Snake Oil or Magic Bullet? Digital Learning in a Face-to-Face Environment

Concurrent Session 2

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This presentation will introduce the challenges and opportunities associated with the use of digital learning software in a humanities class.  Included will be a demonstration of Norton’s InQuizative, a best and worst practices discussion, and a presentation of data on the efficacy of this technology with regard to student success rates.  Please BYOD to this session. 


BA-History; BA Political Science from Our Lady of the Lake University. MA-History from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Ph.D.-History specializing in US political, military, diplomatic and intelligence history from State University of New York Binghamton.

Extended Abstract


Beginning in May, 2018, Laredo College began a pilot program in which digital learning technology was utilized in face-to-face courses with the goal of improving student success.  I began using Norton’s InQuizative digital learning software in my face-to-face US history survey courses.  While digital learning software is becoming increasingly common in the STEM fields, it is rarer to see it used in the humanities.  Laredo College is unique in that we are pioneering efforts to embrace digital learning not only for STEM, but also in areas like history and government.


This presentation will share with the audience several outcomes learned from the beginning stages of this pilot program.  First, I will explain how the use of this technology changed my teaching style.  In essence, I transitioned away from traditional lecture and moved to a hybrid of lecture (informed by InQuizative’s real-time analytics), InQuizative, and group work on primary sources.  I plan on asking Norton to create a sample InQuizative class for this presentation so that audience members will have the ability interact with the software.  Then, I will engage the audience in a sample group exercise, similar to one performed in my classroom.  Next, I plan on sharing data gathered from our pilot in the form of success rates, student surveys, faculty surveys, as well as data from an efficacy study that our students participated in with Norton.  I will end the session with a group discussion on the challenges, as well as the opportunities, in using digital learning software in a face-to-face humanities environment.  Ultimately, I conclude that digital learning technology is neither a magic bullet nor snake oil, but rather a tool that, if used correctly, can moderately improve student success.