Driving faculty buy-in of digital learning at Georgia State University through positive student success outcomes and fellowship incentives


How might we accelerate faculty buy-in and adoption of digital learning through pilot programs that generate measurable outcomes data?


Four-pronged effort:

  • Initiated the pilot of Math Interactive Learning Environments (MILE) in 2005 to address high DFW rates, by first targeting mostly younger, non-tenured faculty who were more willing to experiment
  • Replaced the math department chair after several years of not being supportive of these changes
  • Began piloting the adaptive model in five large social science courses—thanks to support from a BMGF grant—to explore opportunities to not only improve student success outcomes, but also reduce per-student faculty and classroom costs
  • Incentivized faculty—through grants (ranging from $500 to $55,000) and instructional design support by way of GSU’s new Digital Champions Fellowships—to build fully online digital courses and publish their research in return; for example, grant money has been used to develop and/or use adaptive learning courseware and to build course materials using Open Educational Resources (OER) in order to lower textbook costs for students


Early results have shown promise in MILE—implemented in all introductory math courses serving 7,500 students as of 2013—indicated by the sizeable, voluntary growth in buy-in among math faculty who have witnessed positive student outcomes. The pilot now currently underway for courses in economics, psychology, American government, and world politics will test multiple adaptive platforms in Year 1, then will scale the most successful platform across the five courses, for a total of 20,000 seats.

In 2016, eight Digital Champions Fellowships were awarded for various pilot initiatives including: developing an adaptive learning micro and macroeconomics course; developing adaptive learning modules and an online course for introductory psychology; and compiling interactive biological specimen OER materials for biology courses.

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Pell Recipients


Students of Color


Net cost of Attendance

$30,357 (in-state)