Saturday, December 12, 2015

Research Blog #10: Abstract and Bibliography

This analytic research paper addresses the ever so commonly asked and oftentimes debated question of whether or not commuter students are at a disadvantage compared to their residential schoolmates. As more students consider the option of commuting over living on campus, more research is being conducted to investigate whether such a decision is detrimental to their social, academic and intellectual development and growth. Many previously conducted research studies alongside first hand personal accounts will be consulted with to gain a better understanding of the commuter students’ relationship with their academic campus and how much commuting impacts them. This paper exposes the numerous additional difficulties and responsibilities that commuter students face and how this added weight has a substantial negative bearing them when compared to residential students.
Alfano, Halley J and Nina B Eduljee. “Differences in Work, Levels of Involvement, and
Academic Performance Between Residential and Commuter Students.” College Student Journal 47.2 (2013): 334-42. Academic Search Premier [EBSCO]. Web.
Armstrong, Elizabeth and Laura Hamilton.  Paying for the Party: How College Maintains
Inequality.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2013. Print.
Astin, Alexander A. “Student Involvement: A Developmental Theory for Higher Education.” Journal of College Student Development (1984). Web.
Casimir, Sam. Personal Interview. Nov. 18.
Chickering, Arthur W. Commuting versus Resident Students:. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
1974. Print.
Gasser, Ray. "Educational and Retention Benefits of Residence Hall Living." Review. 2008.
Jiang, Qi, Cynthia E. Anderson, Jane S. Reid, and Mark F. Toncar. "Commuter and  
Residential Students: Differing Expectations for College Selection and Student Life." International Journal of Business Research 7.4 (2007). Web.
Johnson, Judith L. "Commuter College Students: What Factors Determine Who Will
Persist or Who Will Drop Out?" College Student Journal 31.3 (97). Web.
"Learning Communities for Commuter Students." (2004). Magna Publications
Inc. Web.
Kuh, George. D, Gonyea, M. Robert, and Palmer, Megan. "The Disengaged Commuter Student:
Fact or Fiction?" Rev. of National Survey of Student Engagement. Web.
Newbold, John J. "Lifestyle Challenges for Commuter Students." Wiley Periodicals,
Inc. Wiley Online Library, 2015. Web.
Rouege, Ciara. "Commuter Lifestyle Gives Students a More Realistic Life
Experience." The Daily Cougar (2013). Web.

Literature Review #5

1) Alexander Astin

2) Astin, Alexander A. “Student Involvement: A Developmental Theory for Higher Education.” Journal of College Student Development (1984). Web.

3) This article addresses the topic of student involvement and specifically discusses the areas in which commuter students are lacking student involvement in higher education. Astin also uses the term 'retention' in context with this topic. One specific area that he addresses is the lack of interaction between students and faculty/staff and how that can play a detrimental factor in the student's academic performance.

4) Alexander Astin is a distinguished professor of Higher Education and Organizational Change at the University of California in Los Angeles. Astin is also the founding father of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. With his extensive repertoire of research, publications and honorary awards, Alexander Astin is highly qualified and adequately knowledgeable to be able to able to publish this research and article.

5) One key phrase used in this article is retention. Astin talks about retention rates and what factors affect students' decision and ability to stay enrolled in school. Some of these factors are working off campus and the presence (or lack) of student-faculty interactions.

6) "Retention suffers, however, if the student works off campus at a full-time job. Because the student is spending considerable time and energy on nonacademic activities that are usually unrelated to student life, full-time work off campus decreases the time and energy that the student can devote to studies and other campus activities."

"Students who interact frequently with faculty members are more likely than other students to express satisfaction with all aspects of their institutional experience, including student friendships, variety of courses, intellectual environment, and even the administration of the institution."

