University Studies for Student Veterans


University Studies for Student Veterans is a full-length MOOC (massive open online course) based on a course that has been taught with great success at Columbia for the last five years.  The MOOC version has been designed specifically to help veterans transition smoothly from military service to higher education, and bolster their success once they arrive. Led by a team of academic advisors from Columbia University with more than 20 years of experience supporting students—including thousands of student veterans—transitioning to higher education, this course offers strategies for academic success for service members and veterans navigating the transition from military service to the college classroom.

University Studies for Student Veterans Trailer

University Studies for Student Veterans | ColumbiaX on edX


During the self-paced course, students may choose to pursue a particular pathway through course materials, based on their needs and preferences. University Studies for Student Veterans may be used in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, as a start-to finish, self-directed online experience (MOOC). This course will take approximately 3-4 hours per section. This course, in its current format, can also be used as an “orientation” for other student veteran success programs. It is a library of academic success strategies, a tool for flipped classroom pedagogy, and finally a textbook for on-the-ground transition courses.

The learning objectives for this course are as follows:

  1. Learn strategies for success in college;
  2. Identify the unique challenges they may face when transitioning from a military culture to an academic culture, and to address those challenges proactively and pragmatically, in plain speak;
  3. Build foundational academic skills and learn best academic practices in accordance with current, cutting-edge scientific and educational research on learning;
  4. Identify the skills that helped them succeed in the military and apply them to an educational setting, and will explore the myriad ways in which the skills they already have can be leveraged to enhance academic performance and improve learning outcomes in college;
  5. Cultivate the ability to reflect productively not only upon what they learn, but critically, how they learn—thereby empowering them to improve their own learning practices iteratively over time;
  6. Develop an awareness and understanding of the curricular and co-curricular resources and services available to them (academic support services, career services, health and psychological services, etc.), and critically, when and how best to access those resources;


The Learning Modules for this course are as follows:

  • Introduction:  Metacognition and Mindset

  • How Learning Works

  • Activating Prior Knowledge

  • The Importance of Effort

  • Mindset

  • Metacognition in Practice

  • Introduction: Active Reading and Note-Taking

  • How to Activate Your Reading

  • Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Effective Text Marking

  • What Kind of Note-Taker Are You?

  • Cornell Note-Taking

  • Iterative Note Review

  • Introduction: What is a Technical Course?

  • How to Think About Technical Courses

  • The Myth of the “Math & Science Person”

  • Insightful Studying

  • The Distributed Study Model

  • Making the Most of Problem Sets

  • The Value of the First Exam

  • Studying in Groups

  • Introduction: Hard Reading

  • Context is King

  • Kinds of Academic Texts

  • Three Approaches to Reading

  • Reading Strategies

  • Introduction: Good Writing

  • Guidelines

  • Iterative Writing

  • Structure

  • Thesis/Claim vs Opinion (Related Video)

  • Introduction:  Effective Time Management

  • How to Perform a Time Audit

  • The Art of Calendaring

  • Getting Real About Study Time

  • The Pomodoro Technique

  • Tools for Organizing Your Time

  • More Time Management Tips

  • Making Time for Wellness

  • Introduction: Navigating Campus Culture

  • The Hidden Curriculum

  • Academic Integrity

  • Interacting with Faculty

  • Good Email Etiquette

  • Asking for Help

people learning at a desk


This course is intended for use in conjunction with higher education institutions (both 2-year and 4-year), military installation education services officers and transition assistance programs, and veteran focused non-profit organizations. We greatly desire to act as an advocate for the course and those capitalizing upon it and strongly urge such organizations to partner directly with CVTI to maximize how it is implemented.  Partnership enables us to gather critically valuable feedback from instructors and veterans alike.  

To get underway, contact us at the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration.


Register here for University Studies for Student Veterans.