Current ALG Projects

Affordable Learning Georgia awarded seven KSU teams up between $2,800 and $28,000. Of the seven teams, four teams are housed in RCHSS and were awarded a total of $56,885. Read about their projects below!

Textbook Transformation Grants

The following projects are designed specifically for courses adopting no- or low-cost materials for the first time.

ENGL 1101 (Composition I) Hybrid Design Project

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Team Members: Tamara M. Powell (project lead), Jeanne Bohannon-Law, Constance Briggs, Keaton Lamle, Patrick Carter, Emani Collins, Elly Sloman, and Aiden Reichner

Award Amount: $28,000

Pilot Semester: Fall 2022

  • Impact Categories
    Calculated Findings
  • Total Number of Affected Course Sections per Academic Year
    154
  • Total number of Student Section Enrollments per Academic Year
    4,004
  • Projected Total Annual Student Savings per Academic Year
    $404,404

Statement of Transformation

With this project, the team hopes to achieve a series of learning goals that KSU has sought for several years through such initiatives as Momentum Year and Complete College Georgia. Because it is a gateway course with DFWI rates that can sometimes be above 25% in hybrid modalities, English 1101 has a unique and significant role in every student’s retention, progress, and graduation. At KSU, incoming classes top 9,000 in enrollment. And almost all of those students take English 1101. Further, because incoming first-year student enrollments vary from semester to semester, it is impossible to know how many sections are needed ahead of time. For this reason, often, the English department must hire part time and limited-term faculty at the last minute each semester to meet student demand for English 1101. Many students take hybrid courses at KSU; in Fall 2021, we offered 173 hybrid sections of English 1101, which represents 67% of all English 1101 sections offered for Fall 2021. Due to physical space constraints, these numbers have steadily increased in both pre- and post-pandemic environments. A key challenge with offering this many hybrid courses that also must be ADA compliant, is that part-time faculty hired at the last minute may have no training in creating successful hybrid courses and no access to the D2L learning management system until a week into the semester. The Low-Cost ENGL 1101 Hybrid Design project alleviates that pain point.

Our project also answers a University mandate with innovative learning science techniques. In summer of 2021, KSU Curriculum and Academic Innovation in Academic Affairs mandated a review process by which all online and hybrid courses would meet federal standards for accessibility and engagement. In the Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1000-level courses were mandated to meet standards before fall 2022. In this situation, hiring part timers at the last minute with no template (formerly known as master) course available was no longer possible. The Low Cost ENGL 1101 Hybrid Design Project team met to design a hybrid 1101 template course and wanted to create a high quality template course with low cost materials, copious student success features, and data-gathering capability. We also wanted the course to function as a sort of training course for faculty who may not be familiar with hybrid best practices. The course would also meet federal guidelines for accessibility and engagement. Finally, the course would be designed to be “shovel ready” for new hires with features to make it easy to teach successfully:

  • a facilitator guide,
  • lecture and reminder guides for face to face days, and
  • engaging and interactive online activities that minimize time consuming discussion board grading but provide opportunities for students to interact with the content, especially threshold concepts, with relevant and instant feedback.

In addition, we want to make this project available in D2L for KSU faculty but also available outside D2L to share the deliverable globally. Materials will be created using SoftChalk and Articulate so that they are functional inside or outside of D2L. They will be hosted on Manifold, as well.

In addition to the department need this project is serving, this project will also allow students to save 73% on their course materials. While, as mentioned above, this project will add student success features to the online components of the course to support student learning, the cost savings by themselves are strong student success features. A very recent study “of 215 community college students enrolled in online, introductory courses” supported the research that OERs promote completion and retention (Bol et al 17). Bol et al found that students in OER sections of an online Introduction to Communication course were 34% more successful than their counterparts in non-OER sections (21). Persistence rates (students finishing the course) were 40% higher for students in the OER sections (22) and their exam scores were slightly higher (23). This study supports findings in other studies that show that OERs support student success, retention, completion, satisfaction, and learning outcomes. Through this project, we will provide these advantages to KSU students in ENGL 1101 hybrid sections. Our hope is that increased satisfaction and success in an introductory writing course will support strong student writing throughout the college careers of our students. This improved skill set will lead to better performance in all courses, higher graduation rates, and better career outcomes. 

Bol, Linda, et al. “A Comparison of Academic Outcomes in Courses Taught With Open Educational Resources and Publisher Content.” Educational Researcher, vol. 51, no. 1, Jan. 2022, pp. 17–26. EBSCOhost, doi.org/10.3102/0013189X211052563.

  • The Low-Cost ENGL 1101 (Composition 1) Hybrid Design Project will save students 73% on their course materials by providing them with low-cost course materials and adaptive learning resources  in a course design that uses research-based, digital strategies to support student success in this gateway course and in future academic writing situations. All participants in the project will have successfully completed the “Student Success Workshop” hosted on OpenALG. 

