Case Study: History - St. Mary's College

Digital Product in Use:

Connect® History

Course Name:

History of the Modern World

Course Type:


Credit Hours:


Textbook in Use:

Traditions and Encounters: A Brief Global History, Volume II by Bentley, 2e

Instructor Name:

Dr. Adriana Brodsky


25/year (instructor total)

125/year (university total)

Case Study Term:

Spring 2011

With Connect, students came to class with an idea of what topics the week would focus on.
They were able to interact with my lecture much more.

-Professor Adriana Brodsky

Digital Course Solution Improves Student Success and Increases Instructor Efficiency

Professor Adriana Brodsky had two goals prior to implementing Connect History. First, she wanted to reduce the amount of time that she spent grading quizzes, and second, she wanted her students to complete map activities online, which she considered to be better than traditional map activities. She chose Connect History for the map activities and the quizzes, which she used in conjunction with Blackboard Learn, the learning management system in use at St. Mary’s College.

Institution Profile

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is located in St. Mary’s City, the capital of the Colony until 1695. The state designated the college as Maryland’s public honors college in 1992. St. Mary’s enrolls approximately 2,000 students per year, and awards the bachelor of arts degree in 22 disciplines, a student-designed major, and a master of arts in teaching degree.


Course Description:

History of the Modern World is a survey of world history events from 1400 to the early 20th century. The lecture-based class focuses on the progressive globalization of the world, with particular attention to the development of trade and cultural exchanges.

Course Grade:

  • 35% of the final grade based on exams
  • 20% of the final grade based on written assignments
  • 20% of the final grade based on quizzes within Connect History
  • 15% of the final grade based on book discussion
  • 10% of the final grade based on participation and map exercises within Connect History

Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect

Professor Brodsky covers one textbook chapter each week. Students are assigned a weekly quiz due each Monday to motivate them to read the chapter and come to class prepared. This accounts for 20% of the student’s final grade. In addition, she assigns map exercises, designed to help students grasp the impact of geography on the history covered in each chapter by analyzing a map and applying their knowledge through a series of questions. Students are required to complete at least eight Connect map activities throughout the semester. If they complete more than eight, the top eight scores count towards their grade. The map activities, combined with class participation, contribute 10% to the final grade. In addition to the work in Connect, Dr. Brodsky assigns readings for weekly book discussions.

Results Achieved

Dr. Brodsky noted that the reduction in time spent giving and grading quizzes has had the most positive impact on her course. She has reduced her grading time by two-thirds, while students take more quizzes than before using Connect. The online quizzes save her 20 minutes of lecture time each week that was previously spent administering quizzes in class. Connect has also reduced Dr. Brodsky’s map activity preparation time. Using the Connect reports, Dr. Brodsky is also able to have more robust and timely discussions with students during office hours.

Dr. Brodsky notes that because students come to class prepared as a result of completing quizzes before class, her lectures have become more interactive. “Online quizzes are great!” she says. Since students take the quiz in the beginning of the week, she can assume that students have read the material and studied the chapter, and she can focus on making connections and using case studies.

“The aspect of Connect that was most beneficial to me was reading comprehension for our Monday quizzes. I learned how to read the chapter for the most important parts and write good short answer questions and reading maps.”

- Student, St. Mary's College


Connect History helped Dr. Brodsky to not only reduce the amount of time she spent grading quizzes, but also to use that time to expand her lectures. In addition, students were able to work on the material prior to class discussions. Dr. Brodsky plans to continue to use Connect for weekly quizzes and map activities. She hopes to implement more of the functionality of Connect so that she can continue to evolve her class time to spend less time lecturing and more time on other activities, such as discussions and role plays.