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  • instructor teaching in front of a group of students in a auditorium setting

    Inclusive Access in Higher Education: Unlocking Student Success

    By Hilary Duplantis

    Inclusive Access (IA) provides students with a more cost-efficient, success-driven option for obtaining their digital courseware. This program incorporates the cost of their materials directly into their tuition, eliminating the rush to find the funds and correct material for the course at the start of a semester. In addition, it ensures students have their materials from the first day of class, setting them up for success right from the start. Pearson spoke with several people from a variety of roles to get their perspective on IA and how it benefits them, their institutions, faculty, and students.

    Michael Shiftlet is the Digital Publishing Coordinator on the Affordability and Access team at The Ohio State University (OSU). In his role he coordinates and facilitates communication between the publishers, faculty, and their registrar for a smooth IA implementation. Beginning in 2017, OSU started a small-scale pilot, delivering 50 Pearson titles to students in one course. They initially worked with instructors whom they knew were enthusiastic about supporting their students, would be open to the program, and had worked on other affordability initiatives prior. After the first semester's success, enrollment in the program slowly grew each semester, until they rolled out the program in Fall 2020.

    Sarah Cameron, Textbook Manager at West Chester University (WCU) campus bookstore, oversees the entire textbook department, from print to digital to IA. In 2018, WCU began their pilot of the program, hoping to see benefits for their students, both in cost savings and success with first-day access. Since then, they have slowly been adding more classes, with approximately 75% of the courses now participating in IA.

    Pearson also spoke with two instructors in the math department and a bookstore manager from a community college in the Western United States. One of the faculty recognized the value of IA many years ago and has been trying to adopt it at their institution. “Students didn’t have to work so hard to get access codes or to transfer temporary access to permanent access, there was cost savings, and all of that combined with how easily it integrated into Canvas were why I decided to move forward trying to get the permissions we needed.” With eventual approval, and in partnership with the bookstore manager, they decided to start small, piloting IA with two teachers in Fall 2023. They hoped that IA would curb the issue of students entering a course without their course materials, thus unprepared, resulting in falling way behind and potentially not being able to catch up with one instructor saying, “For me it was mostly about pedagogy and actual effectiveness of the classroom with students.” The other primary driver was the hope that it would save their students a significant amount of money.

    The program ran as expected, with a few initial hiccups smoothed out along the way, with the intended benefits noted this first semester. Therefore, they are expanding, adding a few more instructors in Spring 2024. “Luckily, the two teachers who were doing the pilot were not only fantastic but one of them, she has been fighting for Inclusive access for a long time. She’s the reason why we have a pilot because I have always said, you need to find a champion in the faculty.”

    Cost Savings for Students

    Since adopting IA in 2017, OSU is averaging around $7 million dollars per year in savings, with a cumulative total of around $26 million dollars in savings for their students, and an opt-out rate of approximately 0.5%. This cost effectiveness and convenience of course materials being part of the tuition has been appreciated by students, and those without access immediately noticed they were missing out, according to Michael. “Students were actually upset that their class wasn’t using IA. I think that was really the turning point for us and seeing that students were realizing the value of the program and what we were doing as well.”

    According to Sarah, WCU has saved their students approximately $4.1 million dollars since adopting IA in 2018. Sarah has noticed how the cost savings of IA is mutually beneficial as it saves students money, but it also brings business into the bookstore, creating profits for the bookstore, and less headache for the students. “This is really helping them come through us and still get that better price. I think it is good for both of us at the same time. I think it simplifies the process for all of us as well.”

    During the small initial pilot at the community college, students saved an average of $35 per textbook, and with 95 enrollments, that’s an overall savings of approximately $3,325. On top of these savings, students have also appreciated how simple the process was, “The fee they pay is definitely cheaper than the bookstore price and my students really, really, really like how simple it was with not having to go to purchase an access code separately.”

    Day One Access

    According to Sarah, faculty at WCU have appreciated the ease of day one access with IA for students, which has led to the vast majority opting to adopt the program for their courses. “With 75% of courses using it, you can tell they love it. They think it’s great that students are getting what they need on the first day of classes. There’s no stress with course materials when it comes to Inclusive Access.”

    One of the math instructors found the day one access to course materials curbed students’ excuse of not having the materials to do their homework. It has also led to students getting started off and running, fully prepared right from the start, ensuring no one falls behind as they wait for their finances or materials to show up. “Well, I thought it was great that on day one I could expect them to do their homework rather than waiting a couple days while they got their money together and went to the bookstore and bought their access code, and so on and so forth. From day one, I expect them to do their homework and there’s no reason they can’t.”

