Revel Art Appreciation CSU Stanislaus


Revel educator study examines impact on student performance in Art Appreciation course at California State University Stanislaus

Key Findings

  • Students scoring at or above the median Revel score earned significantly higher average exam scores and final course scores than students who scored below the median Revel score.
  • On a voluntary end-of-semester survey, 95% percent of respondents agreed that completing Revel readings and quizzes better prepared them for class.
  • 95% percent of student survey respondents agreed that experiencing the text through Revel helped them feel more engaged with the course content than a traditional textbook.

School name
California State University, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA

Course name
Art Appreciation

Course format
Face to face

Course materials
Revel for A World of Art by Sayre

Spring 2018

Dr. Patricia Eshagh, Instructor

Results reported by
Stephanie Fritson, Pearson Customer Outcomes Analytics Manager


  • Locale: California State University, Stanislaus is a diverse public institution located in California’s central valley and is part of the California State University system.
  • Enrollment: approximately 9,000
  • Average undergraduate age: 23
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 20 to 1
  • Full-time retention rate: 85%
  • Gender: 66% female
  • Ethnicity/race: 75% minority, with 50% Hispanic or Latino
  • Six-year graduation rate: 57%

About the Course

Art Appreciation (ART 2530) is the study of the basic elements of the visual arts (color, line, form, etc.) with emphasis on developing a critical appreciation of various modes of expression. Also stressed are techniques and media, functions and themes in art, the role of the artist, and major stylistic trends in the history of art. The course provides an introduction to the visual arts for non-art majors. Students develop a critical eye for the formal elements and technical processes used in the creation of art, as well as an understanding of the historical environment in which it was produced. These skills allow students to “see” their world in a more informed manner and appreciate the enormity of the creative human spirit.

Challenges and Goals

Prior to implementing Revel™, instructor Patricia Eshagh found that students were frequently attending class without having read the assigned material and were unprepared for discussions, resulting in her having to cover the material from the text again in class. Students were not able to critically analyze the course material and struggled to engage with the content of the course. Eshagh elected to assign Revel readings and quizzes in hopes of increasing student reading, preparedness, and engagement, ultimately leading to higher overall scores in the course. She also hoped to improve students’ ability to critically evaluate and appreciate artworks.


Dr. Eshagh taught two sections of Art Appreciation in the Spring of 2018 and implemented Revel with Blackboard LMS integration in both sections. Revel integration delivers streamlined access to everything students need for the course in the Blackboard Learn environment. Through this approach, students were able to access all course materials through a single sign in. Both classes were taught in a face-to-face format. Grades for the course were comprised of Revel quizzes, a gallery/museum paper, and three equally weighted exams. The final accumulated point total was the students’ final grade based on total points below:

A 450–500 points | B 400–449 points | C 350–399 points | D 300–349 points | F 0–299 points

Revel quizzes
Students were required to complete all assigned textbook readings and module quizzes within Revel by Sunday evening at 11:59 p.m. before the week began. Each module quiz question was worth three points. Points were deducted for each incorrect attempt up to a maximum of three tries per question. The percentage of correct answers students earned was applied to their Revel module quiz point total at the end of the semester. For example: If a student’s percentage of correct Revel module quiz answers was 45% at the end of the semester, he or she received 45 of the available 100 points for Revel module quiz participation.

Gallery/museum assignment and paper
To impress upon students a greater awareness and appreciation for the art around us, students were
required to visit a gallery or art museum. Students chose from an approved list of local and regional galleries/museums available.

The written portion of the assignment required students to analyze a favorite work of art encountered at the gallery/museum, based strictly on the knowledge they acquired in the course. Only class lecture notes, slides, and the textbook could be used as resource materials, and accessing any outside materials, books, or the internet resulted in an automatic failing grade. The paper had a minimum length of three double-spaced pages. More than than two typos resulted in an automatic five-point deduction from the final score on the paper. The paper consisted of three distinct sections:

Part I: Discuss your experience at the gallery/museum, why you selected the location, whether or not you enjoyed the experience, and how the class has impacted that experience.
Part II: Pick out one artwork and describe it carefully so that the instructor can visualize the work. Include details such as the title of the work, artist name, and title (if applicable). Explain your reaction to the work and why you like or dislike it.
Part III: Attach your entrance ticket to your paper for submission.

Exams in this course included three non-cumulative exams. Each exam covered a particular series of lectures and textbook sections as stated in the class schedule. A study guide was provided to students one week prior to each exam. The study guide indicated the type and number of questions (multiple choice, matching, true/false and/or short essay response), vocabulary, and concepts that would be included on each exam. The exams were taken online by accessing Blackboard on the assigned date and time of the exam.


  • 60% Exams (three non-comprehensive)
  • 20% Revel quizzes
  • 20% Gallery/museum paper

Results and Data

A t-test, which measures whether the means of two groups are statistically different, was used to compare the average exam score as well as the final course score earned between students who scored above and below the median Revel quiz score (figure 1).

  • Results indicate that students who scored above the median Revel quiz score earned a significantly higher average exam score than students who scored below the median, where t(62)=4.33 and p<0.01, indicating that this difference was statistically significant.
  • Results indicate that students who scored above the median Revel quiz score earned a significantly higher final course score than students who scored below the median, where t(55)=6.42 and p<0.01, indicating that this difference was statistically significant.

Average exam score and final course score based on Revel quiz score

Figure 1. Average Exam Score and Final Course Score Earned by Students Scoring at or Above and Below the Median Revel Score, Spring 2018 (n=92)

In Spring 2018, students completed a voluntary, end-of-semester survey (84% response rate) regarding their experience using Revel. A summary of student responses is shown in figure 2.

Student survey responses regarding Revel use in the course

Figure 2. End-of-semester Student Survey Responses Regarding Revel Use in the Course, Spring 2018 (n=77)

The Student Experience

As mentioned earlier, students in Instructor Eshagh’s Spring 2018 Art Appreciation course completed a voluntary, end-of-semester survey (77 participants), providing valuable insight on their experience using Revel in the course.

  • 97% of respondents were able to sign in to Revel during the first week of class.
  • 97% of respondents did not purchase a print version of the text or used the print version never or rarely.
  • 96% of respondents described their experience learning to use Revel as very easy or easy.
  • 90% of respondents rated their experience with Revel as excellent or good.

Students’ survey comments regarding their Revel experience in Art Appreciation included:

  • “I think the benefits of Revel include having the module quizzes at the end to ensure that students are processing the reading correctly.
  • I see that Revel benefits many students who do not always like to read throughout the textbook. And in my perspective, I feel that Revel’s audio option helps because you can get a better understanding of the material because you can listen while reading along.
  • I am an auditory learner and found that the audio feature was extremely helpful regarding understanding the material.

[Revel] helps keep me focused, and I enjoy using the app, as I feel it’s the most modern way to learn.

—Anonymous student, California State University Stanislaus


Instructor Eshagh implemented Revel in Art Appreciation with the goal of improving student reading, engagement, and preparedness for class sessions. She also hoped that by improving student reading and engagement, overall performance in the course would improve, along with critical analysis skills. Performance results indicate that students who scored at or above the median Revel score earned a significantly higher percentage of total course points and higher average exam scores than students who scored below the median. On a voluntary end-of-semester survey, 95% of respondents agreed that completing Revel quizzes made them more prepared for class, and 95% agreed that experiencing the text through Revel helped them to feel more engaged with the course content than a traditional textbook. Eshagh reports that requiring Revel in the course has led to increased student preparedness and engagement, along with improved overall performance.