Rowan-Cabarrus was selected from more than 100 initiatives in the Online Learning Consortium’s first-ever digital learning innovation competition
SALISBURY, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has earned the 2016 Online Learning Consortium’s Digital Learning Innovation Award (DLIAward), for advancing undergraduate student success through the adoption of digital courseware. The awards program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success Program, is a prestigious honor.
Rowan-Cabarrus was one of only three institutions and five faculty-led teams selected from among 106 submissions in this first year of the Online Learning Consortium’s Digital Learning Innovation Award competition.
Jenny Billings directed the Rowan-Cabarrus faculty-led team and they were awarded $10,000 for their innovative and creative program, dedicated to accelerating the adoption of digital courseware for general education or gateway courses.
“I am very proud of Jenny Billings and her team for all their hard work on the online learning initiative,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Rowan-Cabarrus Community College strives to provide its students an excellent education both in the classroom and online.”
This is not the first award the College has received for its leadership in online learning. In 2015, Rowan-Cabarrus launched a digital app which enables students to register for classes and view schedules on the go. In both 2015 and 2016, Rowan-Cabarrus placed as one of the Top Ten Digital Community Colleges in the country by the Center for Digital Education (tenth and sixth place, respectively).
“We are always seeking ways to improve teaching and student learning experiences. We strive to improve the student experience by making course materials as accessible, convenient, cost-effective, and appealing as possible,” said Jenny Billings, chair of ACA (Study Skills), Developmental Reading & English (DRE), & English (ENG).
In 2014, Rowan-Cabarrus partnered with Cengage Learning, Inc. for a new, inclusive access e-Textbook program. Through this program, the College purchases digital textbooks directly from Cengage at a discounted price, providing digital access to each student through their Learning Management System (or LMS), paid for during the course registration process. This model and partnership provides peace of mind for both instructors and students: students are guaranteed the right materials from day one.
The Rowan-Cabarrus model has been successful and well-received. Compared to traditional textbooks, students save 25-50 percent on course materials. Additionally, both the Developmental Reading and English and English 111 courses have seen increases in retention and successful course completion. For example, between fall 2013 and fall 2015, the College’s retention rate for the highest Developmental Reading and English course increased from 77.4 percent to 95.1 percent. Since beginning the e-Text initiative, the pass rate for this class at Rowan-Cabarrus (students earning 80 percent or better) increased from 68.8 percent (fall 2014) to 76.6 percent (spring 2016).
The College’s English 111 course has seen similar success; in just one year, the pass rate (students earning “C” or better”) increased from 76 percent (fall 2014) to 82.4 percent (fall 2015). With the help of the e-Text initiative, English 111 has also noticed improvements in retention: from 84.2 percent in spring 2014 to 88.7 percent in fall 2015.
The Online Learning Consortium’s Digital Learning Innovation Award competition recognizes exemplary faculty-led teams and institutions for advancing student success through the adoption of digital courseware.
“The mission of the Online Learning Consortium’s Digital Learning Innovation Award is to discover student-centered active learning solutions that advance the world of digital learning for all students,” said Kathleen Ives, D.M., CEO and executive director of the Online Learning Consortium. “The projects awarded in the first year of competition truly support this mission and serve as valuable models that other institutions can emulate as they embark on their own digital courseware initiatives.”
The 2016 DLIAwards were presented to honorees on November 17, by former U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha J. Kanter, Ed.D. during the OLC Accelerate conference, in Orlando.
The Online Learning Consortium’s Digital Learning Innovation Award competition recognizes exemplary faculty-led teams and institutions for advancing student success through the adoption of digital courseware. The award program is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success Program. More information about the DLIAwards is available at http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/about/digital-learning-innovation-award/.
For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu/apply2017 or call 704-216-RCCC (7222). The College has another set of classes beginning on March 15, 2017.