ALEKS offers both flexibility and control in how you structure content and pacing. No matter your course format—traditional lecture, online, co-requisite, lab based, flipped classroom, or any other—ALEKS provides a simple, intuitive setup process that meets your unique course goals and saves valuable time.
Let’s create a new class. You’ll see how to structure your assignments to ensure students are prepared to learn and on pace with your curriculum.
After naming your course and setting dates, your first option will be to select your textbook. If you require it, your students will have access to an ebook and videos, and you can build non-adaptive assignments with algorithmic textbook-specific content.
Once you select a textbook, ALEKS will suggest applicable adaptive content. You choose the adaptive content that will best support your course and approach.
If you will primarily deliver adaptive assignments, you can choose to align to the subject area of your textbook. If you mostly wish to deliver non-adaptive homework assignments while ensuring students have necessary foundational skills, you can select ALEKS Prep, which includes key prerequisites for your course. Finally, if you are implementing a corequisite, you can choose adaptive content to support your credit-level course and/or the support course (Developmental Math topics).
When students work through the ALEKS adaptive assignments, they will have access to these resources for additional support:
Let’s start by building adaptive assignments, or ALEKS Objectives, in which students get personalized practice and work to learn and then master ALEKS topics. Then, we’ll move on to building non-adaptive homework, tests, and quizzes.
Here, you will begin to select the adaptive content you want students to master. You will select your content and group topics into an ALEKS adaptive assignment. ALEKS topics are written at a very granular level, giving you control over what your students will see. Students work within their personalized path, yet follow the pace you set with your due dates.
ALEKS topics are organized into folders. To add ALEKS topics to the adaptive assignment, open the folders to view and select individual topics, or select the entire folder to add all topics. After selecting all topics for this adaptive assignment, select Done and begin building the next one. The content you choose across all adaptive assignments determines what the Initial Knowledge Check assesses on Day 1. Your ALEKS Implementation Manager will help you decide the right number of topics and pacing to meet your course goals.
After you have selected content for your adaptive assignments, you’ll set start and end dates and times for each, ensuring students’ work in their adaptive assignments is on pace with your course structure.
Due dates and times can be continuous or include breaks when students will not have an adaptive assignment to work on. For example, you may want to allow time for a non-adaptive homework or practice test. If students have completed an adaptive assignment, they can review material they may have missed or that needs refreshing.
Once students complete their Initial Knowledge Check, they begin working in their personalized learning path to complete their first adaptive assignment. The learning path guides students to learn the content in the adaptive assignment by the selected end date. Students will not encounter any content they demonstrated mastery of on the Initial Knowledge Check.
Students are first presented with topics they are ready to learn; any topics they do not complete before the end date will surface in a future adaptive assignment as a necessary prerequisite for the content in that assignment. The example above illustrates how a student will still need to work through the important prerequisite topics from a prior adaptive assignment that are needed for them to be successful in their current assignment.
Once you’ve selected your content, ALEKS will analyze your selection to determine if any additional prerequisite topics should be considered. This analysis is based on 20+ years of data that is continuously informing the system to ensure students are presented with the most optimal learning path for their unique skill sets.
You can choose to add in the full amount of recommended prerequisite topics, the minimum prerequisite topics, or no prerequisites. Students will only work on prerequisites they haven’t mastered. Some course formats such as co-requisite or accelerated models might utilize these more than others.
In addition to the personalized learning path, ALEKS non-adaptive assignments allow you to assign specific content that supports your teaching style. Use these non-adaptive homework, quiz, or test assignments for test preparation or application of skills, and to create exposure to concepts not requiring mastery. Though they do not affect students’ learning paths within the adaptive assignments, they provide strong support to any implementation model.
Let’s take a look at how to create an ALEKS Assignment for your students. You can find Assignments in the sub-navigation menu on the Instructor Module home page. Select Assignments to get started.
