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SmarterMeasure

Beginning with fall 2017, APSU 1000 Freshmen Seminar will now include the SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator and related activities as required components of the curriculum. 

Implementation of SmarterMeasure in APSU 1000 is a step towards student success.  By providing students with the opportunity to assess and reflect on their readiness for technology-rich courses in a required first-year course, we are giving them a timely and supported intervention so that they can improve their skills and make informed decisions about their future enrollments. 

To learn more about SmarterMeasure in APSU 1000, please explore the information below.  Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Distance Education's Crystal Faulkner at faulknerc@apsu.edu.

SmarterMeasure is an online assessment for students that indicates the degree to which they possess the attributes, skills, and knowledge that contributes to success in technology-rich courses (online, hybrid, and enhanced courses). Students will complete SmarterMeasure as part of the required online components in APSU 1000 and should plan to spend at least 30 minutes on the assessment.


Immediately upon completing, students are provided with a personalized readiness report that outlines their strengths and opportunities for improvements and provides resources so they can explore the topics and improve their skills.  Students will also complete a discussion assignment reflecting on their readiness report.


Instructors will have access to a dashboard where they can view their roster's readiness at a glance as well as specific information per student.


The goal of SmarterMeasure is to help students understand the skills to be successful, assess their readiness so they can improve, and make informed decisions regarding technology-rich learning.

The video below is an introduction to SmarterMeasure and its use in APSU 1000.

 


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The information in the instructor dashboard can help instructors identify at-risk students, target student’s trouble areas, individually or as a class, and increase class engagement.  To access it, select the SmarterMeasure link in your APSU 1000 course.  Please note, that this page will be blank until your students begin completing the assessment and then their results will populate there.


The instructor dashboard uses color-coded readiness ranges - red for a low level of readiness, green for medium, and blue for high.  Red doesn’t mean the student can’t take online courses or will fail.  It just means they will be challenged so it is important that instructors encourage them to utilize their readiness report and support resources to improve their skills.  View this PDF for more information about the color-coded readiness ranges.


The instructor dashboard offers several tools besides the initial at-a-glance view including the ability to email students, quick view of student results, access to the full student readiness report, an educator report, and assessment analytics.  These tools are detailed in the video below.



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Below are ideas for instructors to engage students on the SmarterMeasure materials or to further integrate SmarterMeasure as part of the course culture.  These ideas are suggestions and are not replacements for the SmarterMeasure content already in APSU 1000.  As instructors become familiar with SmarterMeasure, they will find that the topics of the assessment are often mirrored in other assignments of the course. 

  • If you typically provide students with extra credit as part of your teaching, consider offering extra credit for completing the SmarterMeasure Student Feedback Survey in the last week of the course.  Feedback is important to improving the use of this tool.  Students can provide proof of survey completion by printing their confirmation screen after completing the survey.
  • If you would like to discuss students' SmarterMeasure results with them but are not sure where to begin, use this SmarterMeasure Discussion Guide PDF as a starting place for discussion ideas.
  • The SmarterMeasure readiness report refers students to resources available anytime on the Internet.  Consider having a class discussion or making a News announcement to remind students about APSU resources.  Distance Education maintains a list of service offices on our website and also provides an Introduction to Online Courses to help students familiarize themselves with online learning and D2L.

See the full list of Integration and Engagement Ideas.


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The SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator is comprised of seven sections referred to as scales and each scale focuses on several sub-scales.  These scales are a composite of the internal and external factors as well as the skill sets that contribute to success.  This information is outlined below and is available in a printable assessment scales PDF as well.


External factors are influences affecting the student that are outside of themselves. 

  • Life Factors - availability of time to study and place to study, reason for pursuing education, support from family, friends, and employer, and perception of academic skills

Internal factors help to describe the student's personality.

  • Individual Attributes - procrastination, time management, persistence, willingness to seek help, academic attributes, and locus of control
  • Learning Styles - uses the multiple intelligences model to identify the degree to which students exhibit the visual, verbal, social, solitary, physical, aural, and logical learning style

Skill sets are those essential to navigating and performing in technology-rich courses.

