"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Thursday, April 17, 2014

1-2-3 Follow Up

First off, kudos to everyone who went on Tuesday- I thought everyone did a great job!

My place: Currently in the Transfer Center of VCU, I am in charge of advising and inputting transfer credit for all prospective pre-health students. “Pre-Health” encompasses nursing, dental hygiene, clinical lab sciences, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pharmacy, dentistry, and medicine. Prospective students to our health programs generally transfer from the VCCS (Virginia Community College System), but many come from other four year institutions and other communities colleges located out of state. To assist in the transfer of these students and understanding of each program’s requirements, the Transfer Center offers multiple tools for prospective students. In addition to assisting prospective students, the Transfer Center is also responsible for inputting credit a student has received prior to attending VCU. This is a meticulous process which calls for close attention to detail.

What's the question?: Why are prospective students and VCCS advisors having troubles with utilizing our resources (literacies)? What issues are to blame?

Stakeholders: My Transfer Center co-workers, VCCS advising staffs, prospective students.

Possible solutions: Cultural influences, pressure by higher ups, do we need more interaction besides referencing our resources....


  1. Jason, I really enjoyed your presentation on Tuesday. I found it really interesting, especially since one of the issues that you brought up is something that I have heard many people at VCU discussing. Undergraduate students just don't seem to ready anymore! In our department, we have always just expected it, knowing that the majority of our students are not proficient enough in English to grasp everything. However, I have also heard similar comments from academic advisers and from the study abroad advisers in our office who work with American students. Maybe now that we are in the "digital age" students are reading differently, and that is why these lengthy documents can be such a source of frustration for us and for them. Did the students that you surveyed/interviewed make any comments about their experience reading the document?

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  4. First and foremost, I want to complement your excellent use of a “demonstration” as a visual aide in your briefing. According to the textbook published by “The Public Speaking Project” http://www.publicspeakingproject.org/ , “when a demonstration is done well, it can be the memorable moment from your speech.” Your demonstration on how a community college students (and others) can use the VCU Transfer Center webpage to identify specific “course” requirements for a 4-year degree really made an impact on me. To me, your demonstration revealed just how easy students, parents, and transfer counselors can find information about degree requirements. Consequently, I empathize with your blog questions “What's the question? Why are prospective students and VCCS advisors having troubles with utilizing our resources (literacies)? What issues are to blame?”

    Although we don’t know the answers to these questions, I am wondering whether or not utilizing the concepts in the Paul Jurmo article, “Workplace Literacy Education: Definitions, Purposes, and Approaches,” might be helpful in analyzing the findings of your study. For example, in the Jurmo article he discussed three literacy approaches: decontextualized, functional context, and the collaborative problem-posing approach. Perhaps using these different literacy approaches as an “analytical lens” to evaluate your 1-2-3 Project findings might provide some insights.

    For example, the decontextualized approach/ analytical lens could help to discern whether not the “users” had the “basic computer” skills needed to use the Transfer Center portal. The “functional context approach”/analytical lens might help to discern whether or not the transfer center counselor located at each of the community colleges had the necessary skills/training to full exploit the capabilities of the Transfer Center portal. Last but not least, the “collaborative problem-posing approach”/analytical lens might reveal the need “for the involvement of a broader range of stakeholders” e.g. in addition to students/parents and counselors, perhaps the portal designers/programmers need to be engaged to identify potential issues and pathways to solutions.

    I realize the Jurmo article was written as a “primer” on the types of workplace literacy education approaches, but I hope to co-opt the approaches to look at the findings of my 1-2-3 Project. Perhaps others in the class might find this strategy useful also.

  5. Bob-very creative ideas, but...I am not sure we can use Jurmo's categories as analytic lenses. For example, all of Jason's texts are already contextualized, so not sure we can use a decontextual lens to analyze if the breakdown is caused by basic academic skills, do you? And how would problem posing as an instructional strategy help us discern if there are sufficient stakeholders? I may be missing something here! And I do give you kudos for at least suggesting a framework. Maybe if we just stuck with "technical" and "cultural" as two broad categories, would this help sort out the findings? B


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.