Integrating Resiliency Into Coursework Through Adaptive Learning Technology

Workshop Session 2
Community College

Session Materials

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Brief Abstract

The Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC) worked with technology partner Smart Sparrow—to produce online resiliency lessons. We will show how this ten lesson bundle specifically designed to foster resiliency skills in community college students can be adapted and used by faculty and staff to integrate resiliency into learning experiences.



Alexandra serves as a Storytelling IMPACTcommunity Ambassador for California State University-MERLOT's where she guides, coaches, and supports individuals across the country in sharing their success stories. Previously she worked within a TAACCCT consortium funded by the US Department of Labor where she supported communication and storytelling efforts across seven community colleges in the northeast region of the US. This experience fueled her interest in educating others about the importance of storytelling and providing resources to support the process of producing meaningful modes of communication to scale impact. Alexandra currently works in higher education in New York City and holds her M.A. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University.
Heather Newlin works as a curriculum developer and learning designer for the EdTech company Smart Sparrow. Before joining Smart Sparrow, Heather worked inside the classroom and as an educational consultant and curriculum developer for places like UCLA's Anderson School of Business, USC's Innovation Lab, Options for Youth, and the Huntington Library.

Extended Abstract

Utilizing a deliberately collaborative process, the Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC), a Round-3 TAACCCT grantee, brought together students, faculty, staff, and employers to define and design what would become the Resiliency Competency Model (RCM). As a way to integrate resiliency into learning experiences, Smart Sparrow-- the NRC’s technology partner in an effort with faculty from across NRC colleges-- developed and produced online resiliency lessons. We will show how this ten lesson bundle, comprised of a series of games and reflective activities, specifically designed to foster resiliency skills in community college students can be adapted and used by faculty and staff to integrate resiliency into learning experiences. We will demonstrate the NRC’s online lessons through Smart Sparrow’s adaptive learning platform and hear from instructors who have utilized these lessons as a way to integrate resiliency into learning experiences.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the NRC RCM and resiliency competencies, how Smart Sparrow’s online lessons were created to develop those competencies, and how the lessons can be adapted by instructors/staff
  • Hear from NRC instructors/staff on how they’re integrating resiliency into learning experiences utilizing the ten lesson bundle and Smart Sparrow platform to enhance student resiliency development
  • Utilize and workshop with the adaptive learning platform and online lessons to enable participants to examine their own coursework, workshops, services and corresponding tasks for their students and how they might integrate the resiliency lessons
  • Generate new ways and ideas that the online resiliency lessons can be used cross-college, -region, and -subject to demonstrate the richness of ideas already in the two-year college community and (possibly) create or build on the community or network of colleges using the online lessons
  • Generate feedback and ideas about NRC resiliency lessons tools and resiliency integration that can spur further development of the framework and connect to others like it.

Participants will:

  • Learn about the Smart Sparrow platform and how Smart Sparrow worked with the NRC to integrate resiliency to create the online lessons on their adaptive learning platform
  • Hear from NRC instructors/staff who have developed an integration plan to utilize the Smart Sparrow lessons in their learning experiences
  • Workshop with the online platform and lessons.
  • Develop an integration plan for utilizing the Smart Sparrow platform and lessons to incorporate resiliency into learning experiences at your own institution

Tips and lessons that will be shared during the workshop

  • The NRC resiliency competencies have been incorporated into ten resiliency online lessons that students can be used to build and foster their resiliency development
  • The online lessons were designed to mirror the traits of a resilient person, in that they are conversational, reflective, adaptive, personal and playful in nature and incorporate an Artificial Intelligence character, Dot, who helps deliver the content through conversations and social engagement.
  • Through the Smart Sparrow platform, the online lessons adapt to the student. As a student progresses through a lesson, he or she will be guided down relevant pathways and given differentiated feedback in order to provide individual support adapting to the student.
  • The online lessons aim to challenge students to think creatively and play games and Smart Sparrow utilizes an approach that engages students and helps them recognize and understand how they express resiliency.
  • Instructors/staff can utilize an integration plan to create or enhance a learning experience to incorporate activities and Smart Sparrow lessons that foster a student’s resiliency development


Smart Sparrow has worked with groups of faculty at each NRC college to develop integration plans that promote the use of the lessons and adaptive learning platform. Smart Sparrow will work with external institutions in an effort to share these lessons with other community colleges, 4 year and even K-12 and understand how they can use the 10 lesson bundle and adaptive learning platform to incorporate resiliency into learning experiences. The workshop aims to generate interest among the participants so that they consider utilizing the adaptive learning platform as a way to integrate resiliency into their courses and student support services in an effort to foster resiliency development in students. Bergen Community College, which is not an NRC college but another TAACCCT grantee located in NJ, has shown interest in institutionalizing the adaptive learning technology to incorporate resiliency.

Supporting Data

The NRC has integrated resiliency into 25 resiliency enhanced courses for more than 500 students and trained more than 75 faculty and staff how to integrate resiliency into a learning experience. Resiliency enhanced programs have had a 90% retention or completion rate.  Another 50 faculty member in the NRC have been trained to utilize the online resiliency lessons in the classroom.

To learn more about the Northeast Resiliency Consortium please check out the following:

About Us Video

NRC Resiliency Online lessons