Being a first-time, online undergraduate student can be challenging. New environments, new schedules, new teaching styles, and so much more can all play a part in the student's experience. How can institutions best support their first-time, online undergraduate learners? This is a question that the University of North Georgia (UNG) faced and set out to answer.
Check out this case study below to learn how UNG was able to provide targeted support to their students as they entered into a new environment. Want to read it on the go?
The Challenge: Providing Targeted Support
The University of North Georgia (UNG) is a regional campus institution and premier senior military college that provides a culture of academic excellence in a student-focused environment that includes quality education, service inquiry, and creativity. This is accomplished through broad access to comprehensive academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society.
While UNG Online had previously focused on graduate offerings, a few years ago it began to offer undergraduate courses as well. Then the following year UNG Online became an eCore affiliate, leading to a boost in freshmen and sophomore enrollment.
As a result, understanding its new students’ readiness and desire to study online became a top priority. UNG Online sought a robust readiness assessment to capture specific student data in order to pinpoint then provide the precise tools necessary for increased student retention and success.
The Solution to Measuring Learner Readiness and Providing Targeted Support
UNG Online heard that the University System of Georgia had success with the SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator (LRI) and so decided to implement it as well. SmarterServices, creator and owner of the assessment engine and LRI, aided UNG Online in its roll-out. They provided training around the SmarterMeasure administrative panel and customizable features, set readiness ranges specific to UNG Online students, and integrated it into BrightSpace, the school’s LMS. UNG Online was initially focused on its first-time online students by requesting that they take the Learning Readiness Indicator assessment delivered by SmaterMeasure.
The Benefits of Using SmarterMeasure
In a single academic year, 3,455 online students enrolled with UNG. Of those new students, 1,073 completed the SmarterMeasure LRI. UNG Online leveraged the LRI assessment data to create and provide specific supports aimed at remediating possible risks reported. Then, UNG Online compared the online grades of those who completed the LRI against those who had not.
The results of this comparison revealed, with 95% confidence, that the online grades of those who had taken the LRI were, in fact, significantly higher (average GPA of 2.87), than the grades of those who had not taken the assessment (average GPA 2.44). This result was especially compelling when UNG Online determined no statistical significance between the previous grade point averages of two groups prior to UNG enrollment. The compelling differences, therefore, appears to be the targeted supports put in place based on intelligence yielded from the LRI results.
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