Adapting to Adaptivity: Helping Faculty Use Adaptive Courseware Effectively

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract


More than simply being about the technology, effective teaching with adaptive courseware is about ways in which faculty, coaches and their institutions can provide support to prepare students before they arrive on campus and to continue that support in class on an on-going basis.  The quality of faculty effectiveness is greatly improved with focused faculty development sessions that prepare them to use the software to its best advantage for themselves and their students.


Laura DePue is an instructional designer at Arizona State University. She began her career by teaching Comparative Religious Studies at the college-level in both traditional and online formats. After continuing to improve her skills in the area of online teaching, she began working as an instructional designer full-time, and has specialized in the areas of accessibility, active learning, gamification, and adaptivity.

Extended Abstract

Session Description and Details:

The discussion will focus on adaptive courseware program results from Arizona State University (ASU) and Northern Arizona University (NAU) and will include data and lessons learned from the presenters as members of the eight-university adaptive courseware team developing APLU's (The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities) Adaptive Courseware Implementation Guide.

The presenters will provide best practices on how to help faculty develop an understanding of the technology and the course content in the adaptive system.  In these instances, the instructional designer’s role is to organize the process so that the instructor’s work will be enhanced by the technology rather than replaced by it.

Session Breakdown:

Understanding adaptive courseware and where it fits into the pedagogy to help improve student learning. Technology as an enabler in the process of improving educational outcomes and as a tool for faculty rather than a replacement of them.  (15 minutes).

The APLU Adaptive Courseware Implementation Guide and its three key components for working and teaching with the courseware (15 minutes):

  • People – Developing a team around faculty support that is available throughout the entire process to address faculty concerns and issues as they may arise
  • Planning  - Planning the process of identifying the faculty, the technology and the pedagogy  necessary for the course in development
  • Process – Faculty software training, implementation of the technology within the course, and how to use adaptive courseware in a course.

Q & A / Conclusions and Lessons Learned (15 minutes):

  • Faculty are the most important factor in the success of the technology
  • This is a team process that requires multiple faculty members staff to collaborate
  • A long-view perspective is needed as there may be early bumps and challenges to overcome
  • To enable student success, administrators need to be knowledgeable and supportive