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.


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

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  October 28 2013

Required Equals Results: Janet Gelb, Grossmont College




“85% of my course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart. “


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
I will have more information regarding the impact at the end of this semester.


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


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 2013.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I decided to require them as part of the course grade in the Spring of 2012.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools?
85% of my course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
Students tend to only do the graded required assignments. Anything that is optional, whether it would increase learning or not, is not on their radar.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
Pilot the digital component before making your course completely digital.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
Teach a flipped classroom and add interesting discussions instead of doing traditional lectures that students dislike and tend not to participate in.


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

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  October 28 2013

Required Equals Results: Janine Termine, Bucks County Community College




“Requiring digital resulted in improved student assignment completion, improved grades and the ability to prove to students that if they do their homework, they will be successful.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
Requiring digital resulted in improved student assignment completion, improved grades and the ability to prove to students that if they do their homework, they will be successful.


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


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I began using digital tools in my class 10 years ago and it replaced paper and pencil homework.


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


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools?
My course grade is made up of 25% online homework and online quizzes.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
It is important to hold students accountable. If we can ‘make’ students do their homework, they will be successful at mathematics.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
I advise instructors to make sure that the homework counts for some part of students’ final grades. Also, make sure to set due dates and penalties for lateness.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
Now, there is more time for lessons and discussions because if students have questions, many times they can figure things out on their own because of all the aids in the online homework.


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

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  October 28 2013

Required Equals Results: Alexander Wait, Missouri State University



“Requiring digital resulted in an increase in grade levels as well as improved in-class discussion and engagement.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
Requiring digital resulted in an increase in grade levels as well as improved in-class discussion and engagement. I’m able to spend more time in lecture on concepts and recent advances in research for every topic covered.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use Connect with annotated e-text, LearnSmart and TurningPoint.


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 2011. It replaced hard copy text.


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


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?
If the digital is integrated into the course, then making it optional does not work.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
Ease into it over a couple of semesters. Eventually it allows one to deliver more content effectively without having to spend more time. The amount of time I spend on my course has not increased.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I am able to spend more time on application and synthesis material in lecture.


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

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  October 28 2013

Required Equals Results: Douglas Vermillion, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana – Anderson



“I think the most important benefit of the digital tool has been that as an instructor I can see student progress, identify areas of significant weakness, and focus my instructional time on helping students remediate their individual weaknesses.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
Probably the most significant impact has been the increase in overall course grade averages among those students who fully engage with the assignments. Student engagement has broadened as a result of having an option to complete work ‘at leisure’ and at a personal pace. Retention rates also have shown a slight improvement since I have begun requiring assignments from Connect.


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


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
During the summer term of 2012, I was one of several instructors who piloted the beta version of Connect Reading. Prior to that semester, I did not integrate any digital tool for student mastery learning.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
My decision was made after the initial pilot. My reason for integrating Connect Reading into my course was that students who used the platform as recommended showed significantly greater progress than students in prior semesters.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
I use Connect Reading assignments as 50 percent of the course grade. I have designed assignments using the adaptive learning PLP option in Connect Reading so that assignments match with text chapter readings.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
When the digital tasks are optional, students will place low priority on them and abandon them quickly when personal schedules become tight. Requiring the work gives students a reason to place a higher priority on the tasks and completing the work results not only in a reward for mastery of skills, but also in a sense of accomplishment for the students.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
Number one: Tie the digital work to the students’ course grades and make certain it is a significant factor. Number two: Keep track of student activity on the digital platform and provide frequent feedback so students know you are monitoring their progress.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I think the most important benefit of the digital tool has been that as an instructor I can see student progress, identify areas of significant weakness, and focus my instructional time on helping students remediate their individual weaknesses.


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

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  October 24 2013

Required Equals Results: Carolyn R. Fallahi, Central Connecticut State University



“Commit to it. Make it worth something. Your students will benefit!”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
I have seen an increase in the time that they are spending with the reading material. Previously, I would hear that students were buying the book and never opening it. Now I also see an increase in grades and in successful course completion.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
McGraw-Hill Connect and LearnSmart.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I teach a large section of Lifespan Development (200 students). I added online tools because my students needed to be more engaged and increase their chances of success in my classes.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I decided to require them as part of my course grade when I saw that students who were using them did significantly better than students who were not.


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


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
Students won’t do it unless they receive a grade for it.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
Commit to it. Make it worth something. Your students will benefit!


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
There are some cool videos and activities that I now use.


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

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  October 24 2013

THE CREW
The Connect Team

The Connect Team
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Eileen
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