Required Equals Results: Christine Poythress, Middle Tennessee State University
“Requiring the digital resources in Connect has been a key factor in my students’ success. The overall scores in my courses have improved since I began using Connect.”
What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
Requiring the digital resources in Connect has been a key factor in my student’s success. By requiring the listening guides, critical listening and other activities, students have become more articulate about music. The use of Connect has improved the quality of the discussions, which are a key component of the online classes I teach. I allow students to do the homework items in Connect as many times as they would like thus ensuring they will listen to the music and, by listening, they will be better equipped to write intelligently. The overall scores in my courses have improved since I began using Connect.
Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I teach solely online and use Connect. I also have several Tegrity lectures that I incorporate in my class. I began using these tools as soon as they were available.
When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I was still teaching traditional face-to-face classes when I began using Tegrity. Some of the other faculty said, “Oh, students won’t bother coming to class.” Even though we are a commuter school, I did not find this to be the case. Attendance rates stayed virtually the same. I found that students liked having the lectures available for review and study. The lectures were also a great resource for students if they had to miss a class.
When I started using Connect, I replaced some of my academic tests with online exercises, freeing up the class time for more active listening sessions and in-class activities.
When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
One of my favorite innovations in Connect is the ability to assign points to the listening guides, which gives the students an added incentive to actually listen to an entire selection of music. I decided to require digital tools as part of the course grade within the first year of using the resources. Currently, Connect makes up 35% of the semester grade.
What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
For those instructors new to technology, I would say start small. Choose one or two items to incorporate into a course. I would recommend giving some credit for any activity—either points or a portion of a homework grade. Add resources as you become comfortable with the platform and the products.
What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I am very happy to have these products to use. When I first created the online version of our Music Appreciation class, I spent countless hours saving music files, then converting them, and finally uploading them to our server. We had lots of music, but we didn’t have any listening guides to go with the music. Having the music and listening guides at your fingertips is a wonderful resource. I don’t think I could teach a very engaging online Music Appreciation class without digital tools. I think the students would have a very bland experience indeed.
By The Connect Team | August 26 2013
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