Professor Ricardo Vergara teaches the Fundamentals of Writing course at Laredo Community College in Texas. Before using his current combination of Aplia with Fawcett’s Grassroots with Readings: The Writer’s Workbook, his courses were textbook based and did not include an online component. However, just a few years ago, dramatic changes to developmental education standards were mandated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The changes meant that Laredo Community College had to rethink and reorganize the developmental course sequence within his department. Additionally, Vergara and his colleagues wanted to give students a more organized, comprehensive, and independent study-oriented experience in the Fundamentals of Writing class.
In response to the new standards set forth by the THECB, Laredo’s Fundamentals of Writing course became the most basic of the new three-level Developmental Writing sequence. Vergara and his colleagues decided to try an online component for this course, so they spent an entire year evaluating textbook/website combinations. During that search, they turned to their Cengage Learning representative, Mandy Price, who worked on special pricing to help make adopting the Aplia with Grassroots combination easy and provided exceptional value for students. Vergara pointed out that Aplia’s ease of use for both the instructor and students, versatility in organizing the course, and powerful communications options were what immediately sold him on Aplia.
Immediately after they began using Aplia, the instructors noticed a difference in their students. Students showed that they were independently engaged with the material covered in class. They also felt comfortable with Aplia’s online format, which enables them to access helpful resources, get extra practice, and receive immediate feedback on their efforts. What’s more, Aplia has allowed Vergara to monitor students’ progress and communicate with them effectively.
Overall, Vergara is very pleased with the all-around success he’s seen since Aplia became part of the curriculum at Laredo Community College. He’s seen that Aplia has increased engagement for his students, and prepared them more effectively for the Texas Success Initiative placement test for Reading, Writing, and Math (TSI). It’s also helped more students pass his class and succeed.