StudyMate Class Spreads Across Campus
Bill Kopf at Lubbock Christian University can try new applications in his own courses before most other instructors. That’s the perk of being the Director of Distance Learning.
So when he used StudyMate Class with his Human Resource Management class, he was the first on campus to see how effectively it engaged students — not just with the course material, but also with their classmates and instructor.
“I used to teach secondary ed and I loved the student-teacher interactions in that type of classroom,” explains Bill. “With online courses, you have to find different ways to interact with students — and it can often be more of a challenge.”
Bill got started with StudyMate Class by entering sample questions and glossary terms for the course. These items automatically populated 12 games and activities in StudyMate, allowing students to learn the material using a variety of activities.
That was a nice start, but the spark in the class occurred when he had students to enter new items themselves, using course materials as the resource. It became a collaborative effort as some students entered items based on class readings and others created multiple choice review questions, and so forth. This had the obvious benefit of turning students into content experts. But it also brought his distance learning students together as a “class” and it helped them make a personal connection with him, the “facilitator.”
“When students create items that will be seen by their classmates and by me, their effort level goes way up,” he says. “And the collaborative aspect builds on itself because they realize they are helping each other learn. It’s a process that draws everyone in.”
Bill takes advantage of the Respondus Test Bank Network, which integrates with StudyMate Class. It provides an easy way to get questions and items into StudyMate Class, so he doesn’t have to start from scratch. Publisher test banks are available for free to instructors who adopt a participating textbook for their course.
“I think it’s important for students to see good examples of questions and glossary terms,” says Bill, “so I start by taking questions from publisher test banks and then add some of my own items. This provides students a model for the types of items I want them to create in StudyMate.”
Another benefit of StudyMate Class is that “students think it’s fun,” says Bill. The course evaluations and student feedback back this up, with students reporting that the StudyMate projects are a valuable and exciting way to learn. They also like that StudyMate activities can be accessed on their smartphones and tablets, not just on PCs and Macs.
StudyMate Class Gains Momentum
Bill has been sharing his experiences with other instructors at Lubbock Christian University. Many of his colleagues now incorporate StudyMate Class into their courses, including those for Nursing, Biology, Genetics, and Nutrition.
A nutrition instructor has her students create multiple choice questions that are used by classmates for review purposes. Some of these questions are then used in the exams themselves, an easy process since StudyMate Class lets an instructor copy questions directly to the LMS assessment module. Overall, students are drawn into the learning process because StudyMate involves them from the start of the term.
Another instructor, who teaches Hebrew, finds the Flash Cards activity useful for teaching language and vocabulary. This raises an important point: StudyMate Class appeals to each instructor in a different way. Some use it heavily and wrap their course around it, while others use one feature to supplement a particular area of the course.
Annette Mahan, Assistant Professor of Education, uses StudyMate Class in her Early Childhood Education course. “Students input chapter review questions based on the textbook,” she explains. “In class, I then use my iPad and AppleTV to project the questions on the screen. The questions provide a good introduction to the discussion each day.” The free StudyMate app automatically synchronizes with the StudyMate projects in her courses. (Note that an Android version of the StudyMate app is available, too.)
Bill Kopf is pleased with how StudyMate Class has caught on at Lubbock Christian University. “It’s been fun to see how it started in one course, but then got picked up in a range of disciplines. The creativity in how instructors use StudyMate is also exciting to see.”
To learn more about StudyMate Class, or to set up a free pilot, visit our website or contact your Respondus Account Manager.