October 3, 2016
New Designs for Learning: Games and Gamification gathered instructional designers, faculty, and academic leaders from across the University System of Maryland to explore how games and gamification can reinvigorate courses, boost student engagement, and enhance student learning. The Symposium featured Dr. Karl Kapp as the keynote speaker, and was cosponsored by UMUC’s Center for Innovation in Learning and Student Success and USM’s Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation.
Participants engaged in a lot of great conversations about how to impact learning and engagement. Check out our storify for a summary of the day through social media: https://storify.com/KirwanCenter/can-thinking-like-a-game-designer-enhan...
July 27, 2016
The University System of Maryland (USM) has entered into a groundbreaking partnership with edX, the nonprofit online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012 to increase global access to high-quality education. The agreement is designed to further increase student success, as well as the access, affordability, and quality of higher education in Maryland and around the world.
The new partnership brings together a diverse university system comprising 12 institutions—including University of Maryland University College (UMUC), a pioneer in delivering online courses globally and developing innovative online learning models for adult students—with edX’s research to supercharge data analytics that can help improve learning outcomes for diverse student groups.
As USM-member schools, Bowie State University, Coppin State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore will become the first Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) to be among the ranks of edX partner universities.
“The University System of Maryland partnership with edX draws on several strengths: UMUC’s long history of online learning delivery, the data analytics capacity of edX, and the diversity of the USM’s 12 institutions. We are committed to utilizing academic innovation as a way to maintain quality and decrease costs,” said USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret. “This partnership is a big step in that direction. I am especially pleased that USM’s three historically black institutions are the first to join the edX collaboration.”
The USM will hold membership in edX at the “Contributing Charter Member” level, which includes the ability to share anonymous data edX collects for research purposes, collaborate with the edX engineering team on Open edX platform enhancements, and course design and development assistance.
UMUC has committed $2 million to the USM to support the edX partnership as a strategic priority.
“UMUC’s unique position as the largest public, online university in the country, our mission as the state of Maryland’s open-access university created to serve working adults, and our history as an early and successful adopter of online courses and programs were key drivers in the system’s pursuit of the partnership,” said Javier Miyares, UMUC’s president. “We look forward to working closely with the edX team on a number of fronts to improve access and student success.”
“We are honored to welcome the University System of Maryland to edX,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT Professor. “An innovator in online education, UMUC will offer high-quality education to the global edX learning community and for credit courses that offer pathways from MOOCs to on-campus programs and credit.”
UMUC and the University of Maryland, Baltimore will initiate the first offering under the new agreement, a free Global Health course for health-care workers in developing countries utilizing the edX platform. Partnership projects involving other USM schools are still in the preliminary stages.
The partnership with the University System of Maryland is only the second such agreement for edX with a state university system. EdX entered into a partnership with The University of Texas System in 2014.
December 21, 2015
Far too many students in the United States start their postsecondary education without being able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge deemed necessary to succeed in college-level math. Colleges and universities have traditionally dealt with this problem by placing students in full-semester developmental courses for which they must pay full tuition but do not receive college credit. It has become clear, however, that this approach has serious drawbacks, as students who start out in remediation are far less likely to attain a degree. Developmental courses are increasingly seen as a barrier rather than a bridge to college success. A great deal of experimentation is underway to find solutions that are more effective and less costly for students. Summer bridge programs are a popular approach to helping students close gaps before they start their first year of college. These are typically intensive, 4 to 5 week interventions that aim to address multiple areas of deficiency, including math, reading and writing, and study skills. Research suggests that summer bridge programs can help students start college on stronger footing, at least in the short term, but that benefits fade by the end of two years without additional support. Summer programs are not a practical solution for everyone—they are costly for the institution to provide and many students are not able or willing to spend a large part of the summer between high school and college in intensive, campus-based programs. In fact, students who most need remediation may also be those who most need to work during the summer to pay for college.
A new report, published by Ithaka S+R, describes their work with five campuses in the University System of Maryland to explore whether an adaptive learning product provided by Pearson could be used to offer more accessible, lower-cost summer programs. The Pearson product, MyFoundationsLab, enhanced with Knewton’s adaptive learning engine, aims to personalize study paths for students. Adaptive technologies enable students to identify specific skill gaps and work independently online to address those gaps with interactive instructional materials and assessments. We tested the hypothesis that technology could replace some or all of the traditional instructor-led class time required to help students improve their college readiness while substantially reducing the costs of the intervention.
The study took place in two iterations: first, we conducted pilots using MyFoundationsLab in both blended and online-only formats in order to explore whether this technology could help improve outcomes and/or lower costs. Second, we carried out a field study in which we tested the effects of an online-only program involving access to MyFoundationsLab along with prescribed messaging from facilitators encouraging students to participate and engage with the system. Given findings from earlier studies of 2 summer bridge programs, we did not expect to see dramatic gains in academic performance; the question was whether this intervention could “move the needle” in helping more students enroll and succeed in college-level math.