Case Study: Connect® Management - Pensacola State College

Digital Product in Use:

McGraw-Hill Connect® Management

LMS Integration:


Course Name:

MAN 3353 - Management Theory

Course Type:


Credit Hours:


Program in Use:

Management: A Practical Introduction by Angelo Kinicki and Brian Williams, 7e

Instructor Name:

Debra Kuhl, Ed.D


34 students per section; 3 section; 170 year (university total)

Case Study Term:

Fall 2014/Spring 2015 without Connect; Fall 2015/Spring 2016 with Connect

Grades, Pass Rates and Retention in Online Course Improve with Connect and SmartBook

Professor Debra Kuhl was looking for a program that would solve the age-old problem of students not reading the book. Being able to assign SmartBook in Connect provided her a solution. Kuhl knew her students would benefit from a program with varied opportunities to learn and the ability to continually review the chapter material, Kuhl adds, “No matter how good an instructor is, she just doesn’t have the time and ability to create all of the videos, interactive exercises, and online content provided in Connect.”

After implementing Connect, 82% of her students earned A’s and B’s, 92% of her students passed, and 98% of her students stayed in the course. Because students are reading and engaging in the course content with Connect and SmartBook, students have a better understanding of the content which in turn creates more active online discussions. Additionally, Professor Kuhl’s weekly hours spent grading and answering emails from students regarding course content has been reduced by about 15 hours.


Course grade is determined by the following:
75% – Connect and SmartBook (includes assignments, quizzes, and exams)
25% – Chapter Discussion and Research Paper

Kuhl assigns three chapters of SmartBook per week at 70-80 points per chapter. She then assigns the corresponding chapter homework with 15-25 questions including click and drag, placing steps in order, matching exercises and video cases. To help the students prepare for the exam, Kuhl assigns a weekly practice quiz. The exam then consists of objective-based, essay, and short answer questions. Within Connect, Kuhl is able to write her own short answer questions for the exam.

Students continually comment to Kuhl how much they love SmartBook because they can keep reviewing the information until they understand it. Students with disabilities have benefited from the use of SmartBook as well. “With ADA students, SmartBook really works well for them because they get immediate feedback. Students can take all the time they want, and they can revisit, get hints, and use SmartBook to review with `Recharge’ for exams,” says Kuhl.

The due dates for the homework and exam were adjusted to be due at the same time (Sunday at midnight) after Kuhl received feedback from students that they wanted to go back into their assignments to review for the exam.

Kuhl uses the Category Analysis report to determine if there is additional information or an assignment that could help students be more successful in the course. She uses the At-Risk Report to see which students may need some encouragement or extra help. The SmartBook Missed Questions report helps Kuhl look for trends in students’ answers to determine how she may further help students master the course content.

Professor Kuhl believes that Connect helps students learn the materials instead of memorizing and regurgitating content. “Because students do the Connect and SmartBook assignments, students are more engaged in chapter discussions simply because they actually understand and know the material.”

Kelli Nakamura

“Usually students don’t read the course content assigned to them. But, when you require SmartBook, they read the material. You don’t even have to assign a lot of points to the homework because studying becomes like a game to them. Students get involved in the book because they have to interact with the chapter for their SmartBook points. Students don’t even realize they’ve been studying for two hours AND they are ready for the exam.”

– Dr. Debra Kuhl

Instructor’s implementation goals:

  • Finding an online program that would engage online students

  • Grades and passing rates more consistent to face-to-face sections

  • Increase student retention rates

Issues for instructor before using Connect:

  • Poor retention and pass rates

  • Note enough interactivity or critical thinking in online sections

Benefits to instructor after using Connect:

  • Student retention rate is more than double the rate it was before Connect

  • Exam scores improved

Results Achieved

Professor Kuhl’s goal in implementing Connect and SmartBook was to see an improvement in grade distribution. After implementing Connect, 82% of Kuhl’s students earned A’s and B’s compared to 71% of students who had earned A’s and B’s without Connect – an increase of 11% (Figure 1).

Student pass rates have also increased from 80% without Connect to 92% with Connect, a 12% improvement (Figure 2).

Retention rates improved from 91% without Connect to 98% with Connect (Figure 3).

Without Connect, students averaged 80.5 out of 100 on the final exam. With Connect, the average test score for the final exam is 94.9 out of 100 (Figure 4). Kuhl calculates, “Since using Connect, the exam grades for the six tests that I give in my course have risen by 7.7%. The midterm exam improved by 6.13%, and the final exam score improved by 14.4%.”

Kuhl assigns the “Management in Action and Legal/Ethical Challenges” section on the discussion forum. She says, “With the use of Connect, students have a clearer understanding of the concepts and course materials, and the students’ grades for these special topics have improved by 38.5%” (Figure 5).

Kuhl appreciates that she spends less time grading and answering emails from students. “With Connect and SmartBook my emails from students concerning course content has been greatly reduced”, she says (Figure 6).

Course Description:

This course covers the management theories which leads to the development of teams, the management of people and equipment as well as the motivation, empowerment and coaching of employees. The development of processes and procedures, negotiating skills, and conflict management are also covered.

Institution Profile:

Pensacola State College is a public, comprehensive community college that ranks in the top one hundred colleges in the nation in the number of associate degrees awarded. Current enrollment is about 26,000 students and offers baccalaureate and associate degrees, career oriented certificates, developmental education, adult education, GED preparation, standard high school diplomas, and corporate training programs in six locations in Northwest Florida and Southern Alabama.

"Using Connect allows the student to obtain a more in-depth understanding of the course material than I can provide. Look at the results–you can’t afford not to use Connect."


Before Professor Kuhl implemented Connect in her online sections, her goal was to improve students’ grades. Since her students have had an opportunity to study using Connect, 82% earn A’s and B’s, 92% pass the course, 98% stay in the course, and test scores have improved by almost 14.5%.

Further, students have a clearer understanding of the concepts and course materials and Professor Kuhl has a more efficient way to assign homework, give quizzes, and grade. Administration has been pleased with the results and cost savings from using Connect and SmartBook as well. Kuhl says, “Success and retention rate in the state of Florida is part of our performance funding for initiatives. Students are really learning the materials, not just memorizing and regurgitating.”