Murray State University: College of Education and Human Services

Institutional  Profile

Murray-State

Murray State University was established in 1922 by the Kentucky General Assembly as Murray State Normal School; the institution was renamed Murray State College in 1948 and achieved university status in 1966 as Murray State University (MSU). It serves as a nationally recognized residential comprehensive university, with a strong extended campus and online presence, offering associate, baccalaureate, master, specialist, and doctorate degrees. There are currently over 11,000 students attending the Murray campus and five regional campuses.

Murray State University received its first accreditation in 1928. Since that time, it has cultivated a tradition of excellence through the development and enhancement of its programs, services, and resources. It is because of this diligence that Murray State University has consistently upheld all accreditation requirements and standards presented by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. In addition to its other program-specific accreditations, MSU’s COEHS holds accreditation through NCATE/CAEP and the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board. The goal of the Murray State University Education Program is to ensure that every community will have a talented and dedicated teacher in every classroom.


Key Challenges

In 2005, the leadership team of the COEHS realized the College needed a professional system for collecting and analyzing data to document continuous improvement of programs and the education unit as a whole. Makeshift digital and paper systems being used were seen as insuffcient to accomplish the increasing demand for data and rigor of accrediting requirements.

A committee was assigned to investigate possible professional systems that could fill this need. The list was narrowed to two or three, and upon demonstration and evaluation, the leadership team chose LiveText for the College’s assessment and accreditation management system. The system has been particularly beneficial in helping the College fulfill its priority needs: course assignments, portfolios, managing field requirements, and showcasing evidence of student learning for internal and external review in early childhood, elementary, middle school, secondary school, special education, reading, school administration, and human development and leadership programs within the COEHS.


Solution

During the early adoption phase, LiveText sent a representative to campus to demonstrate the system and to train faculty and staff who would be first to use LiveText. Over time, other representatives came to campus and also conducted numerous webinars for training and to ensure the College was using the system most effectively.

MSU’s COEHS started by having students in their last semester – the student teaching semester – develop traditional portfolios in LiveText. The portfolios were submitted to University coordinators periodically through the semester for review and feedback. Then, at the end of the semester, the coordinators assessed the portfolios within LiveText. In addition, as had been traditional, a second reader was assigned to also assess each portfolio within LiveText. For the first time, immediate access to data provided opportunities to create reports by program and for the unit as a whole.

The College then started having students who were entering the education program create a working portfolio within LiveText so they could keep artifacts and scorings of those artifacts within LiveText. Many of these artifacts then were used in their end-of-program student teaching portfolios.

When the course assignment feature was added to LiveText in the mid 2000’s, the College expanded use to include one or more assignments in each education class to be submitted and assessed in LiveText. LiveText use soon expanded from undergraduate programs to graduate programs, which also must document continuous improvement. They also use portfolios and course assignments submitted and assessed within LiveText. This provides data, aligned to program standards which can be aggregated for the unit and disaggregated for program review. The data can also be disaggregated by site and method of delivery.

Recently, the College expanded LiveText use to include Field Experience Management (FEM). This allows immediate access to time log and evaluation data. Besides documentation for continuous improvement, students are required to document that they have completed 200 hours of field experience before they can student teach during their last semester. This is a requirement of the Education Professional Standards Board, accompanied by various components of field experiences. The Category feature of FEM allows documentation of these requirements. Starting this semester, MSU’s COEHS will begin using the system’s advanced reporting, Analytics, which will expand the College’s current data analysis and reporting abilities.

The College’s use of LiveText has been a documented journey of growth from its first semester when it was used with 200 students and as a portfolio solution. As LiveText has grown and expanded its capabilities, the college has kept pace and expanded its use. This past year, the College used LiveText in 170 courses with 250 sections and 320 assignments – creating 220 data reports on assignments and portfolios. Upon instituting the Field Experience Management component in the spring 2015 semester, the College entered 234 school sites with 870 cooperating teachers as mentors into FEM – creating over 2,700 placements of students in field experiences.

LiveText was and continues to be instrumental in the College’s ability to present data to successfully pass its last accreditation visit in 2008 and to prepare for the next visit in 2016. In addition, LiveText helps document continuous improvement of programs each year to the university assessment office. The College plans to continue to expand use of LiveText’s various components to provide even more value to its students, faculty, and administration.

“I have coordinated our use of LiveText in education programs at Murray State University since it was adopted in 2005. LiveText provides documentation for students and data collection, analysis, and reporting for continuous improvement and accreditation needs of our programs and unit as a whole. We don’t know how we would have accomplished all of this without LiveText and all the support and training of the friendly LiveText staff. Thank you, LiveText team! We’re happy to be part the LiveText family.”

Dr. George Patmor
LiveText Coordinator,
Murray State University

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