Quick Start

Engineer Early Success

Early successes bring momentum. Common missteps, such as assigning too many pages and not providing incentives to complete the work, can undermine adoption.
At the start, become familiar with the Models for Acrobatiq implementation, and consider these Tips for Engineering Early Success.

Tip 1: Build the necessary skills and knowledge in faculty and staff

  1. Faculty and instructional staff should feel knowledgeable about the platform and understand the value of the tools, or students won’t either.

    • Faculty should know how to read analytics in the dashboard, to monitor progress, and to tackle problems by reaching out to students or alerting other retention specialists.
    • Make sure the faculty understand the potential benefits, including greater freedom from repetitive grading on basic topics, and what Tyton Partners calls “adaptive teaching,” where data-driven insights give teachers more power to adapt their strategies and responses to students.
  2. Technical Support teams need clear direction on how to handle issues.

    • Are support staff prepared to receive calls from instructors and students? Have they trained on the platform?
    • How will they escalate support tickets to Acrobatiq and communicate status back to the initiator?
    • If possible, sync Acrobatiq with the LMS gradebook to remove this manual task and possible transfer errors.
  3. Building courses in Acrobatiq
    • If designing content, make sure faculty have the support to create or find
      resources and build the courses. Some institutions have elected to train just a few people (staff or students) to load in SmartAuthor, in order to free up instructors to do what they do best.

Tony Rahsaz
at Northeastern University

Faculty play a big role in adoption, explaining to students why they should do the work and giving them points. Faculty can explain that the information is found in the courseware to help with student projects.

Frances Rowe
at Quinnipiac University

In the design process, faculty provide unique value in creating video introductions, course signature assignments, tutorials for struggling students, and question design. We worked with them to include questions at a higher level of Bloom’s taxonomy and some scenarios. Acrobatiq has ordering, drag/drop, matrix, and open-ended question types that we trained them to use.

Tip 2: Give Students Adequate Support, Explain the Value to Them, and Incentivize Practice

  1. Students need time to adjust
    • Factor in the cognitive load from learning to use a new platform and integrate a new way of learning.
  2. Make the value explicit
    • Explain how active practice will help students succeed in the course:
      • interactivity and active practice improves later retention,
      • real-time feedback corrects common misconceptions.
    • Connect work in Acrobatiq to course project and exams.
    • Teach use of the dashboards to help them visualize their progress.
  3. Incentivize practice
    • Assign participation points or grades for Acrobatiq practice activities,
    • No points = no use.
Frances Rowe
at Quinnipiac University

Know what motivates your students most. For my students, it’s an applied project with a peer review element. I explain to students that the Acrobatiq content reinforces their work on the project.

Tony Rahsaz
at Northeastern University

If faculty don’t use the practice activities, then you are missing the opportunity for data: Students won’t benefit from the formative questions and instructors won’t benefit from data.

Lauren Carris
at Western Governors University

When students engage in formative learning (i.e. the practice opportunities), they are more engaged, have a better sense of how they are progressing, and generally perform better.

Frances Rowe
at Quinnipiac University

In the beginning, we should have stressed more the need to spend time on practice.

Tip 3: Pick the courses that will use the adaptive technology intentionally

  1. Select courses that can benefit most.
    • Karen Vignare, former vice provost at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), in a story in EdSurge, suggests focusing on difficult subjects that would benefit from:
      1. Defining and mapping learning objectives to content and activities
      2. More practice with skills and immediate feedback
  2. Understand what Acrobatiq is not a substitute for:
    • Discussions and group work,
    • Personalized questions and follow-up,
    • Monitoring dashboards for timely progress on objectives,
    • In-depth feedback on higher-level, applied work, or difficult concepts.
Frances Rowe
at Quinnipiac University

When you add in new technology, there’s a real opportunity to change the culture and the pedagogy. Including Acrobatiq helped us promote mastery learning and student success. Think of it: How many more students can stay in a business degree and go into business because they don’t have to drop out? How does this change the business world?

Tip 4: Right-size the content and activities

  1. Almost everyone assigns too many modules initially and must scale back.
    • Whether your model is textbook replacement or selective homework activities, recognize that reading the pages and doing the activities take time.
  2. Consider allowing multiple quiz attempts, which gives students an opportunity to correct mistakes and go back into the content.
    • This is a more supportive and less punitive model that promotes mastery learning.
    • Depending on your students, this may fit with how they wish to use the quizzes: To gauge readiness and strategically study.
Holly Muha
at National Louis University

Ease students in, give them some success right off the bat with small wins. First grades are a huge indication of how they will perform for the rest of the term; course outcomes show this. Initially we assigned 2-4 modules prior to each class. We had to pare this down and be realistic about what students will do – it all takes time and is important.