Amy Baldwin, University of Central Arkansas
Lisa August, Canisius College
James Bennett, Herzing University
Copyright Year: 2020
ISBN 13: 9781951693176
Conditions of Use
This text is a thoughtfully-designed, solid introduction to topics that would be most relevant to a new college student. The 12 chapters cover appropriate topics of consideration - things like learning styles, time management, study skills, and... read more
This text is a thoughtfully-designed, solid introduction to topics that would be most relevant to a new college student. The 12 chapters cover appropriate topics of consideration - things like learning styles, time management, study skills, and financial literacy. It provides interesting student profiles and student surveys in each section, and analysis questions designed to help a student "dig deeper". There is an overall focus on the application of skills that would help any student work toward academic and personal success. The Index at the end seems comprehensive and helpful for navigating.
I found no errors in accuracy, either in theory, data, or possible bias. All information provided seemed objective and accurate. The data provided is consistent with what I know in areas such as learning styles, memory function, and cultural competency.
The main topics for each chapter are relevant and seem timeless. I did find that the information in each subcategory is more theoretical than practical, on the whole. A more abstract, theoretical approach can be useful in terms of not needing as many updates over time, but it creates a textbook that lacks a lot of practical tools that might need to be updated as more research becomes available. I would have liked to see more practical career information, for example. There is a 'Career Connection' subcategory at the end of each section, but it is often a thinking prompt instead of a concrete tool that might help a student become more major secure. However, the text also features concepts such as using personal values to help set goals are helpful and do not require updating.
The text was refreshingly clear of excessive jargon or technical terminology. It seemed well-suited to the reading level of a college student without dumbing down any information. The student profiles provided were relatable. The prose did tend to be more theoretical than practical, on the whole, so perhaps more suited to some students than others. For example, the tone and writing style would probably appeal more to a psychology major than a student pursing a career/technical program.
The information and flow of the text was consistent in it's style and set up from top to bottom. Each section followed the same layout and was easy to navigate. There was an introduction, a good number of sections (12), a summary, a career connection, and a "where to go from here" at the end. It followed the same level of flow throughout. There were a good amount of clear, relevant visual additions throughout, from pictures to charts. it also provided the activities all together at the end of the text for ease, and a comprehensive index.
Unlike some OERs that seem to have endless sections and subcategories, this one has 12 sections with a handful of subcategories for each. The sections seem relatively equal in length and content, which is nice for assigning reading in chunks. Each section is interspersed with boxes for activities or profiles, easily signaling the reader of what is expected. I read through the text from top to bottom and could imagine a student navigating through the sections with ease.
There isn't a necessary order for these kind of topics, but I found the progression to be a little clunky. I believe it might work better to alternate between soft skill sections (like thinking or communication) with more hard skill sections (like study skills or financial literacy). I would also have liked to see the text wrapping up altogether on something motivating and personal instead of ending on Safety and then Planning. But that is a personal preference.
The text was easy to read and appeared logically and linearly on my screen. Charts provided were easy to understand and appeared as a whole, not broken or confusing. Headings were well marked, and there was a 'Previous' and 'Next' button at the bottom of every section for easy navigation. This OER seemed particularly well-designed in terms of interface. I enjoyed the simplicity of it.
There were no grammatical errors that I noticed, nor any noticeable issues with word choice or sentence structure.
I thought that the section on Diversity, Civility, and Cultural Competence to be quite well-designed in this OER. It was modern, up-to-date, and objective, while still outlining sensitive issues relevant to higher education. The subsection on micro-aggressions was well-written and student-centered. The information in the Safety section was a bit like what you'd hear in middle school health class (about drugs and sex and not walking alone late at night), but not incorrect or irrelevant. The photos and graphics in the text also did a pretty good job at featuring some people of different races/backgrounds.
