MindTap for U.S. History Increases Student Engagement at Oakland University

Dr. Dale Prentiss, Special Lecturer in Oakland University’s History department, teaches HST 114, a survey course that covers American history from the colonial era through post-Civil War Reconstruction, focusing on the formation of the United States and the forces promoting unity and division in the new nation. The course is offered in both in-class and online formats and can be taken to satisfy Oakland University’s requirements in either western civilization knowledge exploration or U.S. diversity.

Prior to using MindTap for U.S. History, Dr. Prentiss had been teaching his course using a combination of a print textbook and online learning solution. He began exploring using MindTap after seeing a demonstration of the solution integrated with Gale research content. Dr. Prentiss knew that Oakland University’s library had recently made
a significant investment in Eighteenth Century Collections Online and was excited by the possibility of bringing that content directly into the students’ learning path. In addition to the unique feature of integrating library research content into his course, Dr. Prentiss believed that MindTap could help him create a course that was more engaging and encouraged students to think critically.
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Critical Thinking Skills and Student Success Rates Increase in History Courses with MindTap at TSU

Due to low student pass rates in HIS 231 and 232 courses (which survey the social, political, economic, cultural, and intellectual history of the United States from the pre-Columbian era to the present), the chair of Texas Southern University’s History department, Dr. Nikki Taylor, began exploring adopting a different learning solution for these courses. They needed something that would allow their students to understand the course content. They also wanted a digital learning solution that would allow students to increase their critical reading and critical thinking skills.

After a review of learning solutions, Dr. Taylor came to the conclusion that Cengage Learning’s MindTap was the best fit for the History department’s survey courses. She and her core U.S. History faculty then went to work redesigning the survey courses. They ensured that these courses were structured in a manner that was consistent with MindTap, and that they leveraged the available tools and technology.

In this case study, you can read the results of research that examines the impact of MindTap on students’ academic outcomes in these courses. Both the qualitative and quantitative data show MindTap had a significant impact on learner outcomes and student engagement in the courses. Students who used MindTap outperformed their peers who used other instructional materials in the past. Instructors also noted that a key objective of the course—to increase students’ critical thinking skills—had been met through the course redesign around MindTap.

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Rich Digital Primary Source Sets and Intuitive Courseware Increase Student Engagement and Outcomes in U.S. History with MindTap

Students taking U.S. History courses in today’s higher education environment are often not engaged in the course and often apathetic to history in general. That sent Cengage Learning down a path to reinvent the courseware being used to teach and learn the U.S. History Survey. To measure the impact of this novel application, A total of nine instructors teaching History courses to 808 postsecondary students participated in the research. The goal of the study was to compare final grades achieved in courses taught by the same instructors under two different conditions: courses taught with MindTap and courses taught without MindTap. The results were quite dramatic: students in U.S. History classes using MindTap achieved significantly better course grades than students in classes using the same textbooks and other digital resources but without MindTap. Furthermore, students using MindTap for U.S. History received 32% more A’s and more than 35% less D’s and F’s. All instructors who used the Progress Report felt that it helped them understand students’ strengths and weaknesses. And around two-thirds of students who used MindTap recommended it for students taking the course in the future. MindTap for U.S. History is an effective tool to increase the academic success of students in the digital classroom.

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MindTap Supports Course Customization and Sparks Engagement in Softside Disciplines

College instructors routinely report that engaging students in their coursework and promoting critical thinking are deep-rooted, ongoing challenges. Many instructors also say they spend a significant amount of time looking for custom content that will capture students’ interest and better align with their curriculum. An increasing number are evaluating—and using—digital products to help address these teaching issues, and there are good reasons for doing so. Today’s mobile, digitally savvy students bring to their college education the expectation for convenient, instant connectivity to information—including course materials. Digital solutions meet this demand, paving the way to improved engagement while streamlining instructors’ course preparation with multimedia resources and integration tools that support course customization.

