The University of Edinburgh (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 4407-4416
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
In recent years, The University of Edinburgh has been low in national student satisfaction surveys for assessment and feedback. Focus is now being placed on formative ‘assessment for learning’ and ensuring that students have structured iterative feedback and personalised learning opportunity.
The presentation will focus upon a pilot of Adaptive Learning for two courses within GeoSciences, Global Tectonics and Introduction to Geophysics. Students in each class are taught half of the subject material using Adaptive technology in addition to lectures and practical’s, and the remainder use lectures and practical’s only. Some students are taking both courses as part of their programme. This segmentation provides a layering of control groups for improved comparisons of outcomes and confidence of any impact.

Central Information Services have provided some initial funding for staffs time to help prepare course content and structure the online materials. The project was planned with fairly ambitious time lines, allowing four months to system launch.

An interesting aspect of the pilot is that the course lecturers are using the adaptive tool in differing ways. One as a support to lectures, while the second approach will be based on a flipped classroom model.

The University are partnering with CogBooks who provide an adaptive learning solution. This is the first UK implementation of the product, which is hosted on ‘cloud’ Amazon Web servers. The pilot was initiated following some market analysis and reference to existing market consultancy materials:
‘Education Growth Advisors’. This analysis ‘Learning to Adapt’ (1)
The adaptive learning tool continuously captures click track data relating to students use of text, graphical and animated content. A dashboard of usage and students progress through online material is available to both staff and students in real time, so that students can monitor their own activity and staff can re-enforce or adapt teaching.
Throughout the pilot, the system allows students to communicate with tutors online, and to receive customized feedback. In addition, regular automated tests within the CogBooks system provide the students with an opportunity to master the subject content, gain confidence, and receive automated feedback and direction toward recommended reading. This ‘flipped or inverted’ class pedagogy considers student preparations prior to class as key e.g. Cynthia Brame. (2)
141 students are participating during semester 2, 2015, with the two adaptive releases already successfully underway. During and after the pilot students and staff are being surveyed to capture empirical data relating to the value and satisfaction they attribute to the adaptive solution. By June 2015, student exam results will also add to evidence.

The paper and presentation will outline the planning involved. The student survey data will be presented both from responses during and post pilot. Student videoed interviews will be used to provide some real student perceptions of the differing pedagogic approaches. Pilot findings will be reported to the Universities senior Learning and Teaching Committee who are keen to see evidence of impact on student satisfaction, and to consider widening the adaptive pilot.

[1] Learning to Adapt, A Case for Accelerating Adaptive Learning in Higher Education (Education Growth Advisors, 2013)
[2] Flipping the classroom (Brame, C., Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching, 2013)
Formative, Feedback, Personalised, Adaptive, flipped classroom, students perspective.