Developing the Ultimate Course Search Tool to Increase Retention & Learning

Edina Renfro-Michel, Sailume Walo-Roberts and Vincent Oria

Online and hybrid university courses are increasingly offered as alternatives to traditional face-to-face courses, but often have high attrition rates. These attrition rates are caused by student difficulties navigating course material, perceived lack of control over learning, and lack of individualized learning. Students who successfully complete online courses do so because of the beliefs that they are able to control the course environment and meet their own intrinsic learning goals. Currently in Beta form, the Ultimate Course Search tool (UCS), part of the iSECURE research project funded by NSF, is an open source technology that can be used in online, hybrid or face-to-face courses to help students individualize their learning. We will discuss the process of developing this integrated learning tool and ontology, the integration of learning preferences into our work, and preliminary data on student usage and learning outcomes.

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