APPLEs: Action Plan Projects for Learning Excellence
What is an APPLE?
An APPLE (Action Plan Project for Learning Excellence) is an opportunity for small groups of faculty/staff to carry out action plans from previous FIGs or assessments (SLOs, ILOs, CCSSE, etc.) Participants create or implement a concrete product or action that will lead to increased student success. In brief, FIGs and other assessments identify problems and make recommendations, and APPLEs take the next step to solve the problem.
- create or revise a class, curriculum, program sequence, etc. to meet needs identified by the inquiry/assessment
- make a website of shared resources for a particular need
- create a collection of model and non-model student work aligned with a rubric
- create a shared rubric/formative assessment project
- design and start using a process that better meets student needs in any student services area
What are the goals of the APPLE project?
- Improve student learning, retention, and success
- Close the assessment loop by putting recommendations into action
- Increase collaboration
- Increase involvement in and understanding of assessment processes
What exactly do people do in an APPLE?
- Look at previous findings and recommendations from FIGs/ assessments
- Find a few sources of other existing data relevant to your topic to establish a context/rationale
- Plan and create or implement your product/action
- Conduct a short evaluation of the product/action, or make a plan for doing so if you need more time
- Document product/action as
- Brief written report
- Brief presentation to all FIG/APPLE groups
What are the required activities for team members?
- Each person submits their own contract (returned by email) to Gabe Winer (I’ll send them by email when your project is accepted)
- Meet at least 4 times over the year to complete all parts of the project together:
1. Schedule an initial meeting - please invite the TLC coordinator if possible – where you will refine your plan, develop a timeline, and take a look at previously published research on the issue
2. Participate in the FIG/APPLE symposium (Friday, April 25, date tentative) where you will present your project to all the FIG/APPLE groups and get feedback
3. Meet at least 2 other times between to complete, implement, and evaluate your work.
What else does the leader need to do?
- Ensure that the project is moving along on schedule
- Ensure that all team members are included in the collaboration
- Maintain contact with TLC coordinator and ask for support when needed
- Submit communications on time to firstname.lastname@example.org (all through email)
Timeline for 2013-14:
- Friday, December 6: please send email update #1:
- what’s your plan, and how’s it going?
- secondary sources (what does the research say about effective practices in your topic area, and if relevant, what are other schools doing that works?)
- Friday, March 21: please send email update #2
- how is the progress?
- how have you/will you evaluate the product/action?
- Friday, April 25 (date tentative): Inquiry to Action Symposium
- Friday, May 2: please send by email final documents to include
- a brief final report
- a digital presentation (the one you showed at the symposium)
How much time will this take?
Estimated total time input is about 14-16 hours for leaders and about 10-12 hours for everyone else. You should plan realistically to do something that can make an impact, but is focused and specific enough to complete this semester. Please work with the TLC coordinator, assessment committee, and/or your department chair to help you determine scope of work.
What about pay?
A limited number of stipends are available for FIGs and APPLEs this year through Professional Development funds and various grants. Leaders may receive a stipend of up to $400 and other participants $300, paid in May or June, after the final reports are received. Priority for stipends will be determined by the 9 voting members of the Professional Development Committee, according to these criteria:
- people working on projects that clearly meet the objectives of the criteria below
- part-time faculty and classified staff have priority for stipends over contract faculty
- new participants in TLC Collaborative Projects
- new participants in FIGs/APPLEs
Please note that you are welcome to run a FIG or APPLE even if we run out of stipend allocations. Also, some projects might have a small core group of 2 or 3 people doing most of the work who request stipends, but others may participate in a focus group, pass out surveys, collect student work, etc. without committing much time or requesting compensation. All community members are invited to the Symposium.
Should I apply for an APPLE?
Have you participated in a FIG and/or assessment? Do you have a great idea you’ve been wanting to put into action that will help solve a problem that’s been identified? The APPLE project helps you team up with colleagues to put your great idea into action!
What are the criteria for selection?
- The project “closes the loop” by implementing FIG recommendations and/or assessment action plans
- The project focuses on at least one of the following areas:
- Basic skills students and/or instruction
- Retention, persistence, and success of all students
- Student services that support student completion and success
- The project surpasses the scope of regular instructional planning and department work
- The project creates something sustainable that will continue beyond temporary funding