Case Study: Management - California State University Dominguez Hills

Digital Product in Use:

Connect® Management

Course Name:

Management Theory

Course Type:


Credit Hours:


Textbook in Use:

Contemporary Management by Jones, 7e

Instructor Name:

Thomas James Norman


160/year (instructor total)

600/year (university total)

Case Study Term:

Summer and Fall 2010

“I use the LearnSmart modules within Connect Management to get students familiar with the material and engaged with the concepts. I now spend far more class time on experiential exercises and less time reviewing slides.

Connect Management will improve student learning and save you time. Students need the instant feedback that Connect provides.”

-Professor Thomas Norman

Digital Course Solution Improves Student Success

Professor Thomas Norman teaches an online Management Theory course. He recognized that students who had read and studied chapter assignments before scheduled class meetings were generally more successful in the course than students who had not, so he searched for a comprehensive course solution to improve the level of student preparation, and as a result, student academic success in the course. Upon implementing Connect® Management, Professor Norman saw dramatic improvement. Previously, only two or three of his students had read the material before class meetings, but with Connect Management, he found that only two or three students had not read the material! He also saw a significant improvement in student success, with pass rates increasing from 73% to 80%.

Institution Profile

California State University, Dominguez Hills, is a four-year, public university located near Los Angeles in the city of Carson. Founded in 1960, the University offers 45 baccalaureate degrees, 24 master’s degrees and a number of certificate and credential programs. Annual enrollment is 14,000.


Course Description:

Management Theory focuses on the management processes of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. The course includes discussions of social and ethical issues in business, case studies, and written reports.

Course Grade:

  • 40% of the final grade based on homework assignments withing McGraw-Hill LearnSmart™, Connect's adaptive assessment tool
  • 20% of the final grade based on class participation
  • 20% of the final grade based on two midterm exams
  • 10% of the final grade based on one final exam
  • 10% of the final grade based on management case analysis

Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect

Professor Norman requires students to purchase the Connect Plus version of Connect Management, which provides access to all of the textbook course materials from the eBook to the assignments. He uses Connect in conjunction with Blackboard, and assigns the LearnSmart adaptive study modules as homework assignments that are required before the class session. These assignments are designed to ensure careful, thorough reading of each chapter and full engagement with the chapter content. He then assigns quizzes for each chapter in the textbook that are due the week following the class session.

Results Achieved

Professor Norman uses the reports within Connect Management to analyze student performance on the assigned topics, and uses this information to determine how to focus his lectures in class. “I spend class time reviewing the content areas in which students have the most difficulty in LearnSmart,” he says. “I skip several sections where the mastery is quite high.” Not having to review all of the assigned content has allowed him to cover more applied topics and real-world activities in class, including mock interviews and experiments.

Professor Norman says, “Student mastery of the material is much better, suggesting a great increase in engagement with the course material. The open-ended feedback I received at the end of the course was much longer than normal, which also suggests higher engagement.” Best of all, implementing Connect Management has resulted in a dramatic increase in student performance. Average scores have improved significantly, with many more students achieving a 70 or higher on the comprehensive final exam – 72% versus 48% (see Figure 1).

Since he administers a pretest in the second week of class and a final exam at the end of the semester, Professor Norman also sees an improvement in performance over the duration of the course. Students using Connect demonstrated a 34 point gain versus a 19 point gain for those not using Connect (see Figure 2). Pass rates also increased by 7%, going from 73% to 80% (see Figure 3).

Students in Professor Norman’s course enjoyed using Connect Management. “By the end of the course, my students loved LearnSmart,” he says. “Many reported that they learned more in this course than any other due to the high expectations for assignment completion with a process they could manage. They also liked saving money by buying Connect Plus with the eBook included.”

Student Comments

“The most challenging part of this course was the LearnSmart modules. They ask you the same questions in multiple ways so you can understand and actually learn the material.”

“What I liked the most was interacting with the LearnSmart software. In this short amount of time, I learned about the basic principles of management, the importance of an organization’s culture, and the significance of effective leadership. Even though I’m not a manager yet, with all the new information I learned in this course, I will be able to better understand my manager.”


Professor Norman says, “I wanted to improve student final exam scores, overall learning and engagement. With Connect Management, I have solid evidence that I achieved the first two, and good evidence that the third was achieved.” He plans to continue to expand use of Connect within his courses, and to recommend it to other faculty.