In September 2005, Red River College began piloting the Freshman Integration and Tracking System (FIT), an innovative student retention initiative developed by staff from Humber College. The College has since adapted and customized this model into the current Paths to Success initiative, starting in 2007.
After eight years, the Paths initiative has involved over 250 College faculty and just over 8000 students. In the most recent year, more than 1,700 first year students participated in the initiative from 56 diploma, certificate, and degree programs.
The Paths to Success model
The Paths model has three main components:
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The term social media refers to a variety of internet-based applications that people use to create and share content (ideas, information, art) with each other, and foster networks and connections with friends, colleagues, and the general public. The most commonly known applications include online “newspapers” (very generically any news or informational hub online) and blogs (such as this one), as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
Many of these applications are being used by millions of people, or in the case of Facebook – billions of people worldwide (1.2 billion to be precise). The photo sharing website Flickr has over 5 billion images on it, while there are some 490 million unique users of YouTube users every month. Crazy!
So how does RRC staff and faculty stack up? In September 2011 and again in April 2012, Research and Planning asked a random sample of 100 staff and faculty (each month) how often they used social media tools for work and for personal reasons. The six categories offered ranged from “daily” to “never”. The gap between the end of the bar and the 100% marker represents those who never use these tools.
To summarize this information, we rolled up results to look at those using social media at least several times a month.
- As you can see, just over 50% of staff/faculty use online “newspapers”, YouTube, and/or Facebook for personal reasons several times a month.
- Blogs are used by only a fifth of staff (21%) whereas one tenth (10%) use Twitter and/or LinkedIn for personal reasons.
- Work usage is lower across the board, with online newspapers (41%) and YouTube (34%) leading the way.
- Many of the other tools, like blogs, are used by only 5% of staff for work reasons.
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Welcome to the first post of the Research and Planning department’s blog – Know your Numbers. To kick things off here’s a few numbers to help you learn about us and the College.
The Research and Planning department is a crew of seven, led by dark chocolate aficionado Ashley Blackman (Director of R&P). His supporting cast includes Senior R&P Analyst and hockey fanatic Mike Krywy, number cruncher Pam Grimshaw, research assistant and avid walker Nancy Ball, the incomparable administrative assistant Sheila Allarie, SQL junkie Zaheer Ahmad + casual helper and expert pickle-maker Pat Bates.
In the 2011/12 academic year, the College had 9,135 students enrolled in full-time programs, 16,530 part-time registrations, and 3,408 apprenticeship students. Figures like these are used to support reporting to the Manitoba Council on Post-Secondary Education (COPSE) and for preparation of the College’s Academic Annual Report.
In the past 12 months, Research and Planning has interviewed 3,871 staff, students, alumni, and industry representatives using their online survey system. These folks participated in at least one of the 25 different surveys administered during this time period, on topics ranging from the experience of first year students, to the opinions of staff, and the perceptions of Alumni.
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