Case Study: Lucas - San Jacinto College

Digital Product in Use:

Connect® Lucas

Course Name:

Public Speaking

Course Type:



Credit Hours:


Textbook in Use:

The Art of Public Speaking by Lucas, 10e

Instructor Name:

Julie Williams


200/year (instructor total)

750/year (university total)

Case Study Term:

Fall 2010

“Connect Lucas is a tool that enables faculty to effectively teach the concepts of public speaking, coach students through the learning process, manage classroom activities and assignments, and measure the outcomes of student success.”

-Professor Julie Williams

Digital Course Solution Improves Student Success and Increases Instructor Efficiency

Professor Williams teaches both face-to-face and online classes, and needed a solution that would support both types of courses. Previously, she had videotaped each student’s speech and provided DVDs for self-assessment in her face-to-face classes, which was time-intensive. With Connect Lucas, she has recovered 50 hours per semester by uploading the videos into Connect for student self-assessment. She also has one place for her online students to upload their videos for grading and feedback, self-evaluation, and peer review. In addition, she reports increased student engagement and significantly higher pass rates than the departmental average since implementing Connect Lucas.

Institution Profile

San Jacinto College is a two-year community college that serves east Harris County outside of Houston, Texas. SJC offers a core curriculum leading to associate’s degrees on three campuses serving more than 28,000 students annually.


Course Description:

Public Speaking teaches students to choose and narrow a topic, communicate a thesis, provide a variety of supporting research materials, demonstrate use of organizational patterns, use appropriate language and vocal variety, demonstrate appropriate pronunciation, grammar, articulation and body language, and develop skills in presentation aids, including multimedia presentations.

Course Grade:

  • 50% of the final grade based on speeches
  • 25% of the final grade based on one midterm and one final exam
  • 15% of the final grade based on attendance and participation
  • 10% of the final grade based on chapter quizzes

Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect

Professor Williams records every student speech in her face-to-face classes, uploading them into Connect Lucas and requiring that each student watch their own video and use the self-assessment form to evaluate themselves. She also assigns chapter readings and requires that students take related quizzes in Connect Lucas before they attend her lectures. By ensuring that students are familiar with the chapter content prior to lecture, she now has additional time in class to address specific student questions. “Assigning quizzes BEFORE they come to class gives the students at least a familiarity with the material before class,” she says, “and it helps them to understand and remember the material, and to apply it to their speeches. It also allows more time to use the material in activities, group work, library research, and interactive lessons in the classroom.”

In her online classes, she requires that students record themselves giving speeches before their own audiences. She then uses the grading rubric in Connect Lucas to grade the speeches and provides comments to the students embedded in the their speech for real-time feedback. She also groups the online students and requires that they provide peer reviews of each group members’ speeches and a self-evaluation of their own speeches.

In both classes, Professor Williams recommends that students use the flashcards, practice quizzes, and sample videos in Connect Lucas to prepare for chapter quizzes, speech assignments, and both the midterm and final exam. She also requires that every student watch and provide an evaluation of at least one of the Top 100 American Speeches.

Results Achieved

Professor Williams reports a number of benefits in using Connect Lucas, including an improvement in final exam pass rates, surpassing the departmental average by 10% (see Figure 1). She says, “Students appreciate the accessibility of information and sample speech videos in Connect Lucas. When they ask how to review for quizzes or exams, I can direct them to the quizzes, flashcards, and chapter notes in Connect, rather than having to provide a written review. Because they interact with Connect online, they are better prepared and less stressed when they take their exams online.”

Professor Williams has seen increased student engagement in both her face-to-face classes and her online classes. “The students who use Connect like the online format and talk very positively about their vocabulary reviews and study for quizzes and tests,” she says. “They are more willing to engage in class discussions because they have a better foundation of understanding the concepts and are able to answer the review questions I pose in class. This stimulates better class discussions and more in-depth understanding of the speech requirements.”

In addition, she reports that “face-to-face students using Connect appreciate the convenience of having the video of their speeches readily accessible, next to the self-assessments they need to complete. They also particularly like the flashcards for each chapter, the sample videos, and the chapter quizzes. The distance learning students use the same tools, as well as the grading rubrics for their own speeches and the peer review rubrics for their classmates’ speeches.”

Professor Williams has also saved a substantial amount of time by using Connect Lucas (see Figures 2 and 3). “I do not have to grade quizzes, the midterm, or the final anymore,” she says. “They are all given online, and the grades are posted automatically into the grade book. Currently, the only grading I have to do is the speeches and outlines.” She has saved the most time with her online classes. “Once I customize the online grading rubric, I can watch and grade the speeches, and post the grades, quickly and easily.”

Professor Williams reports an increase in student retention, from 75% prior to using Connect Lucas to 85% in her classes using Connect Lucas in Fall 2010 (see Figure 4). She also reports a positive impact on the way she spends class time with her students (see Figure 5). She says, “I used to spend the majority of class time giving lectures and explaining the course concepts, whereas with Connect, I am able to use class time to engage the students in active learning activities, discussions, and hands-on learning. I also post all quizzes and exams online, saving over three hours of class time per semester.”

In addition, because activities, quizzes and exams are administered online, Professor Williams has decreased the number of handouts and worksheets she provides to students by 1,000, resulting in actual departmental cost savings of approximately $300 per semester!

“Connect allows me to integrate technology into the classroom and to model for my students how to use the tools for effective speech writing and delivery.

I intend to use Connect more heavily for both my face-to-face and online courses. I will direct my students to use the tools, worksheets, quizzes, chapter outlines and notes, and sample videos in preparation for their speeches.

I have made Connect a course requirement that all my students must have for my public speaking classes. So much of their grade will eventually depend on tools and features that they can only access through Connect, and it would be difficult for students to pass my course without it.”

- Professor Julie Williams


Professor Williams is pleased with Connect Lucas, and she plans to not only continue using it, but also to continue to incorporate additional Connect Lucas tools as they are made available. She says, “We are facing tremendous pressure to increase and improve our distance learning courses, and Connect offers the perfect solution to meeting the quality demands of an effective distance learning course, as well as the students’ needs.” As a result of using Connect, the college has now increased their distance learning course offerings by three courses per semester. “The more distance learning courses we offer, the greater the student increase without the corresponding demands on classroom space and instructors.”