Instructor Anastasia Futrell in the Academic Cafe. The Cafe helps foundational students to move forward through the developmental course requirements before the end of a semester.

Victoria College’s newest café doesn’t have lattes, cappuccinos or muffins. What it does serve is on-demand help from learning facilitators to VC foundational students in need of a little extra academic boost.

The Academic CAFÉ (Center for Accelerating Foundations and Essentials) learning center, opened in August in Johnson Hall, Room 208. It helps foundational students to move forward through the developmental course requirements well before the end of a traditional semester. Foundational students are those who not college-ready in reading, writing or mathematics.

The CAFÉ is located in the computer lab in Room 208 of Johnson Hall and the adjoining classroom.

Students use computers to complete lesson modules and homework at their own pace and then take exams to show what they have learned while in the CAFÉ, explained Deb Butler, VC integrated reading and writing instructor. Faculty serve as learning facilitators, delivering on-demand help as students solve problems and make discoveries as independent, active learners, she added.

Students watch videos, read the text and then work on their assignments in class.

“This allows students to work only in the areas in which they are struggling instead of spending time on information that they may already know,” Butler said.  “They can also work as many hours as they would like on the subject, with individualized help always available.”

Currently, the CAFÉ offers courses in Integrated Reading and Writing (INRW 0301), beginning algebra (MATH 0301) and intermediate algebra (MATH 0303). Students can start every odd week up to the ninth week of school and can complete the course at any time but must finish by the end of the semester. They are required to work in the CAFÉ at least four hours each week.

"The CAFÉ allows students enrolling late to Victoria College the opportunity to begin foundational coursework when they first decide to attend college instead of waiting until the second eight weeks, or the next semester,” said Brian Hutcheson, Academic Foundations Division coordinator and mathematics instructor.

Babette Lowe, dean of Academic Foundations and Student Success, explained that “the designated exit indicates that the students must be finished with the course by the end of the semester, but if they complete the requirements prior to the end of the semester, they may take their final exam and finish the course early.”

After attending the National Association for Developmental Education conference in February and witnessing other colleges across the country successfully use the wide variety of studies model, VC’s Academic Foundations personnel hoped to recreate the same type of environment for Victoria College, Lowe said.

“The creation of the CAFÉ was a team effort,” said Lowe. “The INRW and Academic Foundations mathematics faculty worked together to create and implement this model in a way that would foster a comfortable and productive learning environment for the students.”

The CAFÉ is open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays. The schedule was created to give students the flexibility to attend class when it is most convenient for them.

Some students cannot regularly attend classes due to work or schedule conflicts,” Deb Butler said. “The CAFÉ gives them the flexibility to be there whenever they can make it.”

Some 171 students have taken part in Foundational Math studies, and 100 students have participated in Integrated Reading and Writing studies since the Café opened.

Published: Thursday, 04 December 2014
 

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