• Gemma's story: a passion for helping others - and the lessons learned along the way

    by Pearson

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    Gemma Weir launched a non-profit when she was just nine years old.

    Yes, you read that correctly: nine years old.

     “Community service has always been a big part of my life,” Gemma says. “I was taught to put others first.”

    She started Fluffy Love, an organization that collects and donates new stuffed animals to children who could use a cuddly companion.

    Most of the toys are donated to a children’s hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.

    Gemma also donates stuffed buddies to tornado victims and local shelters.

    To date, Gemma has collected and donated more than 3,000 stuffed animals.

    A small start

    Fluffy Love began a long way from those 3,000 stuffed animals.

    “At first, we got the word out through church groups,” says Gemma.

    Soon the stuffed animals came pouring in – and not just from her community in Grand Prairie, Texas.

    A Facebook page helped spread the word.

    “That got an incredible response,” says Gemma’s mom, Heather. “We also received hundreds of toys from friends and family in Scotland!”

    A big impact

    Gemma says it’s been amazing to watch Fluffy Love spread joy in her community.

    Recently, a little boy came up to Gemma at church. He was holding a stuffed animal in his arms.

    “He told me that he had broken his arm and wound up in the hospital,” Gemma says.

    “A nurse gave him the stuffed animal. He said it brought him so much comfort as he went through something scary,” she says.

    The toy had been donated by Fluffy Love. 

    Learning along the way 

    Gemma is now enrolled at Texas Connections Academy, a virtual public school that gives her the flexibility she needs to pursue her work with Fluffy Love.

    “I can get ahead on schoolwork a few days a week, then focus on Fluffy Love,” she says. “I’ve really learned the importance of time management!”

     Fluffy Love’s success has also helped Gemma learn valuable skills like public speaking.

    Two schools recently invited Gemma to speak to students about her project.

    “I was nervous, but it was amazing experience,” Gemma says. “The students at both schools were super receptive.”

    One school was so inspired by Gemma’s story that students decided to have a toy drive for Fluffy Love.

    Encouraging kids to dream big

    Watching Gemma find her passion has been one of Heather Weir’s greatest joys as a parent.

    “Gemma was very shy and quiet growing up,” Heather says. “It’s been incredible to watch her grow with Fluffy Love.”

    When it comes to supporting their kids, Heather has one simple but powerful piece of advice for parents: encourage ideas.

    “Parents should always get behind their kids,” Heather says. “It can help them find what they love and flourish.”

    Inspiring others

    Gemma is now in ninth grade – and Fluffy Love has grown alongside her.

    Last year, the organization officially became a 501(C)(3)-certified non-profit.

    As she looks toward the future, Gemma sees plenty more opportunities for Fluffy Love to inspire positive action.

    The mayor of Grand Prairie, Texas proclaimed December 12th as Gemma Weir Day in recognition of her service to the community.

    “I hope it’s a day that inspires everyone to follow their passions and think about how to make a positive difference in other people’s lives,” Gemma says.

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  • MyLab Statistics Inclusive Access study documents student success

    by Miami University, Ohio

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    Inclusive Access has helped faculty and students at Miami University by enabling more streamlined course material delivery, offering simpler and earlier access, and reducing costs.

    SUCCESS STORY

    MyLab Statistics Inclusive Access study documents student success

    Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

    Key findings

    • Miami University’s Inclusive Access implementation of MyLab Statistics, as part of a larger course redesign and textbook change, has played an important role in improved student learning outcomes.
    • Pearson Inclusive Access has facilitated the department’s transition to hybrid course delivery at the Oxford campus by enabling MyLab’s integration within the university’s LMS, providing students code-free access to the program at the start of the semester.
    • Student success at the Oxford campus has increased by 5.6 percentage points since Inclusive Access has been implemented as part of the course redesign. Students appreciate the cost savings and streamlined access across devices.

    Setting

    Miami University is an Ohio public university. Its main campus is located in Oxford, Ohio, about thirty-five miles north of Cincinnati, with four additional regional locations in Hamilton, Middletown, West Chester, and the European Center in Luxembourg. The Oxford campus enrolls approximately 16,000 undergraduate students and 2,500 graduate students, while the regional campuses in Ohio boast a combined enrollment of 5,000 students. Forty percent (40%) of students are state residents, with freshman enrollment including representation from nearly all 50 states. Seventy-eight (78%) of students are White, 3.5% are Hispanic, 4% are Black, and 2% are Asian. Ten percent (10%) of students are non-residents originating from more than 50 countries. The Department of Statistics offers courses at the Oxford, Middletown, and Hamilton campuses. Over 60% of students enrolled in the introductory statistics course are Oxford students.

