Higher Education Blog

  • How this Western University professor used Mastering and Learning Catalytics to improve student engagement in a large first-year class

    The challenge of engaging 600+ first-year students with different levels of background knowledge

    Assistant professor and course coordinator, Dr. Ayman El Ansary teaches an introductory Engineering Statics course at Western University.

    One of the biggest challenges he faced was balancing the varying levels of prerequisite knowledge. For some, the fall term may be a review for some, while for others it will be all new material.

    Additionally, Ayman found that first-year students tended to be shy about making mistakes and interacting with instructors, making it difficult to engage a class of over 600 students.

    Grading mid-terms and final exams for this large cohort also required hours of commitment from Ayman and his TAs who said this was “incredibly time-consuming and painful.”

    Using Mastering to imitate the tutorial experience with immediate feedback—which ensured students were prepared for upper-level courses

    When Ayman chose to use Mastering Engineering for tutorials and homework assignment, Pearson Canada’s Digital Learning Managers worked closely with him to understand what he needed and how Mastering can support him in these areas:

    Example-Based Learning

    To help students master core concepts outlined in his learning outcomes, Ayman assigned Mastering tutorials interleaved with worked examples which were followed by problem-solving exercises.

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  • How faculty can use etextbooks to encourage students to read

    Why don't students do their assigned readings? Many aren’t motivated to read through dense pages of information. eTextbooks have encouraged more students to read because of its interactivity and convenience.

    But technology alone doesn't improve learning. Instructors play the most important role in encouraging students to read.

    A 2015 Educause study looked at how an instructor’s use of eTexts affects student reading and learning. It found that 70% of students preferred eTexts over paper textbooks because of instructor highlights and annotations. This feature is just as important to them as the eText saving them money.

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  • How to spot and support struggling students online

    Black boxes on a video call. Silence after asking a question. An empty discussion board. Teaching online can make it difficult to see when students need extra help.

    85% of students said the pandemic has negatively affected their grades and academic performance [1]. To prevent failing, how can you spot students falling behind and help them succeed online before it’s too late?

    Watch for trends in data

    One of the biggest benefits to using educational technology is the ability to monitor student progress closely. Aside from a gradebook, teaching platforms like Revel give you a detailed look into how students are keeping pace with their readings and their individual performance.

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  • Educators celebrate their remote teaching wins of 2020

    2020 proved to be a challenging year for educators, to say the least. Many instructors, however, rose to the challenge by bringing creative and collaborative teaching ideas into their online classrooms.

    To celebrate all the good things that happened in a tough year, we asked instructors to share their successes from the fall 2020 semester.

    Here are 4 trends describing what worked well for instructors:

    1. Keeping it short

    For a generation of students growing up on social media, instructors found that bite-sized activities kept them most engaged and attentive.

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