Efficacy and research

Closing the Gap in STEM Education: The Appeal of Technology in the Classroom

What do students want from math and science courses? What do they expect from the technology used in the classroom?

Our infographic “Closing the Gap in STEM Education: The Appeal of Technology in the Classroom,” shows the challenges students face… as well as the resources (and support) they believe would help them succeed in their courses.

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Inside the Students and Instructors of STEM Education

Two recent studies by Cengage Learning identify the four unique types of students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses, and the three types of instructors who teach them.

From self-reliant doers and resourceful strugglers to tech-savvy instructors, find out which group matches your personality.

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MindTap in Action Gets Students to Read—and Learn—About American Government

Joshua “Josh” Dyck has taught American Government at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UMass Lowell) since 2012. When he arrived at the institution after teaching at the University at Buffalo SUNY, he used a traditional textbook with no online component. His involvement in an advisory group that reviewed MindTap® led him to try the digital learning experience.

Students adapted easily to the MindTap environment, and so did Josh. He immediately saw a number of benefits. He noticed that students came to class prepared after completing readings and auto-graded assignments… allowing him to use lectures to go “beyond the book.” Students were also empowered to take control of their learning: they can work at their own pace, review learning resources as much as they wish, and take quizzes more than once to improve their grade.
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SAM Primes Students for MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) Certification

In the eight years that Erin Dischler has been teaching Accounting Software applications at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), her department has used a textbook in conjunction with SAM (Skills Assessment Manager). This interactive online learning environment helps students master Microsoft® Office and other computer skills and concepts that are essential to academic and career success. SAM is also instrumental in helping Erin ensure that her students are ready for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification exam. MOS certification verifies that an individual is well versed in one or more Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Excel®, Outlook®, Access®, or PowerPoint®.
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Pass Rates Rise with MindTap in Tech Course at Community College of Baltimore County

Renuka Kumar teaches Computer Science and Information Technology at the Community College of Baltimore Country in Baltimore, Maryland. She and her colleagues recently redesigned the course to bring it up to date, adding new material on collaboration, mobile devices, and emerging technologies. The course learning resource that the department was using at the time didn’t cover all the necessary new topics, so a search ensued for a better option.

In evaluating possible new solutions, department decision-makers had several criteria. First, they wanted a product that would be easy to use by students and instructors. The ability to integrate with the college’s Blackboard learning management system (LMS), something that wasn’t possible with the existing product, was also on the wish list.
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A Frontline Look at Phi Theta Kappans’ Goals, Challenges, and Habits

Since 1929, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) has been recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges as the official honor society for two-year colleges. Its dual mission is to recognize and encourage scholarship as well as provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service, and fellowship programs. The Phi Theta Kappa website notes that the organization—which has more than three million members—“grows leaders, innovators, explorers, risk takers, problem solvers, researchers, pioneers, and deep thinkers.” Membership also entitles students to apply for part of the PTK’s $90+ million in scholarships.
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Innovative Developmental Math Solution Improves Educational Outcomes at Borough of Manhattan Community College

As a full-time mathematics lecturer at CUNY BMCC, Professor Dale Dawes (who teaches everything from developmental mathematics through calculus) sees math anxiety in students young and old, in all of his classes.

In the past, Dawes struggled to identify struggling students, and then find time to provide individualized help to each of them. Furthermore, the process of grading mathematics assignments was taking up much of the time he’d prefer to spend giving those students the one-on-one attention that they need.

But now, thanks to Enhanced WebAssign® (EWA), Dawes has more freedom to offer his students individualized assistance. EWA is a cloud-based learning and feedback tool designed to promote critical thinking, automate the grading process, and provide students and instructors with real-time performance evaluations and results. Dawes, who uses EWA across all of his Mathematics courses, is a devoted user of EWA due to the flexibility it offers—from both the student and instructor perspectives. For instance, instructors can implement as much or as little of their content & rules in it, while students have a broad choice of ways to learn the data.
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In Context Helps Busy Librarian Improve Her Library and Prepare Students for College and Career

Kris Jacobson is a teacher/librarian at a busy high school outside of Chicago. With 3,000 students and a campus that recently went 1:1 with Chromebooks, Jacobson stays busy, but is constantly striving to make the library more useful for patrons.

Jacobson found that helping students conduct research in multiple information silos proved time consuming and the library was not seeing steady growth in database activity. As a Google School (and part of a Google District) Glenbrook High School prefers to utilize resources that work well with all things Google. This—and some of the library’s other challenges—became easier for Jacobson and her colleagues when they discovered Gale’s In Context family of online resources.
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MindTap K12 Subscription Model Supports Advanced Placement Success in Georgia 

Forsyth County Schools (FCS) in Georgia can proudly claim the highest SAT scores among the state’s fifteen largest school districts as well as the highest graduation rate (90+ percent) among the twenty largest school districts. Given this success, it’s no surprise that FCS offers a wide variety of Advanced Placement® (AP®) options to give its students the opportunity to experience college-level academic courses while in high school. To ensure ongoing access to current, quality learning resources for its AP curriculum, the district recently turned to the MindTap® K12 platform and a cost-effective subscription plan from Cengage Learning.
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Students to Colleges: Get Us Work-Ready!

The Today’s Student survey project by Cengage Learning is based on original research that springs from our company’s commitment to gaining insights directly from students. We surveyed and interviewed five thousand students—traditional and non-traditional, from four-year and two-year colleges—for their impressions of success, career prospects, technology, courses, and obstacles to achieving academic goals.

In this report, we explore how the college experience compared to student expectations. In particular, the students spoke to their college’s ability—or lack of ability—to prepare them for a career.

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