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The Learning MarketSpace, January 2010

A quarterly electronic newsletter of the National Center for Academic Transformation highlighting ongoing examples of redesigned learning environments using technology and examining issues related to their development and implementation.











Offering perspectives on issues and developments at the nexus of higher education and information

Changing the Equation: Scaling a Proven Innovation

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) recently announced a major program, Changing the Equation. The program will engage the nation’s community colleges in a successful redesign of their remedial/developmental math sequences (i.e., all mathematics courses offered at the institution prior to the first college-level math course.) The goal of this new redesign program is to improve student learning outcomes in remedial/developmental math while reducing costs for both students and institutions using NCAT’s proven redesign methodology. Institutions will be selected to participate in the program through a competitive application process described in the program’s Application Guidelines and will receive a $40,000 grant to support the implementation of their redesigns. Those institutions will be expected to pilot their redesign plans in spring 2011 and fully implement their plans in fall 2011.


A major obstacle for students who are pursuing degrees or credentials in community colleges is successfully completing the college mathematics requirement. Unfortunately, that frequently means completing both remedial and/or developmental math courses as well as college-level math courses. A 2004 study by the U.S. Department of Education found that over 60% of community-college students needed remediation. Students lacking in the competencies and skills required to enroll in college-level courses face significant challenges persisting to a degree.

Unfortunately, there has been very little change in how institutions design their academic programs and create support systems to meet the needs of their students who enter college without the necessary skills to perform college-level work. Successful completion rates in community colleges for remedial and developmental math courses rarely move beyond 50% and are often less than that. Completing a series of non-credit courses to overcome deficiencies involves significant time and money for students, slowing academic progress and sometimes derailing the momentum that comes with initial enrollment in postsecondary education.

Course redesign is a proven, data-driven innovation in institutional practice that makes it possible to get more students to and through credential-granting programs, to accelerate the rate of academic catch-up for poorly prepared students and to improve the first-year experience.

NCAT has ten years of experience in conducting large-scale course redesign programs that improve learning while reducing costs. Developmental math redesigns at NCAT partner institutions have

  • increased the percentage of students successfully completing a developmental math course by 51% on average (ranging from 10% to 135%),
  • reduced the cost of instruction by 30% on average (ranging from 12% to 52%), and
  • impacted ~10,000 students annually.

For example, at Cleveland State Community College the number of students passing a developmental math course increased by 29% while the cost of offering developmental math was reduced by 20%. At Jackson State Community College, the number of students passing a developmental math course increased by 44% while the cost of offering developmental math was reduced by 20%. Changing the Equation will scale such successes to additional institutions. (The NCAT web site includes Math Learning and Math Cost summary charts that provide supporting data.)

In addition to measuring course completion rates and cost reduction, all NCAT redesign projects compare student learning outcomes in the traditional format with those achieved in the redesigned format. This is done by 1) running parallel sections of the course in the two formats or 2) comparing baseline data from a traditional course to a later offering of the redesigned course, looking at differences in outcomes in the "before and after." Techniques used to assess student learning include comparing the results of common final examinations, comparing common questions or items embedded in examinations or assignments, comparing pre/post-tests and comparing final grades when the same assignments, tests and final exams are used and graded using the same criteria. Student learning gains as expressed in increased percentage points have averaged 14 points per project (ranging from 4 to 38 points.)

Increases in course completion rates in developmental math may be more indicative of success than are increases in direct measures of learning, assuming similar grading standards are used. We know that students who “do the work” in developmental math courses will succeed in the course. The problem that most institutions face is the large number of students who simply do not do the work and subsequently fail to complete the course successfully. Thus, the 51% increase in the average rate of successful course completion in NCAT course redesigns may be more significant than the average gain in learning outcomes.

Where Does Changing the Equation Fit in the Panoply of Developmental Math Reform?

In “Technology Solutions for Developmental Math: An Overview of Current and Emerging Practices,” Rhonda Epper and Elaine Baker observe the following: “In the past five years, the critical role of developmental math in the retention and success of community college students has come under additional scrutiny, partially through the attention and resources of national initiatives, such as the Lumina Foundation’s Achieving the Dream project, the Ford Foundation’s Bridges to Opportunity project, the Joyce Foundation’s Shifting Gears project, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation’s Breaking Through Initiative, a joint project of Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the National Council of Workforce Education (NCWE) and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Carnegie Foundation for Teaching and Learning’s Strengthening Pre-Collegiate Education in California Community Colleges (SPECC) project. This attention has been accompanied by several research efforts in developmental education and a parallel policy focus on the implications of this research for higher education policy. The combination of interest from foundations, public policy groups and researchers who view math as the gatekeeper to college success have yielded a variety of new strategies and programmatic innovations, with a parallel focus on evaluating and assessing the promise of these strategies in terms of replication, scalability and sustainability.”

