Start Smart UpdatesSubmitted by Dave Braunschweig, Computer Information Systems and Stephanie Whalen, Academy Chair, English & Interdisciplinary Studies

The Start Smart program at Harper College was designed to help new students adjust to college successfully and develop career goals; there have been different types of college success courses offered as a part of the program, including orientation and personal development courses taught by counselors, learning framework courses taught by college success faculty, and First Year Seminar courses taught by faculty across disciplines. Each year, resources and materials to support common assignments and program outcomes have been shared with the faculty through Blackboard via a course copy of a master FYS shell to all instructors’ shells. The program has now aligned all First Year Seminar courses with Areas of Interest, and the common resources and materials must be revised in order to support program outcomes in the variety of courses offered.

At present, the majority of the Start Smart courses are three credit hour stand-alone First Year Seminar sections classified by the Areas of Interest with one-credit First Year Seminar courses for students majoring in STEM. There are also courses in several Areas of Interest in which the Start Smart outcomes are integrated into embedded sections of courses students typically take in their first semester of a program. Additionally, there are sections of FYS called Focus on Your Future taught by counselors to help students who are still deciding on their area of interest. This fall, faculty who teach PSY 106 Practical Psychology of Learning will be working with the Math department to develop and pilot FYS 101 Focus on College Learning with special resources for students with a developmental Math placement. For students needing additional support after their Start Smart course, CDV 110 Career Development will be available for more in-depth career exploration and PSY 106 Practical Psychology of Learning for students who want to enhance their learning while continuing to refine their academic and career goals.

Although there are many types and modalities of Start Smart courses, a collection of resources and materials continue to be available to support program outcomes. The Academy for Teaching Excellence and the faculty liaison for Open Education Resources, Dave Braunschweig, are forming a team to evaluate the resources previously developed as well as create and adapt resources from available open sources that fit our Start Smart program outcomes. A collection of resources and material will be compiled by this team to support faculty and their students will continue to provide consistency to the program; faculty may also adopt publisher texts and online programs to meet the needs of the students in their individual courses. The bulk of this work will be completed in May and June so that it can be made available to Start Smart faculty for Fall 2018 courses. If you are interested in being part of this team, please contact Dave Braunschweig ( or Stephanie Whalen ( by Monday, May 7 so that we can convene the group and develop an action plan; stipends available to team members will be determined once the action plan is in place.