Adaptive Tools for High-enrollment Online Courses

** For session recordings and slide presentations, please click on the "Schedule" tab. **

Adaptive Tools for High-enrollment Online Courses: Improving the COVID-19 Learning Experience for Students and Faculty

A virtual summit organized by the USM Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

Thursday, July 16, 2020, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm

Wondering how to make high-enrollment courses more interactive for students and less burdensome for you? Looking for ways to recapture aspects of face-to-face teaching in your online class? Interested in how adaptive learning tools can be implemented to improve student learning?

Faculty, instructional designers, and teaching and learning center staff are invited to Adaptive Tools for High-enrollment Online Courses: Improving the COVID-19 Learning Experience for Students and Faculty, hosted by the Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) as part of the USM OnTrack initiative. This day-long summit will introduce participants to the ins and outs of adaptive courseware. Sessions will include lessons learned from faculty users, vendor demos, “birds of a feather” break-outs by discipline and role, and a closing plenary focused on pedagogical uses of adaptive courseware. 

Adaptive courseware aims to improve student learning through the use of interactive, multimedia content and tools. Adaptivity allows each student to experience a tailored level of challenge as they move through material and gauge their own learning progress. Aggregated data from student performance on embedded formative assessments help faculty know where and how to provide additional guidance. When implemented robustly, adaptive courseware can help faculty to pinpoint gaps in student learning, make the most of precious faculty-student interaction, and plan for applied learning opportunities outside of the courseware.

Participants in the summit will have a chance to learn about an array of adaptive technologies from organizations such as Lumen Learning, Carnegie Mellon’s Online Learning Initiative (OLI), CogBooks, RealizeIt, and McGraw Hill ALEKS. Faculty users will share lessons learned about these tools and delve into how adaptive courseware has helped them to support student success.

The Summit will be geared toward high-enrollment (large lecture, multi-section) courses for which high-quality, adaptive courseware exists: General education, introductory courses in the major, and first-year experience and other transitions courses. 


When: Thursday, July 16, 2020, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm

Where: Kirwan Center-hosted virtual meetings in Zoom

Who should attend: USM faculty, instructional designers, faculty developers, and administrators

Planned Program Highlights:  

  • Opening Framing
  • Meet the Courseware: Choose from among sessions to hear faculty stories and view vendor demos based on your interests/discipline.
  • “Birds of a Feather” Brown Bag Lunch by disciplinary area
  • Closing Plenary: Using Adaptive Courseware for to Improve the Learning Experience for Students and Faculty

 Click the Registration tab above to register. 


USM Kirwan Center- hosted Zoom sessions



Schedule Section Header: 
For more assistance in exploring adaptive courseware tools, the EdSurge Courseware Product Index can help you compare courseware products that fit your unique instructional goals.


Session Topic

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. 

Welcome and Plenary: Using Adaptive Courseware to Improve the Learning Experience for Students and Faculty

Presenters: Karen Vignare, Executive Director, Personalized Learning Consortium, APLU and Barbara Means, Executive Director, Learning Sciences Research, Digital Promise

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Download Adaptive Courseware Implementation Guide

9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 

Lightning Talks: Adaptive Courseware

10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.


10:15 a.m.  - 11:00 a.m. 

Meet the Courseware Session 1: Lumen Learning Waymaker

Presenters: Josh Baron, Executive Director - New York and Maryland, Lumen Learning and Julie Manley, Lecturer, Psychology, Counseling, and Behavioral Health, Coppin State University

Download a 1-Pager on Lumen Learning Waymaker

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11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. 


11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

Meet the Courseware Session 2: Carnegie Mellon University Open Learning Initiative (OLI)

Presenters: Norman Bier, Director of the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) and the Executive Director of the Simon Initiative and Hal Turner, OLI Partner and Community Manager, Simon Initiative, both of Carnegie Mellon University, and Kim Law, Assistant Professor, Computer Information Systems, Anne Arundel Community College

Download 1-Pager on OLI

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12:00 p.m. - 12:15 p.m.


12:15 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Faculty Brown Bag Lunch Session

1:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.


1:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Meet the Courseware Session 3: McGraw-Hill Higher Education

Presenters: Sarah Carey Executive Director, Product Management, Mc-Graw-Hill Higher Education, Mary Ellen Rahn, Executive Marketing Manager, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Patrick Soleymani, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Associate Professor of Management, George Mason University, Elena Klimova, Department Chair Mathematics, Bowie State University, and Jacy Archer, Student Ambassador, University of Tulsa

Download a 1-Pager on McGraw-Hill Higher Education

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2:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.


2:15 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

Meet the Courseware Session 4: CogBooks

Presenters: Nic Rebne, Chief Operating Officer, CogBooks and Ron Tavernier, Associate Professor, School of Science, Health and Criminal Justice, SUNY Canton 

Download a 1-Pager on CogBooks

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3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.


3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Meet the Courseware Session 5: Realizeit

Presenters: Ty Roberts, Senior Vice President Partnerships, Realizeit, Prabhu Balashanmugam, Vice President Client Services, Realizeit, Anne Prucha, Senior Instructor of Spanish & TESOL, University of Central Florida, and Kacie Tartt, Associate Instructor of Spanish, University of Central Florida

Download a 1-Pager on Realizeit 

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Karen Vignare
Executive Director, Personalized Learning Consortium, APLU

Karen Vignare, Ph.D., M.B.A, is a strategic innovator leveraging emerging technologies to improve access, success and flexibility within higher education. As Executive Director, for the Personalized Learning Consortium at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Karen manages a network of universities committed to student success through personalization. She also oversees the adaptive courseware grant providing leadership and support to eight pioneering universities which are scaling adaptive courseware in introductory level courses.

Karen previously served as a Vice Provost, at University of Maryland University College, the largest online public open access institution where she led innovations in adaptive learning, student success and analytics. Previous to that work, she served as Director of Project Planning and Implementation for MSUGlobal at Michigan State University where she helped multiple units leverage emerging technologies in extension, non-credit programs, corporate settings, and research projects. She has published extensively on online learning, analytics, and open educational resources. She has a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University and an M.B.A from University of Rochester, William Simon Business School.

Barbara Means
Executive Director, Learning Sciences Research, Digital Promise

Dr. Means founded the Center for Technology in Learning research group and served as its co-director for many years. Her research examines the effectiveness of innovative education approaches supported by digital technology. Her recent work includes evaluating the implementation and impacts of newly developed adaptive learning software. She is also studying the long-term effects that attending an inclusive STEM-focused high school has for students from underrepresented minorities. A fellow of the American Educational Research Association, Dr. Means has served on many study committees of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, including the one currently producing a companion volume to the classic How People Learn. She has advised the U.S. Department of Education on national education technology plans and authored or edited more than a half dozen books related to learning and technology. Barbara earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. You can reach Barbara at:


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