These reform efforts appear to be either completely open-ended, leaving the development of solutions up to individual institutions with few guiding parameters offered by the grantor, or heavily based on pre-determined solutions, with the grantor having already decided what will address the problem (e.g., open-source materials) and then looking for willing institutions to implement the solution. Few of these initiatives have produced definitive conclusions about how to increase student success in developmental math.

In contrast, NCAT’s approach has been first to establish a set of broad parameters (e.g., redesign the whole course, use instructional technology, reduce cost, modularize the curriculum) and then let experimentation bloom within those parameters. From this process, a number of solutions have emerged. In many cases, these solutions were anticipated, but in some cases they were not. NCAT has continually extracted lessons learned (models, principles, techniques) from these experiences and refined the parameters, iterating this process over the past 10 years.

From working with large numbers of students, faculty and institutions, NCAT has learned what works and what does not work in improving student achievement in developmental mathematics. The underlying principle is simple: Students learn math by doing math, not by listening to someone talk about doing math. Interactive computer software combined with personalized, on-demand assistance and mandatory student participation are the key elements of success. NCAT calls this model for success, the Emporium Model, named after what the model’s originator, Virginia Tech, called its initial course redesign.

The Emporium Model has been implemented in various ways. Some institutions have large computer labs; others have small computer labs. At some institutions, students spend a required number of hours in the lab at any time that the lab is open. At other institutions, instructors meet with students in the lab or in a classroom at scheduled hours. Each institution makes design decisions in the context of the constraints it faces. What is critical is the focus on using interactive computer software combined with personalized, on-demand assistance.

We believe that NCAT and its partner institutions are far ahead of other reform initiatives in that we have proven what works: that redesigning the developmental math sequence by modularizing the curriculum and using NCAT’s Emporium Model will result in dramatic increases in student success and reductions in instructional costs. Furthermore, we have done so with very large numbers of students. Our task is now to convince the nation’s community colleges that they can replicate that success by implementing the Emporium model and assist them in doing so.

Why Become Involved in Changing the Equation?

The purpose of Changing the Equation is to scale a proven innovation to additional institutions. For those of you thinking about reforming your developmental math program, let’s consider more specifically the characteristics of NCAT redesigns and how they differ from other reform initiatives.

  • Whole course redesign conducted by teams of faculty and administrators. In each NCAT redesign, the whole course rather than a single class or section is the target of redesign. In contrast to traditional courses where each instructor typically does his or her own thing, redesigned courses are consistent in content, in coverage, in assessment and in pedagogy across all sections of the course. A collective commitment is a key factor for the success and the sustainability of redesign projects. Innovations in higher education frequently fail because they are dependent upon a single “champion,” who might be a risk-taking, creative faculty member or an administrator trying to create change within the institution. If that champion leaves the institution or changes positions within it, there goes the innovation. In contrast, NCAT establishes course redesign teams that do not rely on an individual faculty member or a particular administrator but rather include multiple representatives of both types who follow a redesign plan that is fully supported by the entire department. Because we require the entire developmental math sequence to be redesigned, sustainability is an integral part of the outcome since it becomes the way developmental math is offered. The redesign becomes “institutionalized,” making the innovation relatively impervious to individual shifts in personnel.

Lesson: Individual experiments frequently produce good results but rarely lead to sustained change. “Random acts of progress,” as Bill Graves has called them, characterize most reform efforts. A collective commitment to redesign the whole course is key to success.

  • Commercially available computer-based learning resources. Successful course redesign that improves student learning while reducing instructional costs is heavily dependent upon high-quality, interactive learning materials. Instructional software packages such as MyMathLab, ALEKS or Hawkes Learning Systems--which include interactive tutorials, computational exercises, videos, practice exercises and online quizzes--play a central role in engaging students with course content. Students spend more time on task than when they simply watch or listen to a lecture given by an instructor in a traditional format. Students find the software easy to use and achieve a comfort level with the technology in a short amount of time. Redesign teams can rely on commercial providers for training, support and software maintenance.

