Think About It No More

Starting fall 2020, USF will no longer be using Think About It, a required online course for all incoming students that taught about safe alcohol consumption and addressed sexual violence and safety. The program was created in part by Professor Peter Novak, during his time as the vice provost of student life for USF and was eventually licensed to over 2,500 institutions around the world. The program was first implemented at USF in the fall of 2013. 

The course will soon be discontinued at the decision of EverFi, the company that currently owns the right to license Think About It to different educational institutions. EverFi also owns and operates AlcoholEdu, a direct competitor to Think About It. Think About It will be replaced at USF with another program at the beginning of fall 2020, according to Health Promotion Services (HPS).

Think About It’s origins trace back to 2011, when the U.S. Department of Education released a “Dear Colleague” letter, which was addressed to all educational institutions that fell under the jurisdiction of Title IX. The note emphasized the importance of universities addressing the topic of sexual violence as well as creating safe ways for people to report such acts at schools. At this time, USF students were required to complete EverFi’s AlcoholEdu program. While the Division of Student Life determined that AlcoholEdu was sufficient in providing training for responsible alcohol consumption, it wanted a program that also focused on sexual violence on campus and social safety for students, as Novak felt that Alcohol Edu was not adequate in its scope. 

“I did not enjoy using AlcoholEdu as a program, and thought there was space for improvement,” Novak said. However, he was unable to find any courses that addressed both alcohol and sexual assault safety on one platform, so he took the project into his own hands.

“I wanted to do something different that would combine the two into one program,” Novak said. At his urging, USF partnered with a digital platform called Campus Clarity, which was run by LawRoom, a company that designed online sexual harassment courses for companies. Together, they began developing the Think About It program. The University would also later become the first institution in the country to implement Callisto, a platform for survivors of sexual assault to anonymously report their experiences. 

I wanted to do something different that would combine the two into one program.

Peter Novak

Think About It proved to be successful and was implemented at other major educational institutions across the country such as the University of Southern California (USC), Johns Hopkins University, New York University, and The Ohio State University. One of the unique and most appealing aspects of the course was its ability to be customized, Novak said, which allowed it to be used by a broader range of educational institutions. Schools could add parts to the program which would work better with their unique student populations — an aspect that made headlines was when USC removed questions from the program that students did not feel comfortable answering.   

However, in July 2016, LawRoom was purchased by EverFi, for an undisclosed amount. As a result, EverFi took control of Campus Clarity and therefore Think About It as well. According to an EverFi press release, 1,300 higher education institutions were using Campus Clarity and Think About It at the time.

At the time of publishing, Think About It was not listed anywhere on EverFi’s website as a product available for purchase — while Campus Clarity’s website currently serves as a landing page for students from the current school log in order to complete Think About It, there is nowhere for institutions to license the course.

Currently, students are expected to complete the course in various parts prior to each of their first three semesters in college. The class of 2023, who completed part one of Think About It before coming to campus this semester, will have to complete part two before the spring semester begins, but will likely not have to complete part three next summer, according to Jenny Lee, a manager at HPS. Discussions about a replacement program USF will use are currently taking place between the Office of the Dean of Students and other key stakeholders, such as the Title IX Office and the Office of Student Conduct Rights and Responsibilities. 

HPS plans to demo their options with faculty and students in January, as they aim to make their decision and implement the new course before the spring 2020 semester ends in order to give the incoming class of 2024 ample time to know what will be required of them.   


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *