Building Adaptive Coursework at Scale: Fostering Student Success through an Open Faculty Development Framework
Concurrent Session 2
In an effort to improve student success in high-enrollment courses, the University of Central Florida has developed a faculty development program to support instructors who desire to build and deliver adaptive coursework. In this session, participants will learn about the program framework and how to implement it at their institutions.
The University of Central Florida (UCF) is strategically implementing adaptive learning to improve student success in large-enrollment gateway courses and courses that have traditionally had unacceptably high levels of D and F grades and course withdrawals (DFW). To date, UCF instructors in a wide variety of disciplines have adopted adaptive learning systems (e.g. Realizeit, ALEKS from McGraw-Hill, Knewton Alta, and others), and the Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) is committed to providing pedagogical and technical resources to help faculty successfully integrate the adaptive system that fits best with their teaching approach and classroom dynamic.
In a Personalized Adaptive Learning (PAL) course at UCF, a portion of the overall instruction is delivered via an online adaptive learning system that customizes objective-driven content and assessments to create a personalized learning path for each student according to their knowledge, skills, and learning needs. These course must provide a minimum of three adaptive features, with two other features listed as preferred. These features (Author, 2019) are, in order:
The course consists of objective-based learning bits.
It presents adaptive content and assessments with timely feedback.
The personalized path includes prerequisite learning materials, an accelerate or remediate-system that adapts to students’ knowledge, provides analytics, and recommends personalized interventions.
It presents alternative adaptive content presentation (video, text, etc.) based on learning performance and learning characteristics (optional but preferred criterion).
It procedurally generates questions and content using variable and conditions (optional but preferred criterion).
These five adaptive learning features guide PAL course design and evaluation of existing adaptive courseware.
To support the development, delivery, and evaluation of its adaptive learning initiative, UCF established the PAL team. Consisting primarily of credentialed instructional designers, with assistance from technical and content experts, the PAL team is responsible for working with faculty to design and construct adaptive courses in all modalities, as well as support course delivery and the evaluation of adaptive course efficacy. In addition to direct faculty support through one-on-one consultations, the PAL team may also assist faculty with course authoring within an adaptive platform. Key to the success of the university’s adaptive learning initiative has been the PAL team’s focus on faculty development and preparation.
To further enhance the onboarding experience of faculty interested in designing and teaching an adaptive course, The PAL team has also developed a training course called PAL 6000. This self-paced course involves meeting with an assigned instructional designer, perusing online course readings, and completing a ‘Build Your Course Project’. In PAL6000, participants learn about: pedagogy for adaptive courses; technical and logistical issues; course delivery strategies; course building in Realizeit and Canvas; and information unique to teaching adaptive courses at UCF. The ‘PAL6000 Certificate of Completion’ grants PAL credentials to further design and teach using the Realizeit adaptive learning system. In addition to designing PAL courses from scratch, some UCF instructors directly adopt a publisher’s existing adaptive courseware. In these cases, the PAL team also partners with adaptive course vendors to conduct workshops and ad hoc training for faculty to maximize the benefits of the system’s analytics and its ability to personalize the student learning experience across an adaptive lesson path.
Since the start of the PAL initiative at UCF we have 33 faculty members who are PAL credentialed and 13 are currently enrolled in PAL6000. As part of UCF’s Course Redesign Initiative we also have 20 more potential faculty that will be enrolled in PAL6000. Including the courses in development as part of our Course Redesign Initiative, we have created 33 adaptive courses that impact 11 of the 13 colleges at UCF. In just a few short years, and with a specialized team of instructional designers, we have trained faculty to design and develop courses that have the possibility of touching a substantial portion of UCF’s student population.
Attendees of this session will learn about our framework for faculty development for the design and delivery of adaptive learning courses. In particular, they will achieve three goals for this session: 1) Participants will engage in a conversation with colleagues about the complexities of the adaptive learning technology and discuss their experiences (if any) with various adaptive platforms. 2) Participants will evaluate the importance of the five adaptive learning features and discuss the roles of faculty and instructional designers in adaptive course design. 3) Participants will receive access to our faculty development framework and related content to develop ideas for implementation at their own institutions.
Level of Participation:
Participant discussions will be facilitated around the above three goals throughout the session. At the beginning of the session, participants will share their own experiences with various adaptive platforms and engage in a conversation about the complexities of adaptive learning. After we present about the five adaptive learning features that are key in our course design and related best practices, participants will engage in small-group discussions to evaluate the importance of the adaptive learning features on student learning. At the end of the session, after we share our faculty development offerings for adaptive learning, participants will be encouraged to reflect on their own institutional contexts and develop ideas for their own implementation.