Lesson: Innovations in higher education that focus on materials creation rather than how the materials are used frequently fail. Faculty members who incorporate commercially available materials are able to focus on pedagogical and organizational issues rather on materials creation, adaptation and maintenance.

  • Proven methods of integrating technology and learner-centered pedagogy. Most attempts to use technology in developmental math reform are simply “add-ons” to an otherwise unchanged instructional process. Students continue to meet in groups at fixed times and places, and technology is used as a “supplement.” This approach may bring marginal but not dramatic improvements. In contrast, NCAT redesigns integrate student time-on-task working with interactive software with on-demand, individualized assistance. Students work in lab settings where instructors, tutors and/or peers are available to provide help on an individualized basis when students encounter difficulties. Every student gets his or her questions answered every time.

Lesson: Innovations that continue to rely on students meeting in small groups in traditional classroom settings with “teacher-led” activities are not the answer. Individualizing each student’s learning experience enables instructors to concentrate on specific areas of weakness and move the student to successful completion.

  • Modularization + mastery learning. NCAT has learned that the combination of a modularized curriculum (rather than a course-based curriculum) and a mastery-based learning strategy (rather than “you get it or you don’t and, if you don’t, you start over”) is critical to increasing success in developmental mathematics. Most community colleges offer a series of remedial/developmental courses taught primarily in traditional classroom settings in a semester or quarter format. Weaker students may be required to complete up to three or four full terms of coursework prior to advancing into regular college-level courses. Further, the course delivery strategy does not allow students to get up to an acceptable performance level in one stage so that they can quickly move onto the next stage. Students are required to take an entire course even though they may only be deficient in a portion of the topics. All students are required to learn at the same pace and with the same instructional strategies as the entire class. In contrast, NCAT redesigns allow students to start anywhere in the remedial/developmental course sequence based on their learning needs. Students can progress through content modules at a faster pace if possible or at a slower pace if necessary, spending the amount of time needed to master the module content.

Lesson: Innovations that maintain the lockstep pacing of traditional classroom formats may unnecessarily prolong the time students spend in developmental math. Modularizing the remedial/developmental math curriculum provides efficiencies in meeting requirements, which benefit both the student and the institution.

  • Oh, yes – cost reduction. Unfortunately, many innovations in higher education rely on grant funding in order to exist rather than to support a transition to a sustainable model. Increased student success may be achieved due to extra resources provided by the grant. When the grant funding ends, there goes the innovation. In contrast, sustainability is a built-in component to every NCAT redesign because the cost of offering the course is reduced in every successful implementation. Institutions that have completed the redesign process have fully established a successful learning environment for students at a reduced cost. They have no reason or motivation to return to a less successful, more expensive approach. Each redesign includes sustainability in its plan from the outset, and no new resources are needed on a recurring basis to sustain the redesign.

Lesson: Reform efforts that are dependent on grant funding frequently fade away after the grant period is over. Institutions whose redesign plans reduce costs will inherently be more likely to succeed over the long run.

The Bottom Line

Most reform efforts currently underway in developmental mathematics are simply tinkering at the margins and have no clear vision of how to create significant and sustainable change. They are experimenting with theories of change, and the results of those experiments will not be known for years. If you are serious about increasing student success in developmental math and you want to do it now, you will apply to Changing the Equation. If you join us, you will see results in less than two years. The support, structure and guidance offered by the program can short-cut the typical pace of change in higher education. If other experiments in developmental math reform exceed our proven record of success some time down the road, you can incorporate their approaches—assuming they are affordable.

In a June 9, 2008 Inside Higher Education article, Vincent Tinto contends, “We must stop tinkering at the margins of institutional life, stop our tendency to take an ‘add-on’ approach to institutional innovation, and stop marginalizing our efforts and in turn our academically under-prepared students, and take seriously the task of restructuring what we do.”

In other words, it’s time to Change the Equation!

--Carol A. Twigg


Featuring updates and announcements from the Center.

NCAT Awarded $1.7M Grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to engage the nation’s community colleges in a successful redesign of their remedial/developmental math sequences. The goal of this new redesign program, Changing the Equation, is to improve student learning outcomes in remedial/developmental math while reducing costs for both students and institutions using NCAT’s proven redesign methodology.

