Put the “A” Back in “Teach”: Using Technology to Liberate the Teaching Experience

Adaptive courseware is used successfully across diverse higher education settings. Enterprises including philanthropic organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have supported studies evaluating the equity and learning outcomes benefits of adaptive courseware and The Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities has gone as far as developing an Accelerating Adoption of Adaptive Courseware initiative. Adaptive courseware, while nearly two decades in maturity, continues to be a hot topic of discussion at industry conferences year after year.

Despite the growth in usage, availability, outcomes, impact on equity and capabilities of adaptive courseware, some instructors continue to have reservations regarding a concern adaptive courseware is like “teaching on auto-pilot.”

The reality of teaching with some adaptive courseware could not be more different. CogBooks adaptive courseware strongly values the importance of agency for instructors and learners, and empowers each instructor with unique customization and configurations capabilities to make any courseware their very own. 

A Tech-Friendly Holistic Experience

Adaptive courseware tools have come a long way in usability. Still, some are better than others. CourseGateway rated CogBooks among the very best for functionality and usability. The difference-maker is a refined, highly intuitive user experience. In their review, CourseGateway said CogBooks is “a very mature product with easy-to-use interfaces and is highly customizable.”

See how quickly instructors configure courses using CogBooks adaptive courseware.

Another difference is how CogBooks approached the design of the application holistically. Many adaptive courseware options are focused solely on the student user with a heavy emphasis on assessment only. This makes sense from the perspective that the origin of adaptive courseware was online homework that was typically a supplement to a print or digital textbook – something to be used as an add-on

CogBooks shifted the paradigm by focusing on student and instructor needs to create a course-complete tool featuring a collection of integrated resources that can be used in the place of multiple course materials including a textbook, instructor’s manual, gradebook, homework assignments, study guide, presentation tools, videos and so on. As a result, CogBooks adaptive courseware is among the most useful stand-alone solutions for creating, teaching, and learning in any higher education course. It’s technology that improves every aspect of the teaching and learning experience.

Instructors who adopt CogBooks adaptive courseware find they spend far less time setting on administrative tasks, leaving more time for high value teaching and student engagement.

Your Course, Your Pedagogy

Instructors should have agency to implement their preferred teaching and pedagogical approach instead of having to change their teaching to fit the approach of a particular technology tool. Teaching experience tells us that equity, diversity, and inclusivity all impact how different students learn. Instructors should be able to adapt their course to make it as relevant as possible to their students. CogBooks embraces this philosophy and offers the flexibility that empowers instructors to make each courseware their own. 

CogBooks adaptive courseware is among the few options that give instructors complete freedom to build or modify courseware to fit their teaching style and their students’ unique needs, and still deliver on the benefits of an adaptive learning experience for students. The open platform can integrate virtually any third party application, is content agnostic, can be easily reconfigured to any course duration or course modality, such as flipped or hybrid, and can easily accommodate any pedagogical approach.

With off-the-shelf courseware many of the most widely taught general education course areas, CogBooks provides the instructional content, homework activities, formative assessments, videos and more, aligned to a common topical organization for mainstream teaching of the given course. Starting with a robust, ready-to-adopt courseware, instructors can choose the material they want to use, how to sequence it, which things to exclude, what supporting content will be added, assignments, grading, and other variables. Nothing is dictated by CogBooks adaptive courseware; everything is up to the instructor.

Easier To Personalize Than Traditional Courseware

Printed textbooks, study guides, and supporting materials give publishers authority over the way a course should be taught. The pedagogical approach is governed by the static content the publisher or author envisioned at the time of publication. It’s time-consuming and can be costly for instructors to edit, amend or supplement traditional printed materials. Using a traditional curriculum often means instructors teach the way someone else thinks is best, and that “someone” is likely developing content for the masses, not for a geographically or culturally specific audience, as an example. Without the ability to easily customize or modify content to improve equity and relevance to the unique needs of their learners, many learners will be left out or disengage from the course entirely. 

Adaptive courseware by CogBooks, on the other hand, gives power to instructors who can make straight-forward modifications to the course experience for students in a few, simple clicks. 

CogBooks adaptive courseware gives instructor the agency to control these things and more:

  • What topics will be covered
  • What order topics are presented
  • What the topics are called
  • What learning path will students follow
  • What assignments students will complete
  • What supplemental content is presented
  • When assignments are due
  • What grading rubrics will be used

Nearly every decision is left to the instructor to decide. 

More Opportunities for Intervention

Adaptive courseware enables instructors to help more students find academic success. 

One of the biggest challenges facing most instructors is time. Many instructors indicate that they don’t have enough hours to give students the high-touch, 1:1 personalized support they’d like. In part, CogBooks helps by alleviating the amount of time instructors spend on administrative tasks, therefore freeing up time for greater engagement with students.

But, one of the greatest benefits of teaching with adaptive courseware as compared to traditional, linear courseware is that instructors have full transparency into every learner engagement in CogBooks, even while the platform is dynamically personalizing the learning experience to deliver 1:1 support for each and every student. Even without meeting with a student in person during office hours, an instructor can know with precision exactly what topic a learner – or the class – is struggling with, and intervene proactively when needed. And, because CogBooks assignments are set by the instructor, instructors can have confidence they’re teaching to the core needs of the curriculum with the knowledge that all students are with them, (or not), and take action. 

There’s one more asset CogBooks adaptive courseware gives instructors to help student performance—a platform for communication. CogBooks unique in-context social collaboration tool allows instructors to engage with learners either 1:1 or an entire class in the context of assigned reading or homework, or enables students to help each other or reach out to instructors for help anytime it’s needed. 

CogBooks adaptive courseware closes the gap between instructors and students, improving the teaching experience and student retention to create a better opportunity for success.

Instructor Inspiration Meets Courseware Innovation

CogBooks weaves student agency, instructor empowerment, and curriculum affordability ($39.95 per course) into a comprehensive, adaptive learning platform. This simple-to-adopt-and-manage tool is a direct replacement for textbooks. Higher education institutions or instructors can choose CogBooks for a single course or create an entire degree program such as the Biospine Initiative at Arizona State University. The CogBooks adaptive learning platform has been used by more than 200,000 students worldwide. It is proven to reduce dropouts by 90%* while improving student performance by 24%.* Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more, creating a custom course, or developing an entire degree program.