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.
Josh also observed MindTap’s role in promoting critical thinking. With MindTap, students read about a specific topic, answer questions, and then write about it, prompting them to move beyond memorization towards thinking about issues at a much higher level. He said: “They are learning to think and put concepts in context. For an introductory course, this is extraordinary.”
Josh appreciates the easy-to-use MindTap reports that allow him to monitor students’ performance; he can identify students who need help and make a very early intervention. Students also benefit from the MindTap progress reports; they see their own progress in the course, and they become less anxious about their grades.
Course grades reflect MindTap’s effectiveness. Students using MindTap scored the highest grades ever achieved in this professor’s class, averaging 85% instead of approximately 80% before MindTap.