By: Dr. Conrad Lotze, Senior VP and Associate Provost of Academic Affairs
Karen Vendouern-Srba, Associate VP, Academic and Instructional Technology
Throughout 2016, in fulfillment of curriculum development responsibilities, APUS full-time faculty have been diligently revising courses in their respective academic disciplines. A tremendous amount of work has been completed, with particular focus on improving and updating the content found in course lessons. As of September 30, nearly 90 of the revised APUS courses have been further enhanced and refined via our Academic Instructional Technology (AIT) team’s so-called “ELF” (e-Learning Framework) process. These enhancements include adding appropriate digital imagery, media, video, infographics and knowledge checks in an effort to create a more interactive, immersive and engaging experience for students.
ELF combines the best practices and theories in online learning with a technology-enhanced framework, which segments the content into smaller learnable portions and infuses it with interactive components so students will better understand and retain the concepts just learned. It also injects complementary adaptive learning technology, which works with the student as they engage with the eLearning components and the mini-assessments and reflections integrated throughout the content. The adaptive engine utilizes the information learned about the student through the interactions and engagement and assesses their understanding of the concepts. The system then provides the student with just-in-time, personalized learning through specific content and activities. The purpose of adaptive learning technology is to support the student’s learning and ensure a better understanding of the concepts and topics just learned.
The results to-date are quite encouraging, and students have noted their appreciation of our efforts on their behalf. In addition to the relatively new ELF process, the AIT team has completed revising the top-50 high-enrollment courses.
Improving APUS courses is an ongoing, evolving effort. These efforts involve the collaboration of multiple departments, including contributions from our knowledgeable, dedicated faculty, directors and deans; the creative e-learning architects, instructional designers and multimedia specialists; the incredibly patient and ever helpful Classroom Support team, and our resourceful librarians, copyright specialists and Electronic Course Materials team members. We anticipate that our collective accomplishments this year will continue as we revise, update, and improve our existing offerings throughout 2017-2018. The coming year’s round of course revisions will focus on course material cost reductions, while enhancing course resource value through the use of high-quality open educational resources (OER) to increase student satisfaction and success associated with their full utilization. Our students deserve and expect nothing less.