Since 1929, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) has been recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges as the official honor society for two-year colleges. Its dual mission is to recognize and encourage scholarship as well as provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service, and fellowship programs. The Phi Theta Kappa website notes that the organization—which has more than three million members—“grows leaders, innovators, explorers, risk takers, problem solvers, researchers, pioneers, and deep thinkers.” Membership also entitles students to apply for part of the PTK’s $90+ million in scholarships.
Phi Theta Kappans participate in several gatherings each year, including the annual convention—also called NerdNation—which includes educational forums spanning topics such as personal development, student success, and career planning. As part of Cengage Learning’s ongoing efforts to work with students and instructors, and consequently inform the development of products and services that meet their needs, Cengage Learning researchers attended NerdNation in spring 2015. The team wanted to learn more about these bright and motivated college students: their personal and educational goals, what they use to meet those goals, and what works best for them when they study.
The researchers interviewed 93 convention attendees ranging from age 17 to 66 and who attended two-year colleges across the U.S. Study participants answered questions concerning various aspects of their student experience, their note-taking practices, and their use of mobile devices. They were also asked about their experiences as PTK members. In this white paper, you will read the results of the study and gain insight into these students’ goals, challenges, and habits.