In her role as Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, Laurel Roberts was looking for a sustainable, effective way to keep her students engaged and learning outside the classroom. While she had experience with a variety of online learning tools, nothing seemed to quite fit the need. Then, she discovered Cerego.

The problem: Between limited class time and technical issues, there was a need for an efficient—and effective—learning tool 

“Whenever I try to use in-class interactive methods (Top Hat, Kahoot, etc.), I lose the thread of my lecture,” Roberts explains. “There always seems to be some technical glitch. Also, since some of my classes meet only once per week, I need a way for students to remain connected with the material.” 

Given the limited in-class interaction, Roberts needed a way to both engage her students outside the classroom, as well as make those classroom meetings as meaningful as possible.  

“A staff member in our Center for Teaching and Learning recommended Cerego,” she says. Once she tried it, Roberts immediately understood the benefits and began to apply it with her students.

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“Cerego is like having a teaching assistant that goes home with my students”

Asked how she feels Cerego is suited to handle a remote classroom environment, Roberts says, “the prompts keep students engaged in the material. I know that it can be hard to make scheduled online class meetings right now, and having Cerego reminders to access the material really helps to support student learning.”

She continues: “Cerego is like having a teaching assistant that goes home with my students. It can reach students when they are unavailable to me at night or on weekends. It is also an excellent tool for my population in particular; most are planning careers in the health professions and Cerego's reiterative model helps them to learn the material that they will need to use in subsequent courses.”

Looking ahead, Roberts says that Cerego’s asynchronous learning flexibility will likely play an even larger role after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the issues that we (faculty and administrators) are struggling with is how to build a community of scholars when personal interactions are dependent on time zones and unreliable internet access,” Roberts says. “Cerego will allow us to maintain connections with our students asynchronously which will help with retention and success rates.

 

Laurel Roberts, PhD

“[Cerego] is also an excellent tool for my population in particular; most are planning careers in the health professions and Cerego's reiterative model helps them to learn the material that they will need to use in subsequent courses.”
- Laurel Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

 

“I am so glad that I started using Cerego when I did, it was a no-brainer to include it in my online teaching strategy!”

Thanks very much to Professor Laurel Roberts for the interview! You can learn more about the University Pittsburgh via their official website. Photos courtesy of Pitt.

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