New Online Class for Families Demystifies the College Experience - Humboldt State Now

New Online Class for Families Demystifies the College Experience

Humboldt State students are familiar with web-based classes, but now the parents and other family members of students have an online class all their own.

2017-0914-Families101_Large.jpg
A new online class will help families stay connected with their students.
It’s called Forever Humboldt Families 101, and the goal is to educate family members about how they can help their student succeed in college.

Part of an expanding program to help families stay connected and support their students through college, the class launched in August, coinciding with the beginning of the fall semester. Family members were introduced to the class during New Student Orientation.

“Students get lots of advice from their parents and family members, so we thought HSU should do a better job partnering with them,” says Stephanie Lane, who is teaching the class. Lane leads the Forever Humboldt program and is currently serving as HSU’s Interim Director of Admissions.

“Family members have really responded positively. They appreciate being included, and the class is helping them feel connected to their students even though many of them are far from home,” Lane says. “It’s been fun hearing so many stories about their students’ first weeks at Humboldt.”

While many universities have parent programs, the approach HSU is taking is unusual. It appears few universities offer this kind of opportunity for families to familiarize themselves with the college experience.

Family members take the free course through Canvas, the same online learning system used by their students. The course covers topics like the transition to college, academic support, getting involved on campus, staying healthy, and more. The idea is to give families knowledge and tools so they can help their students manage the intricacies of college. It also introduces them to the HSU Family Network, a social media forum for parents to connect with each other, share stories, and seek advice.

It was created with the families of first-year students in mind, but is intended to help people supporting older students as well. Participants get a copy of The Naked Roommate: A Parent’s Guide to the New College Experience by Harlan Cohen, which was selected for its approachable and candid advice. Families who complete the eight-week course earn their student an HSU sweatshirt.

The new class is part of HSU’s expanded efforts to enhance communications with parents and family members of students. The effort is supported through funding for Graduation Initiative 2025, a CSU-wide effort to improve graduation rates. Research has shown that helping the families of students understand the college process increases their student’s success.

Other new efforts for Humboldt Families include new “quick start” guides on important University topics, family access to deadlines and other announcements that all students receive, an expanded monthly e-newsletter, and a dedicated email and phone number for questions. An important next step will be Spanish translation of the guides and online class.

The Forever Humboldt Families 101 class was created with support from the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement, which provided expertise and advice on best practices. Content for the class and other family communications is created by Forever Humboldt and Marketing & Communications.

For more information about the Forever Humboldt Families program, including a link to the public online class, visit family.humboldt.edu.