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online learning


iane Reddy knows all too well that undergrads who need help are not likely to ask questions in their required introductory classes. So they fall behind right from the start. Bummer.

That’s why Reddy and fellow psychology professor Ray Fleming developed a teaching method aimed at boosting the student success rate. And it has. At UWM, frosh using their online program, called U-Pace, made better grades and understood the material better than those taking the same course in a face-to-face format.

Psychology Professor Diane Reddy

And it gets better: U-Pace also appears to close the achievement gap for at-risk students. Minority and low-income students in particular were more successful in U-Pace courses than majority and higher-income students in face-to-face courses.

“We believe the program works because it builds the students’ sense of control over learning,” says Reddy. U-Pace organizes material for courses such as Psychology 101 into small segments, teaching students how to study in increments.

The U.S. Department of Education is conducting a scientific study of the program, while the method is being tested at the same time at 23 universities through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates and the William and Flora Hewlett foundations.

Powerf ul Ideas. Proven Results.

Using the same textbook covering the same material, U-Pace students must master each online quiz before moving on to the next section. Quizzes can be retaken as often as needed, and students receive immediate feedback. Coaching is given through email messages or a phone call, with the instructor offering help and motivation that is customized to each student.

“U-Pace capitalizes on the technology to tell the instructor when a student is struggling, and that’s when the personalized support kicks in,” says Reddy.

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UWM Research Report 2012  
UWM Research Report 2012  

UWM faculty, staff and students are following many paths to creating new knowledge in diverse fields.