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In a previous blog post, I wrote about the importance of building student communities to student success. Long story short, valuable connections are happening across campuses each and every day. And, we need valid data points to pair with the powerful stories we have on the prevalence and impact of these connections.

 

Given the importance of campus connections to sense of belonging and broader student success, it is of value to explore the physical spaces where these connections often occur. One area on campus that is primed to be a central point of building and strengthening community is the student union. Student unions and student centers, by their very nature, are intended to be a hub of student life, activity, and connections on campus. And, these environments are increasingly designed and intended to support student learning.

 

Designed in partnership with ACUI, the ACUI/Benchworks College Union Assessment provides campuses with valuable data on the college union experience. The assessment contains a wide range of questions, ranging from when and how these use the facility to satisfaction with different services. It also measures key learning outcomes that we would expect our students to gain as a result of their interactions and experience in these facilities. And, with over a decade of data from over 250 colleges and universities in the United States, we’ve learned a lot about the college union experience.  

 

So, what have we learned? Here are three, high-level things we consistently seen in the national data:

 

Students visit unions frequently

 

If a facility is meant to be the hub of student life, it should be a facility that students frequent often. And, data from our assessment shows that this is indeed the case. For the 2017-2018 academic year, nearly 90% of survey respondents indicating visiting their college union at least one during the academic year. Of those who visited at least one, four out of five visited their union at least once per week, while nearly 25% reported visiting at least one a day or more. And, while those visits are spread throughout the day, the period of time with the highest traffic is between 9am and 2pm, when two-thirds of respondents indicated they typically visit their college union.

 

Students visit for a variety of reasons

 

From providing options for dining to spaces for student activities, and offices for key services, college unions are remarkably diverse in their services and offerings. And, the national data on why students visit their college union or student center reflect the wide-ranging purposes of the facilities themselves. When asked to identify the top three reasons out of over fifteen for visiting their college union, almost everyone--98%--indicated that food-related offerings were a top reason for visiting. Other top reasons for visiting their college union included:

 

  • Studying (91%)
  • Meeting others (88%)
  • Attending programs or events (78%)
  • Visiting the bookstore (77%)
  • Relaxing (71%)
  • Attending student organization meetings (68%)

 

So, the national data reflect that, while students are visiting their college union for more transactional needs, like buying textbooks or getting lunch, they are also utilizing the facility for connecting, as many of the top reasons for visiting include meeting other students, attending programs, or attending organization meetings.

 

Unions successfully help to build a sense of community

 

For a college union to be successfully fulfilling its mission of serving as a hub of student life and helping to build a sense of community, we would expect more than usage data showing numerous visits for a variety of reasons. We would also expect student perceptions of those unions--centered around both satisfaction and learning--to highlight the role that unions play in supporting student success. Nationally, the data from the ACUI/Benchworks College Union Assessment reflects just that.

 

Across a variety of outcomes, union visitors indicated that their experience with unions, their activities, and their services all reflect a facility that is truly the hub of student life and connections. For instance, nearly three out of four union visitors were both satisfied with the extent to which their college union promotes a sense of community on campus and agreed that their union is a place to get involved in campus life.

 

Furthermore, student perceptions also reflect the role of unions and union activities in contributing to learning. For instance, 40% of union visitors indicated that their college union experience enhanced their ability to interact socially. And, 26% of visitors indicated that their college union activities expand their understanding of their role as a citizen of the college community.

 

To top it off, unions do this while being conscious of student activity fee dollars. When considering the fees paid to support their union with the quality of activities and services provided, 88% of union visitors rated the value of how their dollars were spent as at least “Fair.” 37% of visitors rated the value of their dollars as very good or higher.

 

So, at a high level, unions help to bring students together; provide opportunities for learning that, among other things, build campus connections; and provide all of this and more at a valuable rate for students.

 

Want more? We’ve got you covered

There’s much more to the college union experience than three high-level findings. How do the visit rates differ across key populations? What concepts most closely predict high union effectiveness? How does frequency of visits relate to reasons for visiting or satisfaction with the facility? For these points and more, check out two of our recent research notes, one of which goes deeper into what we’ve learned about the college union experience and the other explores frequency of visits and how it relates to union perceptions and usage.   

 

 

And, if you have other questions that we haven’t addressed yet in these notes, ask us and we’ll add it to our list!

Student staff members—commonly known as resident assistants or community assistants—support primary functions in our residence halls, facilitate community development, and provide learning opportunities to residents. For a position so critical to residence life, in particular one that continues to evolve and grow, it is imperative that we understand the current experience of our student staff, what they learn, and how important quality student staff members are to the broader college student experience. However, even with all of this research and our anecdotal understanding of the importance of the position, little empirical research exists on what RAs gain from their experience and how quality RAs relate to the overall housing experience of residents. Furthermore, what research does exist is often limited to single-campus studies or qualitative research.

 

This research note details findings from the ACUHO-I/Benchworks Student Staff Assessment, specifically a sample of over 3,000 student staff from 43 institutions. In particular, this research notes explores the relationship between the student staff member experience and their intent to return to their positions in the following academic year.

 

Key Questions:

  1. How many student staff members intend to return to their positions?
  2. What aspects of the student staff experience are most closely related to intent to return?

 

Student staff members—commonly known as resident assistants or community assistants—support key operations in our residence halls, facilitate community development, and provide learning opportunities to residents. For a position so critical to residence life, in particular one that continues to evolve and grow, it is imperative that we understand the current experience of our student staff, what they learn, and how important quality student staff members are to the broader college student experience. However, even with all of this research and our anecdotal understanding of the importance of the position, little empirical research exists on what RAs gain from their experience and how quality RAs relate to the overall housing experience of residents. Furthermore, what research does exist is often limited to single-campus studies or qualitative research.

 

This research note details findings from the ACUHO-I/Benchworks Student Staff Assessment, specifically a sample of over 3,000 student staff from 43 institutions. In particular, this research notes explores which concepts most closely relate to a quality student staff experience

 

Key Questions:

  1. Who are our student staff?
  2. How satisfied were student staff with their overall experience?
  3. What concepts related to high perceptions of the student staff experience?

 

 

The expansion of open educational resources (OER) in higher education has led to a rush of commercial companies looking to provide OER-related services. Many if not most of these companies have brought products to market based on loose assumptions about what OER actually are and few have taken the time to learn and apply principles of the open education community that underlie the increase in OER use. Our group at Macmillan Learning strives to be different.

 

Like other commercial publishers new to open education, we first understood OER only in terms of open textbooks and other resources that were disrupting the business of our commercial titles. But unlike most companies, our desire to learn from the people advancing open education, through conference attendance, campus visits, countless phone calls, and some “constructive” criticism on Twitter, led us to realize that the mission of open education complemented Macmillan Learning’s own mission to improve lives through learning. This was evident to me at my first Open Education conference and has carried through as teams at Macmillan and Intellus Learning focus on bringing OER-awareness to our company and incorporate principles of open education into our activities and services.

 

 

We listened - and still are.

Engaging with people and learning from them often results in correcting course, and correcting course is easier when there are guide posts to follow. It should start by taking a “do no harm approach” to avoid openwashing; it is carried forward with the 5Rs of open licensing (retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute) that provide a structure to the promise of openly licensed content; and last fall, the offering of the CARE Framework provided an outline on not only how we can provide material and support services but how we orient ourselves to the open education community. The introduction of the CARE Framework has proven valuable context to mature our organization’s understanding of open education.

 

You can find the many ways we align with the CARE Framework on our website.

 

We support open licensing to improve student learning - not just lower costs.

We understand the CARE Framework is not a set of criteria to check-off, but the beginning of a conversation. The conversation starts with access, but how we improve learning through the use of OER immediately follows. Pre-packaged free alternatives to commercial products will not suffice. Agency, empowerment, and validation are needed, too. To that end, the value of the Intellus Learning platform exists in the insights it provides on licensing and accessibility, its value in reducing information gaps and increasing efficiency in the discovery and usage of OER.

 

 

A Curriculum and Campus Approach to Supporting OER

Most OER-related services provided by commercial companies follow the money, and those companies believe the money lies solely in supplying services for general education courses. There is no shortage of companies claiming that they have the out-of-the-box solution to OER usage in introductory psychology, college physics, or U.S. history. Few companies, however, are developing resources that support the use of OER throughout the curriculum. The Intellus Learning platform enables instructors and course designers to discover and select resources from a database of more than 6 million OER assets structured in a taxonomy built around the undergraduate curriculum. In addition, Intellus Learning can provide insight into use of popular library databases like EBSCO, ProQuest, Springer and Films on Demand (just to name a few), and as a result it can be used to effectively identify, aggregate and deliver OER and freely available resources up and down the curriculum - not just in general education courses. Since Intellus-identified OER is delivered through the campus LMS, full-scale campus implementations can be more easily managed by campus technology.

