Miami Dade CollegeKendall Campus

Social Sciences Department

SLS 1510

Preparing for Student Success

Summer B 2011

 Class Meets T and Th 6:30 PM to 9:50 PM  Course # 622376 RM 2147


Instructor: Robert E. Beneckson, M.S.

Office: 6206

Telephone: 305-237-2215


Office Hours: ½ hour before and after class, or by appointment


Catalogue Course Description:

This course provides an orientation to college life and helps develop academic, career, and personal goals. Students will learn college success strategies, goal-setting, learning style assessments, as well as general and discipline-specific study skills in the context of various theoretical, practical, and experiential perspectives. (3 hr. lecture)


Credits:                                  3 credits


Course Competencies: 


You will develop the following competencies:


Competency 1:  You will develop the strategies and attitudes for success specific to the learning environment by:            


 1. identifying preferred learning styles and developing a study system that is compatible

   with it. 

2.  describing study skills and using effective study strategies.

3.  applying different learning strategies to determine the most efficient strategies according to

personal learning styles.

4.  employing effective modes of reading to suit various types of reading material 

(skimming, scanning, rapid reading, and personal, analytic, study reading).

5.  applying knowledge of efficient note-taking skills, including active listening, organizing, and 


6.  identifying memory principles, and constructing mnemonic devices and mental maps.

7.  identifying different study strategies for effective test preparation for a variety of

test types and applying test taking strategies for objective and subjective tests.



Competency 2: You will develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that provide a general foundation for college success by:


1. analyzing his/her self-concept through selected inventories which measure areas of

psychological awareness.

2. describing the role of taking personal responsibility for making changes necessary for success 

 and achieving one’s goals.  

3.  discussing the impact of his/her aptitudes, interests, strengths, and values on success.    

4. identifying and using motivational skills, and their role in achieving success.

5.  developing critical thinking skills, including organizing information and planning.

6.  identifying useful time management systems and making appropriate use of strategies in 

specific college applications.

7.  describing and applying problem-solving techniques and conflict resolution in decision-making.  

8.  identifying appropriate classroom etiquette.

9.  applying stress reduction strategies to college experiences.


Competency 3: You will demonstrate utilization of discipline-specific study skills by:                                   


1.  identifying and using strategies to reduce math anxiety, including using math tutors and math

support services. 

2.  identifying and using strategies to increase reading and writing proficiency, including using

reading and writing support services.

3.  identifying various discipline-specific study strategies, and selecting and applying a strategy

appropriate to a specific content area. 

4.  comparing test-taking strategies for different types of examinations.

5.  developing strategies for working effectively with professors in and out of class.

6.  expressing his/her academic needs to the appropriate support resources.

7.  visiting and using the campus library and computer facilities to locate discipline-specific



Competency 4: You will develop the knowledge and attitudes that provide a general foundation for social and life management skills by:


1.  understanding the importance of a positive attitude. 

2.  demonstrating the ability to assume responsibility for actions and decisions. 

3.  demonstrating the ability to give and receive constructive feedback.

4.  explaining the importance of maintaining openness to change.

5.  demonstrating initiative and proactivity. 

6.  describing the relationship between health, wellness, and social issues and success.

7.  analyzing current events and social issues from several perspectives.

8.  understanding how to work effectively with others.

9.  describing how to work and communicate with diverse people. 

10.  utilizing effective conflict resolution skills. 

11.  exhibiting personal and academic honesty.

12.  demonstrating punctuality and good attendance practices. 

13.  recognizing the relevance of recent computer technology in achieving success.

14.  developing informational literacy and technology skills effectively.


Competency 5: You will demonstrate an understanding of the process of career development and employability skills by:


1.  discussing the impact of his/her aptitudes, interests, strengths, and values on academic

program and career selection and success.    

2.  evaluating information from self-assessments, career inventories, occupational types, and 

 general career information acquired from various sources including the Internet.

3.  matching knowledge about one's own characteristics and abilities to information about job or

career opportunities. 

