Centralia College Instructors Develop App to Help Students Succeed


Two Centralia College instructors have created a cellphone app that gives students a visual representation of their skills, allows them to see exactly how they’re doing in a class and informs them what they need to work on to improve their grades.

Alisha Williams, an English instructor, and Gordon Gul, a computer science instructor, recently won the 2017 Connie Broughton Leadership and Innovation in eLearning Award from the Washington State eLearning Council for their app, according to a press release from the college. 

“We wanted to help students focus more on achieving the course outcomes, so we decided to link the things they are learning to the grades they are earning,” Gul said. “We needed a way to show students the correlation between their skills performance and their score on an assignment or quiz.”

This resulted in an interactive app called Grade Outcomes Assessment Learning Strategy, or GOALS, that uses the Canvas online learning platform to access course information to create a color-coded, interactive chart. 

The center of the chart is a bulls-eye where the student’s current grade is displayed. Each sector of the chart represents a skill taught in the class, and each individual segment shows whether the student has achieved mastery of that skill as it applies to a particular quiz or assignment.

Students can click on any segment of the chart and are then directed to a specific assignment in Canvas, where they can view instructor feedback. If the instructor allows, student may then revise and resubmit their work to potentially improve the assignment score, according to the release.

Instructors can use the app to see the progress of individual students or the class as a whole. The feedback allows the instruction to see how the class is performing on any given task. If several students have low scores in a certain skill, the instructor can then spend more time covering that topic.

The app also has a built-in alert system that allows the instructor to set intervention levels. For example, the instructor can set the level for when a student’s grade falls below 2.5. That could prompt the instructor to engage in a conversation with the student about tutoring or other academic support options, according to the release.

Gul and Williams plan to make the GOALS app available in June.