Smart Start is a three tiered initiative designed to address the needs of adult learners returning to school. It is our aspiration to inform students who have been pre-admitted, currently enrolled to the University of Memphis about their academic preparedness to return to college and provide them with resources and assistance to address their possible deficiencies prior to enrollment into an online course or program.
Resources for Preparedness
Intervention 1: Readiness Assessment
Using a mixed methods approach, involving a web based readiness instrument, students will be assessed for "preparedness" and receive a recommended intervention for the following categories: Technical Knowledge, Online Learning Experience, Self-regulation, and Self-Management. The intent of this stage is to determine Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) opportunities (Experiential Learning Credit as well as Credit By Exam), modality match (online vs. face-to-face/hybrid), and support service prescription (tutoring, coaching, etc.).
Intervention 2: Preparation
Drawn from the aforementioned Readiness Assessment, a prescribed resource-based, readiness plan will be prepared for each returning student. While past academic performance may provide hints that academic tutoring or coaching be recommended, results from the readiness assessment instrument will direct students to key resources based on their categorical scores (e.g. time management, technology access & skill, etc.).
Intervention 3: Practice Zone
Based on the results of the Readiness Assessment and the completed readiness plan, the respondent will be directed to the Practice Zone. Within the Practice Zone, students will be given the opportunity to hone their skills prior to entry into a fully online or hybrid course offered by the University of Memphis. The Zone will include practice course modules and proven academic strategic resources designed to get prospective students ready for the "college experience". To aid in the preparation for the course and enrollment into courses, we also plan to provide each "qualifying" student a laptop or tablet with internet access.