Bossier Parish Community College: Improving Developmental Education with MOOCs, Mobile Apps, and Asynchronous Learning

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The US Department of Education has awarded multi-million dollar "First in the World" grants to 18 colleges and universities that are innovating to solve critical challenges with access, recruitment, retention, and student success. At AI, we have interviewed each of the recipients to learn more about the projects these institutions are pursuing, how their approaches are unique, and what other colleges and universities can learn from these new efforts.

This was the second year of the First in the World grants. You can read our interviews with the 24 institutions that received 2014 grants here.

by Lisa Cook, Academic Impressions

Developmental education courses have a notoriously high drop/fail/withdraw rate; in our 2013 paper Why Rethinking Developmental Education is a Priority, we profiled several institutions that had reworked their dev-ed curriculum in innovative ways.

Now, Bossier Parish Community College is working on a new approach: using analytics-based mobile applications embedded in developmental courses to improve student success. BPCC's app will serve two purposes:

  • Students will have easy access to support for their classes, anytime, anywhere.
  • The app will also provide analytics data so BPCC can isolate and track which efforts are working to improve student engagement and persistence.

BPCC already piloted an open source project known as Open Campus™ that demonstrated measurable increases in the number of students who completed developmental courses. Now, with the help of a $1.8 million First in the World grant, they will expand this work by converting the materials to a smart phone mobile app. The project also will build an integrated data platform (IDP) that will allow them to incorporate and analyze multiple streams of student data for predictive modeling.

We talked to Allison Martin, BPCC director of Institutional Effectiveness Initiatives, to learn more about how the Open Campus™ project will move the needle on student success, how they hope it will improve engagement, and their vision for an integrated data platform.

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