dB-SERC lunch discussion
Topic: Digital Alternatives to Developmental and Supplemental Instruction for Access and Equity in Foundational Undergraduate Courses
When: Wednesday, Dec 4 from 12 - 1 pm
Where: LRDC 2nd Floor Glaser Auditorium
Who: Dan Hickey (Indiana University)

Several widely-cited reports document the extensive evidence against using developmental education (DE) courses to help students with diverse experiences prepare for foundational (i.e., “gateway”) undergraduate courses. Remarkably small proportions of students who take DE courses go on to earn a passing grade in the corresponding foundational course. Because minoritized students are much more likely be required or counseled to enroll in DE, this policy has devastating consequences for equitable access to desirable majors and degrees. Some experts suggest that all students should be given access to supplemental instruction (SI) to go alongside gateway course, but such programs can be very expensive for the university. More recently, universities have been exploring low-cost online learning environments.

This presentation describes two studies of the effectiveness of low-cost virtual alternatives to DE and SI using advanced statistical methods that effectively control for self-selection biases. The first involved the ALEKS Summer Prep for General Chemistry intelligent tutoring system offered an alternative to an existing 3-credit or 5-credit DE courses in chemistry. The second involved the Programming in Python 3 Zybook interactive textbook used to replace an SI program that was cut for budgetary reasons.
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