Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College

Connect / Inclusive Access® Provides Day One Access, Reduces Costs and Keeps Students Engaged in an Online Course while Decreases Grading Time for Instructors

Instructor Scott Laufenberg wanted to use an online course tool that would: engage online students, encourage their comprehension of the course materials, provide students feedback on their progress and comprehension of the material, and help him assist more students by reducing the hours he spends grading and prepping for lecture per week.

Laufenberg says that Connect with Inclusive Access helped him meet those goals. "I had been concerned that online students either may choose to be disengaged or may become disengaged because the course does not have face-to-face contact. However, Connect is a very valuable tool in engaging online students and increasing their understanding of the course material."

Laufenberg believes graded assignments through Connect are also key to identifying students who are struggling. "With purely online courses, I cannot look at my students and see puzzled faces! Instead, the reports available through Connect give me the ability to identify those students and reach out to them to assist them."

For purely online courses, I believe Connect is essential. When I did not use Connect for my online courses, I found that students were less engaged and struggled with some of the easier content. Being able to use the outstanding content available in SmartBook and the homework question banks, help improve student comprehension and student performance.
Scott D. Laufenberg


The course grade is determined by the following:
29% — SmartBook assignments
29% — Connect homework assignments
13% — Quizzes administered within Connect
29% — Exams administered within Connect

Laufenberg incorporated key tools available through Connect, such as the homework assignments, quizzes, reports, and lecture capture software when he created the course structure.

In Laufenberg’s online course, multiple chapters are covered each week. For each chapter, Laufenberg uses Tegrity to record lectures that he posts to Blackboard. He also posts the learning objectives for each chapter and the lecture’s PowerPoint slides. For each chapter, he assigns a SmartBook and homework assignment through Connect. He gives students an unlimited number of attempts to complete these assignments.

Laufenberg creates weekly content folders for his courses with subfolders for the chapters covered each week. He deploys the assigned coursework from Connect into Blackboard. "The integration is seamless," Laufenberg says. "While students likely recognize that Connect is separate from Blackboard, the seamless integration makes Connect easy for even first-time users to use. The available tutorial videos from McGraw-Hill on using Connect are also very beneficial for first-time users."

For his purely online courses, he weighs the SmartBook assignments and homework assignments heavier than he would in an in-person class. "SmartBook also gives instructors the ability to make assignments based on estimated amount of time it would take to complete that assignment," Laufenberg says. "I think that is helpful in gauging how much work is being assigned, and for online students, I feel like their amount of online engagement time per week should be comparable to the amount of time they would spend reading and attending a lecture in person."

Students take a weekly quiz in Connect and may take the quizzes twice only with the higher of the two grades counting towards their final grade in the course. Laufenberg also uses the test banks integrated into Connect to build exams and grade the exams.

"Connect has greatly reduced the amount of time I spend grading homework, quizzes, and exams," Laufenberg says. "The available reports generated by Connect are extremely helpful in evaluating student performance and whether the graded course work is effective."

The reports available in Connect give him a clear picture of what might be impacting his students’ outcomes in his courses. In Connect, he uses the Reports features, such as Assignment Results, Student Performance, Assignment Statistics, and At-Risk Reports; in SmartBook, he uses Progress Overview and Missed Question Reports to evaluate student engagement and identify questions in which students are not doing well. Laufenberg says, "Connect allows me to dedicate more time to reviewing student performance and working with students who are struggling in the course."

Knowing the details of the students’ work habits, allows Laufenberg to consider, "Are those questions more difficult or do the number of missed questions reflect a lack of the students’ engagement?"

Laufenberg believes the format of the class dictates how an instructor can integrate all of the functionality of Connect. He will use Connect for a face-toface class at another institution in the fall and he will assign weekly SmartBook assignments to be due before the lecture over that material. "The SmartBook assignments will force the students to read the material in advance, and it will allow me to review the results of those assignments and tailor lecture to the more difficult material. It will make my lectures more efficient and will hopefully greatly improve the students’ understanding of the more difficult material."

Laufenberg says using the assignments from the team of professionals at McGraw-Hill is key in implementing Connect for the first time. "They can provide information about best practices and put you in touch with other instructors who have `in the trenches’ experience with Connect."

Connect has greatly reduced the amount of time he spends preparing for lectures. "I record my lectures and can reuse them for several semesters. I found Tegrity was very easy to use. Connect also makes it very easy to take a prior course, make modifications, and deploy it for use in a subsequent semester."


Laufenberg believes that Connect is essential for online instruction because it allows him to keep students engaged in the course. He used all of the tools available in Connect – homework assignments and quizzes – to structure his courses to keep online students participating and learning. "I have very few students who drop during the semester," Laufenberg says.

The report features allow Laufenberg to identify which students may be struggling and why (i.e., are the questions more difficult or is the student not spending time on the assignments?). The automatic grading feature provides Laufenberg with the opportunity to dedicate more time with those students; so that, after implementing Connect, Laufenberg’s pass and retention rates have improved.

Scott D. Laufenberg

Scott D. Laufenberg has been an adjunct instructor for over 19 years and is also currently working as a government attorney.

Digital Product in Use: Connect® Business Law with Inclusive Access
LMS: Blackboard
Course Name: BAS 267 – Introduction to Business Law
Course Type: Online
Credit Hours: Three
Textbook in Use: Dynamic Business Law, 4th edition by Nancy K. Kubasek, et al.
Instructor: Scott D. Laufenberg
Enrollment: 45 students per section; 1 section; 150 year (university total)

Instructor’s implementation goals

  • Engage online students and assist their learning and comprehension of the material
  • Provide students feedback on their progress and comprehension of the material
  • Reduce the number of hours grading coursework to focus on other aspects of teaching that benefit students

Issues for instructor before using Connect / Inclusive Access:

  • Keep online students engaged in course content
  • Gauge students’ progress and comprehension of assigned material to provide feedback to students
  • Reduce grading hours so time can be spent improving the course and assisting students

Benefits to instructor after using Connect:

  • Reduces the number of hours spent grading homework, quizzes, and exams
  • Able to assess students’ progress in real time by using Connect’s reports feature
  • Gauge if assigned and graded coursework is effective or if there is a lack of student engagement by tracking students’ use of Connect
  • Able to dedicate more time to reviewing student performance and working with struggling students
  • Supplies required course materials immediately to students by the first day of class
  • Provides students with the opportunity to save money and the convenience of not having to buy a textbook
  • Easy to manage the course—regardless of whether there are 5 or 60 students!
  • Improved passing and retention rates

Course Description:

Introduction to Business Law introduces the state and federal court systems, tort and criminal law, law of contracts, partnership, sale of goods, government regulations, bailment, negotiable instruments, methods of research, and the judicial system (discovery, trial, and appellate processes).

Institution Profile:

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College offers more than 30 different academic programs at six locations that gives students access to associate degree programs; diplomas and certificates; and adult education, basic skills, and ESL coursework.