Case Study: Allied Health - Baker College of Clinton Township

Digital Product in Use:

Connect® Allied Health

Course Name:

MED 218B Administration of Medications

Course Type:


Credit Hours:


Textbook in Use:

Administering Medications with Connect by Donna F. Gauwitz

Medical Assisting Review: Passing the CMA, RMA, & Other Exams by Jahangir Moini

Medical Insurance: An Integrated Claims Process Approach by Joanne Valerius

Electronic Health Records by Byron R. Hamilton

Computers in the Medical Office by Susan Sanderson

Instructor Name:

Amy Ensign


22 students per section

500/year (university total)

Case Study Term:

October 2009 (without Connect)

October 2013 (with Connect)

Connect frees up more class time for active learning

-Professor Amy Ensign

Connect Improves Student Retention and Improves Student Scores on Credentialing Exam

Professor Ensign wanted to include a learning resource in her course that would raise student scores, improve student retention, and increase the number of students who passed the AAMA exam, a national credentialing exam. Connect was the solution. Since using Connect, the number of students who passed her course with As and Bs doubled. Further, 94% of the students completed the course and 100% of her students who took the AAMA exam passed it. Additionally, Ensign is spending less time grading homework and quizzes and more time creating a more learner-centered class environment.

Institution Profile

Since 1911, Baker College of Clinton Township, a private college located northeast of Detroit, Michigan, has focused on providing education and training that leads its students to graduate into successful careers. Students can choose among 150 career programs that have been crafted with direct input from employers on the Advisory Boards. Presently, Baker College has a 97 percent employment rate among available graduates and offers several certificates as well as associate degrees and bachelor degrees in career programs that include: nursing, radiologic technology, surgical technology, human resources, automotive services, therapeutic massage, internet security, accounting, and many others. Baker College is Michigan’s largest, independent, not-for-profit college and one of the ten largest private colleges in the United States.


Course Description:

This course focuses on the basics of pharmacology along with the clinical administration of medications including oral and parenteral routes. Emphasis is placed on accuracy in calculations and preparation of medications and safety in the laboratory.

Course Grade:

The grade is determined by: Homework in Connect (5%), Practical Competencies (20%), Quizzes in Connect (40%), and the Final Exam in Connect (35%).

Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect

Professor Ensign wanted to find a digital tool that would provide a comprehensive delivery of materials and assignments to improve students’ retention of material, increase overall course retention rates, and boost national exam scores.

Because students are required to complete assignments in Connect before class, students arrive in class already familiar with the material, ready to ask questions, and are better able to comprehend and retain the material in lecture. This provides an opportunity to explore discussion questions in class and to actively involve all students. By using quizzes in Connect, Ensign is able to use class time for hands-on activities, discussions, and lecture.

Each chapter is assigned its own assignment. Sometimes two to three chapters are covered each week. The assignments usually have between 25-50 questions. On average, five Connect assignments are created and assigned for weekly homework and practice opportunities. LearnSmart is also assigned as a study tool, while Connect quizzes are assigned for assessment.

Additionally, Ensign uses Connect to have more control over assignments. She uses tagging to achieve various outcomes, content, and difficulty level. Student engagement increases because Connect provides a unique “out of class” tool for students to use to prepare for classes and testing. Ensign sets up the assignments so they can be used as homework, quizzes, or practice by allowing any number of attempts. Ensign says, “Typically, I set up weekly assignments at unlimited attempts to encourage students to become better prepared for assessments. This allows students the opportunity to go back to previous material when preparing for comprehensive final exams and even the national credentialing exam.”

Ensign uses the assignment results to keep track of grade books, and the student performance reports allows her to see student progress, number of attempts, and time spent on each assignment.

Ensign uses the most challenging learning objectives report so that she can determine which concepts her students are struggling with the most. She can then adapt her lectures to meet the students’ needs. The item analysis report allows her the opportunity to determine if she is effectively teaching various concepts. Ensign says, “For example, if the trend for a particular question is that most students missed the mark, then I am able to adjust the coverage of that material to ensure that students understand it better.” Ensign uses the at-risk report to provide her with an excellent indicator of students’ online engagement and their progress as a whole; and, Ensign appreciates that she can contact the students directly through the at-risk report.

Results Achieved

More students passed the course with higher grades than before Connect / LearnSmart was implemented. When students did not use Connect, only 7 students earned As, 12 students earned Bs, and 17 students earned Cs. However, after Connect was integrated into the coursework, 14 students earned As, 24 students earned Bs, and 9 students earned Cs (see Figure 1).

Ensign says, “Since using Connect for this course, pass rates have been significantly impacted, increasing from 78% to 94%” (see Figure 2). Student engagement in class has also improved. “Because students are required to read and complete Connect assignments prior to class, students are more engaged during class discussions and are more prepared to participate.” Further class attendance has improved. “Students have been more prepared for class using Connect, and therefore do not feel as though they have to miss for lack of preparation.”

Higher grades and higher pass rates have impacted the course’s retention rate. Students are staying in the course at a 10% higher rate (88% vs 98%) than before Ensign used Connect (see Figure 3). Ensign states: “Retention rates have definitely improved. Fewer students are dropping the course. I attribute this higher rate to the students’ improved success throughout the course due to using resources such as Connect.”

Although Ensign’s students did well before on the exam, after implementing Connect in her courses, 100% of Ensign’s students have passed the national credentialing exam that is administered through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) (see Figure 4). Successful completion of the exam earns students the credentials of a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).​

Grading of homework, tests, and quizzes had previously been accomplished manually when the students submitted workbook pages and paper tests. With Connect, manual grading is minimal and has reduced the time needed to grade significantly. Previously, Ensign spent nearly 26 hours a week with tedious class grading and management tasks. With Connect, she has the opportunity to spend more time applying concepts and encouraging active learning in her classroom (see Figure 5).

Ensign states, “Using Connect has been instrumental is providing a more learner-centered class environment. We can focus more on core concepts in class because students are required to prepare for lecture through Connect assignments. Connect has allowed me to focus my time less on grading and more on delivering a more dynamic and learner-centered lecture.”

“Connect has been instrumental in allowing me to prepare for lectures and for class to be run in a more learning-centered environment. Students are required to complete Connect assignments prior to class, so I am able to prepare for class to cover the material on a deeper level.”

“Connect is a fantastic resource for students and instructors. Connect helps students with retention of the material and gives the students an opportunity to learn through a variety of different platforms, such as interactive assignments.”


Since Ensign implemented Connect into her course, she has seen an increase in the students’ grades – twice as many of her students earned As and Bs than before. Ten percent more of her students have stayed in the course and 100% of her students have passed the national credentialing exam administered through the AAMA and become certified as Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs). Ensign credits Connect with the significant increase in grades, retention rates, and passing scores: “Connect is a fantastic resource for students and instructors.”