 

Curated Courses Serve as a Foundation for an Individualized Experience

To make finding and delivering open educational resources even easier, we created Intellus Open Courses, using carefully curated, quality OER delivered via a customizable, affordable course to students. Each Intellus Open Course contains content from openly licensed eBooks and instructor resources such as presentation slides and test bank questions that have been created by Macmillan Learning and shared under Creative Commons licenses. Each course includes additional open and freely available resources including YouTube videos, optional institutional library content, primary source documents, and more. In our effort to ensure we are not charging for open content that can be freely-accessed elsewhere, all content that is included in an Intellus Open Course is linked to on our public website, no passwords, no paywall.

 

Also unlike other offerings, central to our mission is to enable instructors to make each course their own by taking advantage of the powerful search and discovery tools within Intellus Learning to add or remove content and design their course to fit their individual course needs. Adopters of Intellus Open Courses receive support services, including on-demand training and implementation support.

 

 

Continuing the Conversation

The CARE Framework as well as so much of the work by the open education community has helped us become better participants in the conversation around open education. We welcome more feedback on how we are doing and look forward to many future conversations about how Macmillan Learning can be a participant in the broader mission of open education. Tell us your thoughts below, tweet us or email us at intelluslearning@macmillan.com.

 

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Charles Linsmeier is senior vice president, content strategy, at Macmillan Learning, where he manages the social science, curriculum solutions, and high school programs. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, he began his career at Macmillan Learning in 2000.

Last week, our Learning Science and Insights team released a whitepaper, "Beyond the Hype of Big Data in Education". In it, our team of learning designer researchers and data scientists outline how data can be used responsibly to more effectively impact big data. The data mining and learning analytics processes outlined in the whitepaper demonstrate the type of deep analysis, consideration and empathy that Benchworks has been recognized for more than 20 years. With partnerships with more than 1,500 institutions of higher education, as well as with key program accrediting bodies for the departments that our assessments service, we remain committed to providing programs with nationally-normed assessments and benchmarking that help better understand what's working on their campuses and how to best facilitate improvements with innovative programs. One of the key takeaways from the whitepaper is that there is a difference between data and insights. Benchworks will continue to endeavor to provide robust, but accessible program insights - not overwhelm you with data. If you would like to learn more about how Benchworks program assessments can support your institutional and department initiatives, please reach out to your local Assessment Specialists.skyfactor - blog post

At Intellus Learning, we are so excited and proud to be working with the American Public University System. Let's continue to reduce the cost of higher education through affordable course materials. 

Read the full article!

Have you ever felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day? With the start of the fall term upon us, it’s very likely you may be feeling that way now! For faculty, administrators, and students alike, the beginning of the school year marks a time of renewal, filled with emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety. At Macmillan Learning, we’re humbled to work with all stakeholders in the education community to help learners achieve their wildest dreams.

Today we are excited to announce a contest to capture the realities, challenges, and motivations of higher education faculty, staff, and students. Through original and captivating video or essay, communicate “What drives you to #AchieveMore?” We talk to faculty and students every day, and often hear incredible stories about perseverance and the determination to succeed. We want to hear more of your stories and will reward the most creative storytellers!

“Each day we hear stories of people who have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of higher education and those who work to support and encourage others in that pursuit,” said Ken Michaels, CEO of Macmillan Learning. “So we are really excited to facilitate the storytelling process and hopefully inspire the next generation of teachers and learners while at it.”

The contest, open to any student, faculty, staff person, or administrator over the age of 18 at an accredited college or university in the United States, runs from August 27th, 2018, to November 2nd, 2018. Submissions will be reviewed from November 2nd to November 30th, 2018 and evaluated based on relevancy, authenticity, organization creativity, and tone.  Three winners in each category will be announced on December 14, 2018, on the competition website: https://go.macmillanlearning.com/driven-to-achieve-more.html. First place winners in each category will receive $500, second place winners in each category will receive $250, and third place winners will receive win $100.

Full contest details can be found at:  https://go.macmillanlearning.com/driven-to-achieve-more.html.

