Every Learner Everywhere
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Improving Student Access and Success in Gateway Courses

The COVID-19 public health crisis drastically altered where and how learning occurs within institutions of higher education. From this experience, colleges and universities understand the critical need to develop high-quality teaching and learning environments that can seamlessly switch back and forth between in-person and online education. As institutions have transitioned back to campus, they are also learning that student demand for flexible and diverse learning environments is increasingly significant. Institutions seeking to prioritize student experiences that are both equitable and accessible must commit to providing students with well-designed learning environments that maximize the use of high-quality digital learning technologies and evidence-based teaching practices across all modality types. This service engages institutional teams to use change management and continuous improvement approaches to create more equitably designed learning environments in online, hybrid, and face-to-face gateway courses or programs at their college or university.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize the institutional investments needed to provide students with learning opportunities that effectively integrate digital learning applications and evidence-based instruction across all learning modalities (online, hybrid, and face-to-face)
  • Using disaggregated data, examine the varied impact of potential learning disruptions for students by race and socioeconomic status
  • Through an assessment of your institutional, programmatic, and departmental needs and capacities, identify critical areas for investment and improvement
  • Learn about and prioritize the adoption and implementation of digital learning tools and instructional methods that center student needs and enable equitable student success in gateway courses
  • Prepare your institution to support the implementation of an academic change management process that creates equitably designed learning environments in online, hybrid, and face-to-face gateway courses and/or academic programs

Service Deliverables

  • Complete four online training modules and a set of workbook activities
  • With your cross-functional university team and guidance from APLU’s facilitators and institutional coaches, you will develop a comprehensive, strategic action plan that establishes a change management process to integrate high-quality digital learning technologies and evidence-based instructional methods across multiple learning environments (online, hybrid, face-to-face) at your institution

Intended Audience

This service is for cross-functional teams consisting of academic administrators and leaders, distance and online education leadership, and teaching and learning leadership and staff. Faculty leadership and course coordinators are also encouraged to participate.

Note: APLU will support participating institutions in identifying ideal candidates based on institutional contexts, need, and capacities.

Service Format

Combination synchronous and asynchronous activities, facilitated workshops with institutional coaching support. The service may be delivered to a single institution or to a cohort of institutions. This service includes:

  • an online training course consisting of four modules, with each module including a set of workbook activities that support teams in crafting strategic action plans that are designed to address needs unique to their institution
  • a series of five, 90-minute-long, interactive workshops, delivered synchronously, and facilitated by experts from APLU and exemplar colleges and universities
  • a set of guided coaching sessions with higher education, digital learning, and data analytics experts from APLU and exemplar colleges and universities

Service Length

This service is designed as a three-to-five-month engagement, depending on institutional or cohort needs and capacities. This service may also be offered as an intensive, two-day, in-person “boot-camp” for institutions or cohorts.

Facilitated Workshops Include

  1. Getting Started and Making the Case: Understand and prepare your institution to support academic change management processes for creating equitably designed learning environments in online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses or programs
  2. Managing Change: Establish course design and management practices that support the delivery of equitable student learning outcomes across diverse learning modalities
  3. Supporting Your Students: Leverage technology and design strategies and policies to ensure student access and create equity-centered educational experiences
  4. Supporting Your Faculty: Develop and prioritize the organizational structures and resources that are required for faculty to effectively use educational technology and engage in inclusive teaching practices across learning environments
  5. Community Review & Redesign: Share and review your digital action plans with cohort peers to learn, problem solve, and innovate on your strategic approach and design
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