Roane State Community College in Harriman, Tennessee, implemented a Study—Organize—Succeed course in Fall 2010 known as COLS 1010. The course is three-credit hours and it is a free class. Students use the 6th edition of On Course. Due to funding from a FIPSE grant*, students are able to check out the text from Roane State’s library and use it for the entire semester. The curriculum is supplemented by the requirement that students use three specific learning strategies. Students apply two of the strategies (graphic representations in the form of concept cards and two-column note-taking) in one or more classes they are taking concurrently with the COLS 1010 class. The third strategy, keeping an organized notebook, is applied in the COLS 1010 class.

Preliminary retention data is provided in the chart below. The term “Gateway Enrollees” refers to students who were enrolled in one of the six following courses: Developmental Reading, Developmental Writing, Development Math at the Intermediate level (which is the terminal developmental math course), Composition I, Human Anatomy and Physiology I, and College Algebra. These six courses were selected by Roane State as gateway courses during the development of the school’s Quality Enhancement Plan, an improve student learning initiative.

As the chart denotes, retention rates for the students who took COLS 1010 class are significantly higher than both categories to which they are being compared. The course continues to be offered for free and nine sections are slated for spring 2012. The school will continue to track the retention data for at least three more years.

*Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) awarded Roane State Community College the grant Study Skills Spell Success
(P116Y090010) in October 2009. Sarah Thomason is the Project Director. Additional information about the grant may be found at

Data Comparison Chart

  RSCC Overall Gateway Enrollees with
concurrent COLS (On Course class)
Fall 2010 to Spring 2011 79.5% 88.2% +8.7%
Spring 2011 to Fall 2011 64.5% 81.3% +16.8%
  Gateway Enrollees with No
Present or Past COLS (On Course class)
Gateway Enrollees with
concurrent COLS (On Course class)
Fall 2010 to Spring 2011 82.1% 88.2% +6.1%
Spring 2011 to Fall 2011 61.9% 81.3% +19.4%