    The Low-Cost ENGL 1101 Hybrid Design Project will involve two student assistants to provide student perspectives on the pedagogical transformations implemented to ensure the course is relevant, appealing, engaging, motivating, and useful. These students will also provide usability and accessibility support.

    The Low-Cost ENGL 1101 Hybrid Design Project will involve a part time faculty member to provide insight into the course design to ensure that it is helpful to facilitators and includes all the tools one needs to successfully facilitate the course.

    The Low-Cost ENGL 1101 Hybrid Design Project includes a team of faculty with pedagogical expertise in adaptive, digital learning sciences, who are our subject matter experts. The team also includes an instructional designer who will create interactive and engaging course materials to support active learning and additional support for mastery of threshold concepts.

    The Low-Cost ENGL 1101 Hybrid Design Project will also make the course materials and assignments available outside of D2L so that persons across the globe can make use of the course materials with or without the use of the low-cost Everyday Writer/Achieve textbook. Supplemental OpenStax resources are available in this project that can be used to run a no cost version of this course. We are creating the materials in SoftChalk so that we can easily host it on the web. And we will also host it on Manifold through Affordable Learning Georgia.

    The Low-Cost ENGL 1101 Hybrid Design Project will provide data on student usage, needs, improvement, and metacognitive learning factors to help evaluate the success of this project and support increased success among students in gateway writing courses.

    The Low-Cost ENGL 1101 Hybrid Design Project provides a template course for all late-hire part time faculty to ensure all students receive quality educational experiences in hybrid English 1101 courses at KSU. The course will also be provided as an OER option for any faculty colleagues teaching hybrid English 1101 courses at KSU. 

 

ENGL 2130 (American Literature Survey) Asynchronous Online Project

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Team Members: Erin Sledd (project lead), Lesley Gabel, and Tyler Tait

Award Amount: $8,885

Final Project Semester: Spring 2023

  • Impact Categories
    Calculated Findings
  • Total Number of Affected Course Sections per Academic Year
    6
  • Total number of Student Section Enrollments per Academic Year
    210
  • Projected Total Annual Student Savings per Academic Year
    $31,500

Statement of Transformation

Currently English 2130 is listed as one of the options to fulfill gen ed literature, but the KSU English department does not have faculty teaching the course in the online, asynchronous format desired by students. The purpose of this grant application is to not only create and remix OER resources to substitute for a textbook, but to also develop a course to meet a stated need.

This project will remix and reuse existing materials for my English 2131 (Early American Literature) and English 2132 (later American Literature) with new materials as well as materials that are already in the OER and Creative Commons. 

Significant research has confirmed that educational materials designed with intertextual, student centered, and active learning pedagogy leads to better engagement and understanding. The type of materials that will be remixed and created include short (15 minute) video lectures with engaging slide presentations; interactive materials, such as learning games and online crossword puzzles as low-stakes assessments for reading comprehension and retention; secure online discussion forums where students can engage with each other and the instructor for informal Q&A, direct messaging, and discussions over specific readings. 

I have consulted with my department chair, a specialist in American literature, and we agree that the course and literary texts should be organized by theme rather than chronology. Given the broad time span covered in the course, a thematic approach will facilitate including more diverse and marginalized texts and voices as well as materials traditionally included in the canon, and the inherently intertextual nature of the thematic approach will also enhance students’ critical and creative thinking.  

Due to the asynchronous, virtual modality, the course will include a group project where students individually complete a part contributing to the whole. This choice is in response to student feedback and requests. Most likely this assignment will leverage online resources, such as mural.co, to create an interactive timeline, which will balance the non-chronological progression of the course and aid students in contextualizing the subject matter.

Materials will be designed to be fully accessible, and, if possible, will incorporate responsive design for various screens. 

  • The goal of this project is to design a fully online, asynchronous general education American literature survey course that spans from the beginnings to the present. The course will be designed using no cost and low cost materials as an alternative to expensive anthologies.

    Literature anthologies are updated frequently by publishers, which means it is difficult for students to purchase used books with confidence that the required course readings will be included. Norton and Heath are the two main publishers, and they have been increasingly separating out materials to create more “niche” textbooks, driving the cost of textbooks for survey courses even higher.

    This specific course, English 2130,  is proposed as a response to student interest and request—both for the subject matter and the modality.  A fully online, asynchronous course will facilitate students’ ability to graduate sooner, as one barrier to graduation is the availability of courses that work with their schedules.

    Although this is the first ALG/OER grant that I  (the PI) has applied for, I have long been committed to using OER and affordable resources for my courses instead of textbooks. The course will include the use of resources (such as free, gamified self-assessments) that I have found effective in the past as well as lessons and learning materials that I will create to supplement course readings.


