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Keynote: Thomas Cavanagh [Learner Engagement Summit]

Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 0:05
Hello. So this is 6:30pm East Coast time. I'm Shaunak Roy, welcome back to the closing keynote for the day, and I'm very excited to have Dr. Thomas Cavanaugh, who is the Vice Provost of digital learning of UCF, University of Central Florida. Join us for the closing keynote today. Tom Cavanaugh, you know, not only leads the online operations for one of the largest online universities in the nation, but he's also an award winning instructional designer, program manager and an administrator. His experience has earned him positions on a number of state and national level learning and organizational boards. So I'm very excited to have him give our closing keynote. So Tom, over to you.

Thomas (Tom) Cavanaugh - Vice Provost of Digital Learning, University of Central Florida (UCF) 1:00
Thank you, Shaunak, I can thank you so much for the invitation. I hope everybody's been having a great first day. I've been coming to to a number of the sessions today. And I've really enjoyed it. So thank you. And thank you for this opportunity to kind of close out here on the on the east coast. It's 630, it's dark. So I hope you have maybe if you're on the East Coast, you have a glass of wine, and some snacks. And so sit back, we're going to talk about online student engagement. So I'm going to go ahead and share my screen. All right. Hopefully you see that. All right. So again, I'm Tom Kevin, I'm Vice Provost for digital learning at the University of Central Florida, located here in lovely Orlando, UCF, for those of you that are not familiar with us, we're a very large r1 public university. The Fall Enrollment was about 68,500. We have been larger than that in the recent past. During COVID, I think we were at about 73,000. I think we're typically around 70,000 students between undergrad and graduate to makes us one of the largest schools in the country. Online learning is a large piece of our strategic plan to fulfill our access mission, about 60, some percent, a 64 and a half percent, depending upon the day you count of our student credit hours annually, our digital meaning online and blended, that's a lot of credit hours for school our size and and it sort of speaks to the kind of the strategic importance of digital learning for us. So what I'd like to talk about is, is student engagement in the context of that kind of digital environment, digital credit hours digital students, especially even with students who may take a mixture of modalities not just fully online or not just face to face. So the first thing I'll start with is sort of like what's the evidence that some of our engagement strategies are effective. And so we track all kinds of data. The first is a just a quick snapshot of some quality data. And in this case, we're sort of defining quality by student success and, and withdrawal and or persistence. So in the large box, sort of here in the middle, these, these data are pulled from the academic year of 2021. You can see that students who achieved an A, B, or C grade by these modality buckets, were all above 90%. But our blended learning was best. And frankly, in any given semester, or any given year, face to face and fully online have a no significant difference between them. Between the two, in any given semester one might be just slightly higher than than the other in this case, face to face was just slightly higher than online. But there have been reports that I've provided like this in the past where online has actually been higher than face to face. The bottom right, let me just highlight that one student withdrawal. Our withdrawal rates are also fairly low by modality. But again, blended learning has the best performance for us the lowest withdrawal rates. And for those who want to know what our definition of blended learning is, because there's all kinds of interpretations of that term. It's where a portion of a course is online, and a portion of the course is face to face. And the online portion is used to reduce the actual in class seat time. So if it was a Tuesday, Thursday, course, Tuesday, be online Thursday be in class. It's sort of a very simplistic way, but we actually have classes like that. So the withdrawal rates are quite low and blended tends to outperform everything else. We also look at a time to graduation as a measure. Here's one particular student population. This happens to be our transfer Undergraduate Transfer population. UCF It's not the largest, it's one of the largest, I think it might be the largest transfer institution in the country, we get something around 10,000 transfer students a year, and many of them are online. So the FCS stands for Florida College system. That's where the vast majority of our transfer students come from the state and community college system around Florida. And basically, the message is, the more online they take, the faster they graduate, which sort of stands to reason. Because it gives the kind of flexibility that non traditional learners need in order to manage the things in their lives, family work, just the unexpected events of life. And the same is the case with master's students. That's the second row there that you see that master's students also kind of appreciate the flexibility of digital learning. And then soon, the 2023 US News World Report, online rankings will be will be released, but these are the 2022. And we were ranked number seven for our online bachelor's programs. And we had a bunch of top 10 rankings and some specific programs as well as a bunch of, of good rankings in our graduate programs. So I know there's a lot of opinions about US News, and I probably share a lot of those, but it it is a measure of, of how at least people feel like that we're doing and I think that that's something that that we're proud of. And then lastly is sort of a measure of, okay, is our engagement strategy working. We've arguably been one of the most awarded programs from from our, you know, professional organizations in the country, whether it's IMS Global net one a tech or WC T, or EDUCAUSE or US DLA or LLC, this isn't even a comprehensive list of the awards that we've won over the past five years. So that's just sort of, you know, third party recognition. So enough about UCF. Let's talk about student engagement. So I want to kind of break this down into three areas. And I think this is maybe a nice complement to mark mill irons. opening keynote this morning, I thought he did a great job of sort of laying out the broad landscape at a very high level across the US. And, you know, he identified some real big challenges, but also kind of gave us some hope of some interesting strategies that can be used to address some of those challenges. One of the things he talked about, I'm gonna steal one of his terms, I made some notes, while he was talking was possibility infrastructure, the possibility infrastructure, and I thought that was applicable to sort of the, the way I'm thinking about engagement for this particular presentation. So I think what I'm describing here is very similar what he was talking about whether it's traditional instruction, or its digital instruction, he had sort of those columns, I think this sort of fits in or at least consistent with, with that kind of a mental model that he presented this morning. So for me, I'd like to kind of posit that engagement, especially in a in an online environment for online students can lives on the spectrum. And there are kind of three buckets, tech touch and teach. So that's my little triple T. Mnemonic, but tools. So the high tech part of the of the, of the piece of the puzzle, high touch. In this case, I'm going to talk about our student success coaching, and then the teaching side of it. Within this case, I also want to talk about pedagogy that is specifically designed for engagement. And I want to give some specific examples from my personal experience here at UCF, that kind of touches on each of these. And perhaps there's something that you can draw from that for your from your own experience or, or for your own experience. So we're going to start with tools, the tech, the high tech part, and then we'll move on to the high touch part after that. So there's two kind of areas of tool usage within online courses that I just want to highlight. The first is the use of online tools that that we have built. So these are purpose built custom made by UCF application developers. And there are there are more than this. But these are some of the highlights that that we plug into our learning management system through standards based protocols like LTI. And it has allowed us to meet the needs of faculty and learners specific for the context at our institution.

