More than half the students at Lawson State Community College are squeezing classes and homework between shifts at their respective jobs. In addition, many face childcare, transportation and technology issues that make it even more difficult to stay in school.
To combat these and related issues, Lawson State established “Freshman Academy” last year with the help of Tegrity lecture capture technology. Students now complete coursework online, with the assistance of a classroom teacher who leads discussions and group activities. And the online information is always available, should they miss a class because of another obligation.
“Students can review classes whenever they want—at home, in a computer lab. We even have students who have Tegrity downloaded on their iPhone. They listen in their car,” said Randy Glaze, dean of educational support services. “This is a major appeal to students.”
Tegrity recordings are populated directly into course lessons, which cover material such as campus safety, school disciplines and a welcome message from the college president. Students are shown how to pay tuition and register for classes online, navigate the school website and track their grades.
“The bulk of our students are first-generation college students, and they don’t have all the necessary information walking in the door,” Academic Dean Sherri Davis said. “This program helps fill a crucial void. Plus we know a lot of learners are visual. Now they can watch a video that demonstrates how to do something, and that builds their confidence.”
The orientation course, taken by all first-year students for credit, has seen immediate results, with 80 percent of students passing, versus 60 percent passing the old version.
“We’ve created a more-informed freshman,” Davis said, “and students are registering online in record numbers.”
Lawson State has just under 5,000 students on its campuses in Birmingham and Bessemer, Ala. Graduates earn a certificate or associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year institution. The school started using Tegrity lecture capture in 2005 and has been expanding it ever since.
Many Lawson students are in at least one remedial or developmental course, so access to recorded lectures is especially helpful in reinforcing concepts covered during class. The lecture capture program also allows students to take notes and bookmark sections for future reference.
“We conduct student focus groups, and students tell us that having Tegrity lectures is the most beneficial change.”
“We call Tegrity a supplement, but it is so valuable that I think if we took it out, students and faculty would miss it,” Davis said. “It’s unique in that students can relive the experience of listening to a live lecture, and that’s very powerful.”
Lecture capture has been particularly helpful in the nursing program, which has about 150 students currently enrolled and another 1,300 taking courses on their way to applying for the rigorous discipline.
“Nursing is the largest academic program on campus,” Davis said. “We wanted to improve retention—of students and also the information they were learning. Many struggle with taking notes in a standard lecture format; now they can revisit lectures to master the information.
“We conduct student focus groups, and students tell us that having Tegrity lectures is the most beneficial change to the nursing program,” she added.
After the first year of the Freshman Academy, the pass rate for students in the orientation program increased from approximately 65% to 80%, and, even more importantly, retention of students in the freshman class increased by 10% in the first year. Nursing students experienced similar results and named lecture capture the most significant area of improvement in the program.
For more information about Tegrity lecture capture, please visit www.tegrity.com.