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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Norena Badway

First Committee Member

Dennis Brennan

Second Committee Member

Delores McNair

Third Committee Member

Penelope Swenson


This multiple case study investigated impact and perceptions of students enrolled in the Watson Digital Bridge Academy Foundation Course at Cabrillo College in Watsonville, California. The Watsonville Digital Bridge Academy is an innovative community college program that integrates four theoretical frameworks in student learning: self-efficacy, accelerated learning, team management, and developing a desire for learning. Students identified three crucial components of the Foundation Course as impacting their success in and desire to continue college. First, students believed the self-assessment of their team networking skills was useful during and after the Foundation Course. As part of identifying their own team interaction style, students also reported they learned to understand and appreciate differences in others. Second, students believed the Learning-to-Learn skills made them more efficient learners, able to take notes and engage with texts. Students were amazed that they had read and written so extensively, and felt they could approach other college assignments with new skills. Third, students were energized by the social research project that required them to gather data from community sources, facilitate group discussions and speak in front of others. While each of these components resulted in important skills, the combination had a remarkable impact on these students' beliefs about themselves. Students described themselves as more self-confident, more aware of their own strengths and weakness, more capable of academic success because of their reading comprehension and note-taking skills, and more motivated to continue their education. This case study confirmed much of the literature about the importance of learning to manage teamwork and applying these skills to real-life community projects. Community colleges play a large role in helping at-risk students achieve economic and social advantages. The key to student success is to ensure that for high-risk students, the transition into a college learning environment is both challenging, as well as a safe and comfortable environment. The Watsonville Digital Bridge Academy Foundation Course presents a unique model designed to help students make a seamless transition into the college environment with the goal of teaching students essential academic skills to become successful in college.





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