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How Edmentum is Addressing the Importance of Pacing in Online Courses

Monday, September 18, 2017 -- Jessica King

As the push towards competency-based education moves forward, the importance of being able to accurately identify the pace of personalized learning becomes more important. Even if a district isn’t adopting competency-based practices, pacing is still crucial to organizing students accruing or recovering credits. As we allow students more freedom within asynchronous online courses, we need to make sure they are hitting completion dates to stay on track. With this in mind, we’ve recently released new pacing features within our Courseware to provide educators and students with new and more meaningful insights on progress through online courses.

First, let’s discuss the biggest challenge on the topic of pacing—providing effective intervention when students are falling behind. When learning is a constant and time is a variable, more instructional supports and more time on the part of both the student and teachers is needed when students are not “keeping pace.” When we find students not reaching pacing goals, we need to rework their time management plan to accommodate revised timelines.  Another factor in play is that students experiencing below-grade-level proficiency tend to fall behind because of pre-existing skill gaps. Monitoring the pacing of students through online courses can help educators identify learners who require extra interventions, and in-platform diagnostic tools can help pinpoint specific needs.

Communicating the pacing progress and timeline to students is another crucial item. Using data with students encompasses classroom practices that build students’ capacity to access, analyze, and use data effectively to reflect, set goals, and document growth. The utilization of data for goal setting allows learners to own that process and buy into it at a much higher level. As they become active participants in their growth and data analysis, students’ ability to reflect upon and adjust their actions increases. The new pacing features in our Courseware not only allow a student to track their progress against course goals and timelines, but also allow them to easily see grades, time on task, and feedback from the teacher.  Let’s explore what some of these new features look like:

From a Student’s Perspective

In all of Edmentum’s online courses, when a due date is established, the program will set up automatic pacing goals for the student. Then, on the student dashboard, learners are easily able to see if they are on pace, slightly off pace, significantly off pace, or ahead of pace through colored icons on the new pacing bar. When hovering over the pacing bar, the status of the student as well as where the student should be based on the established timeline appears. Note that for a class with no due date, pacing is not applicable—this is to accommodate learners who have full flexibility in their schedule.

 Courseware Pacing Student Dashboard Screenshot

Students are also able to run their own portfolio and progress reports from their interface.  This allows for increased ownership of grades, time on task, and progress.

Courseware Pacing Student Dashboard Reports Screenshot

From a Teacher’s Perspective

Of course, as students work within our Courseware, teachers need to be able to keep track of pacing and intervention needs that arise as well. The My Sections area allows a teacher to quickly see the status of each student that they are responsible for with the same colored pacing icons used on student dashboards.

Courseware Pacing My Sections Dashboard Screenshot

Lock icons under each student’s task columns on this view allow teachers to dig deeper into student progress and understand which concepts learners are struggling with by highlighting mastery tests they have not yet completed.

Courseware Pacing Locked Items Screenshot

The My Learners area of the teacher dashboard also allows instructors to get a complete picture of students’ pacing, grades, time on task, and locked activities (indicating mastery has not yet been achieved). Customizable reports can also be easily accessed here.

Courseware Pacing My Learners Dashboard Screenshot

Pacing is a key concern as you blend online instruction with traditional learning methods to ensure that students’ build the skills they need to continue progressing and meet grade-level achievement and graduation goals. Our new Courseware pacing features have been designed to automate some of that heavy lifting and free teachers up to do what they do best—teach! Ready to learn more about how Edmentum’s customizable online curriculum can support your program’s goals while saving you valuable instruction time? Check out our flexible and engaging online Courseware!