    Convenience

    The comfort of knowing what their tuition fee will be, including the cost of their materials, is a huge relief for students, according to Sarah. It gives them time to plan ahead and prepare instead of scrambling at the start of the semester, which could potentially cause them to fall behind. “They know what they need to pay ahead of time. If they need to save up for it, they can see it a couple months ahead of it. It gives them time to prepare rather than trying to run around and find the best price at a bunch of places. They don’t have to worry about finding their materials. They know they are going to have what they need that first day of class.”

    The bookstore manager sees the all-around convenience and benefits for all involved saying, “Honestly, I think for students it’s just convenient, cheaper, and easier. For us, it’s nice to have those guaranteed sales. It’s also nice for the school.”

    Building Partnerships

    Being part of IA has also increased communication between the bookstore, faculty and students, making it more of a partnership for Sarah. “This has created a lot of relationships with us, the faculty, and the students. We even have a good group of students that will tell us their true opinion of what they think. If they have taken the class, if they need that book. If they think Inclusive Access is best, which most often it is.”

    The bookstore manager noted that in addition to the guaranteed sales through the bookstore, a couple benefits are even more fulfilling; the idea that they are helping students and building relationships with faculty. “The overall sense of being able to deliver products to the students for the faculty, which really helps relationship-wise. We make sure the students have what they need from us, when they need it, and make sure they are fully prepared. We are the school’s partner in doing that. We take that pretty seriously. So, when we can provide them with something that makes that whole process easier for them as they are trying to navigate college, which can be very daunting at times, is really nice.”

    For Michael, working with Pearson to implement IA has been invaluable. The partnership they have developed right from the beginning has ensured smooth implementation and prompt resolutions. “The team has been good about getting the faculty what they need before the semester, that gap between ordering and the semester starting. I’ve had great experiences with everyone there. The primary reps and those in supporting roles have all been awesome. I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone at Pearson. From day one, the staffing has always been excellent. When I have been in touch with Pearson, resolution is always quick and smooth. I have a great working relationship with the team there.”

  • Two students discussing content on the laptop in front of them

    Active learning and engagement in the classroom

    By Rachel Droste

    Students don’t know how to study. 

    As a former instructor of undergraduate students, I would hear students say they are too busy to study, and when they do study, they aren’t sure what to focus on. Research shows students spend their study time rereading their notes or textbook, highlighting too much, and don’t know what they need to prioritize1. These poor study habits create frustration as students cram for exams but still get low grades. I was left wondering; how can I help make learning more engaging and robust for my students? 

    Active learning is an effective and efficient method to remember more. 

    Learning science shows that students need more effective strategies to optimize their limited time and keep them engaged during learning2. Active learning practices can make learning dynamic for the student and can promote efficiency in the study session. The term “active learning” comes from the ICAP framework3. In this framework, the level of engagement is categorized based on the level of interaction the student has with the learning material.  

    When students are rereading text or listening to lectures without taking notes, they are engaging in passive learning behaviors. Passive learning has the worst outcomes for learning4. Active learning habits – such as outlining key concepts, comparing ideas, generating hypotheses, or reflecting on questions – allow learners to deepen their understanding in a shorter amount of time. Active learning does not mean learners are physically active; rather, learners are actively creating new ideas and connecting to the material in a way that benefits their learning. 

    Frequent, shorter study sessions work best. 

    Students that regularly engage in active learning while studying outperform those who cram right before the exam5. While last-minute cramming is common, research shows that information is quickly lost soon after a long study session. To avoid the decay in memory, spacing 20–30-minute study sessions across multiple days or weeks can lead to greater memory retention. Essentially, frequent brief exposures to the material can lead to better memory performance on the test, even when the exposures are for shorter durations of time.  

    Instructors can help students set up a schedule to study and break up homework into smaller chunks. 

    Students need support in active learning. 

    Students need guidance to stop passively learning and use more active practices. Instructors can teach students the benefits of active learning and integrate opportunities for it in the classroom. Here are a few ways you as an instructor can encourage your students to be active learners. 

    Walk students through features that enable active learning. 
    Take some class time to show students how to use all the available digital learning tools, such as highlighting, flashcards, and quizzing. These eText features are easy to use and have been built to promote active learning. 

    Create opportunities for reflective thinking. 
    Active learning practices can be embedded into the course's structure by assigning opportunities to reflect. Activities that prompt active thinking can happen both in and out of the classroom. Discussion boards asking students to challenge a topic, assigning students to instruct others on a topic, or creating a visualization that structures a topic are all examples of ways to prompt active learning. 