The Assignment List displays all assignments, including those that are adaptive. From this page you can easily manage and modify all assignments or create a new non-adaptive assignment.
In the New Assignment option, you’ll see a variety of assignment types. Select the type that best fits your teaching style and your students’ learning needs. Follow the steps on the next page to build your assignment.
Students complete these non-adaptive assignments outside of their personalized learning paths. After naming the assignment and setting dates, you will choose a content source: ALEKS topics or textbook questions.
Whether you want to assign students ALEKS topics or have them practice questions from your integrated McGraw-Hill textbook, you control what the assignment will cover. Drill down to the specific ALEKS topic or textbook question to add content to your assignment.
Easily preview multiple questions simultaneously, specify their point value,
Whether you build an assignment from ALEKS topics or your textbook exercises, each question is algorithmically generated to ensure no two assignments are exactly alike.
Once an assignment is built, preview it as students see it to confirm the content they will work on and the resources available with each question.
Once you have chosen your content, you can review additional settings for available resources, number of attempts, retake options, and late submissions. When Late Submission is enabled, students can submit the assignment after the due date. You can apply a one-time penalty of points or percentage to their assignment score and set the final submission date allowed.
Next, under the Prerequisite setting, you can add a prerequisite assignment to a non-adaptive assignment. Students must first complete the prerequisite assignment you choose with an optional minimum score before they can access this assignment. For example, you may require your students to work through an adaptive assignment that reviews key foundational skills before they work on a non-adaptive homework, quiz, or test assignment.
After saving the assignment and settings, return to the Assignment List to see all adaptive and non-adaptive assignments in the class. This complete list displays at a glance each assignment’s type, start and end dates, status, and number of questions (for non-adaptive assignments) or topics (for adaptive assignments/Objectives). You have control of the learning experience with your blend of adaptive and non-adaptive assignments.
ALEKS courses typically align with one of four models that range from light adaptive to all adaptive. Many instructors find that different models work best for different courses, depending on the course goals, format, and content covered.
When combined with the personalized and adaptive practice in ALEKS, non-adaptive assignments provide an extra boost of support to fulfill your course needs.
Once you choose your course topics, the Initial Knowledge Check will adjust to support your curriculum. Your ALEKS Implementation Manager will then consult on how best to structure your course content and pacing. If you are teaching a face-to-face course, you may add more due dates to keep students on pace. If you are teaching in a lab, you might pace students based on mastery instead of due dates.
McGraw-Hill has a dedicated team of experts and a library of online resources to help you get the most out of your ALEKS experience. In addition to your local rep, here is what you can expect:
With traditional online homework systems, you often have to wait for the first exam’s results to see where students are struggling. ALEKS works to help you get to know your students better and understand what each student will need to be successful in real time. Being able to identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses is critical to capturing their attention, effectively monitoring their progress, and supporting them throughout the entire course.
ALEKS Insights alert you when students might be at risk of falling behind so you can take immediate action. Insights show students who exhibit at least one of four negative behaviors that may require intervention. In addition to Insights, you can leverage just-in-time reporting to address the struggles of the class and of individual students in a much more efficient and effective way.
ALEKS Insights simplify the reporting experience by summarizing four key problematic student behaviors revealed by the ALEKS reports. Instructors will receive a weekly email each Sunday evening that lists the students falling into each category and can access the Insights upon login.
Insights are available via the Instructor Dashboard or the ALEKS Menu. Instructors can view Insights across all their sections or one section at a time.
The four ALEKS Insights are:
Failed Topics indicate that ALEKS has detected students experiencing difficulties while learning these topics. These topics have been attempted multiple times without success, and you can view each attempt the student made within the Learning Sequence. You can also select the affected students and message them from the Insights report. This report is updated in real time and captures the top failed topics over the past seven days.
The Decreased Learning Insight identifies students whose learning rates have decreased significantly despite continual work in ALEKS. This may mean that a student is “hitting a wall” and may need instructor intervention.
