The early days of driver education
Kurt Schultz is CESA2’s Driver Education Director. He’s been helping to build the online program since the early 2000s. Beginning in a traditional classroom model, Kurt saw the need for the program to expand, to become more flexible and to be available to students with complicated schedules. As Driver Education was no longer being offered in class time, students could only complete the mandatory 30-hour course during non-school hours. This meant sacrificing other areas of a student’s extracurricular activities. As well, since courses were scheduled to start at specific times in the school year, it meant that students could easily miss a week or two due to scheduling conflicts with activities, vacations, illness, and more.
It’s a real advantage to be able to have insight at a glance from within Brightspace.
Katie Scheuerell, Online Coordinator
K12 LMS adoption and success
With these issues in mind, Kurt set about to design his own online program using a variety of tools to deliver course content. Eventually CESA2 introduced a new K12 LMS, but the system lacked some of the key features that would benefit students. And once Kurt realized that students would be using the Brightspace Learning Environment at the University of Wisconsin, the switch to Brightspace K12 LMS began. “It made sense to prepare students for online learning now.” Ever the educator at heart, Kurt saw the long-term learning advantages for students. Something that would benefit them beyond driver education into higher education and throughout their life choices and career paths.
How CESA2 has grown
With no advertising and only relying upon word of mouth to promote their program, CESA2 has done a remarkable job in creating awareness and reaching as many learners as possible. Once they began using Brightspace to manage their program, they saw some other distinctive advantages for instructors and students alike. All of which helped to impact the number of students they could teach and reach. Online tools allow instructors to have immediate access to their students and react quickly with feedback, customized content and more.
Competency education provides flexibility
CESA2 provides driver education that focuses on defensive driving. They ensure students are taught the basics like signage, traffic laws, organ donation, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and emergencies. For each quiz, test or assignment that they offer online, students are required to show competency and achieve a score of 80% to move on. If a student doesn’t meet the standard score, instructors have the option to get involved. While this constitutes a competency-based education methodology, the course is still adhering to the state required, 30-hours of classroom instruction, which means that students have a maximum of 20 weeks to complete the course. However, each section can be achieved when and where students are comfortable studying. From within the Brightspace K12 LMS environment, instructors can provide personalized content, gifs, videos, and any necessary tools to help students gain competency in the learning material. “This is a big differentiator for D2L,” says Kurt. “Personalizing content, organization of folders, global announcements, all help us deliver a more engaging course.”
K12 LMS automated communication keep students engaged
There are approximately 15 instructors that teach the same course. As well, there are around 40 students assigned to each instructor. One such instructor and Online Coordinator is Katie Scheuerell. With rolling enrollment, any student at any time can be at a different stage of their course. While this is a huge advantage for students, Katie points out that it can be difficult for instructors to keep watch over the progression of each student individually. “It’s a real advantage to be able to have insight at a glance from within Brightspace. It allows me to view grades, make comments or assign additional reading. It helps provide students with a true personalized approach to learning.”
With Brightspace Intelligent Agents, instructors can rely upon the transmission of essential communication and reminders of end dates, which helps students to be more aware of their progress. A message can be automatically triggered if the system detects that a student has been inactive for a certain period of time. These were features missing from the previous K12 LMS.
After the final assignment is completed with success, students receive an automated notification providing them with information regarding the next steps they need to take. With access to the DMV computer system, CESA2 can actually log students in and help them to proceed to their written and driving test. “The system sort of runs on its own,” says Katie. “We can be confident knowing students are prepared for the next steps. And students are confident knowing what to do next to get to their road test.”
The final thought
If you ever find yourself driving through the state of Wisconsin, you’ll be able to breathe a little easier knowing that the young drivers on the road have had a great start to their driving education. And hopefully, the more CESA2 gets promoted, the more students they will be able to reach. As their K12 LMS partner, we’re eager to enable CESA2 to scale its operation and manage the growth of their program for years to come.