Sara Jo Lee

OER in the News

Posted by Sara Jo Lee Aug 17, 2018

It’s an exciting time to be exploring Open Educational Resources (OER), and we wanted to share some great articles that recently caught our eye:

 

We update and augment our Intellus Learning content library every month to make it the most current and comprehensive OER catalog possible. Here are some of the most recent additions to our platform:

 

  • 2012 Book Archive - A project by Andy Schmitz that archives some of the open books.
  • The American Yawp - A Free and Online, Collaboratively Built American History Textbook.
  • Galileo Open Learning Materials - brings together open educational resources throughout the University System of Georgia, including open textbooks and ancillary materials.
  • iBiology Videos - Open-access free videos that convey the excitement of modern biology and the process by which scientific discoveries are made.
  • National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science - award-winning collection of peer-reviewed case studies.
  • REBUS Community - OER covering various topics created by faculty, students, and staff from schools, colleges, and universities around the world, along with regular people who believe that educational materials for every subject should be a free and open public resource.
  • ScholarWorks@GVSU - Open-access repository maintained by the GVSU Libraries that showcases and maintains works by GVSU scholars.
  • Smarthistory - A free resource for the study of art history created by art historians Beth Harris and Steven Zucker. Smarthistory is an independent not-for-profit organization and the official partner to Khan Academy for art history.
  • The Society Pages - The Society Pages (TSP) is an open-access social science project headquartered in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota and supported by individual donors.TSP consists of in-house “TSP HQ” articles, blogs, podcasts, “Community Pages” and content produced by their partners.
  • UCI Open - A web-based repository of various UC Irvine courses and video lectures from UC Irvine faculty, seminar participants, and instructional staff.
  • YouTube Channels

Nearly 1/3 of all undergraduate students leave college after their first year. From the cost of education to personal constraints at home, students face additional pressures that weigh on their ability to complete college. The most surprising factor that leads to a student leaving college before graduation is a failure to live up to the self-imposed expectations of success while at school.

 

Getting through college is about finding balance between academic success and developing additional skills that can be utilized regardless area of study. There are a variety of soft skills a student should possess, such as time management, attention to detail, and the ability to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing, in addition to others in this vein. For students to truly succeed in college and leave school with applicable skills regardless of their career path, it’s important to recognize there is more to higher education than coursework. It’s crucial all students are given opportunities to hone these soft skills as they learn.

 

The will to succeed - Grit

 

Sherry Woosley, Director of Analytics and Research at Skyfactor, believes the “true essence” of grit, a popular topic in today’s academic circles, hones in on three essential concepts for students: focus, effort, and recovery. Students should be able to ask themselves whether they have the focus to accomplish what needs to get done, the ability to put forth the effort required to be successful, and the recovery strategy necessary to bounce back when things get rough. Instilling in students the tenants of grit gives them a coping mechanism to hunt for success in college and life, leading them toward the successes they will need to remain motivated to stay in college.

 

What you teach in the classroom beyond academics - the soft skills

 

Equally important to grit are the basic soft skills that one needs to progress in college, especially within that first year as students are adjusting to living a completely different lifestyle. Going from high school to college can be a jarring experience for some, but crafting the right combination of soft skills can enable students to cope with the changes they’re facing. Matthew Venaas, a Research Manager on the Analytics and Research Team at Skyfactor highlights a few key skills which can help students meet their expectations of success within their first year of college.

  • Interpersonal skills - according to Venaas, first-year student who are able to build relationships with their peers to build a fulfilling social life and connect with faculty in their major or program are far more likely to have a high first-term GPA. Building a strong network can then can help lead a student to academic success. This skillset also plays out positively within the classroom for students who don’t shy away from collaboration. The willingness to work with other students, actively contributing to the conversation in the classroom, can also positively impact a student’s GPA, giving them a chance to grasp information they may have struggled with on their own.
  • Persistence - this relates back to grit in not giving up when things get hard, but rather seeing a challenge as an opportunity to work even harder. Being resilient and self-motivated to do the absolute best you can, bouncing back when things are tough, is an important trait of successful students.
  • Productivity - there are quite a few skills that could be placed into this category, most of which must be learned and practiced often. Staying organized and effectively managing time are two big areas students can struggle with as they transition into college.

 

While students won’t see the fruits of their labor until final grades come out each semester, it’s important to encourage them to build the right skillset throughout their college career that compliments academic achievement, so that no matter what they’re learning, or working on once they leave college, they’ll have the tools they need to find success.

It’s in the data: How to pinpoint attrition risk factors

 

Only 59% of students who begin a college career as an undergraduate earn their bachelor’s degree within six years from the same institution where they start their study, according to a recent survey. That means 41% of the students in this pool leave college for one reason or another. In order to combat this statistic and improve retention rates, it’s important to be able to pinpoint attrition risks and face them early on with students, within their freshman year if possible, in order to provide students with the motivation and skills to complete their college degree.

