Posted: September 11, 2020 | Updated: June 23, 2022
Author: Mary Shier, College of the Rockies
This book offers study skills and practices for college and university students to help them make a positive transition to post-secondary education, learn how to be a successful student, and make the most of their learning experience. This textbook was created to provide a resource for the ABE provincial level course, Student Success, and it provides resources to meet all the required and optional learning outcomes. The course can be used an elective course towards the BC Adult Graduation Diploma. Students don’t need to be taking a Student Success course to benefit from this text. Post-secondary students can use this material to help them become better, more successful students. Faculty can use any parts of it to give to their students in any of their courses as applicable. Others (anyone) can use applicable life skills chapters. The book is written so each chapter stands on its own as an independent topic and doesn’t require knowledge of previous chapters, so students and instructors can use only the sections they need.
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Student Success by Mary Shier, College of the Rockies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
4.5 / 5
Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
I believe that Student Success is a solid comprehensive text that covers the key topics necessary for student success. The optional chapters, also covering important information for students, seem misnamed as these are just as relevant as the main chapters. Information on Diversity and Inclusion and Health would make good additions to fully round out the text.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
I feel that the content of Student Success is accurate, unbiased, and error-free.
Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement
Some of the chapters are almost timeless, such as Communication and Time Management. Whereas others, such as Technology Skills, which may need future revising; however, they are written in a context that ensures their longevity within reason. The structure of the text is such that these changes could easily be accommodated without disruption to the overall text. In respect to the text’s relevance, my teaching experience has shown me, like the author, that these topics are the areas are consistently where students need support.
Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
In terms of clarity, I paid particular attention to the vocabulary used in the text because the target audience is Adult Basic Education students. While there is the odd word that students may not be familiar with, I did not feel that this would interfere with understanding the content. That said, it is also good practice, for students, to look up a word or two for clarity. Any necessary technical terms or jargon were well explained.
Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
The textbook is consistent in its terminology and framework. The voice is the same throughout the text. The chapters and their elements are used consistently.
Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
One of the huge values of Shier’s Student Success is its modularity. The ability to read one chapter or one page, makes this a resource that as an instructor, I could see assigning a chapter or a page to augment my course content. This totally embraces the beauty and flexibility of open texts. Students do not need to purchase a whole textbook to gain the value of a chapter or two.
Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
Student Success is well organized and flows well. The introduction and first 4 chapters are well aligned and segue nicely into the rest of the chapters on specific skills which could be used in any order.
Organization Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader
I viewed the text in several formats and on several different devices with no navigation errors. In my experience the images and links all worked well regardless of device or format.
Interface Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
No grammatical or spelling errors stood out to me.
Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds
Student Success is generic and while initially that seems like a good thing, in that the information could apply to any student, upon reflection perhaps the generic nature of the text is exclusionary. The one area where I would advocate for more diversity in particular is the Communication chapter.
Cultural Relevance Rating: 2 out of 5
Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
I would strongly recommend Mary Shier’s Student Success. I see this as a valuable text to assign to a class, such as College and University Experience or Introduction to College Studies. I could also see this text used to support co-curricular departments like Finance, Student Advising, etc. Teaching a similar course previously, I had used a commercial textbook that averages at $90.00 and I believe this is a good replacement.