    Demonstrate how to take notes and study. 
    Leading by example can be the best way to change behavior. By providing an outline or talking about what to focus on while studying, instructors can curb students from wasting time rereading. Students should have a clear understanding of what is most relevant to prepare them for an exam. 

    Encourage frequent testing. 
    Practice makes perfect. Therefore, regular low-stakes test sessions can help students gain exposure to the material and testing experience before taking a high-stakes exam. Regular testing can also guide students to know exactly what they are struggling with. Offer students frequent opportunities to quiz themselves on the material and provide clear feedback to help them know what to study next. 

    Promote collaboration. 
    Research shows that students learn best in a community, and learning from peers can save time for the instructor. AI tutors can also answer questions and prompt students to engage in active learning practices. 

    Signs that your students are studying effectively 

    Ensuring students are using the best study habits can be tricky. You can ensure your students are being productive outside of the classroom by looking for a few signs. According to the ICAP framework, students that are actively learning can: 

    • ask insightful questions 
    • discuss, challenge, and debate 
    • instruct others 
    • draw connections between concepts 

    Integrating active learning in your course 

    When I was looking for ways to get my students engaged and promote better study habits, I found that educational tools like digital flashcards and collaborative notetaking prompted more active thinking. Pearson offers a dynamic learning experience built to help students engage in active learning. Together, we can help students leverage the benefits of digital tools for learning. 

  • Image of student taking notes in a notebook, while reviewing content on their laptop

    Optimizing Learning with Pearson LMS Integration

    By Hilary Duplantis

    Jerilin Morris, Blackboard Administrator at The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences (TCC), and Paula Lee, LMS System Administrator at Lee College, both work with their bookstore and Pearson to integrate courseware into their institution’s Learning Management System (LMS), currently Blackboard. Jerilin has been the Blackboard Administrator at TCC for 10 years, while Paula has been the System Administrator at Lee College her entire 16 years there. Both of their responsibilities include ensuring the integration between the courseware and their LMS in the instructors’ courses are working appropriately. They attend to any issues and answer any questions that may arise from both instructors and students based on the integration process.  

    Integration with Pearson 

    LMS administrators have experience with a variety of publisher’s integration capabilities. Oftentimes the beginning of the semester can pose an issue when it comes to integration as students have to access their course materials through their LMS, which can be confusing for some students. With Pearson, Jerilin sees how much smoother it is during those first weeks of the semester saying, “The LMS integration with Pearson is basically seamless. For instance, students were having issues with a previous math product and every semester I just dreaded the first week because students would need so much help. I haven’t had any of those issues since we switched to Pearson.”  

    In addition, Jerilin sees the value of LMS integration for students’ useability as it is less cumbersome and creates an intuitive way to access course materials. “It’s seamless for students. There are just too many clicks on different products. Without even realizing it, they’ve crossed a bridge between two different software products. Things really got easier for students when they got that single sign on and then all their material is just right there.”  

    Access Pearson’s LMS integration allows for grade synching and assignment linking, direct from courseware into the LMS system. Paula feels this ease of use and set up is helpful for instructors. “The flow of the LMS integration with Pearson is good. It is simple to set up. The flow of grades syncing back up and setting up the links is straight forward, which is nice.” Jerilin agrees this process is beneficial saying, “The Pearson content is so specific that it’s a perfect fit for our courses. The integration is a much smoother process with Pearson and the grades synch automatically.” 

  • A diverse group of students sitting in a classroom, focused and engaged.

    What Students Love about Pearson

    By Hilary Duplantis

    It’s the season of love, and at Pearson, there’s nothing we love more than helping students succeed. This Valentine’s Day, we asked students how Pearson helps them in their courses, and we’re excited to share the love!

    Features and tools

    From the convenience and accessibility, to the interactive and engaging features and tools, MyLab and Mastering have become the study buddies that students adore. Over 90% of students agree that Pearson helps them come to class better prepared and ready to learn. With personalization features that help students pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses, what’s not to love? One of the most popular features is the ‘Help Me Solve This’ tool in MyLab, which walks students through problems step by step. One student says, “I love the feature, it allows me to get my questions answered without having to be in person!” It’s important that students can work their way through problems they don’t understand without having to wait for extra help.

    Whether it’s built-in homework help or premade practice quizzes and flash cards, Pearson is always ready to help students save time studying. MyLab and Mastering cater to each individual student, helping them understand where they’re struggling or excelling in real time, “MyLab and Mastering are especially useful for topics that I may not be so strong in, as they give little reminders and tips to study specific problems.” says one student. When students are able to break down exactly what sections and problem types they struggle with the most, they don’t have to struggle looking for ways to fill the gap. Pearson is already there to guide them in the right direction. It’s a match made in academic heaven!

