Innovate to Educate Entry

Bossier Parish Community College

Allison Martin, Mobilizing MOOCs for Millenials: Open Campus at Bossier Parish Community College

What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?

Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) created a series of free, open source developmental courses targeting both underprepared students prepping for placement testing as well as those enrolled in credit-bearing coursework. BPCC’s concept “Open Campus” was founded upon the premise reflected in multiple studies which suggest that high-need students struggle in purely online courses, yet students are motivated to persist when technology is a function of how they engage outside the formal classroom
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What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?

The Open Campus Team has learned its own lessons that would inform future projects along the way: we've learned to identify and create content targeting "tipping point" concepts, concepts which can easily become barriers to course completion. Another challenge has been that of efficiently scaling data-gathering, isolating variables without tying up scarce human resources. In September, 2015, BPCC was awarded a $1.8M DoE "First in the World" grant to do just that: track Open Campus project analytics through an Integrated Data Platform to measure more precisely student paths to success.

What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:

Three components that have prompted BPCC's innovation success include top-down support from the College's administration who were willing to make a small investment in a big idea: open sourcing its developmental (remedial) level coursework. Administrative backing also allow the project director to choose participating instructors who had strong passion for spurring success in underprepared students.
A second pivotal aspect was the investment by BPCC's department of Educational Technology which lent its corporate knowledge, technical expertise, and equipment to create and oversee video production space for instructors.
A third component in success, faculty buy-in, in BPCC's case, happened almost overnight. Faculty and division deans recognized the potential for student-success by ramping up student access to quality supplement instructional videos and practice quizzes beyond the realm of the classroom and began actively embedding and promoting the courses as supplemental instruction.

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