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Teaching & Learning

Students in gateway courses benefit from adaptive courseware in Ohio

News & Updates
June 17, 2021

On June 17, 2021, faculty, staff, and administrators are gathering virtually at the Ohio Adaptive Learning Summit to learn from efforts at two Leader Colleges of Distinction — Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) and Lorain County Community College (LCCC) — to implement adaptive courseware in a wide variety of gateway courses. The summit is part of ATD’s work as one of 12 higher education and digital learning organizations that make up the Every Learner Everywhere Network, whose mission is to help higher education institutions improve and ensure more equitable student outcomes through advances in digital learning, particularly among poverty-impacted, racially minoritized, and first-generation students.

As part of this work, ATD will be releasing a series of case studies looking at the work of seven ATD “lighthouse” institutions involved in the pilot effort and exploring the use of adaptive courseware to provide personalized support to students in particular disciplines. Based on extensive interviews with administrators, faculty, staff, and students, the case studies focus on the unique efforts of each institution and provide insights that leaders at other colleges can use as they consider implementing adaptive courseware at their own colleges. The first two case studies, released today, focus on the efforts at Tri-C and LCCC.

In her welcome address at the Ohio Adaptive Learning Summit, ATD’s president and CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout shared eight important lessons that educators can take away from these case studies:

  1. Adoption and scale will look different at different institutions.
  2. Faculty-led adoption is critical.
  3. The adoption of adaptive learning at these institutions ties in closely to the four cornerstones of teaching and learning equity.
  4. Use of adaptive courseware supported the abrupt shift to online learning at the start of the pandemic.
  5. Wraparound supports for faculty are important.
  6. Setbacks are okay and are part of faculty institutional learning.
  7. Colleges must strengthen student understanding of the purpose and benefits of adaptive courseware.
  8. Technology is only a tool – we must use it to benefit students and promote equity.

The Tri-C case study, “A Faculty-Centered Approach to Successfully Implementing Adaptive Courseware,” explores how the college created a learning community to support faculty from multiple disciplines as they implemented and refined the use of courseware across the curriculum. “We have already seen evidence of improved student success rates in some courses that use adaptive platforms, and it appears that these improvements are shared across demographic categories, including low-income students and students of color,” said Dr. Alex Johnson, Tri-C’s president.

The LCCC case study, “Statistical Significance: Implementing Adaptive Courseware in Gateway Math and Business Courses,” takes a close look at how the college implemented courseware into statistics, its highest enrolled math course, as well as introductory business courses. “The learning technology helps our faculty meet students where they are, creates rich opportunities to help students reach their full potential, and prepares students with knowledge and skills to thrive in a changing world,” said Dr. Marcia Ballinger, the college’s president.

ATD’s work as part of the Every Learner Everywhere network is part of ongoing efforts to help Network colleges build capacity in teaching and learning to advance equity. Doing so is particularly crucial because, as Dr. Stout recently asserted, “Focusing on teaching and learning is still not central to the field’s overall theory of change. We still have much more to do to build a deep focus on pedagogy and to support our colleges in building a culture of teaching and learning excellence.”

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