Required Equals Results: Bob Mellin, Purdue North Central




“Results indicate a change in the failure rate for English 101 from 24% to 15%.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
I have conducted a pilot for my department, and the results indicate a change in the failure rate for English 101 from 24% to 15%. I’ve also discovered that the pool review questions for Engaging Questions have helped to create better classroom discussions.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use Connect for Composition and Connect for Literature.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I began three years ago and the digital tools replace other pedagogical tools.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I decided to require them as part of the course grade two years ago.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
10% for all sections is made up by digital tools but for the ‘Enhanced’ sections, the Personalized Learning Plan counts for 15%.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
It’s naive to think that most students will do additional work without a tangible incentive.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
Start slowly. If you are tentative about any of the programs that you are using, students will have decreased confidence in the software and will blame technology for any number of problems.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I’m able to do many things. This is evolving as the programs become more sophisticated. Generally, though, I had avoided discussion of sentence-level concerns, since these issues are somewhat removed from the focus on writing process and rhetoric. With the Personalized Learning Plan, I can add sentence-level instruction unobtrusively.


Check out the full Required Equals Results series to hear from other instructors about their experiences.

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  November 18 2013

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