The Unusual Learning Insight identifies students whose learning rates have increased significantly compared to their usual pace. This signifies that a student may not be doing his or her own work. Like other Insights, instructors can view a report from the dashboard or message the student, but they can also schedule a Knowledge Check for that student. Any topics a student hasn’t learned and retained will resurface in their ALEKS Pie.
The Procrastination & Cramming Insight in ALEKS identifies students exhibiting extremely long periods of inactivity followed by possible cramming.
With ALEKS, you can leverage just-in-time reporting to address the struggles of the class and of individual students in a much more efficient and effective way.
The ALEKS Pie Report, for example, shares exactly what your class is ready to learn based on their current knowledge and progress.
The ALEKS Pie Report shows class progress for each objective and for each topic. Specifically, it shows the percentage of students who have mastered each topic, who are ready to learn each topic, and who attempted but did not yet learn each topic. This report can inform your lecture or where you might adjust your coverage of topics. How could this impact your class time?
You can view the Pie Report data at the class level to inform class time. But it is also available at the individual student level. See a breakdown of each student’s progress at the Objective and Topic levels.
The Time and Topic Report shows daily, weekly, and monthly time spent on tasks. Within this report, the Learning Sequence Log provides insight into how each student learns and their study habits, which enables more timely one-on-one interactions. When are students working? How quickly are they learning, and what might be tripping them up?
Select a day on the Learning Sequence Log to see which topics a student attempted, learned, and struggled with. The circles indicate each attempt at that practice problem and the result—whether they got it right, wrong, or needed an explanation. If you select an attempt, you can see how much time the student spent on the problem, the answer, and the correct answer. How does this compare with your current system?
How do you know a student has really learned a topic? ALEKS recognizes that each student will have a different learning path through each topic. Some students may only need to practice a topic three to four times. Others may need to practice the topic six to seven times. ALEKS allows for all paths as it personalizes learning to drive student mastery.
The ALEKS Progress Report highlights student progress throughout the semester. You can see student knowledge growth between each ALEKS Knowledge Check and explore the rate at which they learn topics. Get a feel for time spent versus overall mastery to gauge which students are getting ahead and which ones are falling behind.
You can view a Progress Report at the individual student level as well. See a student’s results versus time spent on each Knowledge Check to ensure the student’s mastery and learning are consistent over time.
In the ALEKS gradebook, you can weigh the categories and assignments according to your needs. We recommend that learning in ALEKS and the Knowledge Checks total at least 20–30 percent of your overall grade. Your ALEKS Implementation Manager can help you determine additional topic or time goals that support your needs.
Teaching Online? The Respondus integration for ALEKS supports two options for secure testing and is enabled in the Advanced Settings while building a test, quiz, or Scheduled Knowledge Check in ALEKS:
1. LockDown Browser—a custom browser that secures the testing environment by preventing students from accessing other applications, copying, printing, or visiting other websites while taking an ALEKS quiz, test, or scheduled Knowledge Check. This is always available for free within ALEKS and is intended for use in a proctored environment.
2. Respondus Monitor– an automated “remote proctoring” application for the LockDown Browser that uses students’ webcams to record them to deter cheating. Respondus Monitor is recommended as an additional feature for non-proctored environments. It is integrated in ALEKS, but the cost is not included. If an institution already has an agreement with Respondus, the license can be configured for use with ALEKS. Or you can enable a student-purchasing option at $10.00 per student for unlimited use in the course.
We provide industry-leading uptime and superior customer support. Our ALEKS uptime is 99.98 percent, comparable with Google. ALEKS instructors and students can spend more time teaching and less time troubleshooting.
The ALEKS reports and gradebook are designed to give you more clarity on your students’ progress and help you get to know them better. Our goal is to help you facilitate those “aha” lightbulb moments, helping all students, regardless of background or the size of their knowledge gaps, overcome their challenges and unlock their potential.