 

Predicting attrition risks

 

While there may be some universal risk factors for attrition that come up regularly in conversations on this topic, it’s important to be able to know for sure what your particular students are confronting that may lead to them leaving college. Are they lacking particular skills needed for success, or are they simply not fitting into college life?

 

Surveying students can be a great option, but it shouldn’t be the sole choice for collecting information, according to Sherry Woosley, Director of Analytics and Research at Skyfactor. “While surveys can be crucial to identifying at-risk students, I would not recommend using only surveys to predict risk.” Other possible options can include tracking data you, as faculty already have access to, such as:

  • Pre-college experiences
  • Enrollment patterns
  • Academic performance
  • Course or campus engagement
  • Financial Aid
  • Utilization of student services

Including these types of additional data can help create the right combination of proven sources instead of relying on just one.

 

How surveys can help

 

Surveys have the potential to highlight areas where students are consistently struggling whether it’s academically or something else. Non-academic issues can be just as debilitating for student success as those connected to coursework and should be addressed by faculty. Things like homesickness, poor study behaviors, and a lack of integration into college life are all possible areas of struggle for students away at college, but how would you know what they’re going through without asking them?

 

Figuring out the best way to utilize survey data to discover risks for attrition may mean relying on outside sources that have better access to a broader data set. Skyfactor has done some of the research for you in this regard, releasing reports related to issues affecting a large section of the student population such as homesickness or overall usage of student services.

 

To see how your specific group of students are doing, Mapworks helps predict risk while looking at the whole student. It provides an early-term snapshot to show who might be most at risk along with the contributing factors. Used each day, you can track the progress of your students and monitor their success closely enough to to institute intervention strategies when necessary, at the earliest stage.

 

Where else to track data

 

Even students not experiencing the issues mentioned above can be at risk for leaving college, which is why it’s important to find data outside of that collected in surveys to evaluate attrition risks. A few other data sources which can help highlight risk factors include:

  • Enrollment patterns
  • Academic performance over time
  • Course engagement
  • Campus engagement
  • Utilization of student services

 

Tracking data from these sources can not only highlight specific areas of risk, but can also tell you at what time of the year these risks occur. Does utilization of student services drop off after the first month or two? Do fewer students enroll in second semester courses? Noting these trends can allow faculty to combat these issues at the right time of year to have a positive effect in decreasing attrition.

 

Attacking the problem head on during orientation

 

Another strategy faculty may want to adopt to mitigate attrition risk is addressing common issues within the first week of the start of class. Ensuring students know what services are available to them for support, fully explaining your expectations for the course, and providing students with the right tools to help them develop the skills they’ll need to succeed are all ways you can support students’ efforts to succeed in college.

 

Teaching your students to have grit is another way to help them begin their college experience on the right foot. Among the tenants of grit is resilience. Instilling in students the ability to recover from whatever challenges they face through focus and effort is perhaps the best coping mechanism you can give them to fight those factors that could lead to leaving college. Prepare students for disappointment, because college doesn’t always live up to expectations, and then show them how to overcome and press forward.


Nearly 1/3 of undergraduate students leave college after their first year, but this statistic can get smaller with the right attention to thoughtfully collected data on attrition risk. This can be achieved by varying the sources for data and then working with students early to address risks and ensure they have the right skillset to succeed.

Early this year, the Association of College and Research Libraries compiled their top 5 articles about open educational resources (OER). The topics of these five posts focus on how libraries can participate in the integration of OER at their school from simply supporting the integration of these resources to becoming more vocal about their availability to actively engaging in OER adoption and authoring. Each of these topics are relevant to today’s librarians as they work toward ensuring they offer beneficial resources to students as well as faculty to make content accessible. According to an article posted on EdSurge, more colleges are setting up support systems to encourage OER adoption, using the campus library as the pitch center for OER. At the University of Texas at Arlington, a full-time Open Education Librarian is employed on staff. A recent project she did to bring OER to the forefront was create a series of videos promoting professors who replaced commercial textbooks in their courses with OER. These videos also addressed common pain points associated with traditional textbooks and how OER can help remedy those issues. Marilyn Billings, the Scholarly Communication & Special Initiatives Librarian at University of Massachusetts Amherst, spearheads the Open Education Initiative (OEI), a faculty incentive program that encourages the use of OER to support student learning along with the creation of new teaching materials and the use of library subscription materials. The library has a dedicated space on their website for OER and accepts grant proposals which require an anticipated OER implementation date. The importance of the role of the librarian in establishing OERs into curriculum was evaluated in a study done by the Centre for Academic Practice & Learning Enhancement (CAPLE) and Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards (CETIS), at the University of Strathclyde. This study looked primarily at higher education OER projects worldwide. The main objectives, according to the study, for these projects were:

 

   Implement repository or content management/publishing system for OER release
   Release existing institutional content as OER
   Raise awareness of OER and encourage its use

 

Findings showed that in three out of four project teams, at least one librarian participated, and from those teams, the library was either leading or a partner of the initiative 50 percent of the time. The expertise librarians are able to offer related to content-focused OER initiatives can greatly benefit teams working to create new curriculum or content management processes as their relate to OER. Advocating effectively for faculty to incorporate OER has many benefits for students and educators, but it can also lead to additional responsibilities for librarians when their workload is already full. In the paper, Librarians and OER: Cultivating a Community of Practice to Be More Effective Advocates, librarians in British Columbia, Canada came together as a community (BCOER Librarians) to focus on education and professional development that would help libraries facilitate the use and decampment of OER. Through a monthly, virtual meeting, the librarians in this group share ways to support the use of quality OER by collaborating on ideas, tools and strategies. To date, according to their website, there are 40 institutions participating in OER and students have saved over seven million dollars. In an article from the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), it’s recommended that librarians integrate open practices and cultivate leaders who can share their knowledge about OER policies and practices. An example of how this works can be seen at Granite State College in New Hampshire where a new Library Media Specialist certification program enables faculty and advisors to integrate open education practice and OER creation and improvement into course creation workflows. Additionally, OER courseware is being utilized for the certificate course itself. Regardless of the educational model being used in conjunction with open content, it’s important to note, says Stephen Downes in Models for Sustainable Open Educational Resources, that the nature of the content must be taken into consideration. Content needs to have longevity, and to do so should be flexible and adaptable to local needs. It also needs to be modifiable and adaptable based on licensing models. Think of content in a local context, how it pertains to your school and to the course it will be used for, and whether it requires changes in order to be relevant and appropriate. With so much discussion going on around OER and effectively utilizing it for academic purposes, there’s no shortage of content around these five key topic areas. The common thread, however, when thinking about how you, as a librarian, can bring OER into the curriculum at your school is collaboration. Connect with your local faculty to gain support, but also see what other schools are doing and how their strategies are working for them.

 

This blog was originally posted on the Intellus Learning website on Monday, April 9, 2018.

Collaboration will yield deeper insight into student behaviors and enable actions designed to lift retention and success rates

 

April 9th, 2018, New York, NY – Macmillan Learning, a premier learning solutions company, today announced a strategic partnership between Skyfactor (formerly EBI MAP-Works) and N2N Services. For more than twenty years, Skyfactor has empowered hundreds of higher education institutions to harness data from the college experience in ways that materially impact retention, persistence, and student success rates. The Skyfactor product suite features two award-winning offerings, the Mapworks student success and retention service, and the Benchworks program assessment instrument. This new collaboration with software integration provider N2N Services will provide tools and API’s that automate data exchanges between Mapworks and Learning Management Systems (LMS) or Student Information Systems (SIS). Through this partnership with N2N, administrators, faculty, and student support staff will have even deeper insight into the lives and behaviors of students, which will enable them to better serve their student populations.

 

 

“Too often information about student performance, financial aid, new student enrollment, and fees are stored in disparate data systems found throughout an institution’s infrastructure. Compartmentalizing data in this way, while typical, can be counterproductive to achieving the type of holistic perspective many higher education institutions are seeking to acquire,” explained Macmillan Learning Institutional General Manager, Craig Bleyer. This is why we are thrilled to work closely with N2N, as this partnership provides customers with a 360-degree view of the student experience, which is integral to the mission of Skyfactor and the expectations from the marketplace.”

 

N2N's Illuminate is a turnkey API integration platform specifically built for the needs of higher education. Illuminate includes modules to build, secure, integrate, and share APIs. The platform can be used for integrations of all types and by any sized institution. Illuminate allows institutional business users to easily connect their systems, whether on premise, hosted, or in the cloud easily and securely.

 

“N2N is pleased to partner with Skyfactor to enable real-time data integration. We’re confident that Skyfactor's student success and retention solutions, powered by N2N’s integration strategy, will provide real-time and interactive solutions needed to support students, faculty, and staff worldwide,” said Kiran Kodithala CEO and founder of N2N Services Inc. “N2N is committed to collaborations, such as with Skyfactor, that have a direct impact on student success and student progress towards graduation.”