    Studying, reading, and homework, wherever you are

    Pearson makes it easy for students to stay on top of their assignments with the flexibility and accessibility that allows students to take their courses with them. On commutes students listen to the audio of their textbook or catch up on studying with their P+ app. “Pearson gives me the flexibility to have easy access wherever I am” says one student, “I can use it across multiple devices.” And with features like embedded videos, study tools, and interactive problems, 80% of students agree that Pearson products are more engaging than a traditional textbook. The convenience and ease of use MyLab and Mastering provide help students stay on top of their assignments. Students find they’re more organized when they use Pearson in their courses with one student saying “it’s so easy to navigate and it helps me stay on schedule and makes me more efficient when studying.” With the right tools, everyone has the opportunity to thrive in their courses, and at Pearson we love that we’re able to provide those tools.

    MyLab and Mastering are designed to meet students where they are, whether that’s physically on the go, or academically in class. Our tools and features help move students along in their courses without feeling like they’re being left behind. Over 77% of students recognize that MyLab and Mastering play a huge role in helping them sustain engagement within course materials, and many students use Pearson to help understand in class lectures better.

    Thanks for the LOVE!

    We love to hear from students, and we’re so proud to be able to spread that love this Valentine’s Day! And we LOVE to be able to partner with students to provide purpose-built learning platforms that help them achieve their academic goals. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • College student looking at a laptop while studying in a group

    A Partnership for Success: How Carlos de la Lama uses MyLab to empower instructors and students

    By Hilary Duplantis

    Carlos de la Lama has integrated Pearson’s MyLab platform into approximately 80% of the courses he teaches.

    How did Pearson earn pride of place in the curricula of an esteemed higher ed math instructor with decades of experience?

    Carlos attributes his long partnership with Pearson to the strong relationships he has cultivated with Pearson representatives. These connections keep him at the forefront of technological advancements and enable him to utilize MyLab’s many resources to help his students succeed.

    Emphasizing accessible learning materials

    Pearson’s commitment to supporting every learner with accessible content and platforms is a primary reason why MyLab is Carlos’s go-to resource.

    When Carlos was teaching at Southwestern College in 2017, the school updated their accessibility standards and requested that any publisher they work with comply with the new changes.

    Many publishers refused, but Pearson saw SC’s change as an opportunity for growth and collaboration. By partnering with SC, Pearson ensured its platforms were accessible and became one of the few publishers that could provide services to the institution.

    Recently, the commitment to accessibility begun at SC earned Pearson the prestigious Global Certified Accessibly Certification (GCA) from Benetech.

    Balancing structure and customization in math instruction

    As an instructor, Carlos finds MyLab’s wealth of diverse and difficulty-tiered questions unparalleled. This flexibility allows him to tailor assessments and homework to meet the unique needs of his students.

    For example, Carlos strategically deploys MyLab in courses with historically low student success rates, such as Intermediate Algebra. By incorporating MyLab content into assessments and finals, spacing them strategically over weeks, and introducing pre-assessments as non-credit prerequisites, Carlos has been able to significantly improve math test scores, indicating heightened student engagement and mastery.

    For face-to-face courses, Carlos recommends starting small and carefully structuring individualized homework. Emphasizing the development of prerequisites, he believes, has been instrumental in his success.

    In hybrid or online courses, he says the same principles apply, with added considerations for assessment administration and leveraging MyLab resources to foster engagement.

    Helping students find success

    For Carlos, Pearson’s MyLab is an indispensable ally, shaping not only his teaching methodologies but also contributing significantly to increased student success. In the ever-evolving landscape of education, Carlos’s story stands as a beacon for instructors seeking to elevate the learning experience.

    Want to know more? Discover how to transform your teaching with MyLab Math.

  • College students looking at a laptop together on campus steps

    Transforming Education with Revel: Empowering Instructors & Increasing Student Engagement at North Carolina A&T

    By Liz Lebold

    North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (North Carolina A&T) is the leading public historically black college and university (HBCU). This renowned institution demonstrates its commitment to diversity and inclusivity with a student body of 13,300, where 89% are underrepresented minorities. Offering an impressive array of 54 undergraduate and 41 graduate degrees, the university provides first-class education to all.