4.  identifying preferred careers to select an academic program as part of a career plan. 

5.  developing an educational plan for meeting graduation requirements, including the

requirements needed for transfer to upper level institutions. 

6.  developing an understanding of the importance of life long learning to career and life success.


Competency 6: You will develop competence in identifying and using resources appropriate for their academic program by:


1.  identifying resources available at the College for successful academic progress including

tutoring services, advisement, financial aid, and career information office.

2.  describing college policies and procedures including Student’s Rights and Responsibilities

Handbook, degree program, and graduation requirements.

3. describing and applying the registration procedures including  degree audit, adding and

dropping courses, official withdrawal policies, transcripts, and the Standards of Academic




Learning Outcomes:

As a graduate of Miami Dade College, you will be able to:

  1. Communicate effectively using listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
  2. Use quantitative analytical skills to evaluate and process numerical data.
  3. Solve problems using critical and creative thinking and scientific reasoning.
  4. Formulate strategies to locate, evaluate, and apply information.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of diverse cultures, including global and historical perspectives.
  6. Create strategies that can be used to fulfill personal, civic, and social responsibilities.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of ethical thinking and its application to issues in society.
  8. Use computer and emerging technologies effectively.
  9. Demonstrate an appreciation for aesthetics and creative activities.
  10. Describe how natural systems function and recognize the impact of humans on the environment.


Textbook:   Ferrett, Sharon K., Peak Performance, Success in College and Beyond, Eighth Edition. McGraw-Hill. ISBN-10 0-07-337519-5.


Grading Scale:  The course grade is determined by your total number of points acquired during the term:














Instructional Strategies and the Point System: This course will be taught through study of the textbook, lecture, video programs, and discussion.  You should read each chapter before the classroom lecture.  Class participation is very important.


Point System:

 There will be 2 exams, with multiple choice and/or essays. The highest exam grade will be counted twice, the lowest score once, for a total of three test scores. The actual points on the exams are your points on the multiple choice section plus any points on the essay questions.  For example, a student who gets a 75 on the multiple choice part of the test and 6 points on the essay would have 81 points for that exam.


 You are required to keep a journal of personal reflections applying the material from each chapter to real aspects of your life.  A minimum of 5 journals are required, but a total of 14 (one for each chapter) may be submitted.  Each of your journals is worth 1 point.  Journals are due at the next class following the completion of the lecture on the chapter the journal discusses.


You are required to participate in a small group or individual presentation based on a specific application of material from selected chapters.  The maximum for the class presentation is 10 points.  Presentations should be 15 minutes in length.


You will submit a paper analyzing your results from the online Five-Factor Personality Analysis taken at the beginning of the course.  This paper is worth a maximum of 10 points.  The grade is based on the quality of your analysis of the results of the test.  This will be explained in detail at the first class meeting.

Your final grade in the course is based on the total of the 3 exam scores, points for the journals, points for the personality analysis, points for the class presentation, plus extra credit points when extra credit projects are approved, and class participation.  All mandatory assignments must be done or points will be subtracted for each missing assignment.  Extra credit points depend on the specific project, but generally are between 5 and 10 points.

Course Policies:


1.  Exams: The two exams will emphasize understanding and application of knowledge and discourage rote memorization.  There will be a review during the class session preceding the exam (please see course schedule below).  If you have a legitimate and documented reason for not taking an exam, you will be given a make-up exam.


2.  Attendance: Miami-Dade has an attendance policy, so I will take attendance at the beginning of every class period.  If you are late, it is your responsibility to ensure I know you were present. Please do not interrupt a lecture to let me know you are present. If you have three absences, you will be dropped from the course.  If you are dropped from the class, either by me or by the College for non-payment, you will not be allowed to attend class. You will not receive a grade nor will I accept assignments, papers, or exams from you. Class attendance will not count towards your grade.


3.  Class Presentation: Your class presentation will explore a topic of your choosing covered in the book (and approved by me), but will expand this topic beyond the textbook coverage.  You will do additional research and present material on this topic that will enhance the knowledge of your fellow students beyond the assigned reading.  This presentation will be 15 minutes in length and utilize PowerPoint, film, posters, or other means of presentation.  This is an opportunity to be creative.


