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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.”

  • 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.

  • Wheel of a craps table after being spun.

    Statistics Tables: Roulette and the Gambler’s Fallacy

    By Eric Nielsen

    This series of statistical examples is intended to inform students about the statistics and psychological ploys that casinos use on table games to make them more informed consumers. The aim of this series is to provide real-life examples of what students often only see as calculations on a page, or a topic in a textbook. This series is not intended to be a “how to beat the house” or any other sort of get rich quick scheme. If I had a way to beat the house, don’t you think I would be doing it and not giving up the secrets? Overall, it is good to think of casino games as good forms of entertainment, and you are encouraged to treat them as such. If you have or know someone who has a gambling problem, please use resources, and reach out to a professional for help.

    Students often have a hard time conceptualizing independent events when calculating probabilities. The standard textbook example is to provide a probability matrix of events A and B along with their complements and have students compute the equation P(A|B)= P(A). Instead, let’s take the students back into the casino, this time to the Roulette table. The game is rather simple: a spinning wheel, with separated landing pockets distinguished by number and color, and ball are set in motion in opposite directions with the ball coming to rest in one of the 38 for an American Roulette wheel (or 37 for European Roulette, or 39 for Triple Zero Roulette wheels) numbered pockets. This example stays away from betting and different techniques and instead focuses on the simplistic spinning of the wheel to create the event. Any of the options that get the player closest to 50% on the Roulette Wheel can be used: Red/Black, Even/Odd, or 1-18/19-36. These options are all not 50% because of the inclusion of the 2 green 0 and 00 pockets (neither red/black, or even/odd, or between 1-18/19-36). The number and color of the pocket the ball lands in can be bet on using the different “outside spots” on the table (not a truly 50% bet since there are 18 red and 18 black and 38 spots on an American Roulette wheel 47.368%).

  • 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.

  • An adult with financial papers and a computer sitting on the table in front of them uses the calculator on their phone.

    Making the math of finance relevant to students’ lives

    By John Holcomb and Bernadette Mullins

    A recent survey sponsored by Inside Higher Education and College Pulse found that over 75% of undergraduate students will have student loan debt upon graduation. Of those students nearly half of the respondents do not know what their monthly payments will be. In the same study, about 25% of the students reported having credit debt and about 15% reported having car loans.1

    Finite mathematics texts often include a chapter on the mathematics of finance, and for decades these books have covered topics such as amortization of consumer loans with an emphasis on home mortgages. Although mortgage loan examples are helpful because they often last thirty years and can involve large amounts of accrued interest, as the number of first-generation college students increase, a growing number of students do not come from families that paid a mortgage for their residence.

    To make the mathematics of finance more relevant to students’ lived experiences, we emphasize examples that involve student loans, auto loans, and credit cards in Mathematics with Applications and Finite Mathematics.

    Student loan examples

    Even at a public university, the average amount of student loan debt in 2021 was $30,030 for a bachelor’s degree. At an interest rate of 2.75%, that leads to a monthly payment of $286.52. Over the course of 10 years, the total interest paid on the loan will be $4,352.40.

    Due to the rise of interest rates since the pandemic, the interest rate for student loans will be 5.50% for the 2023-2024 year,. To demonstrate the impact this will have on monthly payments, an instructor could ask the class, “With a current interest rate of 5.50%, how much does the monthly payment increase on the same amount borrowed of $30,030 on a 10-year payment plan? How much total interest will accrue over the course of the payment plan?” The answer shows that the monthly payment increases by $39.38, which may not appear to students to be a significant increase per month, but the overall interest paid over the course of the loan will more than double, to $9,078.

    Auto loan examples

    The changes in the U.S. economy have also affected interest rates for auto loans. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System reported that, in November 2016, the average rate for a 6-month new auto loan from commercial banks was 4.05%. In May 2023, the same group reported an average interest rate of 7.81%. How do these changes affect monthly payments and total interest payments?

    To make this even more interesting, and perhaps more relevant to students’ lives, nerdwallet.com2 reported in August 2023, average auto loan interest rates by credit score and whether the automobile purchased was new or used.

  • Multi-colored, transparent dice arranged in rows and columns to create the image of a rectangle.

