How can you get your students learning faster? Integration

Three college students sitting side by side all with laptop computers in front of them

Educators who have taken the leap to incorporate digital technology know the importance of a seamless start in the semester. Semesters often get off to a stressful start for students as they try to learn to navigate multiple online systems with multiple login portals. Invariably, issues arise and professors spend precious time troubleshooting.

An ideal scenario would be to have one place where students can access all of their course content. Then students have all of the information they need to be successful — in one place. Integration between course content and learning management systems is key. Professor Wetzell explains how he has successfully integrated Pearson’s online course content, REVEL™, with the Blackboard® LMS.


Bradley Wetzell, Ph.D., Professional Lecturer

Department of Psychology, George Washington University

I am currently teaching Introduction to Psychology at George Washington and American University. One of the biggest challenges in undergrad studies is to get students to read their books. They buy the textbook, I assign readings, and they don’t do them. As a way to get them to do the reading, I used to create Blackboard quizzes. They would have to read the chapter and then take the quiz to demonstrate that they had done the reading.

I try to embrace technology in my large classes. The digital resources that come with textbooks are an invaluable resource, especially the quizzes and study aids. I used them all of the time when I was a student, so I try to incorporate these resources into my courses where students can benefit from them. Thus, the reason why I incorporated REVEL.

The first time I used REVEL, I used it in three different sections with about 250 students. This digital resource gave my students online access to the course materials, including the textbook, study aids, and quizzes. Not only do they have access, the study aids and quizzes are automatically presented to students as they read, which is phenomenal. With everything incorporated into REVEL, it made my life much easier. All I had to do was go in and set dates for each chapter. It literally took me 10 minutes to set up an entire semester of assignments, with all of the digital media and quiz assignments included.

In 2015, I was using Blackboard and REVEL, separately. At the beginning of each semester, I spent time troubleshooting issues with students signing onto the REVEL platform, getting accounts set up, and making sure everything was good to go. That changed this semester when REVEL and Blackboard were integrated. Students live in Blackboard; they are very familiar with it. The more instructors can integrate course activities into the learning system students are using already, the better it is going to be for them.

What really amazed me about the integration was that all my troubleshooting issues went away. I didn’t have a single technical issue getting their accounts set up, and making sure things were working right for individual students. I cannot explain why it happened, but I suspect the fact that REVEL was integrated so tightly into the learning management system eliminated my earlier challenges.

Now that the two systems are integrated, students access their assignments through Blackboard. Instead of having them log into a separate system, they log into Blackboard and access their assignments there. So when they are just clicking a link within Blackboard that automatically takes them to REVEL, and links them back to the classroom Blackboard, I think it makes it more of a comfortable process for them.

The real beauty of REVEL and the integration with Blackboard is you don’t have to invest a lot of time. I mean, like I said, you literally just go in and assign chapters by determined dates, then all of those digital resources are automatically incorporated into that. The quizzes are incorporated into that. You can go in and change them any way that you want. You can turn on and off different aspects of the assignment. It is just so easy, it is just so fast. It really doesn’t require a huge investment of time from my perspective, in order for me to be able incorporate this.

Later in the semester when grade transfer came out as part of REVEL, it was another time- saver. Before, transferring grades from REVEL quizzes every week, even though it takes 10 minutes or so, was still a process that I had to go through. Now, I can automatically transfer grades over to Blackboard.

This integration of systems really makes things so much easier for me and students.


About the Author
Kelly May

Kelly May

Kelly May is the strategic marketing director for Strategic Initiatives, Science, and Humanities & Social Sciences at Pearson. In previous roles, Kelly has also been an acquisitions editor, product development marketer, media editor, sales representative, and eMarketing strategist.

In her volunteer work, Kelly is the managing director of the Boston LGBT Film Festival. She joined the film festival in spring 2011.

Additionally, Kelly is an entertainment reviewer for Edge Media Network, where she reviews performances in the Greater Boston area.

Kelly has been in Boston since 2002 and has always been active in community building, through her work with neighborhood associations and volunteering.