Knowledge Nodes: The Educator-Led Creation of an Integrated Adaptive Curriculum

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

ASU and CogBooks are developing a first of its kind integrated adaptive curriculum in undergraduate education.  Entitled the “BioSpine,” this project will develop an adaptable learning environment so that collaborative teaching communities can create concept charts and content that can be configured into courses by faculty to enable student success. 

Presenters

At CogBooks we’re committed to transforming the way teachers teach and students learn, by applying science-based methods to education. Through our unique advanced adaptive learning technologies, we’re changing the way secondary and further education students learn We believe our technology will define the next generation of education, empowering teachers and institutions like never before.
Jim Thompson is the CEO of CogBooks. He and the company are passionate about applying science-based methods to education delivery. It is believed that this scientific approach will allow educators to revolutionize the effectiveness of learning over the next decade. Jim began his career as a researcher in physics. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, and continued there as a Research Fellow. His work has been published in international scientific journals and conferences. In 1998, Jim left academia for the high-tech sector, initially working in the US and Europe for Thermo Electron’s Semiconductor Division. He then relocated to Silicon Valley to take up a role as global product manager with a leading semiconductor company. While there, he moved into a corporate-wide role, helping to develop the company’s marketing and sales organizations globally. His responsibilities covered Europe, Israel, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and the US.
Dale P. Johnson is the director of digital innovation for the University Design Institute at Arizona State University. He works with university leaders to develop and implement digital solutions to enable student success. Those efforts have earned him the 2016 Sally M. Johnstone Award from WCET recognizing his thought leadership, excellence in practice, and demonstrated leadership capabilities. In 2018, he was honored by the IMS Global Learning Consortium with an outstanding service award for his leadership of the adaptive courseware community of practice. Mr. Johnson has spoken on the topic of digital innovation in higher education at more than 20 conferences in the USA, Rwanda, Brazil, South Korea, Germany, Mexico, Russia and Vietnam, and led workshops on the subject at numerous universities. He has a bachelor of science in design degree from ASU and a master in public policy degree from Harvard University, a learning path that combined his interests in design, engineering and education policy. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and building things. He’s traveled to more than 40 countries, studied in Barcelona for a year as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, and built his own solar home in Phoenix.

Extended Abstract

Arizona State University and CogBooks are developing a first of its kind integrated adaptive curriculum in undergraduate education.  Entitled the “BioSpine,” this project will develop an adaptable learning environment for students going through the undergraduate Biology curriculum so that collaborative teaching communities can create concept charts and content that can be configured into courses by faculty to enable student success.  

Students at ASU and beyond will benefit from personalized learning paths through the curriculum without being bound by a specific course or textbook.  Faculty will be in control of the process to create and utilize lessons that fit their course sequence.

An additional goal of the project is to generate a large scale integrated learning research project in higher education.  The opportunity exists for multiple institutions and tens of thousands of students to use the BioSpine which would enable a massive data set on student learning.  That data set will then be open to the broader teaching and research community to test hypotheses on how to educate biology students most effectively and efficiently.

The statistically significant gains that adaptive learning is showing in other disciplines demonstrate that you can personalize the delivery of content at scale to increased outcomes and reduced attrition.  These learning gains have shown tremendous promise to solve the challenge of delivering education at a lower cost, with higher quality, and wider access.