    Statistics Tables: Craps for the Normal Distribution

    By Eric Nielsen

    This series of statistical examples is intended to inform students about the statistics (and how it relates to the psychology) casinos use on table games to make them a more informed consumer. This series is not intended to be a “how to beat the house” or any other sort of get rich quick scheme. If I had a way to beat the house, don’t you think I would be doing it and not giving up the secrets? Overall, it is good to think of casino games as forms of entertainment, and you are encouraged to treat them as such. If you have or know someone who has a gambling problem, please use resources, and reach out to a professional for help.

    Often students do not have a concept for the Normal Distribution when it comes to the sampling chapter, and the Galton Board is used to give students the visual reference in the classroom for discrete random variables showing a normal distribution when enough observations are dropped through the board. Unless students are soon to be contestants on The Price Is Right and are faced with Plinko, or NBC’s game show The Wall, they are not likely to encounter the board in their life outside the class. A more accessible way for students to see the normal distribution and understand the importance of sample size is the Craps Table.

     The casino game of Craps is simplistic: the act of throwing two dice and summing up the showing faces is the experiment in the game of craps. While using the full casino game with payouts and their corresponding probabilities creates a valued learning activity, this activity focuses only on the act of rolling the dice. To emphasize the previous chapters (discrete random variables categorization and visualization)  the image below shows the number of ways the dice total can occur:

  • Man raising his hand in a college classroom

    The Power of Student Voices

    By Pearson

    At Pearson we take pride in enriching and transforming our courseware to be purpose-built for learning. At the heart of our innovation are our partnerships: with trusted authors and with students. We’re passionate about student success, and to ensure their success we listen to and incorporate the student voice. To shed light on how we do this, Ben Piercy, a Product Marketer at Pearson, shares insights on the transformative impact of engaging students.

    Q: Why does Pearson prioritize hosting student focus groups?

    A: Having a pipeline and access to students helps give us a pulse on what's going on in the campus life to both instructors and students. We are able to understand, empathize, and forecast product solutions to help instructors teach and students to better learn and prepare for careers after college. 

    What's even cooler is that when students see that their opinions matter, they become more invested. It's not just a transaction anymore; it's a partnership. They become advocates, telling their friends about how their feedback led to real changes. That's like marketing gold right there, but more importantly, it's a testament to the power of involving our users in the process.

    Q: How does hearing the student voice contribute to the overall improvement of our products?

    A: Again at the heart of it all, they're the ones who are using our tools as well as competitors and technology and apps outside of higher ed. Day in and day out, they navigate the ins and outs, and really experiencing firsthand what works and what could use a little tweak, how can we be different from competitors or what cool new app feature we need to think about building into our products-  That's where the student voice comes in, and let me tell you, it's like gold for us. They are not just our users or customers – we think of students as co-creators. 

    Q: What specific aspects of student feedback are you looking to gather through the focus groups?

    A: Whether it's through focus groups, surveys, or product testing, we're getting an inside look into their world. We get to hear about their "Aha!" moments, the times when they felt the product really hit the mark. But we also get to hear about the times when things didn't quite click, the frustrations they faced, or the features they wished were there to make their education and learning experience better. 

    Q: Can you share examples of how insights from focus groups have influence product development or marketing strategies?

    A: Sometimes, they come up with ideas we hadn't even thought of. It's like a brainstorming session where the students are the experts – they know exactly what they need to succeed in their academic journey. It's like having a secret weapon in our quest to create amazing products.

    When we were in the discovery phase of developing our Freehand Grader feature, we needed to understand student benefit of being able to complete handwritten homework and upload back to the platform. Through journey mapping exercise with a variety of students we uncovered multiple pain points in which we were able to solution for our MVP launch. 

    Every year there are new features and enhancements to our platform. We try to map out the best ways to communicate to students the new learning content and study tools they have access to. Last year we were able to journey map with a focus group to determine that fall back to school was a very chaotic time in students' lives. They are balancing getting back on campus, work schedules, social activities, sports clubs, friends and of course school. We found that a more targeted message a month after their start date was the perfect time to include messaging to help them utilize new features for upcoming tests. 

    Q: How does incorporating student feedback through these focus groups contribute to creating a more student-centered and inclusive learning environment?