7) This article aids me in my research paper by showing me which factors affect retention rates, and gave me the opportunity to link this with the other research I've looked at. I used this source to talk about student-faculty relations, or lack-thereof, and how this translates to commuter students not being as academically engaged on campus and the repercussions of this.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Research Blog #9: Counter-Argument

The main counterargument to my topic is that, despite the difficulties and challenges that commuter students face, they actually do gain a lot from this experience, and what they gain makes them better equipped to deal with college and their life after graduation as well. "It has been suggested that, even though commuter students are more apt to work full-time, they are not as stressed by working, commuting, or time limitations because they have more experience at time management" (Newbold 81). In essence, some scholars argue that the added responsibility that commuters endure build them into stronger, more mature individuals because in a way they are forced to deal with situations that residential students do not. In an article named "Commuter lifestyle gives students a more realistic life experience", the title in itself states a powerful position that commuter students experience "real life" obstacles and demands, and in turn that shapes their character and perspective in a way that living on campus would not.

"Commuter students either quickly learn how to balance a demanding work life with a complicated home life or they crash and burn, but it's short-sighted to conclude that the daily challenges facing commuters automatically wears down their drive to succeed in college"

"Commuters tend to have more diverse support systems than residents and rely to a greater extent on spouses, relatives, friends, employers and other off-campus (relations) to negotiate the demands of a college education"

"Many UH students can testify that hitting the road at the crack of dawn to beat traffic, spending hours searching for a parking spot, choosing to pay tuition instead of living expenses, and fitting your distant work like around school is a test of endurance"

"However, thousands of UH students face these challenges regularly and overcome commuter pains every day because they are persistent in their goal of receiving an education"

"Although commuting can be vigorous in comparison to residential life, the desire that most commuters carry to further their education establishes the emotional stamina needed to survive greater life challenges"

In "The Disengaged Commuter Student: Fact or Fiction?", authors George D. Kuh, Robert M. Gonyea and Megan Palmer concluded that commuter students were just as likely as other students to work harder than they thought they could to meet an instructor's standards, to work with other students on projects during class, to ask questions or contribute to class discussions, to discuss ideas from readings with others outside of class, to write long papers (20 pages or more) and to read on their own personal enjoyment or academic enrichment. All in all, although commuter students may have time constraints due to work, family obligations and other matters, they are in the same level of academic classes as their peers and do put in as much effort as other students do.

