Universities nationwide are facing the same challenge: how to make textbooks more relevant, meaningful and engaging for students. This problem has grown as the lack of student engagement—especially among general education classes—continues to be a contributing factor to today’s rapidly declining RPG (retention, progression, and graduation) rates.

For Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Georgia, educators were working to overcome this same obstacle while experiencing rather high DWFI (D, fail, withdraw, incomplete) rates in one of its institutional requirements, WELL 1000L Foundations for Healthy Living. Students were not successfully completing this required course, which could jeopardize their college careers.

With a desire to lower the DFWI rate without compromising the academic integrity of the course, KSU faculty and staff decided to alter the WELL 1000 objectives while also replacing the textbook with online courseware that equipped students with more emerging technologies to help boost student engagement.

The implementation process
In the redesigned WELL 1000 course, KSU desired to offer a more holistic approach focused on goal-setting and building self-assessments and reflections to establish long-term health behaviors. This required a number of content progressions as well as a process to better identify and support at-risk students.

To make this happen, KSU partnered with Perceivant to house course materials as well as leverage their innovative tools, which included predictive analytics to identify struggling students and meaningful editorial support. The goal was to work together to boost student engagement by making course content more relevant and meaningful while still aligning it with the university’s general education standards.

First, KSU and Perceivant collaborated to ensure the WELL 100 courseware materials reflected this new progressive method of teaching while focusing on more modern health behavioral topics that contribute to the leading risk behaviors of college students in the United States. Thanks to Perceivant’s editorial process, KSU instructors were heavily supported in the creation of customized content that aligned specifically with course objectives.

Here's how KSU boosted #studentengagement. #highered #studentvoice

In addition, the two partners worked simultaneously to ensure consistency across more than 35 instructors and 70 course sections while allowing each instructor to easily add content such as assignments and extra-credit opportunities.

Since recent studies show that more than 60 percent of teachers nationwide feel inadequately prepared to use education technology, Perceivant team members also came on-site to train WELL 100 instructors on the platform once the content was finalized. This process efficiently armed educators with the knowledge to leverage the platform properly to ensure the most optimal learning experience for students.

About the Author:

Dr. Kandice Porter is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education at Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Georgia. Her research areas include coordinated school health programs, health education pedagogy, and evidence-based sexuality education. She has served on numerous committees for the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Professional Standards Commission, SHAPE America, and Society for Public Health Education. She authored the WELL 1000: Foundations for Healthy Living textbook chapter addressing healthy sexuality. She has disseminated her research through numerous presentations and publications at the local, national, and international level. Dr. Porter continues to teach health education pedagogy and assessment courses for the Public Health and Health and Physical Education programs at KSU.

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