Efficacy and research

College Students Avoid Purchasing Costly Course Materials and Fall Behind

Sandy Owen, the program chair for the early childhood department at Cincinnati State College, worried about how many of her students were not fully prepared on the first day of class and would quickly fall behind their fellow classmates. The culprit, according to Owen, is students’ failure to obtain the required course materials prior to the start of class. Unfortunately, the students in Owen’s courses are not alone. One in three students, according to national studies, have delayed purchase of course materials or have chosen not to purchase them at all. The consequences of not having access to pertinent Read More…


iLrn and Conectados Showcase the Power of Online Language-Learning

Patti Marinelli, a senior Spanish instructor at the University of South Carolina, has helped create a contemporary textbook and online curriculum for teaching Spanish that can be used for traditional, flipped, hybrid, and online courses. The product is Conectados, co-authored by Patti and Karin Fajardo, and the online component is the iLrn™ Language Learning Center all-in-one course management system.

Conectados reinforces a general rule of thumb in language teaching: that you don’t do in the classroom what could be done at home. Students study outside of class and spend classroom time on what isn’t as easily done at home: speaking Spanish with other people. The key benefit of iLrn is that it enhances the effectiveness of the flipped classroom model by engaging students in speaking and practicing Spanish outside of class, thereby further promoting skill development and proficiency.

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Gale’s Integration with Google Apps for Education Creates New In Context Fans

Librarians understand that today’s digitally connected students are put off by resources that are cumbersome to use. And, as more schools turn to Google Classroom to create a paperless learning environment, teachers
are looking for ways to connect seamlessly to a variety of online databases and resources needed for classroom projects.

As co-librarian at Prosper High School in Texas and leader of the Library and Instructional Technology Team for her school district, Richelle O’Neil always has the interests of K–12 students and teachers in mind. These days, that means showing them how productive they can be when they use Gale’s In Context integrated with Google Apps for Education.

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Librarian Uses Virtual Reference Solution to Engage Students and Teachers on Sizable Campus

Kim Hooper, the Library Media Specialist at John Jay High School in Hopewell Junction, New York, feels like a small fish in a big pond at times. The school is home to more than 2,100 students and two hundred teachers. While Hooper is able to reach students during study halls and regular library walk-in hours, the sheer size of John Jay High poses logistical challenges with which even a nine-year high school library veteran like Hooper struggles. On one hand, she confronted the logistical challenge of reaching and persuading hundreds of teachers spread across a large campus to better Read More…


Librarian Uses DemographicsNow to Give Students Edge in Ultracompetitive Global Business World

Cara Cadena, the Business Liaison Librarian at Grand Valley State University, can see the future and knows exactly what budding college-aged entrepreneurs are in for: a highly competitive global business world that demands an edge to get ahead. It’s Cadena’s job to help students develop that edge despite a workload that requires her to juggle multiple responsibilities, like teaching library instruction courses, managing the library’s growing collection, and assisting students with research projects. Today’s college students have terabytes of data at their fingertips. However, that data is not always trustworthy, accessible, or housed in formats that best position Read More…


Entrepreneurs Lack the Resources Necessary to Start Successful Businesses

Librarians can find themselves in difficult positions when budding entrepreneurs, in search of answers that may determine the fate of their businesses, rush into the library.

Steven Assarian, a business librarian at Grand Rapids Public Library, is well familiar with this scenario. Not only is it Assarian’s job to provide consultation for entrepreneurs in need of business plans, but he’s also responsible for teaching business research techniques to classes of between ten and twenty people. The ability to locate and use relevant information during the formation of a startup is a determining factor in whether the business will succeed. The pressure on librarians like Assarian to link entrepreneurs with current and rich data can be great.
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Instructors Search for Way to Create More Engaging Homework Assignments—and Find it with OWLv2

Larry Margerum, a general chemistry teacher at the University of San Francisco, is outnumbered in regard to the number of students he’s tasked with educating and motivating. It’s his job to lecture approximately five hundred students a year and to supplement those lessons with homework assignments that students find engaging and academically valuable. However, effectively reaching each of those students in a relatively large classroom setting can be difficult.

The problem, though, is one with which instructors have struggled for years; coaxing students into actually completing assignments that’ll prepare them for exams. Getting today’s student to engage deeply with pencil and paper homework is proving to be even more difficult. Plus, instructors say, traditional homework assignments are copied and turned in for points that artificially inflate academic performance. Instructors, according to Professor Margerum, understand the “drill and kill” homework system in place is not meeting the needs of today’s college students.
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iLrn Gives Spanish Students the Grounding They Need in Grammar, Culture, and Communication

More than three thousand students take Spanish every year at Pellissippi State Community College, and program coordinator Marilyn Palatinus wants every one of them to be engaged—and to learn. Ensuring that instructors have the tools and support they need is also on the agenda, and Marilyn and her colleagues count on Cengage Learning. “My faculty really likes Plazas and iLrn™, and the customer service from Cengage Learning is excellent,” she says.

For Marilyn, teaching Spanish effectively means balancing development of communication skills with the fundamental mechanics of the language. Given that many of the students don’t understand grammar, they need practice with grammar, as well as the opportunity to apply it in conversation. Marilyn and the other instructors appreciate that iLrn’s varied activities give students the chance to practice what they’re learning in real-life scenarios.
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Mathematics Journey with Enhanced WebAssign® Saves Time, Provides Better Service, and Improves Engagement and Test Scores

For twenty-eight years, Anna Cox has been teaching all levels of mathematics from numerical skills through calculus at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan. As an innovator always looking for new ways to use technology to engage students, Anna has taken a unique approach to teaching her courses. Anna’s class is currently taught using what she describes as a “hybrid flipped” model. On their time, students watch videos and take notes on a corresponding worksheet; then, in class, Anna summarizes the material, then spends the majority of class time on problem solving activities, which generally take place at the classroom’s whiteboards.

After learning more about Mathematics Journey with Enhanced WebAssign during the the 2014 American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges meeting, Anna decided to pilot it in her Intermediate Algebra course. Once she began the pilot semester, Anna found that the solution was a natural fit for her hybrid flipped classroom.

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iLrn Facilitates Online Language Learning at Mississippi State University

Amie Russell loves her job — teaching Spanish at Mississippi State University. For three years she has used iLrn™, an all-in-one course management system created specifically for languages, to complement her Cengage Learning Spanish textbook and ensure that her students get valuable practice in communicative skills.

Amie and her colleagues were introduced to iLrn when they selected Nexos, Enhanced Third Edition, for its focus on high-interest cultural themes and meaningful communication. “We wanted to move away from traditional texts based on grammatical structure, and were looking for a resource that focused on communicative skills. We also wanted to get into online learning,” she recalls. “Nexos teaches from a conceptual level and with a cultural perspective—for instance, how to communicate at the grocery store rather than how to conjugate verbs. It was accompanied by iLrn, so it was ideal for our needs.”

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