University of Pittsburgh increases student engagement with Memre
Extending in-person instruction to effective remote learning
In her role as Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, Laurel Roberts was looking for a sustainable and effective way to keep her students engaged and learning outside the classroom. Although she had experience with a variety of online learning tools, nothing seemed to quite fit the need. Then, she discovered Memre.
Most of Roberts' classes meet in person only once per week. The limited face-to-face instructional time and the long break between classes required a way for students to remain connected with the material. Roberts needed a solution to both engage her students outside the classroom, and to make those classroom meetings as meaningful as possible. To increase engagement in the classroom she used interactive learning applications, such as Top Hat and Kahoot. However, recurring technical issues with these applications frequently disrupted her lectures, breaking the connecting thread that made them effective. And she still needed a solution to keep the students engaged outside the classroom.
A staff member at University of Pittsburgh's Center for Teaching and Learning recommended Memre. Roberts tested Memre on her own, and immediately understood how the solution could benefit her students to engage with the course material both in the classroom, and remotely.
Asynchronous learning to improve student engagement
Roberts introduced Memre into her curriculum to enable asynchronous learning. With Memre her students could undertake learning at their own schedule and pace outside of the classroom. Memre prompted students to access and complete course materials—lectures, readings, and assignments- to remain engaged until they met in person. Having Memre remind students to study the material helped improve remote learning and better prepared them for interactive, in-person discussions in the classroom. Memre connected online and in-person learning effectively and efficiently. What's more, Memre provided a smooth and seamless technical experience for Roberts and her students to have uninterrupted interactions.
Distributed practice to reinforce learning for lasting knowledge
Memre serves students short instructional sessions spaced over a period of time. Based on the concept of distributed practice, this model is proven to increase memory retention and cognitive development. Laurel Roberts believes that this type of reiterative learning is the ideal solution for her students, most of whom are preparing for careers in healthcare. The practice helps them retain critical knowledge that they will need for subsequent courses, and in their professions, to be able to find and administer life-saving cures.
Improved student retention and success
Memre is now an integral part of Roberts' online teaching strategy. Looking ahead, she says that Memre’s asynchronous instructional model will provide the flexibility to play an even larger role after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roberts states that one of the issues that the faculty and administrators are struggling with is how to build a community of scholars when personal interactions are made across different time zones and through technology, which sometimes presents its own obstacles, including unreliable internet access. She believes that asynchronous learning with Memre addresses both challenges, allowing them to maintain connections with their students, and leading to improved retention and success rates.
“Memre is like having a teaching assistant that goes home with my students. It can reach students when they are unavailable to me at night or on weekends."
Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
Photo courtesy of University of Pittsburgh