I'll jump to the next slide. I want this is an eye chart. But I just the idea is to give you just a sense of what all these tools are what they do. And I will just highlight the top two in the upper left. Metiria is a platform that allows faculty to build app style games. So we have a hangman game we have a choose your own adventure. We have kind of a Jeopardy game. We have crossword puzzles we have you name it. We've got probably two dozen different like template games that faculty can use to build their own interactive assessments. And those assessments can actually be used as a quiz or a final or something because the grades will right back to the gradebook and your crossword puzzle that you might give to the students. Students love it. And it is it is an engagement strategy for us. Oboe jovo, which is kind of a silly name. It's it's chosen because it was kind of a palindrome. But that's a tool that we built to create and deploy learning objects. So kind of self paced, click Next to continue kind of learning objects. But there's templates, there's instructional design built in as kind of a wizard format. And faculty can can use this outside of their courses as well. So if we have an orientation on how to use the learning management system that we want to embed in every course, you can do it through a tool like this. And the students don't have to take that same thing, if every one of their faculty members and all five of their courses embedded would be ridiculous, I got to do the same orientation in every course. Because it lives in the central location is sort of deployed from that central location to all of their courses, they only have to do it once. And the system knows that. So those are some really interesting examples of how we built tools ourselves in order to enhance student engagement. And of course, this is not to say we don't have the full suite of commercial partner tools, because we do. So you name it, cloud based tools, all kinds of different things. Yellowdig is one of the tools that we that we that we have within our learning ecosystem. I'm just sort of highlighting here, the ones that we've built ourselves. So the next technology based solution for engagement I'd like to touch on is something that's kind of in progress right now. So I don't have the end of the story, although I'm we're writing it as we go along. But this is this learning analytics dashboard that we've constructed within the learning management system. And so the challenge is that we have had all kinds of analytics solutions at the institutional level. But in many cases, they're looking at predictive data on how likely is it that student Tom is going to graduate in his major on time? Okay, that's good. And that's important. But it's using backward looking, lagging data to like, the end of a semester data, and then seeing have I registered for my classes for next semester kind of data, like combining things like that, at a very macro level. And that's good. But what we were missing was the kind of real time what How's Tom doing in his course, right now, today? If he failed his test yesterday? How can we intervene proactively, so that we can improve his chances of being successful in this course, this semester, before these institutional level systems start looking at that semester level lagging data, so we wanted to build a dashboard along that path to finally kind of realize that sort of predictive, we are not at the predictive stage right now, it's much more reporting. But I think I think we're gonna get there. So the solution that we've designed is we've we've built this dashboard within an LTI in the LMS, that's pulling LMS data on a real time basis, certainly no older than 24 hours, so that advising advisors can, can refer to that and be very specific and directive about what's going on with students in their courses and, and maybe send them to the resources and help that they might need. So just a little bit of background, we pull the data securely, our Learning Management System happens to be canvas, and we we kind of private label that web courses at UCF, that's kind of our LMS system. The idea is we're going to show kind of a real high level view using shapes and colors like we can get a real bird's eye view of everything that's happening in the students course, and even across courses, and I'll show you what that looks like. It's easier to see than to explain, but it illustrates student grades by assignment overall, and plus how they compare to the class average. And we are working on customizing the filtering based on the requirements of the advisors. We