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Student engagement remains a hot topic during the ongoing pandemic. How are instructors, who normally offer their classes in-person, managing to keep students engaged in their fully or partially virtual classrooms? For William Curington, instructor of English at Rio Hondo College, it's important to make sure his students feel they are part of a community - even if it’s an online, digital community.
Successful online teaching makes use of the best digital learning platforms, and in his classroom, William has used Macmillan Learning’s Achieve platform with his teaching of A Writer’s Reference. The Achieve platform includes an interactive e-Book as well as extensive learning materials with pre-class, in-class and post-class activities. Macmillan Learning asked William Curington about his experience switching to this new digital platform.
People are hesitant to embrace change, but what would you say are the benefits of moving to Achieve vs your experience with LaunchPad?
I think change is difficult for anyone. While I enjoyed using LaunchPad, I have found Achieve to be more “customizable” for my individual class needs. The pandemic kind of forced instructors everywhere to become more tech savvy and I was able to use some of that transitional time to find new and creative ways to use the platform.
How do Achieve and LaunchPad differ?
I feel like Achieve gives more options to me as an instructor when customizing it for the needs of my own course. LaunchPad certainly worked, but it felt more pre-packaged. With Achieve, I have more control of how I’m utilizing it and what features I’m using to connect with my class. Most recently, I have worked with integrating Achieve into our LMS, Canvas, which I’ve found very effective.
We know that student engagement–especially now–is a large issue and so important to student success. How do products like Achieve fit into that?
As a community college instructor, I have students of various levels in all my classes, and one of the things I’ve found very helpful are the adaptive quizzes (LearningCurves) Achieve offers. It is nice to know that students can work at their own pace and the adaptive quizzes will identify areas students need work on so they can adjust accordingly. This kind of individualized, self-paced, non-threatening practice of concepts is exactly what many college students need.
How have students responded to Achieve overall?
Students have responded well to Achieve and have taken the time to tell me it has really helped them develop their writing skills. Class time is limited, and I think Achieve is extremely helpful because it allows an instructor to make sure that students are getting reinforcement and feedback on concepts outside of traditional class meetings. I can dedicate more class time to things like discussion and peer review and still know that my students are receiving the self-paced support they need for concepts that are foundational for their writing skills.
This interview is part of a series focusing on how digital learning is being used in college classrooms and, in particular, what the transition to Achieve has been like.
About Achieve: Macmillan Learning built it’s new digital learning platform Achieve to help students of all abilities and backgrounds succeed. It offers the content, tools and insights about student success to do just that. Achieve was designed with active learning in mind, and can be used in traditional, online, hybrid, blended, or a fully “flipped” classroom, with options for both synchronous and asynchronous learning to support engagement. It was co-designed with more than 7,000 students and over 100 leading educators and learning scientists both at our company and on our independent review boards. Learn more about Achieve.