    A: Our goal is to make sure no student feels left out, unheard, or unseen. By inviting diverse voices into these focus groups, we're giving students from various backgrounds, abilities, and experiences a platform to share their perspectives. This is how we ensure that our products are not only effective but also welcoming and respectful of everyone's individuality.

    Think about it – students bring their own stories, challenges, and strengths to the table. By listening to their stories, we can identify areas where our products might unintentionally create barriers or exclude certain groups. This awareness empowers us to make informed decisions that promote inclusivity and accessibility, creating a learning environment where every student feels valued and empowered.

    Moreover, when students see that we genuinely care about their input, it fosters a sense of belonging. They become active participants in shaping their own educational experience, which boosts their engagement and motivation. It's like giving them a front-row seat in the classroom of product development.

    By incorporating student feedback, we're teaching a valuable lesson – that their voices matter, not just in the realm of education but in the wider world too. It's a real-world application of the power of communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. These are skills that go beyond the classroom and empower them to be active, confident participants in society.

    Q: Can you elaborate on how involving students in the decision making process helps address their unique needs and challenges within higher education?

    A: Students higher education journey isn't a one-size-fits-all journey. Each student has their own story, from juggling work and studies to navigating virtual learning environments or managing financial constraints. By involving them in decisions, we're essentially customizing our offerings to suit their unique circumstances.

    Think about a puzzle – each piece is essential to complete the picture. Similarly, each student's perspective is crucial for us to paint a comprehensive picture of their needs. When they share their challenges, we gain a clearer understanding of where the roadblocks are. Maybe it's a technology hiccup that's causing frustration or a lack of resources that's hindering their progress. Armed with this knowledge, we can develop solutions that directly address these pain points, making their educational journey smoother.

    In essence, involving students in decision-making is a two-way street. It's about them guiding us toward solutions that address their real-world challenges, and it's about us empowering them to take an active role in shaping the educational experience they deserve. It's a partnership that not only enhances their learning but also enriches the higher education landscape as a whole. Just like a skilled navigator, their insights lead us to uncharted territories of understanding, empathy, and meaningful change.

    Q: How do you measure the effectiveness of the insights gained from student focus groups in terms of product success?

    A: We dive into the numbers, the quantitative metrics. Are more students using the variety of tools and features we tweaked based on their suggestions? Are they spending more time on certain places within the platform? These are like little indicators that tell us we're on the right track, that our changes are resonating with them.

    But it's not just about crunching numbers. We're all about the human touch, too. We ask for direct qualitative feedback through user satisfaction surveys, focus groups, and student testimonials. It's like asking, "Hey, how are we doing?" And when we see a spike in positive responses or heartfelt testimonials mentioning how a specific improvement made their lives easier, that's a thumbs-up that we're hitting the mark.

    Think of it as a ripple effect – those insights from students can lead to innovative features. And when users start adopting these features and telling their friends about them, it's like watching the ripples spread in a pond. That's the kind of impact we're after.

    You know, we also look at the bigger picture. Did the changes we made align with our product goals? Did they give us an edge in the competitive landscape? These are like checkpoints that help us see if the insights are steering us in the right direction.

    In a nutshell, we're like detectives, piecing together clues from different sources – numbers, feedback, alignment with objectives – to see if the insights gathered from student focus groups are translating into a product that students love and find incredibly valuable. It's a journey that's both exciting and rewarding, and the students' voices are our compass guiding us to success.

    Q: What steps does Pearson take to ensure that the feedback collected from focus groups is translated into actionable changes?

    A: The product marketing team is the intersection of the entire business. We sit between sales, product management, marketing, customer success, and customer support. We are able to effectively communicate key market insights into product development roadmaps and create the positioning messaging that we utilize in strategic marketing campaigns. 

    In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, the constant is the student voice. We recognize each shift in this space and turn to the student to develop platforms and tools that are adapted to them, purpose-built for their success.

  • Nursing students listening to an educator

    Supportive Student-Teacher Relationships are Key to Nursing Student Success

    By Pearson

    More than 3.5 million nurses around the country are currently providing a variety of essential healthcare services. In doing so, they are spending more hours with patients than any other profession in the industry, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), which is why it’s essential for nurses to have a solid foundation of knowledge in the field and to develop a strong sense of confidence that can sustain them throughout their careers.

    Nursing is the linchpin of the American healthcare system, but experts predict that the system could break. The Baby Boomer generation is aging and requiring more care; nursing programs are experiencing faculty shortages that restrict the number of students they can admit each year; and nurses are being pulled in so many different directions that they are burning out and leaving the profession at historic rates, according to a report from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

    How can nurse educators provide a foundational learning experience that helps nurses thrive?

    In addition to incorporating concept-based learning into the curriculum to prepare nursing students for challenging clinical environments, another important way to facilitate critical growth in the nursing profession is to support the role that student-teacher relationships play in promoting positive learning outcomes and strong retention rates.

    Nurse educators play a vital role

    Regardless of the level of difficulty or the subject matter being covered, the truly effective teachers are the ones who can connect with their students in meaningful ways. The student-teacher relationship is especially influential in nursing education programs, where the information is complex and mistakes can cost lives.

    Nurse educator Tammy Vant Hul, Riverside City College, PhD, MSN, RN, ACNP, CNE, says that building a sense of trust between instructor and student is crucial. “I think helping students work through the idea that the only thing that they can\, put their money on is that their patients are going to change from the time they walk in there in the morning. The environment that they work in will change almost weekly.”

    The student-teacher connection in nursing education is described as “a place of possibility” by Mary Gillespie, a professor of critical care nursing at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. “The qualities inherent in the essence of connection — knowing, trust, respect, and mutuality — create a transformative space in which students are affirmed, gain insight into their potential, and grow toward fulfilling personal and professional capacities,” she writes in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

    Other research has concluded that nurse educators who provide a supportive teaching context can dramatically alter a nursing student’s approach to learning, inspiring them to engage more deeply with the material and become active, enthusiastic learners. A positive learning environment has also been shown to bolster resilience in nursing students, a key factor in achieving academic success and professional longevity in the field.

    Vant Hul and her colleagues, for example, don’t conduct “high stakes testing” because doing so can damage a student’s sense of psychological safety and interfere with the learning process. When one of Vant Hul’s students makes a mistake during a simulation exercise, she helps them learn from it by asking questions that encourage them to reflect on their performance, such as: What just happened? How could you have handled this situation better? and What will you do differently next time?

    Cultivating a positive relationship while maintaining professional boundaries and holding students accountable for their learning is not a straightforward task. Gillespie emphasizes that nurse educators need to be trained in how to help students grow their own relational competencies, as well as how to keep the “educator-in-relationship” role in mind when assessing students.

    The importance of promoting dignity

    In healthcare, the concept of dignity — a human being’s intrinsic worth and fundamental right to be treated with respect — is often discussed in relation to the patient who is being cared for, not the nurse who is caring for that patient. However, when it comes to training and retaining nurses, it is the dignity of these essential healthcare providers that needs to be of paramount importance to educators.

    “It is a goal in nursing education to promote students' dignity and facilitate this core value,” write Tone Stikholmen, Dagfinn Nåden, and Herdis Alvsvåg in a study published in Nursing Ethics. The study found a meaningful link between the student-teacher relationship and a nursing students’ experience with dignity. When an educator was affirming, empathetic, and accepting, students were more likely to have confidence in their abilities and to be more present in patient situations.

    In the student interviews conducted by Stikholmen and his colleagues, the following recommendations for nurse educators emerged:

  • College students listening in a lecture

    The Success of the First-Ever Learning Catalytics Summit

    By Pearson

    At Pearson, we’re always listening to faculty and students and, recently, we kept hearing one refrain over and over — classroom engagement was at an all-time low. Fortunately, we knew just what to do. In fact, we had a solution ready.

    For years, Pearson’s Learning Catalytics interactive student response tool has been helping instructors and students connect in meaningful ways. As soon as we knew classroom engagement was lagging, we knew we needed to host a Learning Catalytics Summit to help more instructors learn how to use — and make the most of — this incredible tool.

    On August 1, we hosted the first-ever Learning Catalytics Summit to great acclaim. Attendees participated in four different webinar sessions hosted by Learning Catalytics experts. Each session focused on a specific advantage of Learning Catalytics, but they all spoke to the ways the student response tool can help instructors see learning as it happens.

    The overall message: Learning Catalytics is a powerful student response and assessment tool. As session-leader Aaron Warnock said, “Learning Catalytics — and I cannot exaggerate — revolutionized my classroom.” Brad Mehrtens concurred in his session, adding, “Learning Catalytics makes a huge difference in student engagement at any scale.”

    How Does Learning Catalytics Work?

    Designed to work on laptops and all common smart devices, Learning Catalytics gives instructors a way to connect directly to students and know when everyone is following a lesson and when some are falling behind. This real-time assessment allows instructors to adjust their teaching in-the-moment and address student confusion before it becomes a problem.

    Learning Catalytics empowers instructors to:

    • Engage students with 18 question types that include graphing, drawing, multiple choice selections, open-ended dialogues, and more
    • Identify misconceptions and monitor responses to find out where students are struggling
    • Facilitate peer-to-peer learning with automatic grouping of students so that every group has a member who understands the material

    These features are available whether the class is in-person or online, making Learning Catalytics useful in every teaching environment. As Brad Mehrtens said about his experience using Learning Catalytics with even difficult-to-connect-with classrooms, “[The students] were there, they were engaged. [Learning Catalytics] works… It’s the only thing that works.”

    What Did the Learning Catalytics Summit Cover?

    The summit’s four unique sessions provided a wealth of information on how Learning Catalytics works and how instructors can use it in all kinds of classroom settings and situations. An hour-long each, the sessions included:

    “Unleashing the Power of Learning Catalytics in a Hybrid Environment” with Aaron Warnock

    Aaron Warnock’s session focused primarily on the way Learning Catalytics’ question-and-answer function helps instructors connect with students and students learn better in hybrid environments. Aaron showed audiences how students can answer questions by drawing graphs, clicking on different regions of an image, highlighting relevant information, evaluating complex problems, or simply filling in a multiple choice answer.

    Aaron noted that the different question types give instructors a lot of flexibility in the ways they monitor student learning. Plus, the questions make it easier to get students to answer without them feeling uncomfortable, because everyone participates and no one feels put on the spot.

    “When I saw Learning Catalytics for the first time, and the eighteen different question types that are available, I was instantly sold,” Aaron said. “It creates a fantastic, engaging learning environment for students.”

    “Transforming Large-Classroom Activities with Learning Catalytics” with Brad Mehrtens

    Being a professor who routinely teaches classes as large as 600 students, Brad Mehrtens understands the challenges of connecting with students. In his session, he spoke to how Learning Catalytics helps him keep students engaged in even the largest lecture halls.

    After regularly watching class attendance dwindle — particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic — he started using Learning Catalytics. He immediately had a much better sense of how well his students were learning and, to his delight, attendance evened out.

    “I was as deflated by the pandemic as anyone was, and Learning Catalytics has made me excited about teaching again,” Brad says. “And I don’t say that lightly. It has completely recharged my battery and made it fun to be back in the classroom”

    “Connecting with Learning Catalytics for Success Throughout Your Course” with Pamela Sandstrom

    A number of years ago, Pamela Sandstrom was using other types of student response tools — but that all changed. “Once I switched [to Learning Catalytics], I’ve never even thought about using any other instant response system because of how much [Learning Catalytics] can do,” she said in her summit session.

    Centered on the ways Learning Catalytics can positively impact a course at multiple moments and in numerous ways, Pamela’s talk discussed how useful the real-time data on student learning is to her instruction.

    “Learning Catalytics provides formative assessment,” she said. “But to me that means that I don’t have to wait till the test, or even till the end of the lecture — [I can see] how they’re doing in the class real time”

    “The Tips and Tricks You Need to Know About Learning Catalytics” with Terry Austin

    During his session, Terry Austin shared his screen to demonstrate exactly how Learning Catalytics works and all the ways he can customize it for the needs of a specific class. As an instructor who has been using Learning Catalytics for a decade, he had a lot of great tips and tricks, ranging from linking Learning Catalytics to a Pearson Mastering class to using it to improve seat maps to incorporating it into classroom presentations.

    “Learning Catalytics is clever,” Terry said, noting how much the tool is capable of doing. As attendees to his session and the summit as a whole learned, he was right. Learning Catalytics can empower instructors to assess student learning in-the-moment, improve student engagement, and make classroom time much more successful.

    As Terry noted, there’s a good reason he’s been using Learning Catalytics for a decade.