4.  Readings/Assignments: Your best performance in this course requires familiarity with the textbook. Lectures will not cover all the material in the text. However, you are responsible for all reading materials assigned. You will also be responsible for the material covered in the class lectures.  You should read all assigned chapters before the class period.


5.  Extra Credit: Extra credit papers or presentations must first be discussed with me and cleared for relevance to the course.


6.  Conduct in the Classroom: Please turn off cell phones, MP 3 players, and laptop computers, unless you are taking notes on them.  If you disrupt the teaching/learning process or act in a disrespectful, threatening, or intimidating way toward your fellow students or me, you will be asked to leave the class. If you refuse, I will call Campus Security and you will be referred to the Dean of Students.


7.  Assignments will be turned in at the beginning of the class period.  Late assignments will not be accepted.


8.  Students are expected to arrive on time and remain in class until the completion of the class period. If you have a legitimate reason to leave early, you must clear it with me at the beginning of class.  You are responsible for information provided in class, even if you are not in attendance.


Academic Integrity:


All students are expected to meet the College’s academic conduct standards. Acts of academic misconduct, including cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation, and facilitating academic dishonesty will be referred to the Dean of Students. Students caught plagiarizing will be charged with misconduct charges. For more information on these standards, refer to the Students Rights and Responsibilities Handbook at:

Course Outline and Schedule


6-21-11 – Introductions

                 Discussion of Syllabus

                 Lecture: Chapter 1: Be a Lifelong Learner 

                 Reading Assignment: Chapters 1 and 2


Online Personality Test                                        


6-23-11 – Lecture: Chapter 2: Expand Your Emotional Intelligence

                 Presentation Choices Submitted

                 Reading Assignment: Chapters 3 and 4


6-28-11    Personality Analysis Due         

                Lecture: Chapter 3: Manage Your Time

                Chapter 4: Maximize Your Resources       

                Presentations Assigned

                Journals Chapters 1 and 2 due

                Reading Assignment: Chapters 5 and 6


6-30-11 – Lecture: Chapter 5: Listen and Take Effective Notes

                                  Chapter 6: Actively Read


                 Journals Chapters 3 and 4 due

                 Reading Assignment: Chapters 7 and 8


7-5-11 – Lecture: Chapter 7: Improve Your Memory Skills

                             Chapter 8: Excel at Taking Tests      


                             Journals Chapters 5 and 6 due

               Review for Exam One

               Reading Assignment: Chapter 9


7-7-11 - Exam One 

                Lecture: Chapter 9: Express Yourself in Writing and Speech

                Journals Chapters 7 and 8 due

                Reading Assignment: Chapter 10


7-12-11 – Lecture: Chapter 10: Become a Critical Thinker and Problem Solver


     Journal Chapter 9 due

     Exam One Grades Posted

     Reading Assignment: Chapter 11


7-14-11 – Lecture Chapter 11: Create a Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit


                Journal Chapter 10 due

                Reading Assignment: Chapters 12  


7-19-11 – Lecture Chapter 12: Build Supportive and Diverse Relationships                                             


                 Journal Chapter 11 due

                 Reading Assignment: Chapter 13 


7-21-11 – Lecture: Chapter 13: Develop Positive Habits


                Journals Chapter 12  due

                Reading Assignment: Chapter 14           


7-26-11 – Lecture Chapter 14: Explore Majors and Careers                                            


                 Journal Chapter 13 due


7-26-11 – Lecture: Tying Things Together for Future Success


                 Journal Chapter 14 due

                 Review for Final Exam


7-28-11 - Final Exam: 7:05 PM – 9:35 PM



Please, when you write your journals and papers, leave two spaces after the period between sentences.  Also, when using “quotation marks,” make sure that periods and commas are included within the “marks.”  This is proper English usage in writing.  Thank you.


Web Resources:


Here are some websites that discuss positive psychology: