Our courses proactively engage students to put new knowledge into practice and to assess their own progress. Activities and assessments embedded throughout the content help to ensure that students understand concepts rather than only memorize facts.
Features for Students
In addition to high-quality text, our courses also include practice activities, self-assessments, and graded assessments. All course content is included and structured to support the student’s achievement of clearly defined learning objectives.
All of our practice and self-assessment opportunities have tailored feedback that aim at increasing the student’s understanding of the skills or concepts involved. Core to our design philosophy, activities deliver feedback as students are working, so that they can quickly see what they do and do not understand and integrate that knowledge into their practice. Through the course syllabus, students can use a listing of activities to find available practice opportunities.
Scores on graded assessments (typically Checkpoints and Quizzes) are available to students in a report called “My Scores.”
Features for Educators
Data from student activities and assessments is displayed in the Learning Dashboard. Graded assessments appear in both the dashboard and the gradebook.
Recording and analyzing data on student participation and performance is another key aspect of our educational philosophy, which is that quantitative data can inform decisions that instructors make about how to help their students succeed. For example, we recommend reviewing the Learning Dashboard before each class session and tailoring in-class time to either address difficult topics with which students were struggling, or push forward with more challenging material if students were excelling with the previous concepts.
WHICH TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE FOR MY COURSE?
We are working to enable the new Learning Dashboard for all of our recent and upcoming courses, but this is a process that takes some time and is dependent on funding.
[acLink title=’Show tool availability by course’][/acLink]
|Gradebook||Learning Dashboard Version|
|American English Speech||Yes||Original|
|Anatomy & Physiology||Yes||New|
|Causal & Statistical Reasoning||Yes||Original|
|Elementary French I & II||Yes||Original|
|Empirical Research Methods||Yes||Original|
|Introduction to Biology||Yes||New|
|Introduction to Chemistry*||Yes||None|
|Introduction to Psychology||Yes||New|
|Logic & Proofs||Yes||Original|
|Principles of Computing||Yes||New|
- Learn By Doing
Perhaps the most prominent feature you will see in our courses is called Learn By Doing. These activities give students the opportunity to practice a skill or better understand a new concept. They may also introduce new aspects to a concept that the student is currently learning.
Learn By Doing activities vary and include multiple choice questions, interactive simulations, and matching activities among other options. Our course developers and authors choose the activity which will be most effective.
Try a Learn By Doing activity in a course. To view the course without creating an account, just click the “Look Inside” button.
- Did I Get This?
In addition to practicing and building understanding through active participation, our courses also include self-assessments. Students will encounter Did I Get This? activities, which will ask them questions to see if they have understood a specific concept.
Did I Get This? activities generally appear after a concept has been explained and also after Learn By Doing activities. Students will get feedback from Did I Get This? activities and can see what they have understood and what they should review.
Try a Did I Get This? activity in a course. To view the course without creating an account, just click the “Look Inside” button.
- Learning Objectives
Each course, section, and page has learning objectives clearly stated. These objectives help students and instructors keep track of goals. Students can be sure that they know what the text or activity they are working on is trying to teach them and can refer to the learning objectives to see if they have understood the key concepts. For courses that take advantage of our Learning Dashboard tool, instructors can gain insight into how their students are doing in terms of the courses’s learning objectives.
Many of our courses include Checkpoints and quizzes. These assessments provide an opportunity to determine whether or not a portion of a course was understood. Checkpoints and quizzes generally appear at the end of a section (generally called a “module”). In both assessments, students will answers several questions, submit their answers, and then receive a score.
If taking a course with an instructor, students may or may not receive feedback on their answers based on instructor preference.
- Learning Dashboard
The latest version of the Learning Dashboard includes information about student participation and performance at both the class and individual-student level. Instructors can quickly see which topics are most commonly confusing students or how individual students are progressing.
Our original Learning Dashboard also gives instructors information on student participation and performance in learning activities, but does not have the same depth of information as the new version.
Student performance on graded assessments reports to the Learning Dashboard as well as to the gradebook. In the gradebook, instructors can view and adjust grades, change timing and grading options, and grant exceptions to individual students.