have been testing this in a pilot stage with with two populations. One is with our athletic advisors, so the advisor the athletic or the academic advisors, responsible for athletes and ensuring the tastes a NCAA eligible. So you might imagine they're very motivated to make sure that their their students are staying on top of their assignments. And then the other population is our UCF online coaches. I'm going to talk more about the coaches later when I get to the high touch part of this. But that population is, is one where we know the students have a lot of data in the LMS because they're 100% online students, we thought those two populations would be interesting to look at as far as testing the system and allowing us to kind of tweak it and iterate it for or broader deployment. So this is an advisors kind of look, this is real data, which is why the student names and IDs have been have been blurred. I can tell just by looking at this, this is from a UCF online coach, because of the sub plan code, this is all stuff that's sort of behind the scenes in our SSIs. But that that leadings Z and all of those programs, tells me that it's a UCF online program, because we've, we've mirrored the exact same program plans in the SSIs. For the online students, because it's the same courses, same outcomes, we just, we put some restrictions on there on the kinds of courses that you can register for and their fee structure is different. So that's how we separate them. So a UCF online coach would go in there, and they would find the student that they're about to meet with, and then they would click their name to, to pull up their dashboard. And here's an example of what they might see. So let me just sort of orient you to this. So the blurred name is at the top, this is who the enrollment and performance information is for this, I'll start over here on the right, this is one particular course, you can see this gray line is MHS 2090. That's the course we're looking at. And you can choose any one of the five courses that this student is enrolled in and get a similar report. So in this particular course, moving just above that classes, you can see that the current student, the grade, students, current grade is 78%, compared against the class average of 96%. So right away, you sort of know, okay, the student is performing below the class average. So why, let's go ahead and look at the students information. And when you look over here, on the left, you see a listing of all of the assignments in the course. And this will scroll if it's more than fits on the page, and what the possible score is what they've earned. And then these lines and dots show you whether or not assignments were turned in on time, if they were late, which is the yellow if they were missed. And then the dark sort of greenish line is the class average. So how far above and below the class average are. So you can look at this and just did a very quick almost like without even looking at the details, you see 12345 yellow dots, the yellow dots, say Simon should being turned in late. So that might be the primary conversation and advisor would have or a coach would have with the student. So okay, I see that you're turning in stuff late what's going on? What's going on in your life? Can we get you some help? Do you need some some supplemental instructions tutoring, or you need to go to the writing center, whatever it is, but this at least can inform that conversation instead of just asking students what's up? Why are you not doing as well as you think you should? Now you have some data that will inform that conversation and make it much more productive, and allow you to kind of be directive for interventions that would be more effective. That is the plan. Because we've discovered that you put 10 faculty in a room, you're going to have 10, different grading schemas, and different ways of doing extra credit. And I dropped my highest and lowest grades and you name it, there's every possible configuration of how grades are assessed. We've got it right. So the only way to really know that is by reviewing the syllabus. So if you click this view syllabus button at the top, you can pull up the syllabus for that course. And then you as an advisor, and the student can kind of sit side by side and look at that say, okay, because it might be that you you're you're on track to maybe not succeed in that course. But it turns out, yeah, but they dropped the lowest grade. And so with that, I'm going to be okay. You wouldn't know that unless you actually looked at the syllabus. So this is to inform that conversation as well.

