The College Experience

I.     Course Prefix/Number: COL 108

       Course Name: The College Experience

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Concurrent enrollment in another 100-level or above Oakton course. Recommended: Enrollment during a student's first 15 credit hours at Oakton and successful completion of any required developmental course in reading and/or writing (courses below EGL 100).

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course develops the competencies that are necessary to be a successful college student. It is highly interactive and aligned with individual student goals. Students learn strategies for success like test taking, critical thinking, self-assessment, communication skills, and overall study skills by applying them in concurrent courses and other learning contextsStudents may only receive credit for COL 101, COL 108 or COL 110.

IV.   Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, you will have a toolbox of strategies for becoming a successful and lifelong learner by demonstrating competency in the following areas.

  1. Setting Personal and Academic Goals
  2. Understanding How to Approach Learning in College
  3. Applying Strategies to Best Learn in College
  4. Demonstrating Culturally Inclusive Communication Skills
  5. Thinking Critically in College and Beyond
  6. Using Study Skills for Academic Success

You will achieve the expected competencies through materials related to an overall topic. For each of the 6 competencies, there are specific learning objectives for which you will demonstrate and assess your progress.

  1. Setting Personal and Academic Goals
    1. Student will explain how a SMART* goal differs from a more general goal.
    2. Student will construct a set of SMART* personal goals for the next 2 years.
    3. Student will construct a set of SMART* academic goals for the next 4 years.
  2. Understanding How to Approach Learning in College
    1. Student will describe self as a learner in a two-page paper.
    2. Student will complete a learning inventory and write a one-page paper describing how the results will enhance and/or challenge learning performance.
    3. Student will keep a journal that describes changes in approach to learning and submit weekly.
  3. Applying Strategies to Best Learn in College
    1. Student will demonstrate strategies for increasing reading comprehension by marking difficult sections in a reading assignment.
    2. Student will describe for each marked section what strategies could be applied to increase comprehension.
    3. Student will evaluate performance on three class activities (paper, presentation, or team work.) and submit a written rationale for evaluation prior to receiving instructor’s evaluation.
  4. Demonstrating Culturally Inclusive Communication Skills
    1. Student will use culturally-inclusive communication skills to demonstrate respect for the perspective of others.
    2. Student will write a two-page paper that critically analyzes an article or video through the lens of culturally-inclusive communication skills.
    3. Student will work with a team to make a five-minute presentation to class on a current topic that relates to culturally-inclusive communication.
  5. Thinking Critically in College and Beyond
    1. Student will analyze a current topic based on an article or video and present the analysis to the class.
    2. Student will work with a team to prepare a debate that presents different perspectives on a current issue.
    3. Student will write a three-page paper that critically analyzes a current topic.
  6. Using Study Skills for Academic Success
    1. Student will submit 3 sets of notes from core course and explain their effectiveness.
    2. Student will create a time management plan for the term.
    3. Student will explain how test taking strategies produce successful results.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

The course is designed to address many aspects of student success. This includes becoming aware of yourself as a learner and getting to know your strengths and challenges. You will develop specific skills and strategies that build on your strengths to help develop areas that are challenging.

The course is organized around the mastery of 6 competencies. Once you have mastered them, you will be on your way to becoming a successful and lifelong learner.

The competencies include:

  1. Setting Personal and Academic Goals
  2. Understanding How to Approach Learning in College
  3. Applying Strategies to Best Learn in College
  4. Demonstrating Culturally Inclusive Communication Skills
  5. Thinking Critically in College and Beyond
  6. Using Study Skills for Academic Success

VII.  Methods of Instruction

The class will be interactive with an emphasis on small group activities. You will frequently be asked to provide articles for discussion.  Class sessions will include various amounts of lecture; class and small group discussion; use of videos; use of computers and library resources for research; readings from course materials packet and other course materials, journaling and other written assignments; guest speakers and out of class co-curricular activities.


Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

Student Responsibilities (You will construct these in collaboration with your instructor during the first class session.)

  • Instructor Responsibilities
  • The instructor will provide regular, timely feedback on all student assignments turned in by the due date. The instructor will also provide guidance on all drafts submitted before the due date.
  • The instructor will facilitate a respectful learning environment in the classroom.
  • The instructor will publish office hours and times when available for electronic communication.
  • The instructor will announce any changes to the syllabus in a timely fashion.
  • The instructor will actively engage in discussions and assume the role of facilitator by providing questions to guide the discussion.
  • When materials are assigned, the instructor will provide questions to guide the readings.
  • The instructor will invite appropriate guest speakers to enrich the class discussions.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

The course uses a text that combines a variety of instructional materials including the Oakton Catalog, student handbook, articles, newspapers, videos and materials from various sources. The materials will be analyzed through the lens of a topic selected for the course.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

The instructor and you will continuously evaluate your progress toward meeting the learning objectives within each competency area. The means of evaluation are listed under each competency. Along with the assignment, you will also complete a rubric with your self-evaluation.

Specific areas of assessment and total possible points:

  • Active engagement in class - 100 points
  • Setting personal and professional goals - 125 points
  • Understanding How to Approach Learning in College - 150 points
  • Applying Strategies to Best Learn in College - 100 points
  • Demonstrating Culturally Inclusive Communication Skills - 200 points
  • Thinking Critically in College and Beyond - 225 points
  • Using Study Skills for Academic Success - 100 points

Your final grade is based on the following point totals:

  1. (Excellent) = 1000 - 900
  2. (Good) = 899 - 800
  3. (Satisfactory) = 799 - 700  
  4. (Minimal Passing) = 699 - 600
  5. (Failure) = Below 600

For each competency and learning objective, you will receive a rubric that describes your progress on a designated point scale. In consultation with your instructor, you may resubmit an assignment 2 times to increase your evaluation.

XI.   Other Course Information



If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.