    The key figure in this educator spotlight is Dr. Antoinette Maldonado-Devincci, an instructor at North Carolina A&T since 2016. She has made a remarkable impact on her students by incorporating Revel into her Biological Psychology (PSYC 361) course. Her choice to adopt Revel was driven by its contemporary, student-friendly content, which explores emerging areas like epigenetics.

    Keeping Students Engaged

    However, it's not just the content that makes Revel stand out for Dr. Maldonado-Devincci. She found Revel's interactive features and diverse resources to be highly effective in catering to different learning styles, resulting in increased student engagement. She compares Revel to "MindTap on steroids," highlighting the wealth of resources the platform offers to get students involved in the learning process, such as the shared writing assignments, which replace traditional discussion boards. They foster peer interaction and significantly reduce her grading workload.

    Diversity in Assignment Options

    One of the core strengths of Revel, according to Dr. Maldonado-Devincci, is the ability to provide multiple avenues for students to earn grades outside of traditional testing methods that are less intimidating than standard exams. The platform's iterative approach to learning, alongside bite-sized chunks of content and in-chapter quizzes, fosters a less punitive assessment process than a single high-stakes exam. This approach not only eases the pressure on students but also creates a more supportive and constructive learning environment.

    Diminishing the Grading Burden

    Revel's efficiency simplifies content management and diminishes the burden of grading for Dr. Maldonado-Devincci, allowing her to assign content and quizzes without being overwhelmed by grading responsibilities. The platform's intuitive course creation and management features are user-friendly, benefiting experienced users and adjunct instructors. Dr. Maldonado-Devincci appreciates the convenience Revel offers, making her teaching experience seamless.

    In Dr. Maldonado-Devincci's words, "I appreciate being able to assign all the content and quizzes, so they get more interaction with the material without overloading me when it comes to the grading aspect of it."

    Support for Educators

    Pearson's dedicated support has been pivotal in Dr. Maldonado-Devincci's success with Revel. A Pearson representative provided essential support during course creation and the first semester.

    Dr. Antoinette Maldonado-Devincci's Revel success story at North Carolina A&T underscores the transformative impact of digital learning platforms. A combinations of Revel's engaging content, diverse resources, and Pearson's support have empowered her as an educator and enriched the learning experience for her students.

    Read more about Dr. Maldonado-Devincci's experience with Revel in the full instructor spotlight.

    What can Revel do for you and your students?

    Learn more about Revel.

  • Young woman with glasses looking at laptop screen.

    Revel was purposely built

    By Liz Lebold

    Some may think they know Revel; some people call it a digital textbook but they would be wrong. It’s so much more than that. Luckily, Pearson is here to reintroduce you to the real Revel. Revel is a comprehensive, dynamic education platform grounded in the subject matter expertise of world-class authors. Purposefully built to revolutionize the way educators teach and transform the way learners learn. Get ready to discover the incredible world of possibilities Revel offers.

    Immerse Students in Learning: Active participation is the key to learning, and Revel achieves this by integrating videos and interactives throughout the narrative, enabling students to analyze and apply key concepts actively while reading.

    “The video quizzes are a really good way to see how they apply the information, how they take it to the next level, and not just regurgitate or repeat what they’ve learned.” – Shawn Davis, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

    Improve Student Performance: Revel's quizzes and educator dashboard help measure progress and adjust teaching strategies to support student success. The Revel Mobile app lets instructors monitor their students’ progress away from the classroom.

    “I like the ability to see how much of my class is submitting their assignments and where there’s low activity.” Those are very helpful. I like being able to identify what is challenging them.” – Daniella Cope, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

    Enable Anywhere, Anytime Learning: With the Revel app, students can learn on the go, because students today need flexibility and accessibility.

    “Being able to open their textbook on their smartphone or tablet, having earbuds and listening to the text, highlighting something to export later, those things help. Having the textbook at their fingers and being able to listen to something really reinforces what they have already read. It is a great benefit to students, and it provides reinforcement to what they are learning, so that’s the most successful part, I would say.” – Dr. Erica Wattley, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

    Deliver World-Class Content: Revel enlivens expert subject matter with interactive elements, promoting an immersive experience that helps students better understand and apply what they're learning.

    “I always look for the Cadillac version of something because that will give me all the bells and whistles that I need to be able to use and be very proficient in the course. If I don’t have the instructor resources, then I am spending all my time just reading the book and tailoring the course to this particular text. I don’t have enough time, then, to actually do the engagement aspect that makes the course more beneficial to the students. Having those resources as a baseline and then elevating from there is why I keep coming back to Revel, over and over again.” – Dr Antoinette Maldonado-Devincci, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

    Learn more about Revel >

    Take a look at our new Revel video below.

