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.

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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.

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.