I have used OnCourse in previous College Success classes, which I loved, and also the OER Blueprint For Success in a quest for more affordable options. I like this OER in some ways better than Blueprint - it is more concise, simpler, and more straightforward. But it is also missing things that Blueprint has, like embedded video links and deeper student snapshots that help students relate or see themselves. I don't know that I would switch to this instead. I can see using parts of it.
This book is very comprehensive, it covers all relevant topics that a first year college student should read and integrate in their college lives. Important information on adjusting to college life to information about choosing a career path is... read more
This book is very comprehensive, it covers all relevant topics that a first year college student should read and integrate in their college lives. Important information on adjusting to college life to information about choosing a career path is covered. In addition information on making Academic adjustment, Cultural adjustment, intellectual adjustment and social adjustment all of which are important for achieving success in college.
There is high accuracy and impartiality in this book, no errors were detected.
This book is completely relevant for college students today. However, in order for this book to stay current the various websites given as supplemental reading along with the various assessments tests, such Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Clifton Strengths, Strong Interest Inventory, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, etc will have to be updated on a regular basis.
This book is very transparent. Each chart, graph, and the suggested activities at end of each chapter are easy to comprehend and easy to read.
The organization of each chapter is relatively good. It would have been good for the career assessments covered in Chapter 3 and chapter 12.3 to be merged together. All other chapters are consistent.
This book is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course. chapter 11.2 that focuses on Stress Management and Chapter 9.1 on Equity and Inclusion are good examples of chapters that can be easily divided into smaller sections.
This book flows very well. For example Chapter 1 provides a charts that outlines an average of lifetime earnings based on level of education. chapter 1 also gives information in a very organized fashion on college terms such as attendance policy, final exams, learning, office hours, plagiarism, study, syllabus and other relevant terminology that college students need to know. This information flows well in this chapters well as in other chapters of this book.
There were no interface issues in this book.
No grammatical errors was found in this book.
This book has a great section in Chapter 9.1 to 9.4 on Understanding Civility and Cultural competence. None of which is culturally insensitive or offensive. The information in this book on Equity and Inclusion is demonstrates makes use of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. I plan to use this book in my college Success course as it is very comprehensive and it offers a variety of success strategies that can be valuable to college students.
Overall this book is a very good tool for first year students and can include sophomores students as well. For example Chapter 4 gives good information on timeline for earning a college degree. Also a plethora of time management is offered in this book in addition Setting long term and short term goals, having a good note taking system and good study habits. I highly recommend this text book as a main textbook that can be used in a College Success and First Year Experience college course.
The book is quite comprehensive and covers most every topic that I enjoy in teaching this class – including the cultural shift from high school, financial literacy, academic/career planning, time management, etc. The only topic that I thought... read more
The book is quite comprehensive and covers most every topic that I enjoy in teaching this class – including the cultural shift from high school, financial literacy, academic/career planning, time management, etc. The only topic that I thought could have been covered in more detail is around self awareness and the creation of positive self talk.
The overall content in this book appears to be accurate and unbiased with appropriate citations throughout.
There are references that will need updating, such as social media platforms, starting salaries, and costs of college. However, they were written in such a way that I feel updates can easily be made as the text progresses. The inclusion of pertinent references to platforms such as Instagram, as well as links to numerous websites, is much appreciated to better connect to today’s college student.
The text is written clearly. Examples are given throughout the text for further information, along with graphs, photos, and numerous activities that link textbook content into a real world situation.
The text is highly consistent throughout. The chapters build upon the essential framework in a logical sequence, taking the student from the basics of cultural shifts from high school into a plan for beyond the college years. Within the chapters themselves, they begin and end with a survey in which the reader is allowed to consider their own understanding of the content on each side of the reading.
The text does an amazing job in this respect. Each chapter is divided up into smaller chunks of information with an estimated completion time. For students learning to navigate time management in college, this is a wonderful addition. The overall flow of each chapter is also presented in a way that is consistent.
