Saint Leo Receives Grant to Use New Technology in Online Marketing Course

July 26, 2013

Saint Leo University President Arthur F. Kirk, Jr., announced the university has received a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch adaptive learning technologies in one of its core business courses.

The funding will pay for new software tools Saint Leo will use in the redesign of the online version of a 300-level course, Principles of Marketing. Principles of Marketing is required of all students pursuing undergraduate degrees within the Donald R. Tapia School of Business at Saint Leo University, whether they are studying online, or in a traditional classroom setting.

The redesign will take the existing online course and develop marketing scenarios where the student is in charge of making decisions for a business, and where results will be returned based on those decisions. He/she will also have to justify those decisions by showing mastery of particular content. Additionally, the course designers will be able to evaluate how easy or difficult it will be for the faculty member to use adaptive lessons and develop course materials.

“Saint Leo is well-established among universities as a leader in online learning, and we are constantly seeking ways to progress,” said University President Arthur F. Kirk, Jr. “We are delighted that this grant will help us continue to improve. The results of this course redesign may be applicable to many of our other online courses and teaching strategies, and benefit even more students.”

The project will be led by Dr. Susan Colaric, assistant vice president of instructional technology, and Mr. John Lax, lead instructor for the marketing course. Dr. Colaric explained that a course redesign like this only recently became possible, and requires substantial funding to pursue.

“The learning theories that form the basis for adaptive learning aren’t new,” Dr. Colaric said. “But the technology has finally been developed that allows faculty and instructional designers to create adaptive lessons without needing to understand computer programming. Our goal is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our lessons by providing instant intelligent feedback exactly when it is needed, and dynamically serving educational content to students based on rules that the faculty controls. The result will be that each student gets a customized learning path based on their demonstrated understanding of presented concepts.”