Research Blog #8: Interview

Interview with Sam Casimir, Rutgers University Senior - Commuter

1.             Why do you commute?
                            a.     I commute because it's my most economically efficient option. I'm able to save money by not living on campus, and I only live 30 minutes away. Living on campus would double the cost of going to Rutgers, and since I plan on continuing my education, I would rather put off loans and save money.
                2.     Do you like commuting?
                            a.     Commuting have its pro and cons, and overall, I would rather not. Honestly, I hate commuting.
                3.     Given your commuting experience, if you were given the opportunity to live on campus, would you?
                            a.     Hell yes!
                4.     What are some challenges you face as a commuter?
                            a.     Driving back and forth take up a lot of time. Some days I spend more time in my car, than in classes.
                            b.     I see my parents too often.
                            c.      Not being able to be as involved on campus. There's a lot that goes on when you don't live on campus that you end up missing out on.
                            d.     It can get lonely, especially the first year at a school. It's harder to meet new people and you don't build friendships in the same way as someone who lives on campus. You don't have an established social network! You don't have a roommate, housemate, floormate, or whatever else there is. A lot of the connections you make are through people you meet in class (which a lot of people may or may not go to).
                            e.     Sometimes access to certain resources is dependent on being connected to RUWireless.
                            f.      The library isn't a walk or a bus away, it's a drive away. This means that it's not always the most practical location to study, although I wish it was. It also means that if I'm studying late on campus, I have to be conscience of how tired I am so I can drive home.
                            g.     I spend a lot of money paying for gas, especially since I drive an SUV.
                            h.     Bad weather, tough luck. If it's starts unexpectedly raining, I better hope I have an umbrella, some boots, and probably a sweater.
                            i.      When I have large gaps between classes, I don't have a dorm to go back to and relax.
                            j.      Living at home means all the fun of having responsibilities to the family.
                            k.     The reaction people have when they realize you commute… you might as well be a unicorn.
                            l.      If I have an early class on a campus other than the one I park on, I have to factor in the time it would take to drive, and also the time it would take to take a bus from one campus to another. The bus system is unreliable and has screwed me over so many times… It goes from saying 5 minutes to arriving. And not every professor is understanding when it comes to commuting.
                            m.    Food is also a struggle. When bringing food from home, I need to  microwave it… Which means the container needs to be microwavable, not to mention utensils. It's also a pain carrying around a container of food all day, especially if I'm going to be on campus from 10am to 11pm.
                            n.     You're less likely to be involved on campus events.
                            o.     You're most likely not to involved in the party scene.
                            p.     I can go on and on about the disadvantages of commuting
                5.     What are some benefits you think you have as a commuter, if any?
                            a.     At the end of the day, I get to sleep in my own bed.
                            b.     I'm saving money.
                            c.      It's not a huge deal if I lose my RUID card.
                            d.     You don't have to worry about sketchy roommates.
                            e.     Free housing and privacy.
                            f.      Basic people get to be jealous of my car.
                6.     Have you changed the way you commuted now in your senior year versus your freshman year? If so, how?
                            a.     The way that I commute now, as a senior, is definitely different.
                            b.     Freshman year, when I had large gaps of time between classes I would drive back home. Now as a senior, I know different places where I can either relax or get work done. Also, now once I get to campus, I stay on campus till I'm done.
                            c.      I avoid rush hour at all costs, and plan when the best time to drive is. I also know which roads to take when the traffic is bad.
                7.     What have you learned/had to adjust over your years of commuting?
                            a.     Over the past 4 years, I've learned how much of a pain commuting can be.
                            b.     I know a ton of good places to get food around campus.
                            c.      Be prepared for any situation: rain, snow, unexpectedly hot day, business-causal event, or even a gym day.
                8.     Would you say that you are fully engaged on campus as much as a residential student it? If not, why do you think this is?
                            a.     I'm definitely not as engaged as the average residential student. A lot of events and clubs take place at night. At the end of a long day of classes, I want to take a nap… which I can't really do without going home. Or, if I end early, the last thing I want to do is wait 5 hours for something that's going on later. Or, sometimes it comes down to: do I want to spend the next 2 hours I'm going to be on campus for going to this random event, or chill with friends?
                9.     Do you think commuting has a negative impact on your academics and/or ability to do well in school?
                            a.     Commuting can have a negative impact if you let it. Not only is it so much easier to be late to class, but it's so much easier to slack off. Like most people, I can't get much work done from home (which is why I spend so much time on campus). However on weekends, the worst part is leaving home to go to the library. I literally waste some weekends because I can't get myself out of the house. Not even because I don't want to do work, but I can't bring myself to drive to school… It's a pain.
                10.    Do you feel like you miss out” on the college experience because you commute?
                            a.     Definitely. I think that living on campus is a different experience. Rutgers becomes a home away from home for a lot of residential students. I haven't had that. A prime example is that I've been going here for 4 years and the first Rutgers football game I've gone to was last week. How many residential students can say the same? I don't feel a sense of "Rutgers pride". It's the place I go to for classes, to chill, and get multiple parking tickets.
                11.    Is there any other comments you would like to make about the subject based on your experience?
                            a.     While commuting does have it's disadvantages, it's what you make of it. While it's not as easy to get involved and meet new people as it is for a residential student, just sticking around for an hour or so after class can make all the difference.
                            b.     Being a commuter has definitely been a growing experience. In order to meet new people and find my circle, I've had to branch out of my shell and actually talk to people. (Which is always fun for an introvert)

                            c.      Lastly, I think one of the great things about living on campus, is that it forces you to be independent… you don't get that as much with commuting.

I interviewed Sam because I knew she was a commuter student. I also knew that she would
provide me with accurate and truthful answers to my questions. Her responses are quite 
valuable to my paper as they highlight some of the key points that I address. 

Research Blog #7: Your Case

At the University of Idaho (U of I), a study was conducted that observed term grade point average, cumulative grade point average, and retention rates for first year students living in residence halls. It was found that residence hall first year students had term and cumulative GPAs that were 0.22 higher than other first year students.

