• A Perfect Match for Student Success: UMGC and MyLab

    by Pearson

    Students engaged in their work online using MyLab’s tools

    The big challenge

    The University of Maryland Global Campus made a major decision several years ago. Instead of investing in curriculum from various publishers, the school opted to try Open Education Resources or OER back in 2014. It was a way to ease the financial burden for students.  

    Years later in 2018 the school, which today has a worldwide enrollment of 305,000, reduced and in some cases eliminated developmental math as a pre-requisite. It proved to be a disaster. Unfortunately, OER didn’t provide nearly enough critical support for students who were ill-prepared for college level courses.

    A perfect fit for success! 

    Given the nature of the challenge, UMGC Math and Statistics Program Director John Beyers partnered with Tiffany DePriter, Statistics Coordinator/Instructor, to explore possible solutions. They decided to use an adaptive resource and elected to pilot Pearson’s MyLab and compare it to ALEKS from McGraw Hill. After extensive testing and evaluations, MyLab was selected primarily because of its continuous assessment approach to support each student’s individual pace along the way. In addition, it was an ideal way to customize the learning and fully engage with students using the remarkable array of tools that MyLab provides.

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  • Kayleen's story: From building fences to building a successful career in construction - and helping others do the same

    by Pearson

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    A Famous Face

    If you’ve ever watched the DIY Network on television, Kayleen McCabe’s is a face you may recognize.

    She is the host and star of “Rescue Renovation,” a show that helps homeowners who are in over their heads. Renovation projects turn from disastrous “befores” into jaw-dropping “afters.”

    When Kayleen is not in front of the camera, she’s traveling the country telling students the story of how her long-time construction hobby turned into a successful career.

    Growing up different

    “As a little girl, I was always building stuff with my hands,” Kayleen says.

    “My dad was a welder by trade, so I learned a lot of what I know from him.”

    “We did repairs around the house, built fences, and worked on cars together.”

    “I didn’t realize how unique that was until high school,” Kayleen says.

    Kayleen says most of her classmates had no idea what they wanted to do after graduation.

    Kayleen was different.

    “I knew, even then, that I wanted to work in the construction trades,” she says.

    Trusting her instincts

    Although knew she wanted a career in construction, Kayleen didn’t enroll in trade school after high school.

    “I made good grades,” she says, “and I felt pressure to do what the other ‘good students’ did: go to college.”

    One year and two schools (Red Rocks Community College and Colorado State University) later, Kayleen called her parents with some news that ultimately wasn’t a surprise to them: college wasn’t for her.

    “I could’ve saved a lot of tuition money by following that instinct earlier,” Kayleen says.

    “I am so grateful that when I eventually did, my parents were supportive.”

    The first foray into television

    Shortly after graduating from high school, Kayleen says, her cousin called her with a proposition.

    “She was a producer on the TV show ‘Trading Spaces.’”

    “She knew I liked working with my hands, and she said she could help me get a production assistant job.”

    From her very first day on the set, Kayleen says she was hooked.

    “I would bounce of out of bed at 5 am, vibrating with excitement about whatever we got to build next.”

    “It was the first time I fell in love.”

    The mentor of all mentors

    On the set of “Trading Spaces,” Kayleen met a master craftsman named Frank.

    “He was this grumpy-looking older guy with a big bushy mustache that was permanently stained from tobacco,” Kayleen says.

    “But he taught me more than I could ever explain.”

    “I could ask him anything, and he encouraged me to learn, to try, and most importantly, to fail,” Kayleen says.

    “Being in an environment where I felt so safe to do that was the best gift I ever received.”

    “Learning the way that I did—on the job—was more of an education than I could ever have gotten from going to college.”

    “Rescue Renovation”

    “Rescue Renovation” is currently in its fifth season on TV.

    Kayleen says she is immensely grateful for her continued success—especially in a field that is traditionally dominated by men.

    “When the show first started, I was one of the only female hosts on our channel—or any other one.”

    “It’s different now, and I cannot wait for that to keep changing.”

    When she travels for her show, Kayleen says, she is often able to help drive that change.

    “I like to leverage a plane ticket as much as possible.”

    “I’ll find out what schools are close to the airport and call them up. I say, ‘Hi, I’m a woman in the trades, can I come talk to your kids about career opportunities in my field?’”

    “To the best of my ability,” Kayleen says, “I will continue to leverage what fame I’ve garnered to help recruit more and more young women into the construction trades.”

    Connecting with audiences on smaller screens, too

    In her spare time, Kayleen produces short, instructional videos for her followers and fans. She hosts them on her personal web page.

    Topics range from cabinet building, to clamps and fasteners, to drill skills.

    “I want to get them into the hands of middle and high school teachers so they can show their kids what working in the trades is really like.”

    “Growing up, my teachers had nothing like that. In terms of recruitment, I think it could be game-changing.”

    Something to strive for

    Kayleen says she is constantly thinking about the future—for herself and for construction trades overall.

    “I want to double the number of students I talk to every year … until that becomes impossible.”

    Already this year, Kayleen has made incredible progress towards her goal. She has trips planned to Indiana, Ontario, Nebraska, Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, Abu Dhabi, and Mississippi—all in the next few months.

    “Someday, I hope I am able to travel full-time, speaking to students and giving them scholarships to study the trades.”

    “I want to be the Bill Gates of power tools,” Kayleen says.

    “And my passport has a lot of room in it.”

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  • Holley's story: how an inherited love for hands-on work lead to a rewarding but unexpected career

    by Pearson

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    Shadowing dad from the start

    “As a little girl, I followed in my dad’s footsteps—literally,” says Holley Thomas.

    “Carpentry has always been his hobby, and he had a workshop in every house we lived in.”

    “I followed him around, watched him build things out of wood, and asked a lot of questions along the way.”

    It’s an approach that has served Holley very well later in life.

    Going to college like dad, too

    When it came time to apply to college, Holley says she again followed in her father’s footsteps.

    “I enrolled at Mississippi State—just like he had decades earlier.”

    “But I learned very quickly that college wasn’t for me.”

    After her freshman year, Holley left Mississippi State and moved back home to live with her parents.

    “At that point, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in terms of a career,” Holley says, “but I was sure that a traditional four-year degree wasn’t the right path.”

    Finding her own way

    After a few months of soul-searching back home, Holley says she had a conversation with her dad about her future.

    “He told me about a robotics program he’d heard of at the local community college,” Holley says.

    “I’d always liked working with my hands, and always trusted my dad, so I made an appointment to talk to the Program Director.”

    Holley says her instincts proved right.

    “After our conversation, I signed up for classes.”

    Degree requirements

    A year and a half into her two-year robotics program, Holley says she had a surprising realization.

    “As I was reviewing the course requirements for graduation, I saw a welding course on the list.”

    “I thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to do this. I’ll probably be in a hot shop with a bunch of smelly guys.’”

    “But I was truly enjoying school for the first time in my life, and I was so close to finally earning my degree, so I bit the bullet and signed up.”

    An unexpected love

    The first day of welding class, Holley says she showed up in shorts and flip flops.

    “I learned very quickly that it wasn’t the proper attire,” she says.

    After that initial hiccup, Holley says, everything changed.

    “The second week of class, we went to the shop to weld for the first time.”

    “I fell in love that first time I struck an arc.”

    “After I earned my two-year degree,” Holley says, “I stayed on an extra year to get my full welding certificate.”

    More than a model employee

    Today, Holley is Lead Quality Inspector at KBR, a global engineering and construction company.

    During the day, she manages the welding operations on complex construction sites in Oklahoma.

    Four evenings per week, she is a welding instructor, teaching courses to her KBR colleagues.

    Throughout the year, Holley says she travels the country to talk to high school students about her experiences in the construction industry.

    In 2015, Holley’s hard work was formally recognized when she was named Craft Professional of the Year by Associated Builders and Contractors.

    She was nominated by her colleagues at KBR, who submitted an essay celebrating Holley as a top welder, a generous teacher, and a leader in her field, helping to recruit women to a traditionally male-dominated industry.

    “It feels so good to know that I am viewed as a positive light for my company and for the industry overall,” Holley says.

    An open mind, and an attitude to live by

    Holley says she owes her professional success to two things: parents who encouraged her to pursue her own path—and a positive attitude.

    “The coolest thing about my parents—and especially my dad—is that they’ve always been supportive of my siblings and me, no matter what,” Holley says.

    “They encourage us to follow our dreams, and are there to help pick us up if we fall or fail.”

    Holley says the personal mantra she’s developed as a welder is rooted in their positivity and open-mindedness.

    “I come to work every day with a great attitude, wanting to learn something new.”

    “Taking the initiative to expand my skillset makes me a better employee,” Holley says.

    “And it makes me a better instructor and mentor, too.”

    Looking forward to the future

    Holley says that in the future, she plans to become more involved in recruiting new members to her industry.

    In particular, she says, she wants to offer support, advice, and encouragement to young women considering a career in construction.

    “I was once in their shoes, unsure of my future,” Holley says.

    “Without that encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

    “Now it’s my turn to pay it forward.”

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