Required Equals Results: Carol A. Keller, San Antonio College
“I’m able to have fun with students in a face-to-face environment and have the pleasure of watching online students be more engaged with each other and the course content.”
What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
Requiring digital resulted in better preparation for face-to-face classes and online discussions, as well as higher quality learning. Grades are definitely higher and retention is better. I attribute this to the flipped classroom one day a week where students run the class and I facilitate. LearnSmart is due the night before and they must post their provocative question for peers in Canvas by midnight. Each student then reads and promotes discussion for their question during the face-to-face session. Each student provides information on how they framed those questions and what they learned. In the Discussion Forum they insert maps and images from their ebook to illustrate their focus. It’s very exciting for me and I look forward to the class.
Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use LearnSmart and SmartBook Connect activities delivered in Canvas LMS for online and web-enhanced on-campus sections.
When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I began using digital tools after I took a public policy graduate course on the Internet that changed my teaching life. I was the only volunteer to teach a survey US course in the college’s first computer classroom and thanks to helpful technology and the lessons learned in my public policy course, everyone was challenged and invigorated. When our college launched its online program using WebCT in 2000, I was ready. Since that time we have transitioned through three different LMS and I have remained loyal to McGraw-Hill (first used Davidson text, “Nation of Nations,” as it had the best online support) and the students who pass through my classrooms continue to thrive using Connect.
When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I decided to require them as part of the course grade from the first introduction of digital. I have required and graded all digital work, from the early web activities in Davidson and OLC up to today’s LearnSmart with SmartBook.
What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
40% of my course grade is made up by digital tools.
Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
Students want to earn a grade and they serve as a peer group to inspire others. Few students come to class without posting a question based on their reading and completion of LearnSmart the night before.
What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
1) Take digital learning one step at a time, 2) Make sure you are comfortable with the process, 3) Ask for and LISTEN to student feedback during the process.
What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I’m able to have fun with students in a face-to-face environment and have the pleasure of watching online students be more engaged with each other and the course content.
By The Connect Team | October 28 2013
The Connect Team
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