All right, so that was the that was the learning analytics dashboard, and also the tools that we have built. So that was sort of the high tech side of things. I want to maybe lean into now kind of the high touch side. And the piece of that that I'd like to spend a minute talking about is our UCF online success center made up of we've got about 30 coaches, whose only job is to support our fully online students in our virtual campus that we call UCF online. We launched UCF online, kind of officially, we had online programs before this, but we kind of had a rebranding and a special sort of intentionality for serving these kinds of students. And we stood up the coaching center in 2016. We have more than 100 programs covering bachelor's, master's certificates, doctorates, you name it. And we had at least in the 2021 academic year, about 8800 students across the entire academic year. In any given semester, we're probably closer to about 7000 But because some students come in and out in a semester, it is is about 10% of the total UCF headcount in UCF online and since 2016, and it's it's about 30% of our graduate headcount. So it's grown very quickly. So what about coaching? Why coaching? It, they're not advisors. And it's really important to make that clear. Because the advising community, honestly, when we first started, this was a little a little skeptical that this was kind of moving in on some of the things that they were responsible for. And so we've done a lot to kind of educate them and reassure them that it's not this is to work in concert, and complementary to what they do, we do not do academic advising in the coaching center. But the idea is, it's proactive, it's very relationship driven, we want to understand the student's kind of motivations and their needs on going back to school because I want to get a promotion at work, or I want to change careers, or because I want to be an example to my daughter, and she needs to see me graduate, whatever it is, the coaches kind of take all that in, and they use that information as a as a way to kind of help the students stay on track, keep them motivated. And it can be as simple as reminders that hey, the enrollment deadline is coming up on Wednesday, to Hey, what are your strategies? You got three courses this semester? You know, I know you're working full time, and you're a single mom, you know, when do you plan to actually get your homework done, what's your what's your plan, and so they'll go through like all of this stuff, to make sure that that students are going to be successful. The idea is to is to help students kind of achieve these goals in a way that empowers them. And so this, this little chart, from EAB education advisory board that we thought was really good, that kind of illustrates the difference between students doing their own self service, academic advisors, what the faculty have traditionally done, because we don't want to go there either. As far as advising students and the success coaches. So it seems like we've we've kind of reached the point where we're all now after several years, we've kind of understand our roles, where the puzzle pieces fit together, how we're helping each other kind of along the path to all mutually support the student towards their success. And so is it working when it comes to sort of ensuring students stay engaged and on track, we do have some data. So these data are coming from the 2020 2021, we pulled them. And me, let me orient you to these bars. So moving left to right. The far left bar is UCF online, fully online, 100% online students who are in our virtual campus, so that they are not allowed to actually take face to face classes. They're restricted from that. So these are the students on the far left who have success coaches assigned to them because they're part of UCF online. And the persistence rate for them, meaning that they came in, in a semester, the year before they persist to the following fall semester, was 76. Point 28%. The next bar over to the right, are students who are on campus who've taken nothing online, they persist at 73.5%. The next bar over are students who are on campus, who take some online, some face to face, but they're not part of UCF online. They don't have coaches, but they do have access to all the campus based services that on campus students have. So whether that's, you know, an RA in your dorm that online students aren't going to have, you know, that you can kind of go to for advice. They persist at 83.4%. And then I think the really interesting comparisons the far right, these are 100% fully online students who are not part of UCF online. So they have not declared as part of a fully online major, or officially joined the UCF online campus. They're just students who are on at UCF who have just chosen through course, taking behavior 100% online courses. And admittedly the add on that isn't as large, because there aren't as many students like that, but but there are some, and they persist at a 73.5 and I'm sorry, 68.07. That's a typo. If you can see the small number at the top, that's the accurate number. So the 68% they persist at compared to the one on the far left, which is 76 point 28%. So they're both 100% online students. The one on the left has access to success coaches, the one on the right does not and our hypothesis is the success coaches is the delta between the 68% and the 76%. Here's another measure we look at when it comes to student success in comparing UCF online students with other populations. This happens to be again, the Undergraduate Transfer population. And we are looking again at core success, meaning did they achieve an A, B or C, what they need to proceed in their major. And this line at the very top, this dark blue line is UCF online. And over the past few years, we've been able to improve our students success in fully online UCF online courses to about 90%. The other lines are the same cohorts that I just shared. And depending upon the year, one has been higher than than the other. But we have seen none of them quite hit where UCF online students are. Okay, now, I want to move into the Teach portion of the that mnemonic of high tech, high touch and teach. So I want to talk about a pedagogical redesign that my office did in collaboration with the College of Business at UCF several years ago, this was right before the pandemic. And it was driven by some challenges we had with the lecture capture format. within the College of Business, they had a handful, I think 14 courses that were very large, delivered in a lecture capture format. And by a very large, I mean, like 1000 students, or more, very large, so it was almost broadcast model. Now, those are outliers. That's not how we typically do online learning at UCF. But just because of the realities of the model and the college of business that the current dean had sort of inherited, financially, in physical space, all of those reasons, we were sort of kind of boxed in by this model. And, you know, what we found was that students are doing okay, but the idea of a passive lecture capture experience where you're just watching videos, without any interaction, from home by yourself, was not the engagement model that we had in mind for our students? So we set about saying, okay, what can we do to improve student engagement, given the constraints we had, we still had to serve this many students, we don't have rooms big, and even the lecture halls didn't hold that many students. That's why the lecture capture format was used, because those who didn't come or didn't want to come or couldn't fit in the room could access the material online, either live or On Demand. And as we know, in most cases, students are going to do it on demand. And they're going to binge it at double speed right before the midterm and the final students are going to student right. And that is not necessarily the kind of high quality education that we feel is associated with with UCF. So what did we do, we wanted to increase the engagement. We wanted to in in, if possible, require attendance on campus, because we wanted to get students talking to each other in groups. We wanted to enhance workplace soft skills, the kinds of things that employers tell us are so important teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, working with others, you know, all of that kind of stuff, that lecture capture isn't great at conveying.