Continuous Improvement Grants

The following projects are specifically dedicated to improving materials and/or improving the use of materials in courses with existing no- or low-cost materials. 

STS 1101 (Science, Technology, and Society) 

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Team Members: Julie R. Newell (project lead), Tamara M. Powell, Brayden Milam, Lesley Gabel, Kaylee Polk, and Tyler Tait

Award Amount: $10,000

Pilot Semester: Spring 2023

Project Narrative

The goals of this project are to create a skills-based critical thinking class in a hybrid format that can be adapted to a wide range of subjects. The skills fostered and supported in the course materials are transferable across disciplines. The course will be built in SoftChalk and available for use and adoption by anyone in the world.

STS 2400: Science, Technology, and Society was created as part of Southern Polytechnic State University’s conversion to semesters and rethinking of the core curriculum in 1998. It was a two-credit required course in area B (institutional options) and designed to be a critical thinking course. It was taught by faculty from across campus using a master syllabus framework. For many years it was a critical element in the ABET accreditation of the computing, engineering, and engineering technology programs there.

In 2015, Southern Polytechnic was consolidated into Kennesaw State University (KSU), and the course became STS 2105, one of several choices in Area B of the consolidated curriculum. The following year it was moved to Area E-4 (social sciences) and changed from two credit hours to three.

Through all these changes, the course had the same master syllabus and was fundamentally the critical-thinking course I designed when I wrote the master syllabus. I have taught the course across all those years, changing the topic focus every few years. For the past few years, and especially while adapting to the changing needs of the University and its students during the COVID pandemic, I have moved the focus from a central topical theme to using a theme to illustrate a methodology I developed: a wicked-problems approach. It is now a critical thinking course that teaches students a way to approach intractable problems that have no right answer, just better and worse responses. They learn a step-by-step way to work through such issues that is immediately applicable to questions they must address in their lives, their other courses, and their careers. For instance, all design questions are wicked problems, attempting to balance the opposing interests of multiple stakeholders.

Both the wicked problems concept and the many learner-centered elements built into the course are well grounded in a robust literature. Among the principles that run through the course are

  • Universal Design for Learning, with its inherent focus on accessibility
  • High-Flex rapid adaptability to multiple modes of delivery
  • Weekly exercises in reflective writing, formative assessment, and group discussion
  • Multiple opportunities for student-material, student-student, and student-instructor interaction
  • Week-by-week scaffolding of skill development and small-scale application, culminating in a multi-week mastery project that is also an exercise for students in consciously applying techniques that make any group project productive and enjoyable
  • A flipped-classroom approach, using face-to-face or synchronous online sessions for active learning and guided discussion

This course is adaptable to any subject or discipline with minimum revision. If one wanted to teach it to political science majors instead of engineers, for example, it would only require changing the illustrative examples and the final project topics, not restructuring the entire course. It is also immediately adaptable to hybrid, on-line synchronous, or asynchronous delivery.

An Affordable Learning Georgia grant would enable the team to do the following things:

  • Capture and communicate the results of a quarter-century of development in a form readily accessible by other instructors of this general education course
  • Make this flexible and adaptable critical thinking course available to others outside of D2L, beyond my classroom, and beyond KSU as an OER
  • Utilize my College’s instructional designers’ expertise to embed more—and more diverse—active learning opportunities in the instructional materials
  • Prepare an instructor’s manual to facilitate use of the course by making the design principles explicit, leading instructors to resources to learn more about the pedagogical choices and practices built into the course, and providing concrete suggestions for adapting the course for multiple modalities and to a wide variety of topics / disciplines

 

Introduction to Accessible Writing and Design

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Team Members: Erin Bahl (project lead), Stephen Bartlett, Mary Margaret Cornwell, Laura Howard, and Jason Rodenbeck

Award Amount: $10,000

Final Project Semester: Spring 2023

Project Narrative

This proposal builds on initial research and collaboration developed through the support of a Disability Strategies and Resources Diversity Faculty Fellowship awarded by Kennesaw State University’s Division of Diverse and Inclusive Excellence.

Building a culture of accessibility in which university writers actively work toward inclusion (rather than meeting minimal obligations) is a key concern for the field of writing studies (CCCC Position Statement, “Disability studies in composition: Position statement on policy and best practices,” March 2020; see also Lewiecki-Wilson and Brueggemann, Disability and the Teaching of Writing, 2007.) Designing accessible online course environments is essential to support student success in university learning communities, and is a legal responsibility for federally funded educational institutions (KSU Digital Learning Innovations, “What is Online Accessibility?”, n.d.). Furthermore, as the Web Accessibility Initiative for the World Wide Web Consortium notes, “Making the web accessible benefits individuals, businesses, and society” (W3C WAI, “Introduction to Web Accessibility,” 2021), which means writing and designing accessible online content is an important skill to learn for emerging professionals such as university students.