  • Pencil laying on survey sheet, with Stronlgy Agree checkbox filled in.

    Revolutionizing Education: The Impact of AI on Learning and Teaching

    By Pearson

    Embracing Change

    The questions surrounding AI have drastically changed within the past year. Questions surrounding technology range from “what is this?” to “what are its limits?” In the dynamic landscape of higher education, AI has been a transformative force, reshaping the way faculty teach and students learn.

    Earlier this year, Pearson conducted a survey focused on generative AI (GAI) and ChatGPT in higher education, to examine faculty sentiment. Recently, Pearson revisited that survey, releasing it a second time to evaluate how feelings toward, and actual usage of, GAI has evolved. In just 6 months, a shift has occurred. There has been a 14% decrease in the level of concern for ChatGPT, and now over half of the respondents have familiarity with ChatGPT and its applications within education. This shift in perception paints an inspiring picture of an educational community willing to discover the transformative potential of GAI.

    The Influence in Higher Education

    Many believe that AI holds the power to revolutionize education – the degree of change remains up for debate. Some instructors aren’t yet making changes to their courses. Others are discovering a powerful ally in GAI when it comes to tasks like grading homework and enhancing course materials. Integrating AI into their workload allows instructors to save time and refine their courses to focus on their students.

    Enthusiasm or Concern?

    In the initial release of our survey a significant portion of participating instructors had reservations about the potential benefits of generative AI - this “game-changing technology.” Many respondents struggled to envision how GAI could benefit them. When the question was revisited this fall, one instructor commented that ChatGPT gives their students a “running start on their writing” allowing them to start with a structured foundation rather than a blank page. They found that “students can produce better papers when they use ChatGPT productively.”

    Results this fall indicated that the percentage of faculty who are “excited” or “enthusiastic” is almost equal to the number who responded as “concerned” - 28.6% and 26.7% respectively. Faculty are leaning into GAI as another tool for learning and developing new content. Conversely, some expressed concern surrounding cheating, academic dishonesty, and plagiarism detection. In fact, one instructor believes “students who wish to do minimal work now have an amazing new way to cheat, and they are definitely doing so!” To help combat these concerns, some faculty are having open conversations with their students, and instructors are adjusting their testing protocol.

    “This is really going to make us think about authentic assessment, and what learning means. Students are going to need to be able to use the technology to create code, aggregate data. But how will they know what to ask and if the answer is reasonable,” a faculty member commented. Furthermore, someone else said that ChatGPT presents the opportunity for students to think more critically and to fact-check more often.

    Charting a Course Forward

    When first distributing the survey, a notable 40% of respondents initially believed ChatGPT would change the industry, and have an immense impact on them. However, upon revisiting this question in the more recent survey, only a modest 10% of respondents experienced a discernible influence from the GAI tool. It is not uncommon to harbor apprehension towards change; however, sometimes it is not as daunting as it seems.

    Since individuals and organizations are working through how to use this technology at the same time it continues to develop, many instructors have had to (or plan to) adjust their course requirements. Some are increasing citation requirements or making assignments more interactive. This journey of transformation effects all disciplines. One writing composition instructor started using ChatGPT in their class earlier in the year, and now has integrated it into their lesson plans. They explain that their “students love learning what it does well and what it does poorly, and by exploring its capabilities, they learn a lot about writing expectations and standards.” Thus, by integrating ChatGPT into their lesson plan, this instructor is guiding students to think critically about GAI and its competencies. Another instructor uses it to demonstrate how to compose code in other languages and plans to continue to adapt their class as GAI grows.

    Embracing these tools as part of a collaborative teaching effort is the path forward. As one instructor comments, “students are going to need to be able to use the technology to create code, aggregate data, but how will they know what to ask and if the answer is reasonable?” When using AI in a partnership alongside traditional teaching, the instructor can step in, judiciously apply these tools, and help students discern when to employ them versus where conventional methods are more appropriate.

    A Vision for the Future

    The shift to familiarity and adaptation of ChatGPT and other GAI brings a new era of higher education. Similar to other major societal shifts, higher ed faculty find themselves with the opportunity to help lead the charge in forging this new path for themselves and their students by creating guidelines, and understanding how best GAI can be used. Even if you’re still reticent to embrace it, consider a common sentiment from our survey respondents - GAI creates the opportunity for open dialogue with students.

