Scott Wowra Christina Etchison Brianna McCartney


Software installation is an early barrier to success for graduate students in our online statistics class. To help them overcome this potential barrier, our instructional team created the SPSS Early Adopter Program (SEAP). The SEAP gamified the installation task with a discussion badge and bonus point; these external motivators encouraged students to avoid procrastinating on their SPSS installation. To document student experiences with the SEAP, we conducted a nonexperimental, descriptive study of 475 students enrolled in an online statistics course. Data collection and analysis consisted of descriptive statistics of the SEAP completion rate and a reflexive thematic analysis of students’ spontaneous reactions to the installation process. Results showed that 205 of 475 students (43%) completed the SEAP challenge. In their unsolicited responses, 14 SEAP completers (7%) spontaneously expressed confusion and uncertainty; we coded this as a theme of academic vulnerability. Another 27 SEAP completers (13%) spontaneously expressed comments like, “I finally figured it out!” We coded these responses as a theme of academic resilience. For academically resilient students, the SPSS Early Adopter Program transformed a success barrier into a rewarding challenge.