    Challenges and goals

    Miami University’s Department of Statistics has been a long-time user of MyLab™ Statistics — Pearson’s online homework, tutorial, and assessment application—for its introductory algebra-based statistics course (STA 261) and has been satisfied with the program overall. However, they sought to facilitate student access by eliminating the need to wait for financial aid approval to purchase course materials, streamline the enrollment process and eliminate student difficulty with access codes. At the same time, they were interested in integrating MyLab with Canvas, their learning management system (LMS). Inclusive Access to MyLab via MyLabsPlus offered several advantages: all students gain immediate access to course materials via the university LMS on or before the first day of class; access codes are eliminated; and students benefit from a 13% discount on course material.

    Implementation

    The University implemented Inclusive Access to MyLab Statistics on all three campuses in Fall 2014. The previous year, faculty piloted the model in a few sections of the course. At the Oxford campus, which had been using a Pearson text previously but transitioned to a different Pearson text, Agresti and Franklin’s The Art and Science of Learning from Data during Fall 2014, MyLab was integrated into the LMS immediately. The Hamilton campus transitioned from a different Pearson text and also adopted Agresti and Franklin during the move to Inclusive Access, enabling LMS integration from the start as well. At the Middletown campus, instructors continued using their original Pearson text during the 2014–2015 academic year and only transitioned to Agresti and Franklin during the 2015–2016 academic year. This required students to redeem an access code when registering for the course during the 2014–2015 school year, and MyLab was not integrated into the LMS. The following year, all campuses used the same Pearson text, did not require the use of access codes, and integrated MyLab into the LMS.

    The move to Inclusive Access assisted the Oxford campus in transitioning from a face-to-face delivery model to a hybrid one in their introductory statistics course. Beginning Fall 2014, all sections of STA 261 at Oxford were offered as hybrid courses. As Ms. Lynette Hudiburgh, course coordinator and lecturer at the Oxford campus, explained, “Inclusive Access facilitated the move to hybrid course delivery. We were trying to streamline the process as much as possible. Any time the method of course delivery is changed, it is difficult. Integrating MyLab in the LMS and eliminating the need for access codes was helpful during this transition.”

    In addition to using MyLab content delivered through the university LMS, the department added video to the course, requiring students to take quizzes about the video content before learning the assigned topic in class. This helps students build background knowledge that can lay the foundation for developing deeper conceptual understanding during the lecture. In addition, faculty began using Learning Catalytics™ to help guide assessment. Once a week, they would pose Learning Catalytics questions as students worked on problem sets. If students answered these incorrectly, faculty would intervene with reteaching or with partner discussion. As Hudiburgh explained, “Without Learning Catalytics we would not have been able to determine what students did and did not understand, especially given our large class sizes.”

    Observed impact
    Hudiburgh noted that enrollment has become more consistent across sections during the Fall 2015 semester, with all sections of the course filled. “It seems like attendance was distributed evenly across the board, with 32–34 students in each class. In the past, some class enrollments would drop much lower than that range.” She concluded that this most likely is the result of fewer withdrawals overall in the course.

    Assessments

    • 40% Exams (two exams at 10% each; final exam 20%)
    • 25% Group projects
    • 15% MyLab quizzes
    • 5% Video lecture quizzes
    • 5% MyLab homework
    • 5% Lab activities and problem sessions
    • 5% Learning catalytics

    Results and data

    Across all campuses, the percentage of students successfully completing the course with an A, B, or C increased after Inclusive Access was introduced. As shown in figure 1, the percentage of students succeeding in the course increased 1.5 percentage points after the implementation of Inclusive Access (n=10,232). This change is statistically significant (p=.0361).

    Student success rate (A, B, or C) all campuses

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  • Inclusive Access study tracks student access and cost savings

    by Auburn University

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    Auburn University’s All Access program has saved students money and enabled first-day access to digital course materials having an impact on their retention, course grades, and overall success in college.

    SUCCESS STORY

    Inclusive Access study tracks student access and cost savings

    Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

    Key Findings

    • Pearson Inclusive Access at Auburn University (known as the All Access program) has cumulatively saved students close to a million dollars since Fall 2014.
    • Based on survey data, a projected 2,185 students who opted in to the Inclusive Access program during Spring 2017 would otherwise not have purchased course materials. It has enabled these students (over one-third of participating students) who would not have otherwise purchased the text to gain access to required texts from the start of the semester.