  • Schematic illustration depicting a hybrid of a brain and circuit board

    AI in Higher Ed: A Partnership

    By Pearson

    With the prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI) becoming more widespread since ChatGPT first launched in November 2022, professors and students alike have wondered how to use this newer technology effectively and ethically in the higher education landscape. With this in mind, Pearson conducted a webinar with professors, authors, and students from across the country to discuss some of the concerns, benefits, and best practices when it comes to utilizing generative AI. 

    The moderator, Dr. Peter Foltz from the University of Colorado and NSF AI Institute for Student-AI Teaming was joined by Dr. Amos Olagunju, Professor of Practice at the University of Kansas, Dr. Terri Moore, Professor at Eastern Florida State College, Dr. Ramesh Sharda, Vice Dean for Research and the Watson Graduate School of Management, Watson/ConocoPhillips Chair and Regents Professor of Management Science and Information Systems in the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University, Kylie Guzman, student at Western Kentucky University, and Saige O’Rourke, student at the University of Tennessee.

    Impact of AI

    Generative AI, such as ChatGPT, has already significantly impacted the way professors and students approach higher education. Amos feels there have been many facets that have been transformed such as academic outcomes, ways to engage students in critical thinking, writing, analysis, and creation of course content. In the analytics and data science field, Ramesh sees a potential reduction in the time professors need to create content, as they can use AI to generate custom sets of data. He also believes that “ChatGPT can be used as a friend to reduce academic integrity issues.”

    When it comes to application research, Ramesh has seen that with ChatGPT, better quality academic papers can be produced. It can help with literature reviews, summarizing research gaps, design experiments, and generating regression charts or histograms. One consideration he noted is that ChatGPT can also create fake references that look entirely legitimate. Other, broader, AI applications he noted include customer support and IT coding. He can see how there is potential for a lot more research on AI saying, “I think there are quite a few research opportunities in terms of testing the effectiveness, efficiency, and validation of the technologies used. So, at least in the short term, there is an opportunity to build a research portfolio where you have the testing of this technology.”

    There are a variety of ways students can use ChatGPT to assist and enhance their learning. Kylie uses it for brainstorming. She will input the topic and then tailor the response to match her unique voice. She also uses it to help understand scholarly articles when they are complicated or unfamiliar. She will input parts of the article and ask it to rephrase, summarize, and/or explain it to her in a way that resonates with her. Saige also uses it for brainstorming but finds it to be beneficial when she is in a rush as the immediate generated responses save her time. As a professor, Peter also sees the benefits of using AI for brainstorming. He suggests using AI for students’ writing to help generate ideas but cautions that clear documentation of their process is necessary. “You tell students that they can use it for the first part but then they’ve got to write on their own all while submitting all of their processes that they went through.”

    Instead of taking teaching opportunities away from professors, Ramesh sees that AI is creating more instances where the human touch, the human voice, the human reflection, is needed. “ChatGPT is creating a much larger role for professors because there is only so much that students can do with a computer. The professor needs to be there to both check the assessment and keep the human side of it... It falls more on the professor to figure out where the assessment lies and how to keep that connection to the students so that they’re both able to assess them at a more personal level but also keep them more motivated as they are working.”

    AI considerations

    Ramesh also discusses the “generative” aspect of ChatGPT allowing researchers to create synthetic data efficiently for use in other research. The same capability can also be used to create custom datasets for use by each student in class assignments so as to minimize the incentives for cheating.

    There is uncertainty about how to best use AI without allowing it to become a crutch or another easily accessible way for students to cheat. There is also a lot of confusion by professors and students on how to effectively use AI which has impacted expectations, with Saige saying, “The roles of professors and students are changing and shifting. We all have different ways of using AI and maneuvering the classroom to avoid cheating and use it in a productive way... We want to embrace technology, not rely on it.” Kylie agrees, commenting, “I see AI as a resource, not a solution.”

    Cheating is an all-too-common issue in higher education. With the advances in AI, some professors are concerned there will be even more opportunities for cheating, without the more straightforward ways of determining who is and isn’t cheating. This has prompted Terri to consider how she is designing her assessments in an effort to curb this potential issue. She no longer asks multiple choice questions or uses tests that she has used often in the past, as they are easy to find online. Now she asks students to explain concepts from the course and how they apply to their individual real-world experiences. “It requires more grading on my part but what I tell my students is, learning is not easy. If it is easy, you’re probably not learning. Assessing isn’t easy. Unless it is costing you something as a faculty member, you’re probably not assessing their real mastery. So, I am challenging myself to look at different ways of assessing and saying, perhaps the cheating is too available because the way we’re assessing is too easy to cheat. I also begin to think about the reasons behind the lack of integrity in our students with their academic honesty.”