So I said, we want to reduce the reliance on this passive lecture capture model, build on historical success that UCF has had in blended learning, I just showed you those stats at the beginning, where blended learning is our our most successful, most popular, lowest withdrawal modality. So what can we learn from that, that we can apply to this particular problem. And then we also have had quite a bit of success in last few years in adaptive learning and active learning. So we wanted to put all of that into the recipe and see what we could come up with. And this is what we did. So I'm going to walk you through this and then I have a little video that will further explain it. It's it's only about a minute long. But the ideas are so starting with this where it says example. So let's just for the sake of argument, say we had a really large 1200 seat section that has historically been delivered in lecture capture. We redesigned that into six 200 seat cohorts. And 200 being kind of the size of the room that we could fit where we could have 20 groups of 10 around tables working in kind of cohorts. So we had space that could fit like 200 in that configuration. So when we first started the idea was all each one of these the colors means something would meet on campus five times. So that's in class here, where they would meet in Kent on campus five times, and do small group work, applied tabletop sort of case studies, active learning strategies, kind of in pods, facilitated by faculty and a small army of teaching assistants. And then in between those five meetings that occur throughout the semester, they would do online, asynchronous, in many cases, personalized adaptive learning courseware, that would prepare them for the in class applied work. So it was a blended model, the students met every four weeks or so and so if you look here at the bottom, you can kind of see how this might map out with the colors. So let's just look at this red group of 200. So if you're in a group of 10, and you happen to be in this cohort of 200, that's read, you met me week one, then you met again in person, week, four, week seven, week 10. And then week 13, on Tuesdays. And then you can see where the other groups meet on Thursdays or on depending upon which week or which group you are, what week, you might be meeting of the month, or if the semester, week, two, week three, whatever it might be. This, this worked really well. And the students really seemed to get a lot out of it. We have learned some things along the way. And we have iterated it a little bit as time has gone on, I'll share what some of those are in a moment. So I'm gonna go ahead and stop sharing because I want to show you this video and Shana is going to be the one that clicks play. So you just get an idea of what it looks like.

