Health studies instructor Niki Bray estimates that each chapter or module took about 10 to 15 hours to build within the platform. But this investment in time “has been so worth it,” she says. “These students are all working adults, and most have families. They have vey little time for education, so anything we can do to reduce costs and accelerate their learning makes sense.”
Expanding the effort
A one-year pilot program supported with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation proved so successful that the university has received a second round of funding to expand the initiative beyond its initial 55 students.
Irwin says the university hopes to recruit at least another 100 students into the program. He believes the future of higher education depends on how well colleges and universities can serve adult students who are returning to school, and adaptive learning and other practices that can accelerate completion are critical to these efforts.
“We are very keen on helping students save time and money,” he says.