The need for accessible learning environments (including online course spaces) is longstanding and ongoing, especially for students and faculty with disabilities. However, recent widespread shifts to online learning in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated this need in ways that put additional pressure on students with disabilities and foregrounded the necessity of building accessible digital resources from the start (Runde, “Digital Accessibility: A Pandemic Look Back—And Forward,” November 2021). 

The goal of this project is to create a resource that helps students write and design accessible online course content. We anticipate launching this resource first in professional writing courses, but we envision its potential for its application and adoption in courses across the university in which online writing and content creation play a role. 

The proposal team will create a course resource that serves as a supplement to support the development of accessible online learning environments, rather than a replacement of a specific course textbook or delivery of particular course-specific content. Specifically, the proposed course resource will help students practice accessible online writing and design as part of their participation in online courses through tutorials on how to create structured documents, image descriptions, video captions, and audio descriptions. This resource is intended to foster a culture of accessibility in professional writing classes and university learning communities more broadly, so that all course members can contribute to creating accessible learning environments. The resource will be organized according to the following table of contents:

  • Introduction
    • Includes accessibility rationale and explanation of benefit and limitations of AI tools
  • Section 1: Media
  • Section 2: Word and PPT
  • Section 3: Html and Web
  • Section 4: PDF
  • Conclusion

Along with facilitating the creation of accessible online learning environments for all course participants, part of the resource’s transformative value lies in educating all university students about accessibility as part of a larger paradigm shift toward broader inclusivity.  If students are writing for accessibility, it helps mainstream the effort, and may also help to counter potential faculty resistance to the need for accessible course design. Not only will this resource help students while at KSU, but it will also engrain the importance of accessible design outside of the classroom. Additionally, creating this resource for student use and marketing it to their professors will hopefully get faculty to think about accessibility in their course design.

This resource is intended to support a fundamental, transformational shift in pedagogy that builds in accessibility from the very beginning into the ways all course participants engage in the course, rather than putting the responsibility solely on the individual learner to express their access needs or on the faculty member to retrofit the course on a case-by-case basis. This resource will contribute to student success by helping make global course content more accessible to all learners with diverse learning and access needs. Furthermore, this resource will contribute to student success in future professional environments by preparing them to write and design content that can be accessed by as many audience members as possible—an important skill and responsibility in any professional environment. 

Although there are a number of tutorials and resources available for faculty and general audiences learning to practice accessible writing and content design, there are few resources tailored specifically to students, and these tend to be buried in places online that students may not typically visit. The proposed project will serve as an in-depth, focused, centralized, easy-to-access resource that combines these varying tutorials into a single location with a student-oriented rhetorical framing that faculty members can share to supplement instruction in their courses. As an illustrative anecdote, one proposal team member is working with a faculty member this semester who is in the position to create accessible documents for a student using a screen reader. This context encouraged the faculty member to consider redesigning course participation activities, such as a group project in which students critique one another’s work.  When pedagogical practices include collaborative work, this resource will support students’ abilities to write in ways that their colleagues can access.

The project will serve as an introduction to accessible writing and design for students that adapts a student-oriented version of Kennesaw State University’s faculty responsibilities for academic web accessibility, narrowed down to the most likely modes of student content creation and engagement: image description, audio transcription, video captions, and structured documents. Each chapter will provide a clear overview of the focal accessibility channel and how to practice it in relevant composing platforms, along with examples and links to relevant resources, guidelines, and narratives of student experiences. The goal is to create an easy-to-use reference guide that can be taken up in a number of courses depending on the kind of content course participants will be creating and sharing. 

Note from Proposal Team: Because our proposal focuses on developing a new supplemental resource for use in classes across multiple departments (rather than replacing a textbook for a specific course), we offer illustrative examples of possible courses in which this resource would be especially relevant. We view the major transformational impact of our proposed resource as supporting a campus-wide culture of accessible learning environments, rather than primarily financial cost savings. 

  • ENGL 1101: Composition I
  • ENGL 1102: Composition II
  • WRIT 3111: Professional Editing
  • WRIT 3140: Workplace Writing
  • PRWR 6440: Professional and Academic Editing
  • PRWR 6580: Writing for the Web
  • PRWR 6570: Writing for Social Media
  • TCID 2170: Introduction to Digital Media and Culture
  • TCID 3100: Professional Development
  • TCOM 2010: Technical Writing
  • TCOM 2030: Research in Technical Communication
  • TCOM 2050: Issues in Digital Accessibility
  • TCOM 3011: Technical Writing II
  • COM 2135: Writing for Public Communication
  • COM 2230: Introduction to Mass Communication
  • COM 3340: Digital Media Production
  • COM 3350: Editing for Today’s Media
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