    Setting

    Auburn University is a public research university in Auburn, Alabama. It is a land, sea, and space grant institution and one of the largest universities in the region. Offering a choice of over 140 majors in 15 colleges and schools, it enrolls over 28,000 students, with more than 22,000 undergraduates. Seventy-seven (77%) percent of students are White, nearly 7% are Black, 3% are Hispanic, and 2% are Asian. The university boasts a freshman retention rate of over 90%, and a five-year graduation rate of nearly 73%. Auburn prides itself on its international footprint, with over 800 international students benefiting from its Accelerator Program, 500 Auburn students studying abroad, and a global faculty.

    Challenges and Goals

    In the Inclusive Access model, all students enrolled in a course receive first-day access to digital course materials, and the cost of the materials is included in the course fee. Auburn University became a pioneer of Inclusive Access for several reasons. With its history of customer service and helping faculty solve problems to improve the educational experience, the bookstore sought to provide a digital solution that would empower faculty members in a new age. The bookstore management at Auburn embraces change and transparency as critical to moving the university bookstore industry forward. In its quest to serve as a value provider and seek innovation, Assistant Director Russell Weldon explained that, “Inclusive Access became the next logical step.” Finally, the model helped further the university’s strategic mission of engaging students and increasing success and retention rates.

    Implementation

    Auburn University’s bookstore began implementing its All Access program in Fall 2014. Its primary focus was on ensuring a smooth but easily scalable implementation. The first course adoptions had no need for a student opt out, since the digital materials were only available via the All Access program. Auburn also worked to develop their own in-house management system, rather than relying on a third-party partner, to ensure that they can more easily control all aspects of the implementation. Auburn’s system menu allows for use of an access code, an eText, or a Canvas (Learning Management System) integration of a digital product. The system emails students upon course registration to inform them that they have enrolled in an All Access class and are provided an individual access code. They are also redirected to the bookstore’s website to help them understand what this term means and how they will receive their course materials.

    In March, the bookstore hosted an event with multiple publishers and digital providers for forty instructors. All of the participating instructors chose to implement All Access in the Fall semester. As Russell Weldon described, “There is an explosive amount of interest and growth. We can tell that there is something happening.”

    As a result of the careful planning and infrastructure created to manage the program, students experienced a smooth transition to All Access, as reported by history professor Dr. Daren Ray, who implemented it in Spring 2017. Students received instructions from the bookstore that explained how they would be charged for the course materials and how they could opt out of the program. According to Dr. Ray, for nearly all students, this explained the process sufficiently. The only exceptions were a few international students who experienced difficulty understanding the instructions and required assistance from the instructor to explain the opt-out process. Professor Ray uses Revel™ in his course, and transitioning to All Access was a natural next step that simplified the registration and onboarding process for his students. In addition, the cost savings of twenty dollars per unit on the program reduced student frustration regarding the cost of the multiple course materials in his course.

    There’s an explosive amount of interest and growth. We can tell that there is something happening.

    —Russell Weldon, Assistant Director, Auburn University Bookstore

    Cost Savings

    The All Access initiative at Auburn University Bookstore has translated to significant cost savings for students:

    • Students have saved an average of fifty dollars for each unit in the program compared to the new price of the unit.
    • On average, students saved just over 50% off of the lowest print option (new or used).
    • In the Spring 2017 semester alone, 6,500 students enrolled in 20 courses saved a total of $178,000. In Fall 2017, the program grew to 16,000 students enrolled in an All Access course with cost savings of $441,850.
    • Over the lifetime of the All Access program (three years), students have realized a cumulative savings of almost one million dollars ($991,227).
    • In courses that required students to purchase course materials, student opt-out rates over the past three years has been less than 1.2%, significantly lower than the national average of close to 6%.1
    • Despite the significant student cost savings, the bookstore has consistently reported a revenue from All Access sales, enabling it to continue to provide faculty with solutions that facilitate their instruction.

    The Student Experience

    The Auburn University bookstore surveyed students enrolled in courses that participated in the All Access program at the end of Spring 2017.2 Out of 6,707 students, 112 students (1.7% of students surveyed) responded to the survey, of which 92 (82%) opted in to All Access for at least one course during the Spring semester.

    Affordability

    92% of student respondents who opted in to All Access believed that the cost of digital materials in the program were a similar or better value compared to print textbooks they had purchased in the past. Student perception here is in line with the actual student cost savings reported above.

