To achieve its vision of being a global leader in applied education, SAIT places great emphasis on the student experience. Its focus on participatory learning aims to give graduates the qualifications and hands-on skills they will need in their careers.
For students to succeed, they need to complete their courses, so student success is always on SAIT’s agenda. When research indicated a strong correlation between students’ ability to access SAIT’s Brightspace learning management system (LMS) instance and their chance of graduating, the organization acted immediately.
Kevin Kowal, Manager of the Education Technology Services department at SAIT, explains: “Research showed that the more students interact with our LMS, the more successful they are—almost across the board. That sparked a whole new initiative around making our Brightspace platform even more useful for our students.”
Bradley Ackroyd, Manager of the Center for Learning and Teaching adds: “We started by asking students for ideas to enhance our LMS. The most common feedback was that they didn’t want one system for course management and a separate system for grades—they wanted Brightspace to be a single hub for digital learning.”
The data also showed that the main obstacle wasn’t getting students to use the platform—many of them were already fans of Brightspace because their previous schools had used it at a K-12 level. Rather, the issue was to persuade faculty members of the value of putting Brightspace at the center of the teaching and learning experience.
“I used to be an instructor, so I understand why they can be reluctant to adopt a new system—particularly if they think it will distract them from teaching. We had to find a way to show our faculty how Brightspace could both improve the student experience and reduce instructors’ administrative workload.” Matt Karns, Education Developer, Center for Learning and Teaching, SAIT