Unknown Speaker 31:56
Don't think we're getting the audio

Unknown Speaker 32:01
drills that are time released during the semester to keep students on pace. And then in our five in class sessions, we're working on a simulation, it actually is a hands on simulation, where they become managers of a company and they design a backpack and it goes through all the elements of marketing to get it to the market. They do, you have to take a more active role in learning. I think it's very interestingly, we have the acronym real, it's probably as close as they'll get to a real world work experience, your manager won't stand in front of you and give you a 75 minute lecture to prepare you for what's coming next.

Unknown Speaker 32:41
They get not only the traditional learning, but it's coupled with group work that especially in my class is about a real company, they get that engagement between, you know, student to student I know in my classes, I run around to every single table, every single group, I work with all the students, I'm in there with four graduate assistants.

Unknown Speaker 33:02
My favorite part of the course has to be that we actually get to work in groups, I get to work with my friends a lot. And we've grown a lot because as time went on, my other group members actually started picking up their workload and started learning all their stuff. And then the last class that we had, there were things that I didn't understand. And they did. So it was a really great mix for the last class. I feel like I've gained some leadership experience from this, I ended up stepping up to be the leader of the group. Sometimes I get stuck on a problem. Someone else might know the answer. And then they teach me or I teach them, and it's an amazing experience.

Thomas (Tom) Cavanaugh - Vice Provost of Digital Learning, University of Central Florida (UCF) 33:44
Thank you, Shaunuk. All right, let me go back into share the end of my presentation. Great. Okay, so we still use video in those courses. But it's not, here's an hour and a half lecture, sit there and watch it now. It's like 10 minute chunks. And we use we made a really liberal use of the lightboard. So you can see there's Barbara who was in the video. Who who does accounting. That's it. She's a professor of accounting, and it works really well for computational kind of mathematical formula. If you haven't seen the lightboard you know, in fact, the number just sort of writes on glass, it's sort of illuminated with lights inside of it and you kind of use a special kind of marker that highlights and then we have a camera on it. And the image gets flipped. So it looks like the fact that there's running backwards and they can just talk directly to the student and they can read what they're writing. It turned out to be really popular. We've since added multiple more Lightboard studio rooms to our facility so fact to kind of come in One Button Studio like and and create those videos. They're very popular. So it's not simply a band Didn't video but what we tried to do is use it in a different way, again, with the goal of enhancing student engagement. So how did it go? I mentioned there were these 14 courses. Ra is the is the new version of the course. That's the kind of what what you heard Carolyn, say real modality relevant, engaged active learning. And so you might say, Hmm, student success, non success and withdraw, it looks like you didn't move the needle on anything, really. So what this tells me is that, at least in these initial semesters, we did no harm by by redesigning the the pedagogical model. So that's good. Because often, when you do a major change like this, you're going to hit a couple of semesters where things don't go so well, and you got to adjust before you can actually see improvement. In this case, we didn't see a degradation in student performance on these metrics, these three measures. So we saw that as a win, because what we were adding, in addition to this, which is sort of measuring kind of like tests, and did they stay enrolled in the course. There's the whole soft skills and how to be a good team player, and all of that, that we added into it that we think is just as important as some of these measures. But we didn't hurt these measures, which we felt was an important thing to keep track of. We asked students about their own sense of their engagement. This was an n of 545. And so the red are negatives, and the blues are positive and glad to see that the positives seem to outweigh the negatives, you're always going to have some students that are perceived as being distracted or not, not participating. But overall, we were sort of encouraged by this, especially because it was such a new thing. We also looked at student perceptions of kind of group sessions, and did kind of a net promoter score. And overall, we were we were very pleased with this, this is looking at three different semesters. And then finally, I mentioned that we learned something along the way. Some things that we added were, we added a new orientation module, because this was different for a lot of students, especially our transfer students that were coming from kind of a small class environment at one of our our state college or community college partners. So we added some orientation materials. And then we've added a week one introductory session for everybody. So they actually now meet in person six times instead of the five we were able to fit that in. And we felt that was really important at the beginning of the semester to just sort of orient because what was happening is that some people weren't meeting in person until three weeks into the term in that previous grid that I showed you. And that was almost too late for some of them. So they wanted to get everybody sort of started on this on the right foot right at the top. Because this was controversial. We actually did have some complaints from students. And we had some Inside Higher Ed articles written about it. We engaged an external expert, Dr. Norm Vaughn, if you know norm, he is a Canadian scholar on blended learning and one of the world's best and we asked him to take a look at it. And so he gave us a peer review and evaluated give us some good feedback, validated our model and gave us some input for how to improve it. We want to make sure we stay continuously involved with faculty to kind of continue to tweak and enhance and we're doing that also, engagement with students. We had multiple meetings with the student government business group, there's like representatives of different colleges, and there's like a business group. And so we met with him multiple times to get input, help them understand what we were trying to do, because there were some misperceptions about it. And also, you know, want to do ongoing check ins with with local business and industry leaders, like are the students that they're seeing now? better, worse, whatever the case might be. Alright, so as a conclusion, I want to give you something spicy to think about the the the end of online learning as we may know it, you've probably seen Chad GPT so what's gonna happen in 20 years when Chad GPT can write our content for ourselves in an online class AI can draw the art to illustrate that content. That's a AI comic book that the all the art was drawn by the by the computer. And then we can use deep fake to have Morgan Freeman as our professor. You don't that is not Morgan Freeman. But if you watch that video at that link, you swear it was Morgan Freeman talking and moving. So what's gonna happen to 20 years to the role of online learning when the computer can do an awful lot of the stuff themselves? I think it's a question we're all gonna have to grapple with. So I think that's my time. Shawn and Briana, thank you so much. I don't know if we have a couple minutes for questions.