    Access

    Over one-third of students surveyed reported that they were unlikely to purchase course materials at all if they were not offered digitally via the All Access program. This translates to 2,185 students (of the 6,284 students enrolled in the program during the Spring semester) who opted in and were able to access the course materials due to All Access. These 2,185 students would likely not have had any access to course materials during the semester without the All Access program. 78% of students who opted in to All Access agreed or strongly agreed that the digital course materials were easy to access.

    Spring 2017 survey data projections

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  • 90%+ first-call resolution, and powerful support for GGU's teaching mission

    by Golden Gate University-San Francisco, CA

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    SUCCESS STORY

    World-class support for 5,000+ busy adult learners

    To make higher education work for its students, many of whom are working professionals, Golden Gate University (GGU) offers flexible programs both online and at four campuses. Even its in-person courses are extensively enhanced with robust web components, and some have evolved towards flipped learning models.

    Both GGU’s students and its instructors are deeply reliant on the university’s online LMS and other systems. However, they have diverse expertise, and equally diverse hardware, ranging from old laptops to the newest smartphones.

    Students with full-time jobs often set aside nights and weekends for schoolwork. Most GGU faculty work professionally in the fields where they teach, bringing a wealth of experience and enthusiasm. Both students and teachers often need help desk support, especially as GGU has integrated more robust web functionality into courses—and neither group has time to wait for answers.

    As Doug Geier, GGU’s Director of eLearning and Instructional Design, puts it, “We provide really good support for our instructors and students, but we rely on the help desk to fill a critical need.”

    GGU’s small internal help desk responds during weekday business hours, focusing not only on technical help, but also calls requiring involvement from administrative offices. To fill the gaps, GGU chose Pearson, which seamlessly extends GGU’s own help desk, presenting its services as part of GGU. Through this close partnership, the help desk delivers 24x7x365 support for virtually any technical problem, regardless of location or device.

    GGU chooses to pay on a per inquiry basis, smoothly ramping up whenever it needs more help—for example, at the start of each trimester, when new students must quickly solve login or compatibility issues.

    Pearson’s reporting helps both partners identify emerging trends in support calls and escalations, flag individuals who need more training, find opportunities to improve, uncover student or faculty retention issues, and improve course quality to support GGU’s teaching mission.

    GGU’s Pearson help desk consistently exceeds 90% first-call resolution, so students and faculty can quickly move forward with their work. GGU’s Geier notes that some calls the help desk can’t resolve are due to issues it can’t control. “When that happens, Pearson can take the calls, offer some assurance as to when it’ll be fixed, and make sure our students and faculty don’t feel like they’re all alone. And sometimes Pearson’s help desk is first to know of a problem, and [they] tell us so we can follow up more rapidly.”

    Working together for more than six years, Pearson and GGU have built a trusted collaborative partnership with multiple benefits. “We reached out to Pearson as we integrated Turnitin to improve student writing and prevent plagiarism, and when we recently deployed a new video platform,” says Geier. “Pearson’s wide higher education support capabilities are becoming ever more critical as we continually expand the utility of our LMS and online course environment.”

    “Pearson’s help desk is incredibly responsive,” Geier concludes. “Their service is top-notch, it’s customizable, and it’s helped us come a long way in how we work with students and faculty. Pearson does more than just provide services: this is a true partnership.”

    Pearson’s help desk is incredibly responsive. Their service is top-notch, it’s customizable, and it’s helped us come a long way in how we work with students and faculty. Pearson does more than just provide services: this is a true partnership.

    Doug Geier, Director of eLearning and Instructional Design
    Golden Gate University

    To learn more about Golden Gate University’s help desk services, read the full success story.

    Read the full success story

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  • University increases student access to course materials

    by University of California, Davis

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    SUCCESS STORY

    A university saves students $7 million while increasing student access to course materials

    University of California, Davis

    “New students come to campus prepared for everything,” Jason Lorgan, executive director, Campus Recreation, Memorial Union, and University of California, Davis (UC Davis), Stores, explained. “They have a bus pass and a gym pass. All their classes and their dorm room are assigned. Yet the default is that they have no access to their course materials. Something that is core to their education is not automatic.”

    So Lorgan began investigating ways to increase student access to course materials. “As more adaptive learning digital content such as MyLabTM & MasteringTM came out, we started thinking that they could be adapted to a licensing model similar to the one our design students use for Adobe® Photoshop® versus the textbook model where the default is that you start without access to the content.”

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