Cengage Learning’s online digital teaching and learning solution, MindTap, has been shown to appeal to students and instructors alike. More importantly, it has demonstrated its ability to improve engagement and student performance in a variety of softside courses such as American government, criminal justice (CJ), and history. This white paper summarizes a research study as well as the individual experiences of instructors who have found MindTap to be an effective source of time-saving customization tools as well as features and content that promote better student outcomes.

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First-time MindTap Users Share Best Practices

Cengage Learning wanted to understand the experience of first time MindTap users to identify best practices and opportunities for future improvement. To achieve this, Cengage Learning recruited four instructors and twenty students to participate in a semester-long journaling project for the Fall 2014 who documented their experience with MindTap throughout the semester. Both students and instructors completed bi-monthly journals.

Instructors provided insights on how they and their students were using MindTap’s tools and assignments, as well as what differences they noticed with regard to student engagement. Students provided insights into how they were using MindTap and if they found it beneficial to their studies. The courses taught during this study were English, History, College Success, and Western Civilization.


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Instructors Using 4LTR Press Products Provide a Look Inside Their Classroom Success

Cengage Learning interviewed instructors using 4LTR Press titles at different institutions to understand instructor and student use of print and online components.

The instructors have seen improvements in student engagement, classroom participation, and positive student feedback when using 4LTR Press titles.

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MindTap® for History Increases Critical Thinking and Improves Outcomes at Oklahoma State University

Michelle McCargish is a history instructor at Western New Mexico University, and also recently taught an online section of an American History survey course at Oklahoma State University. The only online instructor of the course (History 1103), Michelle
wanted to use a digital learning solution that provided good online supplements and was easy to use in the online classroom environment. After reviewing several solutions, Michelle decided to pilot MindTap® in the spring of 2014.

Michelle noticed immediately one key advantage of MindTap — how easily her students were able to navigate the interface. In addition to a user-friendly interface, Michelle found that integrating MindTap into her course’s LMS allowed for a streamlined integration experience for her and her students.

What’s more, Michelle found that MindTap’s exercises and assignments were effective at reaching students with different learning styles and encouraging critical thinking. Additionally, Michelle saw evidence of increased levels of student engagement using MindTap when grading the course midterm.

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An Experienced Instructor Switches to Aplia™ and is Able to ‘Teach at a Higher Level’

Bill Carroll has taught Microeconomics of the Service Industry more than twenty times at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. Over the past nine years, he has traditionally taught the course with a printed textbook, but after a colleague told him that Aplia was a good resource, he decided to try it.

Aplia, which is fully integrated with the text Carroll uses, includes comprehensive online interactive problem sets, analyses, tutorials, experiments, and critical-thinking exercises to give students hands-on application, which is part of what makes it so attractive to Carroll. Based on discovery learning, Aplia requires students to take an active role in the learning process—helping them improve their economic understanding and ability to relate to the economic concepts presented. Read More…

Promoting Critical Thinking in Intro and Survey History Courses with MindTap

Cengage Learning wanted to better understand how instructors who teach Introductory (Intro) and Survey History courses use content to develop critical thinking skills in students. To achieve this goal, Cengage Learning’s Market Research team attended the 2014 American Historical Association (AHA) conference in Washington, DC and interviewed 40 instructors of Intro and Survey History courses about how they are using content and what challenges they face in engaging students.

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Critical Thinking in the Disciplines: History

Critical thinking and analysis are foundational elements of an historian’s work. As they conduct their research, they use those skills to interpret primary sources (such as letters, films, photographs, and other documents) and consider what these sources reveal about the individuals, groups, cultures, and societies that existed within humanity’s recent and not-so-recent past. Historians also read secondary sources—that is, what others have said about these events and people—and thoughtfully evaluate the evidence and arguments presented therein. Those who teach history also endeavor to teach these skills to students. By developing these critical-thinking skills, students learn to go far deeper than Read More…