Case Study: Psychology - State College of Florida

Published Thu Feb 23 14:00:13 EST 2017

Digital Product in Use:

Connect® Psychology

Course Name:

General Psychology

Course Type:


Credit Hours:


Textbook in Use:

The Science of Psychology: An Appreciative View by King

Instructor Name:

Cheri Kittrell



Case Study Term:

Summer 2010 and Fall 2010

“We needed a program that could meet students at all of these levels of learning and engage them in the study of psychology. I think that Connect Psychology is the ticket.”

“The beauty of Connect is that it is customizable. Professors don’t have to change, curricula do not have to change — Connect will change to accommodate us.”

-Professor Cheri Kittrell

Digital Course Solution Improves Student Success and Increases Instructor Efficiency

Professor Cheri Kittrell was looking for a digital solution that would help reinforce course concepts without adding to her grading workload. She began using Connect® Psychology in Fall 2009, anticipating that it would provide interactive content designed for diverse learning styles, yet still be user friendly enough not to intimidate students who had little experience with technology. After four terms of using Connect Psychology, she is seeing exactly the results she expected, as well as meeting her initial goals of reinforcing concepts for students. She has also seen a continued increase in student grades, and in her ability to spend more valuable time with students.

Institution Profile

State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) is the region’s first and largest public college. It enrolls 10,000 students annually at campuses in Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, as well as online. SCF is dedicated to meeting the educational and workforce training needs of citizens and businesses in the region with 106 associate, 1 bachelor’s, 5 certificate, and 4 advanced technical degree programs.


Course Description:

General Psychology is an introduction to the scientific study of human behavior with emphasis on the processes of thinking and learning as the basis for individual adjustment to the physical and social environment.

Course Grade:

  • 60% of the final grade based on final exams
  • 20% of the final grade based on written assignments
  • 20% of the final grade based on Connect Psychology assignments
  • The user of McGraw-Hill LearnSmart™, Connect's adaptive assessment tool and Tegrity, an automated lecture capture service, were optional but strongly recommended

Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect

Professor Kittrell implemented Connect Psychology in her General Psychology courses beginning in Fall 2009 because she believed that it would meet the needs of students with a variety of learning styles and levels of college readiness. As a subject-matter expert involved in the development of Connect Psychology, she was familiar with the compelling exercises, assignments and review assessments that were created for the program. “More things for my students to think about gives them more opportunity for critical thinking,” she says, “and as soon as they start thinking, they have questions. This starts the discussion.”

Kittrell required her students to complete Connect Psychology assignments for each textbook chapter as a way to review for exams. These assignments also counted as homework grades.

Results Achieved

Professor Kittrell reports that she has seen steady, measurable improvement in student grades from semester to semester using Connect Psychology (see Figure 1). Her Summer 2010 class had an overall average of 86.9% on Assignment One, and the lowest score on this assignment was 50. The Fall 2010 class, however, had an average of 87.82%, and the lowest score was 60. “I have seen this kind of continued improvement in scores each semester,” Kittrell says. “This shows me that I am reaching the students at both ends of the grade distribution. That is very hard to do.”

In addition, assignment and item analyses provide Kittrell with reliable data related to student understanding of specific course topics and concepts, which help her to enhance her instruction. The reports in Connect Psychology show her where review is needed for individual students and for entire classes. “I can even use the reports to demonstrate to administration that classes are achieving the learning objectives set forth for them,” she says.


“Less time grading is my favorite benefit,” Kittrell reports. Connect Psychology assignments comprise half of her students’ homework grade, and Connect calculates and records it all for her, enabling her to focus more time and attention on her students.

Professor Kittrell’s students also enjoy using the eBook. In addition to being significantly more affordable than a printed textbook, it is a welcome tool for many students who want to highlight in the book, take notes, view the embedded videos, and use the integrated search function. Best of all, they tell her, they have the homework, LearnSmart adaptive study modules, and lectures available to them anytime, anywhere. “Students love Connect Psychology. They always say that it is easy to use, that they love the content, and that it is improving their test grades.”

"Because I don’t have to spend nearly as much time on the basics, we have a lot more class activities, discussion, and projects to cement the concepts. The result is more engaging for my students and for me as an instructor. It makes the classroom dynamic."

- Professor Cheri Kittrell


Professor Kittrell is pleased with the steady improvement in student achievement that she has seen over the past few semesters, as well as the decrease in grading time that enables her to spend more time with students. She will continue to use Connect Psychology as a required component of her classes, and she will recommend it to her colleagues.