Required Equals Results: Ginny Powell, Georgia Perimeter College




“Each student gets individualized attention, both from ALEKS and from me.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
It’s hard to compare, as we changed our course delivery at the same time we went to ALEKS. But when we used other software and made them optional, many students never bought the code. Now that everyone does, I notice more mathematical discussion. They know what they are working on, because they have to choose a topic by name (e.g., graphing a line given an equation in slope-intercept form, or graphing a line given an equation in standard form. Now they know the difference between the two forms!).


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
ALEKS.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I began using ALEKS in an Emporium Model in 2010. Previously, we used MyMathLab as a homework supplement to lecture classes.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
We have required ALEKS since we started using it. In my experience, students will only buy materials and do work if it is counted in their grade.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
Currently, 70% of our course grade is directly from ALEKS. That includes assessments in ALEKS, the pie and worksheets generated in ALEKS. That percentage has been growing over the semesters as we learn how to best use the software.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
Anything optional is treated as unimportant. If you have found a digital component that you think is worthwhile, then show that by requiring it. Making it optional indicates that you are unsure and it is maybe kind of helpful but not really… It makes you seem wishy-washy.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
Be sure the software you are using complements your class model, instead of clashing. Don’t try to use a homework automation system to teach and don’t use a teaching tool as only a homework automation system. This may mean major changes and may scare you, but it will be worth it for the students. It’s not about you.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I’m able to get to my students where they are. ALEKS pinpoints what each student knows already and what they are ready to do next. No more lecturing to a room full of glassy eyes because they either have no idea what I’m talking about, or are way past me. Each student gets individualized attention, both from ALEKS and from me.


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

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

Required Equals Results: David Smith, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi




“I can focus more on the interactions with the students and the lectures than I could before beginning the use of digital materials.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
At this point it is difficult to completely understand and calculate how the students are doing. This group is a fresh batch of new college entries and they are having a difficult time adjusting to the rigors of college.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use Connect.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I have been using digital tools for about 18 months. Connect replaced Aplia.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I decided to require them as part of the course grade at the time of adoption 18 months ago.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
About 35% of the course grade is comprised of digital tools.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
I find that if students are required to engage in the material as opposed to making it optional, they tend to understand on a greater level what the potential impact on their grade is.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
Be patient. It is a tool that will facilitate their success in the long-run. Many students are not used to using digital materials. Be prepared for a few mistakes and frustrations. The patience is well worth the payoff at the end of the semester as it all comes together.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I can focus more on the interactions with the students and the lectures than I could before beginning the use of digital materials. Less time is spent grading and more time is spent assisting those students who may not be completely understanding material in class.


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

Required Equals Results: Margaret Butcher, Purdue North Central




“Students began to engage better with the technology because everything was right there in Connect.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
Students began to engage better with the technology because everything was right there in the Connect course. SmartBook and LearnSmart help them engage with the materials and pinpoint areas where extra work is necessary.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use SmartBook, LearnSmart and Speech Capture in my class.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
We started working with McGraw-Hill Education about three years ago to create a site where our students could record and post their speeches without going through public sites such as YouTube and Photobucket.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
When Speech Capture became available and we could sync with Blackboard, I began to require them as part of the course grade.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
About 40% is made up by digital tools.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
Students live in a digital world and ‘forcing’ students to engage with the technology helps them realize the advantages the programs offer.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
Ask questions and work through all the areas of the digital product you are using. Go through the faculty view and the student view to get a feeling of how everything works. Take the quizzes and do the tasks to make sure that instructions you post are clear and easily understood by students. Finally, have FUN with it. I was surprised how much I enjoyed working through the items as a student learner. It makes me a better professor.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I don’t have to search for links for speeches and remind students to make the links public or to invite me to view their work. It is all in one spot and saves me time and frustration.


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

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  November 11 2013

Required Equals Results: Dr. Murad Odeh, South Texas College




“Students are more engaged, more prepared and having fun.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
Requiring digital had a tremendous impact. Students are more engaged, more prepared and having fun. It increased student retention rate and helped them complete their courses.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use LearnSmart, LearnSmart Labs, SmartBook and Tegrity.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I began using digital tools in 2006. It replaced reading traditional books and creating tests and homework.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I have required them as part of the course grade since I started using them. Students will NOT do anything for free 🙂 . If there is a credit, they will do it.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
20% of my course grade is made up by digital tools.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
I believe that LearnSmart and SmartBook are essential for student success. They help them learn, understand, think critically and execute well.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
My advice is to be patient. Start easily and slowly and then build on as you go through the semesters. Attend workshops and be on the lookout for what’s new as far as updates or new products.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
Make students READ before coming to class. Now they are reading the material and doing LearnSmart prior to my lectures because my assignments are due prior to my lectures.


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

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  November 11 2013

Required Equals Results: Kay E. Strong, Baldwin Wallace




“I am able to have students engaged in a learning discourse as I provide instruction over the material.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
Students who complete the LearnSmart assignment have early exposure to the basic terminology and concepts in the chapter before I present content in class.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use Connect and LearnSmart.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I began using digital tools in my classes in the fall of 2011. Digital tools enable students to take more responsibility for the learning process.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I decided to require digital tools as part of the course grade in the fall of 2011.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
More than one-half of my course grade is made up by digital tools.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
I believe it helps level the playing field if students will invest with an objective to learn.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
I advise instructors to begin small, become familiar with the tool and then expand use of the tool.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I am able to have students engaged in a learning discourse as I provide instruction over the material.


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

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  November 04 2013

THE CREW
The Connect Team

The Connect Team
mayacohen

mayacohen
Eileen

Eileen
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