    Using AI to generate an entire assignment does not allow for development of critical thinking skills, creativity, or unique human expression. In order to negate this issue of using AI to do their work, Saige suggests, “Students should be encouraged to work with AI instead of having it do the work for them. This way they can continue to be creative with their minds, let that creativity flow, and use it for brainstorming instead of a crutch.” Terri agrees about the importance of creativity, not just for students completing assignments, but for professors creating assessments. She feels that modeling creativity encourages students to engage in cultivating their own creativity as well. “If I am relying on things that are on Quizlet, I’m certainly not doing my job. I’m not giving students a creative assessment that lets them show me their creativity in return.”

    In addition to creativity, Kylie maintains that developing critical thinking skills is also a necessity in professional life. “I think it’s just as important to be teaching critical thinking because growing as a young professional, that’s what’s going to get me places. Even if I use AI as a tool, I need to make sure critical thinking is a foundation of it.” She feels it is also important for professors to foster passion in their students which also encourages the creativity and critical thinking aspects saying “Professors have to make sure that the student is actually passionate about what they’re learning because if there’s no passion, they are not going to want to learn, no want to be creative, no want to be critical, no want to look deeper into what is taught to them.” Amos sees AI as a tool to enhance students’ creativity and critical thinking, both of which prepare them for their careers. “AI is here to help promote human creativity. However, as we prepare our students for teamwork in the real world, they must realize the importance of divergent thinking. But of course we can use the artificial intelligence tools to boost students’ analytical and decision-making abilities and to heighten their creativity.”

    Best practices

    Institutions and individual professors need to establish academic honesty policies with clear expectations for students on how AI generated content is to be utilized and the consequences if they use it to cheat. This is also set out in pointed conversations with students about what cheating really is and that AI is only to be used as a tool. “We are going to have to be open and embrace this as a wonderful, wonderful tool for our classes.” Peter cautions professors against using various tools that claim to determine whether assignments were generated by AI as they have high false positive rates. Instead, he agrees that relying on a set of policies is the best practice.

    As part of these academic policies, Amos and Terri believe students need to understand that any use of AI needs to be cited, just as any other reference would need to be. In the syllabus Amos clearly states the consequences of cheating and incorrectly citing or leaving out references. The first instance is a warning, the second includes a penalty. Terri is also very clear about the consequences of cheating in her syllabus. They will get a zero on their assignment, but she allows them another attempt at the assignment, with students understanding they will not be able to achieve full credit due to the cheating. “I think you have to allow students to make errors and use it as a learning moment to teach students about academic honesty.”

    Setting clear expectations for students is something Saige also feels is of the utmost importance. It is critical, especially in these early days of incorporating AI into higher education, to be upfront about how students are supposed to use AI and what professors are willing to allow. “Having a conversation about it and not ignoring it anymore is a really big thing. Just be clear on guidelines and expectations because some professors may encourage using AI to its fullest while some encourage it only to tailor it to yourself. We don’t know where to go if there’s no guidance.”

    In an effort to embrace AI generated content, Terri shared an example of her colleague who uses ChatGPT for an assignment. The colleague requires students to create an AI generated essay which they bring to class, and they discuss how they can make it more personal, more human. This leads to discussion about what it means to be human, which Terri believes will become a more prevalent topic of conversation the more AI is utilized. “I think we’re on the cusp of an amazing, amazing adventure in education.”

    Keeping the human connection with their professors and peers motivates students to engage deeper with a course, according to Saige and Kylie. Saige appreciates it when her professors are personable and approachable. She feels this makes the classroom dynamic and relationship with her professor unique. “Small, personal, interactions with my professor make me want to pay attention in class versus if I am treated as just another ant in the ant farm of their classroom because if I am, I am not going to want to pay attention just as much as they don’t want to teach in the large lecture hall. So, I think treating your students as people is important. We are all people either trying to get a job done or do our job.” Collaboration with her peers is incredibly motivating and fosters creativity for Kylie, especially collaboration with those that have the same major, minor, or focus as her as this presumably means they have similar interests and passion for the field. “We all share our experiences and share different ways we are either loving what we’re learning or struggling with what we are learning... When professors can encourage us to work with one another, I think that’s the best way to cultivate creativity.”

    Conclusion

    Artificial intelligence has the ability to change the higher education landscape in a positive way. As long as there are academic honesty policies and expectations in place, both professors and students can thrive with its use. Used in a thoughtful way, panelists believe it can support students’ creativity and critical thinking, as well as help professors create materials and assist with assignments. AI can be a valuable supplement in the classroom, but it cannot replace the human connection or voice.