The 2018 Award Winners

Faculty-Led Team Recognition 

The following faculty-led team was awarded $10,000 for its innovative and creative program, dedicated to accelerating the adoption of digital courseware for general education or gateway courses. 

Portland State University Logo

Portland State University

Active and Adaptive Learning in Statistics: Portland State University Addresses Inequities & Promotes Student Success


Rachel L. Webb is a Senior Instructor II in the mathematics and statistics department at Portland State University. In addition to teaching statistics, Rachel is the course coordinator for introductory statistics, statistics dual credit coordinator for the PSU Challenge Program, math tutoring & computer lab manager. Rachel received her B.S. in Mathematics and her M.S. in Statistics from PSU. Rachel strives to provide low or no cost materials to students and is currently writing an open source textbook to accompany her introductory statistics courses. Rachel uses active learning along with adaptive homework to engage students. Her goal is to catch at-risk students early and help them succeed. Outside of teaching, Rachel enjoys endurance horse racing, traveling, reading and knitting.

2018 DLIAward Winner -Portland State University
From left to right: Kevin Berg, J.D. Gillis, Rachel Webb, Kari Goin, Whitney Cave with baby Emmett.

Institutional Overview:

  • We serve and sustain a vibrant urban region through our creativity, collective knowledge and expertise.
  • We are dedicated to collaborative learning, innovative research, sustainability, and community engagement.
  • We educate a diverse community of lifelong learners.
  • Our research and teaching have global impact.

Project Description:

Our introductory statistics courses are primarily taught by adjuncts and teaching assistants and have large fluctuations in DFW rates and inconsistent content coverage. The course previously utilized a standard textbook that has been steadily increasing in cost. Faculty created OER materials to address the high cost of textbooks. The OER material needed a more dynamic style for delivery. The goal was to find a platform to help standardize content delivery, decrease costs and increase passing and retention rates. The Office of Academic Innovation and the Math Department received an APLU Active and Adaptive grant that helped address all of these concerns.


In spring 2017, the PSU Office of Academic Innovation identified 19 adaptive software vendors. In summer 2017, the committee chose Realizeit as the best fit for our statistics courses. In fall 2018, a contract was signed with Realizeit outlining a detailed timeline for training and project implementation. Key concepts were identified and organizing into a curriculum hierarchy by unit. This work continued until we launched a pilot section of STAT 241 in January 2018.

Student and faculty feedback plus insights provided by Realizeit during the winter term pilot informed decisions about changes and enhancements to the student experience. From February to March 2018, additional questions were written to augment the opportunity for students to practice and master the concepts. All STAT 241 sections used Realizeit with these changes in spring 2018. This process also revealed the need for a Faculty Guide to help with training new faculty teaching the course.