 

Institutions who utilize the integrated instance of Skyfactor and N2N will always be able to access real-time student data to leverage throughout interventions and remediation actions, with integration available for use beginning fall 2018.

 

For more information, please contact the Skyfactor sales and customer teams at http://www.skyfactor.com.

 

About N2N:

N2N Services Inc. is a leader in enterprise application and data integration for higher education. N2N’s Illuminate platform is a cloud based SaaS platform providing standards based, turnkey integration enabling organizations to plug-in new SaaS applications in a matter of minutes to meet strategic institution goals. Our API integration platform is used by more than 150 institutions to enable enterprises to meet strategic integration objectives. N2N Services Inc. is based in Atlanta, GA. Learn more about N2N Services Inc. and the Illuminate platform by visiting our website at http://www.illuminateapp.com/

NEW YORK (PRWEB) FEBRUARY 21, 2018

 

Macmillan Learning, a premier educational solutions provider, and Unizin, the non-profit consortium dedicated to advancing access and affordability in higher education, today announced a strategic partnership. iClicker, a Macmillan Learning company, is also included within this partnership. Unizin schools who adopt iClicker will receive access to iClicker’s evolving learning management system integration tools, federated single sign on, institutional attendance tools, and opportunities to collaborate on learning science studies.

 

Via this innovative partnership, Macmillan Learning will offer the breadth of its content and digital portfolio to Unizin’s 25 member universities with inclusive access and preferred pricing models. By offering students access to course materials on day one, learners can access readings and assignments immediately and improve the chances of course success. Programs like Macmillan Learning’s inclusive access program saved students nearly 70% on course materials.

“Getting off to a fast start in course work is critical to student success. We conducted detailed empirical research on more than 2 million students last year, to better understand their behaviors, preferences, and course outcomes. We remain at the forefront of applying user-centered design, learning science, and data-mining to improve student success,” stated Macmillan Learning CEO, Ken Michaels “We share many of these insights with partners like Unizin to underscore our commitment to student achievement.”

 

“We are thrilled to welcome Macmillan Learning to the Unizin ecosystem,” notes Unizin Interim Executive Director, Rob Lowden, “In Macmillan Learning we have found an educational solutions provider that not only delivers excellent content and platforms, but most importantly is committed to sharing and researching outcomes and behavioral data to advance the core mission of teaching and learning.”

 

A family-owned company, Macmillan’s content and services span eBooks, print materials, market-leading digital learning tools, as well as pedagogical and custom services. Faculty at member institutions will have the opportunity to adopt Macmillan Learning eTexts via Unizin’s Engage platform or utilize content via Macmillan platforms such as LaunchPad and Sapling. Through this partnership Unizin and Macmillan will also collaborate to ensure outcomes and behavioral data from Macmillan content and platforms, including iClicker, will be included in the Unizin Data Platform to provide a more complete view of student engagement metrics.

 

“We are very attuned to the total cost of success for students – their investment of time and money, and the opportunity cost. Macmillan Learning & Unizin share a common goal to extend successful learning to as many learners as possible,” commented Macmillan Learning Institutional GM, Craig Bleyer. “With access to Nobel Laureate authors, innovative student engagement tools from iClicker, and effective practice with algorithmic homework software like Sapling, we are committed to building, measuring, and continually improving our products and content to ensure they provide the very best investment in time and money to help each student to achieve their goals.”

 

The collaboration between Macmillan Learning and Unizin will be immediately available to all Unizin member and subscriber institutions, and their combined student population of nearly 1 million learners, including institutions like Colorado State University, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 

Elaborating on the partnership further, Macmillan Learning CEO Ken Michaels stated, “Macmillan Learning has always been an affordable destination for learning materials, and on the cutting edge of the industry with the acquisition of startups like Intellus Learning. We are a mission-driven organization with a deep passion for learner success, and we couldn’t be more excited to kick-off this partnership with the Unizin community.”

 

To learn more about Macmillan Learning’s portfolio of products and services, please visit: macmillanlearning.com.

 

About Macmillan Learning:

Macmillan Learning improves lives through learning. Our legacy of excellence in education informs our approach to using user-centered design, learning science, impact research, and data mining to develop world-class content and pioneering products that are empathetic, highly effective, and drive improved outcomes. Through deep partnership with the world’s best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers, we facilitate teaching and learning opportunities that spark student engagement and improve outcomes. We provide educators with tailored solutions designed to inspire curiosity and measure progress. Our commitment to teaching and discovery upholds our mission to improve lives through learning. Macmillan Learning includes both academic and institutional divisions. To learn more, please visit http://www.macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN or join our Macmillan Community.

