We also have tried parties during the break and from our Student Services budget free movies, free bowling, and hands on creative activiites on campus. These activities do reach students who did not leave town for the break.
We also have done email blasts to all students; an automated phone message from the President to all students; mailing a postcard or newsletter to those that left real early for break; and prizes for the classes that have 100% attendance on the first day back.
Elisabeth, these issues happen at my school too, our week off for spring break does not coincide with their childrens' school schedule, so they take another week off; our week of summer break means families may try to go away on vacation sometimes forgetting to return to class on time.
We have encouraged students to share phone numbers the first day of class, so they can keep in contact when absent to find out the assignments. We encourage instructors to post assignments on-line so absent students have access and can return with completed assignments. We ask all instructors to try and contact absent students by phone with a message "missed you in class"; we ask academic mentors to speak to their advisees if we see attendance becoming a major issue. We have learned to be a bit more understanding if the student is upfront and pre-plans and can document upcoming absences. Life is interfering with education and the adult students honest answer is my family/children have to come first.
The one thing we can do is -if the student is going to fail the class due to attendance issues the student can drop the class and re-take it at another time. There are scheduling ramifications but when the student returns and are able to focus on class they are usually appreciative of our understanding and are a better student.
Thanks for sharing these great ideas for ways of keeping students engaged.
I agree that the faculty needs to create a reason for students to become excited about returning to school. The Party is a good idea , but may not spark the interest of some of the non- traditional students. I have scheduled special events prior to the break and immediately after, such as competitions and hobby classes. These have proven to motivate some of the students and test their competency level, reinforcing ther confidence.
Director of Education
Good ideas on how to get the students engaged in the school setting. The use of parties on occasion in the class work as well. These parties would be to celebrate the end of a unit or completion of a major project. They don't have to last too long nor be too elaborate, just enough to get the students engaged in talking with each other and relaxing a bit. I use teams to compete at some of these parties as well and that really gets to students going plus they have a lot of fun in the process reviewing what they have learned.
One of the tool we have started using is our emergency broadcast system to contact students over the break. We send out two messages via text, email and voicemail to our entire body. This has been a great way to test the system and send important holiday messages; when school starts again; to our student body.
I like this approach as well. Contacts like this are good reminders to the students even when sent for another purpose.
our students like to have a cook out. helps retention and Motivates our students to return after holidays!
Social events can really helps students to identify with their college and fellow students. Plus, a cookout is fun not to mention an opportunity to enjoy some really good cooking.
I have problems when we have a holiday break in the middle of a module, it interrupts their learning and it is like a brand new start when they get back, it has to all be retaught. The students get very frustrated with this.
I agree with the need to "reteach" after a break. Not a lot we can do except to spend to time in review after the break so the students can see where they were and where they are going to go in the last phase of the course.
Dr. Gary Meers
I agree! All exams are given in class before major breaks so that they have a reason to truly celebrate...but more importantly...so they don't forget the content.