Achievement and outcomes

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…


Incorporating Standard Learning Outcomes into Your Curriculum

Guest Contributor: Erin Doppke, Senior Instructional Designer, Cengage Learning Custom Solutions We all work with specific goals in mind, and teaching and learning are no different. However, sometimes we’re handed specific objectives that we’re required to work toward. That can present the struggle to balance keeping your work true to what you want it to be, and incorporating those goals organically as you go. Today on the blog, instructional designer Erin Doppke gives an overview of both learning outcomes (LOs) and standard learning outcomes (SLOs), and she shares some of her advice on how you can incorporate Read More…


Using 3D Virtual Worlds to Improve Outcomes and Engagement

An Interview with Nicole Yankelovich, CEO of WonderBuilders, Inc., Executive Director of the Open Wonderland Foundation, and Visiting Scientist, Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, MIT. You probably know at least a few professors who have successfully integrated 3D virtual worlds, like those enabled by Second Life, into their courses. On the other hand, you probably know many more who have not yet taken that leap. Fortunately, the technology behind immersive 3D virtual environments continues to evolve, with new capabilities, toolkits, and applications that help to lower the bar for adoption within the education space. The Open Wonderland Foundation, launched in Read More…


Online Learning and Assessment in Computing Courses

The high unemployment rates of the past few years have prompted many adults to return to school, to earn degrees or certificates, or simply to learn or refresh their computing skills. Many who are enrolled in degree or certificate programs also need training in basic computing skills in order to keep up with their classmates in campus-based or online courses. This need is especially acute among older adults in low income brackets, displaced workers, age 50 or older, who do not have access to the internet at home. For these learners, who may need to do Read More…


Tips for Students: Navigating Your School’s Resources

There is no shame in needing or asking for assistance. However, your students may require guidance in identifying the people and places that can help them chart a path to confidence and success. In her text Student Success in College: Doing What Works! A Research-Focused Approach, Christine Harrington writes, “Research has shown that students who access help perform better (Raskind, Goldberg, Higgins, & Herman, 1999; Strage et al., 2002). Learning when and how to access the right type of support is a skill that will benefit [students] in college and beyond” (p. 21). She offers a number of Read More…


Financial Skills as College (and Life) Skills

Though not strictly a “study skill,” wise money management certainly plays an important role in students’ ability to plan and provide for the expenses related to their college education. This activity, drawn from the Instructor’s Manual for Joel English’s Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner, can help students become more aware of their financial resources and responsibilities. Though these particular questions pertain to school-related expenditures, the awareness and experience that students gain by thinking about these issues today can prepare them for the types of decisions they’ll need to make once they graduate. Read More…


Addressing Interdisciplinary Digital Literacy

What does “digital literacy” mean to students as it applies to your courses? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, digital literacy is an essential tool for preparing students for their future workplaces. When you teach students how to be digitally literate, you’re not only instilling important technical skills, but also an understanding of appropriate use of that technology. But being digitally literate doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Depending on a student’s field of study, his or her needs in understanding certain technology skills could Read More…


Helping Students Prepare for Online Courses

In some ways, having someone set a schedule for us makes our lives somewhat easier, doesn’t it? When we’re young, our parents and teachers schedule our time for us, but as we get older, we gradually become more responsible for making our own good decisions for how to manage our time. Online learning can present challenges to some students in that it doesn’t come with the same type of structure an on-ground course would. You aren’t typically expected to be in a physical location for a predetermined period of time to take part in learning online. In Plugged Read More…


What Personal Attributes Contribute to an Online Learner’s Success?

Most students entering an online learning program know the basic keys to success in education. After all, they have made it to college or graduate school — and perhaps even been at the top of their classes prior to arriving at their new institutions. However, the nature of online learning demands a particular set of skills, attitudes, and habits that lead to success — not to mention the self discipline necessary for programs that allow students to set their own schedule and work at their own pace. For this reason, even the most motivated and diligent students may find Read More…