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: Scott Lukas, Lake Tahoe Community College




“I think that the media (video) components in Connect make these assignments unique.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
I am still assessing the impact.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use Connect and ETUDES (CMS system).


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I have been using digital tools in my classes for a few years. However, I began using Connect this year.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I wanted to get students to connect anthropology topics to their own lives and I thought that Connect would help with this.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
About 10% of my course grade is made up by digital tools.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
I think that the media (video) components make these assignments unique.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
To take it slowly and not try to involve too many new features at once. Begin with a few assignments and then add from there.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I am able to use multi-media components for the essays.


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: James Boeckle, Gloucester County College




“Digital technology has helped my students to be more successful with learning as they utilize the learned music skills.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
The majority of my students have had an improvement in their grades. Digital technology has helped my students to be more successful with learning as they utilize the learned music skills. They seem to be more confident with the subject matter and volunteer more often in class discussions.


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


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I have been using Connect for approximately 3 years. LearnSmart is presently being implemented as a beta test program.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I required the use of Connect assignments for grading purposes at the implementation of the program.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
Connect assignments make up 15% of my grade and Connect quizzes make up 50%.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
Digital technology helps to keep interest in the classroom. Students today are surrounded by technology. It is a large part of their world. Making digital a requirement allows them to learn by using the technology that they already know and to use that technology to learn new subject matter.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
I would suggest that instructors incorporate digital into their courses in a small way at first. You must also be willing to monitor and adjust your assignments if needed. I began by giving several short assignments just to get a feel of what worked and what needed to be changed. By giving frequent short assignments I found that students were kept consistently engaged with the learning rather than giving larger assignments with a longer period of time to complete them. The consistency of completing assignments this way also added to the retention of the material.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I spend less time grading assignments. I also utilize Connect to enhance my lessons by using the listening outlines as part of my lectures and discussions. This helps to keep everyone on task while learning to become a better critical listener. The technology guides the listening experience.


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
sashapaulino

sashapaulino