KCC pilots a social approach to remote learning with new CircleIn app

A graphic showing smartphones with the CircleIn logo and text that reads "Earn points when you share notes, create flashcards, create and complete tasks. study through live video chats with your classmates and so much more! Visit app.circleinapp.com or download the app on iOS or Android."

Kellogg Community College is piloting an innovative approach to remote learning that applies the tools of social media to encourage – and reward – students for collaborative study.

KCC is one of just two colleges in the state of Michigan piloting a new app and website called CircleIn, a peer-to-peer social studying app via which students can manage their coursework and study with classmates remotely. KCC’s partnership with the app allows current students free access to manage and complete study tasks like taking and sharing notes, sharing links to study materials, and chatting by text or video with classmates.

Each action is incentivized, accumulating points that can be used toward gift cards for businesses like Amazon, Best Buy, Foot Locker, H&M, iTunes, Netflix, Starbucks, Target and others. Scholarship opportunities are also available; students who frequently assist their peers are entered into consideration for CircleIn scholarships, with award amounts up to $2,500.

The platform opened to more than 1,400 students across 130 representative “gateway” courses at KCC this fall and will be expanded to all students during the Spring 2021 semester, which begins in January. The CircleIn pilot, which is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, will help the College determine the application’s possible role in assisting KCC students to achieve their educational goals as the College continues serving students in a primarily remote instructional model this spring.

Dr. Michele M. Reid, dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Library Services at KCC, said CircleIn will add to the College’s ever-expanding suite of online and face-to-face enrichment services adopted to better ensure student success in navigating the college experience. Those additional supports include already in place in-person and virtual professional and peer tutoring services; 24-hour library chat and research support; physical study rooms; Bruin Basket meal assistance to address food insecurity on campus; KCC Foundation grants to address students’ emergency needs; and more.

“These offerings are designed to increase student academic performance as well as acculturation into the broader KCC learning community in order to prepare students for further education or to secure their job or career of choice,” Reid said. “I anticipate that partnering with CircleIn will be a significant step in empowering KCC students to help, support and uplift one another as they work to achieve their educational goals.”

The initiative also supports the “Student Success” pillar of the College’s recently announced “Ahead of the Curve” strategic plan, designed to guide institutional strategies and objectives at KCC over the next three years. This pillar is themed around the development of the individual student experience, including the support of systems that focus on collaborative efforts leading to academic and social success for students.

For more information about CircleIn use at KCC, contact Dr. Reid at 269-275-8193 or reidm2@kellogg.edu.

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