  • Reading Skills - screen reading rate and reading recall
  • Typing Skills - typing speed and accuracy
  • Technical Competency - computer and Internet ability
  • Technical Knowledge - technology usage, access, vocabulary, and student's computer and Internet specifications

As you familiarize yourself with SmarterMeasure, instructors will find that this content is relevant to all students.  Time management, procrastination, asking for help, etc., these are all skills beneficial to any student so it is important that students take this content seriously.


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Immediately upon completing the SmarterMeasure assessment, students are provided with their personalized readiness report.  To access this report, students will just select the link in D2L to the assessment like they did initially to complete it.  Students must complete the assessment in full to receive a readiness report.


Instructors will not have access to see students' readiness reports until after students begin taking the assessment.  A sample student readiness report is available on SmarterServices' SmarterMeasure website.  Use the sample report to follow along with the rest of this section; however, please keep in mind that the sample report does not contain APSU specific text and branding like actual readiness reports.  Once students have taken the assessment, instructors can access student readiness reports.  Visit the Instructor Dashboard resources on this page for more information.


The readiness report provides the student with a summary and then detailed results for each of the scales and sub-scales.  The report lists results both numerically and with a color coded scale.  Blue for strength to red for opportunity for improvement.


The summary is mostly graphical and shows the students overall results in the seven scales measured.  This is a great way for students to see which areas they should focus on as they are reading and improving their skills.


For each of the scales, students are provided with a short narrative on what each section measures and why. The student’s overall scale result is provided in text as well as graphically.  This is followed by breaking the scale up into its sub-scales.  Based on the students score in each sub-scale, they are provided with additional information about the sub-scale.  Finally, at the bottom of each section, they are provided with resources for support. Again these are based of the student’s scores in the section.


The report provides options to Print/Download Report or Email Report. This is important for students to do prior to APSU 1000 ending as after that they will no longer have access to their readiness report.


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Through the SmarterMeasure content in APSU 1000, we believe students will achieve three main learning objectives that will aid them not only in APSU 1000 but also throughout their time at APSU.

  • First, students will assess their readiness for learning in technology-rich courses.
  • Secondly, students will acquire awareness of the critical skills, attributes, and knowledge that contribute to success in technology-rich courses.
  • And finally, students’ will utilize their experience with SmarterMeasure including the personalized readiness report to improve their skills and make informed decisions about enrolling and learning in technology-rich courses in the future.

Instructors will also benefit from the addition of SmarterMeasure content to APSU 1000.

  • Along with students, instructors will also increase their awareness of the critical skills, attributes, and knowledge that contribute to student success in technology-rich courses.
  • Comprehension of this, can be used to enhance an instructor’s technique when teaching in technology-rich courses like APSU 1000.
  • Also, an instructor’s understanding of their students’ readiness can help facilitate engaging class discussions and student-instructor interactions.

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Students will complete several tasks as part of the SmarterMeasure content.

  • In Week 1, they will read and complete the informed consent form to approve or decline participation in SmarterMeasure research. They will also take the SmarterMeasure assessment and be provided with their personalized readiness report.
  • In Week 2, students will utilize their readiness report to participate in the SmarterMeasure Discussion Assignment.
  • At the end of the semester, students will have an opportunity to provide feedback through a survey.

As an instructor, there are two things to focus on in the beginning.

  • First, instructors should continue to familiarize themselves with SmarterMeasure using these resources.
  • Secondly, once familiar with SmarterMeasure and the areas it covers, instructors should consider if there is anywhere else in the course that they can have students refer back to their readiness report or to discuss the topics and support resources provided.

Moving forward, instructors should engage students on the SmarterMeasure topics whether they are responding to posts on the discussion boards, meeting with students face-to-face or online, or in any number of other ways.


Instructor feedback is also important and they will receive an email at the end of the semester with a survey.


