John Meir is an Instructional Software Coordinator and faculty member at Midlands Technical College in South Carolina. He’s using MyITLab in CPT 101 “Introduction to Computers,” CPT 170 “Microcomputer Applications” (focused on Microsoft Office applications), and CPT 172 “Microcomputer Databases” (teaches MS Access). The courses are taught in many different formats, including in-person, hybrid in-person/online and online-only.
MyITLab was adopted in August 2010 and John believes it’s the standardization of courses through MyITLab that has brought about the biggest benefit for both faculty and students. Faculty can create “one course template and deploy numerous sections using the template” with MyITLab, says John. This allows each section of a course to receive the same lectures each week because the template requires little to no modification once it’s established.
For students, the standardization of courses “can lead to more students helping other students in their understanding of the weekly lectures” because everyone is learning the same material. Students also receive the added benefit, through MyITLab, of being able to complete assignments at home – which was not always an option before MyITLab since not all students have Office installed at home. According to John, “the simulation exercises [in MyITLab] now eliminate the need to have Office [at home],” so students don’t have to be in a lab to complete their assignments.
After the initial implementation of MyITLab in Fall 2012, John wanted to ease his students into using the product. He did so through the creation of a series of Web pages that are also very useful for anyone using the product – start here and use the red navigation bar to go to other sections of this guide. Students are also pointed to the MyITLab pages from Pearson and these internal pages when they register via the campus online learning system.
One unique way John uses MyITLab is through a custom grading book for students. “I don’t like the default folder view of grades, so I create a custom view based on the categories I have in my syllabus. I put all the skills training grades together, all the skills exams, and all the grader projects. I show the students a chart of what assignments count for what percentage of their grade and they can see the points for their assignments as well as a total-points column.”
John’s students are assigned skills training via the calendar, and then the exam for that area of the course. The training tasks provide students with the practice they need to reinforce those skills they might have struggled with previously.
“The students are supposed to do the training first, then the exam, but sometimes they just jump to the exam,” John says. “I also use a custom final exam and make sure I use questions they haven’t seen from the scenarios. We used skill exam scenario 2 this semester, so final exam questions will use scenario 1. As long as they’ve learned to do the task I don’t want them to see the same question – they just need to show they can complete the task.”
John likes sharing what he’s learned as a MyITLab user with others and gave some significant advice for other faculty using MyITLab with their students. “Make sure the students always use the One-Step installer, and launch MyITLab with the launcher icon that’s created.” You can view more information about the installer in this article.