Every Learner Everywhere ADAPTIVE COURSEWARE: New Models to Support Student Learning

Achieving the Dream (ATD) is one of 12 higher education and digital learning organizations that make up the Every Learner Everywhere (Every Learner) Network, whose mission is to help higher education institutions improve and ensure more equitable student outcomes through advances in digital learning, particularly among poverty-impacted, racially minoritized, and first-generation students. Every Learner partners are addressing high failure rates in foundational courses through the provision of scalable, high-quality support to colleges and universities seeking to implement adaptive courseware on their campuses. As part of its ongoing effort to help community colleges develop effective teaching and learning practices, ATD worked with seven community colleges in Florida, Ohio, and Texas on this initiative, providing coaching and direct support to the colleges, fostering collaboration within and among the participating institutions, and serving as a liaison to the Every Learner Network.

The following report summarizes the critical lessons learned from case studies conducted by ATD examining how adaptive courseware is implemented at those institutions as well as how courseware is used in particular disciplines to better serve students. The lessons learned represent the work of hundreds of faculty, staff, and administrators in over 25 different courses from nine disciplines across the campuses of the seven participating institutions, who together served more than 7,500 students throughout the pilot.

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Achieving the Dream and Every Learner Everywhere have published a series of case studies exploring the efforts of the seven pilot institutions to adopt and implement adaptive courseware within specific gateway courses and disciplines. Explore the case studies:

Statistical Significance: Implementing Adaptive Courseware in Gateway Math and Business Courses
Faculty in several disciplines at Lorain County Community College explored the use of adaptive courseware, ultimately implementing it in a gateway statistics course and several business courses.

A Faculty-Centered Approach to Successfully Impementing Adaptive Courseware
Faculty at Cuyahoga Community College led efforts to implement and then scale adaptive courseware for gateway courses in more than a half-dozen disciplines. The institution supported faculty efforts by creating a collaborative learning community and providing other supporting resources, and faculty continue to take the lead in scaling adaptive courseware within their disciplines.

Value Add: Integrating Adaptive Learning in Mathematics
Gateway math courses have traditionally had some of the highest failure and withdrawal rates at community colleges, prompting various reform efforts to help more students succeed in these foundational courses. Colleges participating in the ELE initiative implemented adaptive courseware to address the diversity of needs students bring to these courses, which provided corequisite and/or basic skills support and valuable guided practice outside of the classroom setting.

Integrating Adaptive Courseware as Part of a Comprehensive Redesign of a Gateway Math Course
Math faculty at Miami Dade College integrated adaptive courseware into an intentional redesign of a gateway college algebra course as part of a broader rethinking of learning objectives, syllabi, daily lecture notes, and homework with the goal of ensuring a focus on core competencies and providing greater consistency and support for students.

Integrating Adaptive Courseware into Broader Efforts to Improve Teaching and Learning
Tapping into existing efforts to improve student outcomes at the college, faculty at Indian River State College led adaptive courseware implementation to improve online instruction and engagement for students in math, physical sciences, and English courses.

Supporting Greater Integration of Adaptive Courseware in Gateway Courses
Faculty at Broward College led efforts to implement and integrate adaptive courseware in introductory course design and activities more fully. The institution developed structured supports including the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning, which provided professional development and curriculum expertise.

Case in Point: Adaptive Courseware as a Tool to Master Complex Concepts
Gateway courses in business and social sciences such as economics, accounting, tax law, business management, and psychology require students to master complex concepts through lengthy readings. Three ATD Network colleges focused on these disciplines as part of their efforts to implement adaptive courseware into gateway courses to help students master unfamiliar material as they progress through the courses, keep content in these dynamic disciplines current, and help faculty keep students engaged and on track.

A Learning Experiment: Developing Critical Thinking Skills with Adaptive Courseware
Always challenging, gateway science courses were made more difficult for many students by the transition to online learning during the pandemic. Three ATD Network colleges focused on science courses as part of their efforts to implement adaptive courseware into gateway courses to help students who need support with prerequisite concepts, provide tools to help guide students through multistep processes, gain insights into concepts students were struggling with, and reduce the cost of course materials.

‘A sea of endless opportunities’: Adaptive Courseware in English Composition
Gateway courses in English challenge students to strengthen skills in critical thinking, reading, grammar, and composition — they can also prove to be a particular challenge to many community college students. Three ATD Network colleges implemented adaptive courseware to help students master discrete skills and connect these skills to their overall progress in writing, particularly when intentionally integrated into class activities.

Integrating Adaptive Tools into Course Redesign
Faculty at Amarillo led efforts to implement adaptive courseware into redesigns of introductory math, English, and chemistry courses which included corequisite courses in each discipline.  These efforts were supported by the college’s Center for Teaching and Learning, which provided instructional design support and integrated adaptive technology into faculty learning cohorts.

Focused Experiments with Adaptive Courseware
Faculty at Houston Community College (HCC) led efforts to implement adaptive courseware in introductory mathematics and economics courses, as well as leveraged tutoring programs to provide a model for additional support for both students and faculty. HCC’s work included collaborative efforts to develop course shells and onboarding modules.

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