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  • Closeup of a row of students, listening to a ninstructor, while writing down information

    A Quantum Leap toward success: An instructor spotlight on Amy Pope

    By Kristin Marang

    Amy Pope is an award-winning senior lecturer in physics and astronomy at Clemson University. A Clemson alumna herself, Amy has her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in physics, and has devoted the last 22 years to teaching physics at her alma mater.

    Clemson has “a large focus on teaching and making sure that students have the number one engagement experience in their classes,” Amy explains. Which is part of what makes Clemson stand out, in addition to being a “fun, close-knit community.”

    Amy shares Clemson’s commitment to delivering engaging learning experiences, while also making learning affordable. As Amy describes it, “excessive cost is certainly a barrier to student success.” With that in mind, it’s a priority for Amy to use an affordable, effective learning platform, tied to a physics textbook she can trust.

  • An instructor standing in front of a room of young adult students

    The Impact of Mastering at Clemson University: A Spotlight on Professor John Cummings

    By Kristin Marang

    John Cummings is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Science at Clemson University. He’s an award-winning educator who has furthered the use of innovative technology at Clemson. He also gets shout-outs from Clemson students on TigerNet message boards. According to one commentor, “John Cummings for Anatomy and Physiology is pretty awesome.”

    John currently teaches Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II, and a lot of the nursing students in his classes go on to take the MCAT. Many of those students report back to John that the work they did in his A&P class had a positive impact on their MCAT scores.

    “I know from unsolicited note cards and emails that I’m getting from students,” John explains, “that their highest portion on the MCAT was the bio because of what happened in Anatomy and that they’re feeling really positive. And that’s because of the foundation that’s there. What we’re teaching them to do is be independent learners.”

    Improving student performance

    John was an early adopter of Pearson’s Mastering® A&P digital learning platform and has a vivid memory of the first time his Pearson sales rep did a Mastering demo for him. “I was on board immediately,” he recalls, “because it saved me from having to do a lot of the stuff that I had been doing in putting together my own things, [with the] automatic grading and all of that sort of stuff. It’s one of those things that can really sell itself.”

    From that first demo, John says that Mastering appealed to him “because it’s conveniently accessible.” He felt it would add elements to his courses, benefiting him and his students. “If it doesn’t do something for my students,” he adds, “I'm not going to maintain it in my class.”

    John kept a critical eye on progress as he implemented Mastering into his courses at Clemson, and the impact was obvious from the first semester. “There was a tremendous improvement in student performance that first year,” he explains.

    Instructors are able to see how much time a student spends on a question in Mastering, an insight that John feels gives him a sense of which students are truly answering a question versus letting a quick Google search find the answer for them. “Initially, when I first adopted it,” he recalls, “the people who significantly worked through the Mastering assignments saw about a seven percent increase in performance on examinations.”