The topics are presented logically, starting with self-awareness and self-management and then gradually flowing into learning, memory, and thinking and ending on notes that lead the student forward into college and beyond. As I noted above, I would have liked a more robust section on self-talk possibly included in that early course information.
No interface issues were noted.
No grammatical issues were noted.
One of the highlights of this text for me was the Chapter titled "Understanding Civility and Cultural Competence” which is often missed in other books. The topic includes why this is such an important topic in today’s world, along with fundamental information on civility, making assumptions, implicit bias, as well as on equity and how it differs from equality. The information given is a wonderful starting point for class discussions.
The listed topics are comprehensive in scope and contain all of the necessary topics relevant to student success. Including a chapter on financial literacy and healthy lifestyle was a refreshing addition to a book aimed at supporting student's... read more
The listed topics are comprehensive in scope and contain all of the necessary topics relevant to student success. Including a chapter on financial literacy and healthy lifestyle was a refreshing addition to a book aimed at supporting student's transition to college.
The theories, ideas, and concepts contained within this book appear to be accurate and descriptive.
Although the text does an outstanding job of including websites, apps, and other helpful resources, the issue with tech is that it is constantly changing. The book in itself is completely relevant, but will need to be updated within a couple of years in order to ensure all of the referenced tech resources are still valid.
All terminology and prose are helpful in clearly communicating with an entering student. The provided examples and case studies are also very helpful in linking textbook content with real-world scenarios.
The text is consistent and well organized. The framework builds upon the previous chapters and at times, emphasizes certain concepts that were previously discussed.
An impressive feature of this book is how it is organized into smaller sections complete with an estimated reading time. This could be highlighted by the instructor to model planning and use of time. Many first year college students struggle with procrastination, time management, and completing reading assignments prior to attending class. By providing an estimated amount of time that a reading should take, the author allows the student the opportunity to break up a chapter reading into several shorter reading sessions and/or the instructor to assign particular sections.
The flow was very good for this book with the first six chapters being the most important in building self-regulation. I would have liked to have seen the chapter on memory (chapter six) expanded to discuss the process of learning and how memory works in more detail. To that end, the discussion of memory and learning is an excellent segue to discussing the importance of reading and writing notes before attending class which is in chapter five. Also, I would move chapter four right before chapter seven.
The text had no interface issues.
There were no visible grammatical errors.
Although the book did an excellent job at including a variety of Caucasian and African-American student faces and names in examples, case studies, PowerPoints and test bank, I did not find many Latinx references. I teach at an HSI and could not find many culturally relevant material in this book. Most of my students live at home and commute to school and/or work part-time. Most of the examples in the book were geared for the traditional student that does not live at home and/or work.
After teaching a learning framework course for fifteen years, I have finally found a book that is comprehensive in scope, well organized, and comes with sufficient theoretical content so that I do not need to supplement much information. This OER book is such a welcome addition and I congratulate the author, Dr. Baldwin, on a job very well done.
Table of Contents
- 1. Exploring College
- 2. Knowing Yourself as a Learner
- 3. Managing Your Time and Priorities
- 4. Planning Your Academic Pathways
- 5. Reading and Notetaking
- 6. Studying, Memory, and Test Taking
- 7. Thinking
- 8. Communicating
- 9. Understanding Civility and Cultural Competence
- 10. Understanding Financial literacy
- 11. Engaging in a Healthy Lifestyle
- 12. Planning for Your Future
About the Book
OpenStax College Success is a comprehensive and contemporary resource that serves First Year Experience, Student Success, and College Transition courses. Developed with the support of hundreds of faculty and coordinators, the book addresses the evolving challenges and opportunities of today’s diverse students. Engagement, self-analysis, personal responsibility, and student support are reflected throughout the material. College Success also includes an array of student surveys and opinion polls, and OpenStax will regularly provide the results to adopting faculty.
About the Contributors
Amy Baldwin, University of Central Arkansas
Lisa August, Canisius College