Brianna Bannach 40:00
Sure, thank you so much, Tom, this was a really interesting talk. I do think we can do kind of a rapid fire to get the questions in the chat answered in the next five minutes if you're down for that. Yeah. So the first one is from Melissa. And she wants to know, is the level of student support the same for undergraduates versus graduates?

Thomas (Tom) Cavanaugh - Vice Provost of Digital Learning, University of Central Florida (UCF) 40:21
Yes, and no, you know, I think some graduates typically graduate students don't need the same level of support that undergraduates do. But the Writing Center, for example, is available to graduate students just like it is for undergraduate students. And, you know, typically graduate students aren't going to be in a dorm, like in a Living Learning Community, that kind of support isn't really offered for graduate students, but all of the kind of pedagogical support, whether it's, you know, supplemental instruction, or whatever the case might be sure that's available for grad students as well.

Brianna Bannach 40:54
Great. The next question is from Noel, and she wants to know, open enrollment institutions generally have a hard time with the concept of withdrawing considering that all adult learners who take breaks etc. She's curious how use how long UCF waits before considering a student no longer enrolled?

Thomas (Tom) Cavanaugh - Vice Provost of Digital Learning, University of Central Florida (UCF) 41:14
Well, there's what happens in the class, right? So the if the student there's a withdrawal deadlines, they can withdraw from they can drop a course within the first week and just kind of they get their money back. There's a withdrawal deadline where they can withdraw, not get their money back. But the the grade, whatever they were earning is a doesn't go into their GPA. And then if the way kind of at an institutional level, if you are not here, after two major semesters, like a fall in a spring or spring and a fall, you're considered no longer continuously enrolled at the university, and to be readmitted in order to come back, you'd have to be readmitted.

Brianna Bannach 41:56
Got it? That makes sense. And then the last unanswered question, I believe, is from Nikki. And Nikki would like to know, with all the great communication going on between the students and their success coach coaches, is the information that coaches are gleaning available to advisors as a part of the success team. So everyone has the same information to help their students along the path.

Thomas (Tom) Cavanaugh - Vice Provost of Digital Learning, University of Central Florida (UCF) 42:18
Yeah, that is the goal. Right? That is the goal. I'll be completely honest, I don't know if we're 100% there yet. Because we've got multiple systems. And we're kind of putting information into multiple sort of CRMs around this students. So I mean, just to be completely honest, we're still sort of struggling with that. But like, if there's a specific issue, they get on the phone, they call them, like, we had a lot of hurricanes here in Florida, and in the surrounding area. And so we had students in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands when Hurricane Maria went through. And so we looked at our list who lives there. And then we call the faculty said, Hey, this student has been impacted. And so please be, you know, extra extra aware of generous in your like late policies or makeup policies. We had a student when, when the Russians started bombing Kyiv in Keefe, so she was a fully online student in in the midst of a war, trying to finish two classes. So we call the faculty and tried to, like make them aware that this was happening. So you know, when we know of a special case like that, we will reach out but when it comes to sort of the day to day quotidian stuff that we do, we're working on maybe a better way to use CRM to make sure that that that information is available to everybody who touches that student along the path. We're working on it. Great, thank

Brianna Bannach 43:39
you so much, Tom. It was really interesting learning how UCF is innovating in digital learning. And really, really, thank you for sharing your insights. Any closing thoughts in the last 10 seconds, Johnny?

Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 43:52
Oh, thank you so much. Very exciting day, Tom. Thanks for that insightful presentations and everybody. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Have a great rest of the evening.

Brianna Bannach 44:01
Thank you. Have a good night. Bye.

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