Guest contributor: Vickie Williamson, Instructional Associate Professor at Texas A&M

As a chemistry instructor, I’m no stranger to digital learning products.

I received an informative demonstration of OWL back in 2001 and was so impressed that I adopted and began using it in my classroom the very next semester.

MindTap General Chemistry

Then, when I saw the MindTap demo, I liked the idea of having my students’ homework questions embedded right into the text on the same screen. However, I wasn’t sure if it could possibly produce better results than OWL. That’s because, from 2001 to 2012 85-95 percent of my students each semester responded that OWL helped them learn. That’s not easy to come by!

So with an open mind, I tried MindTap in the fall of 2013 with a large lecture class. Because of some technical issues with the beta version release, I switched back to OWL after three weeks. But when my students were surveyed after four weeks of OWL, I was so surprised to find that many students still preferred MindTap.

Next, we wondered if this was just a short-term preference, so we surveyed the students again at the end of the second semester. We thought students who had used MindTap for the first three weeks of Chemistry I and OWL for the rest of that course AND for the whole second semester, would believe they learned more with OWL.

MindTap outcomes

How surprised we were to see that MindTap still helped them learn better! Student engagement, learner confidence, and student work habits all appeared to improve in my classroom.

The survey asked a number of questions about perceived learning, concept attainment, ease of use, etc. The open response items gave us a lot of insight as to why students responded so positively to MindTap. I hope you enjoy reading about this peer-reviewed study, which was published in the October 2016 issue of the Journal of Science Education and Technology! We’re working on a second manuscript about a full semester implementation and about varying which system was used first!

»Read the Journal of Science Education and Technology study