Student Personas - Janet Diebel, Engineering Technology, Conestoga College

 

I have arrived at these three personas through 8 years of anecdotal knowledge.  They were used as design aids in rethinking the teaching practices and learning resources, as outlined in this Guide to Using Student Personas for faculty enhancing and redesigning their courses.

We (Conestoga College, Kitchener-Waterloo) don’t share the cultural and socio-economic diversity of large urban centres like Toronto.  We have a fairly homogenous group here in the Architecture-Construction Engineering Technology Program from which I’ve extracted three personas:

 

MICK

           

Gender:  male

Age:  18 - 21

 

Geography:  Kitchener-Waterloo resident, walks from residence or travels by car or city transit

 

Economic situation:  comfortable, appears to be able to afford living and school expenses

Academic Background:  OSSD within last three years, MCT4C or higher

Extra-curricular responsibilities:  part-time job

Attitude towards school:  enjoys program, does not dislike math, consults with classmates, does minimum to get by, motivated by marks alone, procrastinates, does not appreciate the value in “learning how to learn” (not willing to develop independent learning skills, wants to be “spoon-fed”)

Approach to math:  over-confident, if topic perceived as “easy”- disengages and does not complete work, dismisses his mistakes as “small” (insignificant, not to worry!), does not seek help despite plentiful access to it (in-class help, extra help sessions, help sites on my web site, office hours)

Attendance:  good except when there is an imminent deadline in another course

Homework completion:  poor, avoids repetition (if successful on a homework problem, does not complete similar problems, does not recognize that small variations in problems may present different challenges and difficulties)

Math challenges:  cannot (or does not) estimate an answer or attempt to assess the reasonableness of his answer, poor mental arithmetic skills, completely calculator-dependent even for simple arithmetic calculations, inadequate skills in fractions and algebraic manipulations, does not check work thoroughly.

Math performance:  65%, capable of doing much better

 

KEITH

 

Gender:  male

Age:  35 - 45

Geography:  within 1.5 hour commute from Kitchener-Waterloo

Economic situation:  lives on a tight budget, retraining supported by WISB, may be suffering from injury (usually back)

Academic Background:  OSSD two decades ago

Extra-curricular responsibilities:  family with small children, health issues

Attitude towards school:  highly motivated, intimidated

Approach to math:  understands the value of mastering math skills (and education in general), accesses extra help available (tutors, asks questions in class, help links from my web site)

Attendance:  excellent

Homework completion:  conscientious attempts, encounters difficulties

Math challenges:  math skills very rusty including basic algebra and trig, needs more time to complete extra (catch-up) homework

Math performance:  65%

 

CHARLIE

 

Gender:  male

Age:  18 - 21

Geography:  Kitchener-Waterloo resident, walks from residence or travels by car or city transit

 

Economic situation:  comfortable, appears to be able to afford living and school expenses

Academic Background:  OSSD within last three years, qualified through the College Math Prep program

Extra-curricular responsibilities:  part-time job

Attitude towards school:  not motivated, no passion for the program, lacks direction and focus, takes no pride in personal performance/effort

Approach to math:  does not appreciate the role of math in his other courses and why it is important to master certain skills

Attendance:  poor

Homework completion:  poor, does not use in-class work time, does not submit assignments, may not show up for quizzes

Math challenges:  cannot (or does not) estimate an answer or attempt to assess the reasonableness of his answer, poor mental arithmetic skills, completely calculator-dependent even for simple arithmetic calculations, inadequate skills in fractions and algebraic manipulations, does not check work thoroughly.

Math performance:  F, may be discontinued from the program, sometimes successful upon re-admission

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