Laptop Learning Action Project


Institution: Northern Michigan University
Category: 1-Helping Students Learn
Planned project kickoff date: 10-15-2009
Target project completion date: 10-14-2010


1. Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer.

Ten years ago, NMU initiated the Teaching, Learning and Communication (TLC) Initiative.  To achieve the goals of this initiative, the university implemented a mobile device program that provided NMU students and faculty with a standard set of hardware and software tools.  One goal of the TLC initiative was to create a learning environment that: a) embraced technology to enhance student access, b) promoted the development of independent learners, and c) encouraged greater student-faculty communication and collaboration.  This Action Project will articulate a process to evaluate this goal on an ongoing basis, and will use this process to assess progress towards the goal at this time.

2.  Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities.

The NMU TLC initiative has been in place for 10 years, and it has become a point of pride for NMU and a part of our culture.  When our AQIP Quality Checkup Visitors came to campus in March of 2009, they were very impressed with the program, but repeatedly asked if we had conducted an outcomes assessment of the initiative.  While we have conducted some student satisfaction measures regarding the success of the program, we have not developed an ongoing evaluation process to gauge its success, nor have we conducted a comprehensive program review of the impact of the program on student learning.  This project will both define an evaluation process that can be used for the TLC initiative in the future and can be adapted for use in other university-wide initiatives, and it will also provide the university with data to determine if the outcomes of the program support this initial goal.

3.  List the organizational areas -- institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project.

The charge of this Action Project is to develop a process that can be used to evaluate if the original goal of the initiative – to enhance student access, promote independent learners, and encourage faculty-student interactions – has been met.  We will then implement that process to evaluate goal achievement at this time.  Given this focus, the primary organizational areas that will be involved in this project are academic.  In particular, the project will involve members of the NMU Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee, Academic Department Heads and Faculty Members, and all NMU students.  In addition, staff members from two support units – Administrative Information Technology, and Academic Information Services – will be involved in this project.

4.  Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve.

This project will be instrumental in providing a process that will evaluate a major university initiative – the 10-year old Teaching, Learning and Communication program.  A “value added” benefit of the project will be the development of an evaluatory process that can be applied to other university initiatives.  Finally, the process will be implemented to assess the TLC program goal of helping students learn at its 10th anniversary.

5. Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion).

Time Activity
Oct. - Dec. Convene committee; develop instrument to evaluate goals of TLC initiative:  1) to create a learning environment that embraced technology to enhance student access; 2) to promote the development of independent learners; and 3) to encourage greater student-faculty communication and collaboration.
Jan. - Feb. Present survey instrument to NMU students
Jan. - Feb. Visit another “mobile device” university, to evaluate how they have addressed the goals stated above
Feb.- March Visit a non-mobile device university, to evaluate how they have addressed the goals stated above
Feb.- April Present survey instrument to students at two peer universities identified above
April - June Assess survey instrument data from 3 universities
June Report collected data to NMU community on NMU AQIP website
July  Present results of Action Project to President’s Council Annual Retreat
August  Write Action Project Final Report; present report to NMU Community

6.  Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing.

As noted in our other 2009-10 AQIP Action projects, we will follow a practice that we have developed with Action Projects completed in previous years to monitor our success with the current project.  The committee will be charged with its task, and the meetings of this group will be attended by the NMU AQIP Liaison.  Progress on the project will be presented on a bi-weekly basis to the President’s Council, and at every NMU Board of Trustees meeting.  A mid-term report, and a final report, will be presented to the NMU Provost for Academic Affairs; these reports also will be posted at the NMU AQIP website.

Finally, the Action Project Review that we receive from AQIP after submitting our Annual Report also will be posted at the NMU AQIP website.

7.  Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals.

Process measures:

  1. Process developed to evaluate the Teaching, Learning and Communication initiative on an on-going basis

Outcomes Measures:

  1. Survey data to determine if original student learning goals of TLC initiative have been realized
  2. Action Project results presented at Annual President’s Council Retreat
  3. Mid-year and final project reports posted at NMU AQIP Website
  4. Review of Annual Report from AQIP posted at NMU AQIP website