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Collaborative Research: Active Learning for Out-of-class Activities to Improve Student Success: 1712030

Principal Investigator: Muztaba Fuad
CoPrincipal Investigator(s): Lynn Zubov
Organization: Winston-Salem State University

Motivating and engaging students with course content once they leave the classroom is challenging. A plethora of research exists on various in-class student engagement methods. However, there is a dearth of research on keeping students engaged with traditional out-of-class activities. This project will provide Computer Science students interactive and motivating out-of-class activities. Activities will be available in a mobile environment which the current generation of students actively use. They will accommodate personalization and adaptation to optimize the learning experience for each individual student. This approach is expected to motivate students to take personal responsibility for learning. The project is a collaboration between a Hispanic Serving Institution and a Historically Black University. The open source nature of the mobile platform may facilitate its adoption by other disciplines and institutions. The project addresses the national interest in developing a strong and diverse Information Technology workforce.

The goal of this project is to motivate students to take initiative for learning outside the classroom. Out of class active learning activities will be enhanced with four unique factors. First, the activities are interactive and smaller than traditional out-of-class activities. This allows for instructional scaffolding. The activities can be deployed more frequently and with higher expectations. This is expected to motivate students to raise expectations of themselves. Second, the project’s mobile technology-based learning environment will deliver and administer the activities. Third, social networking with their peers is incorporated into the learning environment. Finally, gamification components in the form of online learning and engagement strategies are used to encourage students to participate and become more engaged in the activities. The mobile interactive learning environment allows faculty to facilitate learning even after the students leave the classroom. It allows early intervention when students fall behind their peers. Active out-of-class learning experiences enable learning to occur anytime, anywhere, and at the student’s own place. This is expected to promote more effective student engagement, enhanced student learning, improved satisfaction, and increased student retention. The project team includes computer science faculty from two universities that serve unique student population. Through this collaboration, two diverse student populations will be engaged with the intervention. This will allow better insights for generalizing the approach to broader audiences.

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