Adapting the Experience: ISM 120 Takes on a New Program

Posted: Monday, September 11th 2017 at 9:44 AM

With nearly 1,000 students enrolled in the course every semester, ISM 120, Intro to Computer Information Systems, has switched to a new adaptive learning system to better accommodate students and their different skill levels. The new course design has been funded by NAU’s APLU Grant, which provides support for lower-division, large enrollment classes to introduce “adaptive learning technologies” into the curriculum to boost student success and retention.

ISM 120 is an introductory course that focuses on Microsoft programs and building new and unique skills. The new system, developed by Pearson textbook publishers, allows students to test through material they are familiar with at the beginning of the course by taking a pretest that shows what they need to be trained on and what they already know.

This innovative way of learning allows students to move forward at their own pace, and focus on learning even more throughout the semester. Their skills are then applied in other class work that utilizes what the program has taught them.

Students have responded positively to the program and are finding there is a lot they have not learned about Microsoft programs.

Each student gets their own customized training path. The students are happier because they get to demonstrate what they know, and jump into what they don’t know,” shared Beverly Amer, ISM 120 course coordinator.

At the end of the semester, the ISM 120 team and FCB researchers will compare test scores from previous semesters to determine how effective the new program is.

The Pearson team has worked closely with the ISM 120 team to design the new course pedagogy, and is interested in the results of the study as well. If the program proves itself as a better learning tool, it could be used as a best practice to be emulated by other universities and institutions.

A large benefit of the program is the customization each student experiences. By adapting to each individual’s skill set and needs, students are better able to apply their skills and learn more throughout the course.

“It is the wave of the future for using the power of software and technology to meet the needs of students today,” said Amer.

Categories: students 2017 fall 2017 beverly amer pearson adaptive learning