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The SmarterMeasure assessment is tied to the grade book. As students exit the assessment, whether they complete it in full or have used the Stop and Return Later button, students will be notified and the grade book will automatically update based on the percentage of the assessment they have completed.  Students are not graded on their scores in the individual sections.


The SmarterMeasure discussion assignment consists of three discussion topics – help seeking, learning styles, and reason.  Students are to post on each of these topics and then respond to a classmate.  Post should be at least three sentences.  Discussions do not auto grade like the assessment.  Instructors will need to grade them manually as in any other course discussion.


In the last week of the course, student will complete the SmarterMeasure Student Feedback Survey on their experience. The reason it is at the end of the course is so that students have had time to reflect on what they have learned.  The survey asks students questions about their experience with the content overall and then also their opinion of the seven scales.  The survey is not a standard item in the grade book. This could be an opportunity for instructors to provide students with extra credit (that is if extra credit is a practice they use in their courses).  Students can provide proof of survey completion by printing their confirmation screen after completing the survey.


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Students and instructors have an opportunity to contribute to the SmarterMeasure research being conducted at APSU by Distance Education.  The informed consent process is where potential research participants can agree or disagree to be included in the research study.  Students will experience the informed consent process as part of the Week 1 content prior to beginning the SmarterMeasure assessment.  The text of the student's informed consent form is viewable to instructors.  Instructors will receive their informed consent form at the end of the semester with their SmarterMeasure Instructor Feedback Survey.


It is important to note that participation in the research is voluntary, confidential, and will not affect students' grades or instructors' status with APSU.  Only the researchers will know whether students and instructors have approve or declined participation.  No additional work is required to participate in the research.  Researchers will simply include approved student and instructor SmarterMeasure information in the research study.  Identification information will be excluded in research findings.


If you have questions about this research, please contact Distance Education's Crystal Faulkner at faulknerc@apsu.edu.  Additionally, please find below an excerpt from the approved Institutional Review Board application regarding the purpose of the SmarterMeasure research.


"The pervasiveness of technology through all course modalities including online, hybrid, and enhanced courses is increasing. This is exposing traditional face-to-face students to technology whether they intended it or not.  This compounds the existing challenge of onboarding online students to online learning.  Therefore, focusing on onboarding only online students is insufficient.  The support mechanisms for preparing students for technology-rich learning must be broad to include all students at the institution, as they all will experience technology-rich learning.


Recognizing this, the department of Distance Education collaborated with the Center for Teaching and Learning Strategies to revise the curriculum of the institution’s undergraduate first-year seminar to include course activities for readiness in technology-rich learning beginning in Fall II 2016.  This content included the SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator, a reflective discussion assignment, and student and instructor feedback surveys.  SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator is an online assessment that assists students in understanding and increasing their readiness for technology-rich learning by identifying their strengths and opportunities for improvement in seven areas - life factors, individual attributes, learning styles, reading skills, technical knowledge, technical competency, and typing skills. 


Beginning with fall 2017, the SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator content will be a required component of all undergraduate first-year seminar sections.  The purpose of this research study is to:

  • Measure effectiveness of curricula changes related to SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator in online, hybrid and face-to-face sections of an undergraduate first-year seminar.
  • Examine various instructional strategies utilized by undergraduate first-year seminar instructors to inform best practices on the use of SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator in online, hybrid, and face-to-face sections.
  • Evaluate and compare institutional student SmarterMeasure data to national benchmarks from peer institutions.
  • Compare students’ confidence in online course readiness, pre-post SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator activities in an undergraduate first-year seminar.
  • Determine impact of the SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator activities in an undergraduate first-year seminar on student’s future intent to enroll in online courses."

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APSU instructors actively teaching APSU 1000 can take a demo assessment of SmarterMeasure.  Please note, the demo assessment will not look completely the same as what students take as our APSU assessment has been branded and has customized text.  If you are interested in taking a demo assessment, please contact Crystal Faulkner in Distance Education at faulknerc@apsu.edu.