 

About Macmillan Learning Institutional:

Macmillan Learning Institutional strives to deliver solutions that provide incisive, actionable insights that help empower institutions of higher-education to help their students achieve their full potential. Our institutional solutions are designed to facilitate college affordability, develop more engaged learners and improve graduation, retention and other success measures. Macmillan Learning Institutional solutions include student engagement technologies like iClicker; Intellus Learning, an aggregation platform for open educational resources and academic library assets backed by powerful engagement analytics; as well as a suite of trusted program and institutional assessment and reporting products through Skyfactor (Benchworks and Mapworks). To learn more, please visit: https://www.macmillanlearning.com/Catalog/page/institutional

 

About Unizin:

Unizin, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit consortium of 25 leading universities dedicated to promoting affordability, access, and learner success in digital education. Unizin’s interoperable technology ecosystem supports the diverse teaching and learning environments across its member institutions. Unizin solutions promote technology standards, enable integrations, eliminate the learner analytics black box, ensure accessibility of content and data, preserve and promote faculty choice, and support institutional collaboration. Unizin is operated by its member institutions through a Board of Directors. Unizin is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

At $14.99 per student, Intellus Open Courses offer educators the ability to deliver flexible, affordable course materials to students

 

Macmillan Learning announced the upcoming release of Intellus Open Courses, which feature open educational resources (OER) expertly curated by Macmillan Learning subject matter experts and Macmillan Learning’s editorial team, using the Intellus Learning platform. Each course includes a rich package of instructor supplements and on-demand support. Intellus Open Courses make it easy for faculty to find, adopt, and use the highest quality OER resources and deliver a customizable, affordable course to students. Intellus Open Courses enhance open textbooks by sourcing high-quality openly licensed content from a variety of sources and coupling content with editorially-driven pedagogy.

 

"Each Intellus Open Course contains content from open eBooks, under the Creative Commons Attribution license, and instructor resources like PowerPoint slides and test bank questions, as well as other open assets including YouTube videos, optional institutional library content, primary source documents, and more. Our subject matter experts use the power of the Intellus Learning platform to locate the best open content available from the leading OER content providers and package them into a turnkey courses for use by instructors," stated Renee Altier, Vice President of Institutional Strategy.

 

In addition to the expertly curated OER content, Intellus Open Courses include a suite of support services, including learning management system integration, on-demand training and implementation support, instructor supplements, and customization tools. Instructors can access Intellus Learning to customize, reuse, remix, and redistribute their open course content. Licensing data is available for each content item so instructors know which open resources can be modified as well. Instructors can also leverage Intellus Learning's cornerstone engagement analytics at any time to optimize courses to meet learning objectives.

 

“I adopted the Intellus Open Course for my American Government course because I was impressed with the additional assets and capabilities they've built, which make it more than simply an open textbook. With the added features and analytics that the Intellus platform provides, we will not only decrease the cost of course resources for our students, but also positively impact learning without starting completely from scratch,” said Jessica Scarffe, Associate Professor at Allan Hancock College.

 

Sixteen Intellus Open Courses will be launching this spring in general education courses, such as American government, sociology, economics, pre-algebra, psychology, and chemistry, with the first courses going live for review and testing at the beginning of February 2018. Intellus Open Courses support fees are $14.99 per student, per course, and provide ongoing services for instructors and students that include LMS integration, customization tools and services, technical support, and course maintenance. Institutions can license Intellus Open Course and the Intellus Learning platform for students. Alternatively, students can pay course support fees directly through the Macmillan Learning student store. Additionally, recognizing the spirit of open education, students will be able to access and retain all OER material included in Intellus Open Courses on our website.

 

Charles Linsmeier, Vice President, Editorial, at Macmillan Learning noted, “Importantly, adopters of Intellus Open Courses are not limited to a publisher-provided curriculum. Instead, adopters of Intellus Open Courses are encouraged to make these courses their own by taking advantage of the easy-to-use, search and discovery tools for free and open content that Intellus Learning provides.”

 

Intellus Open Courses are part of Macmillan Learning’s commitment to deliver high-quality content at an affordable price for students. Intellus Learning empowers faculty to deliver affordable course solutions with the support and ease of implementation that faculty have come to expect from Macmillan.

 

Read the full press release here.