In terms of retention rates, between the Fall 2014 semester and Spring 2016 semester, first year students who lived in residence halls had a higher retention rate by 3.25% than other students.

"On many residential campuses, off-campus first-year students often do not have the same opportunities that University Housing and Greek students do"

"Without student services directed specifically toward commuter students and off-campus living, it is not surprising that these students are at the biggest disadvantage to succeed"

"While one can argue that proximity becomes the greatest variable for student success, one can also look toward the organizational structure of the living environments as a critical component"

The main focus of this research was to show how specific living conditions, particularly living on in residence halls, plays an important role and positive impact on achieving higher GPAs, higher retention rates and higher matriculation rates. The research states that nearly 57% of all drop-out students in four year colleges leave before the start of their second year. Therefore, with these shockingly high numbers, there should be a great focus in first year students and how to accommodate them in such a way to adequately address their educational needs. The research in this paper is important to my topic because it sites evidence that shows that college students who live on campus are at an educational advantage to those who do not live on campus.

Gasser, Ray. "Educational and Retention Benefits of Residence Hall Living." Review. 2008.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Literature Review # 4

1) George D. Kuh, Robert M. Gonyea, Megan Palmer

2) Kuh, George. D, Gonyea, M. Robert, and Palmer, Megan. "The Disengaged Commuter Student: Fact or Fiction?" Rev. of National Survey of Student Engagement. Web.

3) This scholarly article discusses the argument of whether or not the notion that commuter students are disengaged from their college experience is fact or fiction. The discussion heavily focuses on and uses the data collected from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The authors investigate what areas of the college experience yields the most effective educational results.

4) The first author listed is George D. Kuh (also photographed). Mr. Kuh is the director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. He is also the founding director of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). He has written extensively about student engagement, assessment, and institutional improvement ( Robert M. Gonyea is an associate director of the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research where he coordinates research and reporting for the NSSE and associated projects. He is also integral in the creation of the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) to assess pre-college preparation and engagement ( Megan Palmer also has a quite extensive background in this field of study. All three authors have adequate knowledge on college students and engagement/disengagement.

5) One key phrase used in this article is "benchmarks of effective educational practice". The authors describe five clusters of activities that yield effective educational practices and outcomes. They are: Level of Academic Challenge, Active and Collaborative Learning, Student Interactions with Faculty Members, Enriching Educational Experiences, and Supportive Campus Environment. I think these are important because this is where they draw their data interpretation and analysis from.

6) "This is problematic because what students gain from their college experience depends a lot on how much time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities (1)."

"Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education indicates that level of academic challenge, time on task, and participating in other educationally purposeful activities directly influence the quality of students' learning and their overall educational experience" (2).

"Commuters are usually defined as those students whose place of residence while attending college is not in a campus residence hall or in a fraternity or sorority house. Some may argue to limit the definition to those whose residence is beyond walking distance from the institution thereby sorting out those who live near enough to the campus to be able to take advantage of most of the resources and facilities without much undue effort" (2-3).

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Research Blog #6: Visual

I thought this picture spoke so much volume to exactly what my paper is going to illustrate. My research paper details the ways that commuter students and residential students differ in how they experience their college years and what challenges commuter students face that residential students may not. However, through all of these different challenges and dissimilar experiences, commuter students are still able to perform relatively well in school and sometimes come out even more prepared and mature to handle the real world. This approach that my paper will take directly parallels the message in this picture. Although everyone in the photo is heading in the right direction, the different modes of reaching their destination varies (car, biking, walking or running). Therefore, it is safe to say that each person does reach their destination but their method may be different and some may experience difficulties that others may not. One can argue that the ones in the car are better off because it is the fastest. However, one can even counter-argue that and say that even though driving the car may be faster, those walking or riding their bikes benefit in a way that the motorists do not; they become more physically fit. Also, one can argue that although the car may be faster, when you have many cars on the road, traffic results, whereas a bicyclist may not be affected by traffic and can even reach their destination before the motorist for this very reason. All in all, I think this picture truly highlights the essence of the message that I am aiming to deliver through my research paper.