Achievement and outcomes

Using Assessment Data to Tweak Next Semester’s Instruction

Guest Contributor: Erin Doppke, Senior Instructional Designer, Cengage Learning Custom Solutions. There’s no need to wait to review data collected from student satisfaction surveys or final examsit may be that the keys to making tweaks to your course to improve learning for next term are already in your hands. In this post, Senior Instructional Designer Erin Doppke provides advice on increasing the effectiveness of your course by evaluating it using assessment information. How do you evaluate your course’s overall effectiveness and decide whether or not you’d like to make changes for the next term? Share your ideas and experiences Read More…


The New Rules of LMS Content Integration

On campuses around the country—both physical and virtual—more and more instructors are being asked to increase course loads and to manage their workloads with fewer administrative resources. Driven by decreases in government and donor funding and increases in tuition discount rates, administrators have been forced to reduce the number of full-time teaching positions. At the same time, instructors are being asked to adopt new or expanded outcomes-based policies and assessments, to redesign courses, and to move more of their sections online. It is no wonder that many of them are looking for ways to streamline the course preparation Read More…


Collecting Meaningful Feedback Via Informal Assessment Techniques

You’ve worked hard to create an engaging, active learning environment for your students (maybe you’ve even used some of these ideas), but how do you measure your success in a meaningful way? As an instructor, you may wish to not only assess students’ progress in your course, you may also want to assess the effectiveness of a new teaching method or classroom activity you’re trying prior to the end of term. It can be helpful to get this kind of information from students while the experience is still fresh for them, rather than relying on feedback Read More…


Online Quizzing to Promote Learning: A Formative Assessment Approach

As faculty, we spend countless hours deciding how to assess whether or not students achieve our learning outcomes for the course. The most common assessment approach is testing, and this can be a very effective and efficient way to assess the level of learning that took place. This approach of measuring ultimate achievement levels is considered summative assessment. However, the value of testing goes above and beyond this traditional use. There has been a significant body of research that shows that testing is a MEMORY tool. For instance, Karpicke and Roediger (2006) conducted research that showed that students who Read More…


Examining Assessment From Both Sides of the Desk

Guest Contributor: Maggi Miller, Manager, Cengage Learning TeamUP Faculty Programs. Grab a piece of paper and number it from 1 through 10. Done? Now read my mind as I think the first question and try to answer whether it’s true or false. OK, now read my mind as I think of 2-10. Want the answers? I-True, 2-False, 3-False, 4-False, 5-True, 6-True, 7-False, 8-True, 9-False and 10-False. How did you do? Even though this test is silly, you may feel unhappy if your “score” was low. Conversely, you may feel oddly successful if you scored well. People don’t usually feel neutral Read More…


Making a Difference in Computing Courses

An Interview with Cheryl Costantini, VP, Brand Management, Cengage Learning. When business productivity applications were first launched in the early 1980’s for the brand-new personal computers that had been introduced by companies like IBM, Compaq, DEC, and NEC, software was delivered in a box that contained a packet of floppy disks and two manuals – a references manual and a user manual. Most users learned how use the products on their own, with both manuals open on their desks, next to their computers. There were training classes available, but many professionals simply did not have time to attend classes. The Read More…


Improving Student Learning Outcomes: The Thing Itself

Guest Contributor: Worth Hawes, PhD, Senior Academic Services Consultant, Cengage Learning. In yesterday’s post, I shared some comments about how my own attitude and motivation has changed over the years regarding the ongoing drive for “better student outcomes.” In this article I want to talk more about the mechanics of student outcomes—in particular, what a good learning outcome actually looks like. Indeed, obtaining better student learning outcomes in the end requires the formulation of strong learning outcomes—the thing itself—in the beginning. Inasmuch as any learning outcome is a description of a particular demonstrable skill, capability, competency, Read More…


Strategies for Improving Student Retention Rates

It’s no secret that the issues of post-secondary student retention and persistence are areas of national concern. If you have been working in the field of education for any length of time, your institution has probably experimented with or implemented a variety of solutions designed to improve the retention rate for first-to-second year students, which currently hovers at approximately 72%, according to the most recent data from ACT®. If your institution believes – as many do – that retention is the job of everyone on campus, you may have explored or implemented an early warning and tracking system that collects Read More…


Improving Learning Outcomes: A Change in Philosophy

Guest Contributor: Worth Hawes, PhD, Senior Academic Services Consultant, Cengage Learning. In today’s post, Worth Hawes shares how his attitudes toward setting learning outcomes have changed since his time as a PhD student teaching philosophy to undergrads. How have your opinions, perceptions, and attitudes shifted with regard to establishing expected outcomes up front? Has your experience been similar, or have you taken a different road to the opinion you have today? Please share with us in the comments section below. I’ll confess that when I was finishing up my PhD in philosophy fifteen years ago—writing the dissertation in between Read More…


Creating Online Activities that Align to Your Outcomes

As an instructor, you’ve probably seen (or employed) many of the exciting — and research-based — techniques and principles you can use to engage and motivate students in the online environment. However, you have also likely come to recognize that you need to use those tools and techniques in a manner that helps your students achieve the specific learning goals and objectives you have identified for your course. In their presentation “Aligning Objectives in Online Classes,” Cengage Learning’s TeamUP Faculty Programs provide guiding principles for creating online activities that will help your students achieve the learning outcomes you’ve Read More…