Matthew Griffin is a lecturer in the mathematics department at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). He joined the ALiS project as a graduate assistant during the pre-pilot phase in 2016, and his initial role involved observing lectures and discussion sessions, attending project team meetings, and providing feedback on the project materials and resources. He then served as a data liaison, which involved collecting data and troubleshooting the adaptive learning platform. He was also involved in creating and leading the professional learning community of project faculty across the various institutions. In the extended pilot year 2017-18, he served as an ALiS course instructor and course chair for the introductory statistics course at his institution.
What was the most rewarding aspect of being part of the project for you?
For me, the most rewarding and enjoyable aspect of the ALiS project was the incredible level of collaboration across project partners and across institutions and organizations. Every ALiS team member contributed to the project in important, valuable, and personal ways. The project materials, resources and the positive effects on student engagement and learning would not have been possible without the combined efforts of everyone who was involved in the project.
What did you personally find to be the most surprising finding or conclusion?
I don’t know that I can point to a single result or specific facet of the project that I found to be particularly surprising or disappointing. There were some results and features that reinforced my beliefs about incorporating technology into postsecondary classrooms. As a project team, we recognized the importance of the instructor in the statistics classroom. The project was designed to supplement the adaptive statistics platform with a well-defined, student-centered pedagogical model.
What was the most challenging part of the project experience for you personally?
One of the biggest challenges in rolling out and incorporating the ALiS courseware and pedagogical model was the wide variety of instructional settings across the partner institutions. ALiS project classrooms included large lecture classes with over 300 students as well as smaller classes, and included hybrid courses that met in person only once per week. Consequently, the utilization of the adaptive software and the implementation of the recommended pedagogy played out in different ways across those various instructional settings.
What do you think should happen next at your institution to build on this work?
At UMCP, we will continue to utilize the ALiS project courseware and resources in our introductory statistics courses. I have set a goal for myself as an instructor to improve on my use of the student data and analytics generated by the adaptive software.