In Part 1 of the series “LaunchPad”, I focused on how to use LaunchPad in your classes and what tools are helpful to use.
The important aspect, besides how and what to use in LaunchPad, is the benefits of using LearningCurve to the students. I discovered these benefits from observation of students and their grades, speaking with them, and surveying students at the end of the semester. I ascertained most students see the benefits and appreciate use of LearningCurve. Students are benefitting by preparing in reading their material more, retaining more information, appreciating the ease of use, being provided an affordable option, and providing successful learning opportunities in a stress-free environment.
To break down the benefits more precisely, the most common benefits include:
Students learn and retain the material better. In the past, I always struggled with encouraging students to read their text; however, they now actually read the e-text and remember the content!
The digital platform is user friendly. Students appreciate having to only log in through one site (through BlackBoard), and once they have logged in the first time, they never are required to log in again if they enter through BlackBoard. It surprised me how much students dislike login pages because they won’t remember their login information.
Having immediate access to the text online anytime from anywhere is extremely helpful. Students have been known to access the text and quizzes from school, home and even work during their busy, mobile schedules.
Students concur that online quizzes from home are preferred over in-class quizzes and exams. They value the ability to take an exam on their own time when they are comfortable, because they are able to use resources, and have the ability to take the quiz during the time of day they learn best or when they have time. Students also like that they can start an assignment, save it, and return to it later. In short, students are “testing” well because they are completing it in a stress-free environment.
It is also satisfying for students to see their grade transfer and appear in their BlackBoard gradebook. It provides for a productive feeling with immediate feedback. It also keeps students from having to “record-keep” or save hard copies of assignments, quizzes and exams.
Students expressed gratitude that the professor actually used the materials that students were required to purchase, and they were grateful for the reasonable price. As surprising as it is to me, students complain that many professors never refer to or use the products students spent a lot of money on. In using this product, students are offered an affordable option that they will indeed use and learn from.
The digital product saves students time in many ways, from the ability to purchase e-text access online (no trips to the expensive bookstore!), having access any time, having their grades tracked and transferred for them, etc…
In the high technology culture we now live in, most students have trouble keeping their technology devices put away. Further, many young students arrive at college having greatly used technology in their middle and high school education. Whether we like it or not, simply put, this is how they now learn. Therefore, if many students learn from technology, prefer technology, and don’t want to go without it, I see it as a benefit to harness technology and incorporate it into their learning.
Check back for the third and final post on how using LaunchPad can benefit you, the instructor.