NCAT has ten years of experience in conducting large-scale course redesign programs that improve learning while reducing costs. Developmental math redesigns at NCAT partner institutions have increased the percentage of students successfully completing a developmental math course by 51% on average (ranging from 10% to 135%), reduced the cost of instruction by 30% on average (ranging from 12% to 52%) and impacted ~10,000 students annually. For example, at Cleveland State Community College the number of students passing a developmental math course has increased by 29% while the cost of offering developmental math has been reduced by 20%. At Jackson State Community College, the number of students passing a developmental math course has increased by 44% while the cost of offering developmental math has been reduced by 20%. To learn more, see, which describes the successes achieved by using NCAT’s Emporium Model, especially at community colleges.

Changing the Equation will scale that success to additional institutions. Each participating institution will receive a $40,000 grant to support the implementation of its redesign. Institutions will be selected to participate in the program through a competitive application process. In order to be considered for acceptance into the program, institutions must send a minimum of one faculty member and one academic administrator to the Fourth Annual Redesign Alliance Conference to be held March 28-30, 2010 in Orlando, FL, which will provide an extensive orientation to NCAT’s model of course redesign. (Early-bird registration deadline is February 26, 2010.)

Detailed guidelines describing the application process are available at

Six Math Scholars Selected To Participate in Changing the Equation

As part of its new program, Changing the Equation, NCAT has appointed four additional Redesign Scholars in mathematics to join two existing Scholars in math. These six Scholars, all of whom are experienced math instructors, will assist applicants and selected institutions as they plan and implement the redesigns of their developmental math course sequences. The four new Scholars are Betty Frost, Jackson State Community College; Jamie Glass, University of Alabama; John Squires, Chattanooga State Community College; and Karen Wyrick, Cleveland State Community College. They join Phoebe Rouse, Louisiana State University, and Kirk Trigsted, University of Idaho, both of whom have been NCAT Scholars for the past three years. To learn more about these Scholars, see

Jackson State Community College Wins Prestigious Bellwether Award

In January 2010, Jackson State Community College (JSCC) received the prestigious Bellwether Award in Instructional Programs and Services for its highly successful developmental math redesign. Featured in the October 2009 issue of The Learning MarketSpace, the JSCC project was part of the Tennessee Board of Regents Developmental Studies Redesign Initiative, supported by the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE). Using NCAT’s Emporium Model, the JSCC redesign project leveraged the power of information technology to redesign three developmental courses with outstanding results.

The recognition of JSCC’s project in 2010 follows the receipt of the Bellwether Award in 2009 by Cleveland State Community College, also part of the TBR Initiative, for their redesign of developmental and college-level math courses.

The Bellwether awardees are selected by the Community College Futures Assembly, which was established in 1995. The awards are given to cutting-edge, trend-setting programs that other colleges would find worthy of replicating. The awards are given annually in three categories: Instructional Programs and Services; Planning, Governance and Finance; and Workforce Development. Each application must address one or more of the following change drivers: 1) being proactive with embedding technology, 2) defining assessment to help get new funding, or 3) collaborating with the market to deliver programs that meet future employment needs.

Congratulations, Jackson State!

To learn more about JSCC’s redesign, contact Betty Frost at or see To learn more about the Bellwether Awards, see

AASCU Features Course Redesign

The December 2009/January 2010 issue of Public Purpose, published by the American Association of State College and Universities (AASCU), included an article entitled, “Extreme Makeover: The Transformative Power of Course Redesign.” The article shows how a shift from instruction to learning has made a significant difference for large numbers of students. The article features several NCAT projects at AASCU institutions: the psychology redesign at Frostburg State University, the math redesign at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, the sociology redesign at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, the world literature redesign at Southern Mississippi University, the chemistry redesign at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and the political science and college algebra redesigns at the University of Central Florida. The article concludes, “These AASCU schools have found that fundamentally redesigning certain courses creates a compelling path to better pedagogy, improved learning and—sometimes—lower costs for instruction. For institutions that want to improve quality and trim budgets, that’s a powerful trifecta.” To read the full article, see

Eduventures Clients Learn, “It’s Not Your Father’s Online Course!”

On October 23, 2009, Carol Twigg spoke at an Eduventures client meeting where senior executives from 100 colleges and universities committed to online higher education at the program level came together to discuss key opportunities, challenges and trends in online higher education. The theme of the meeting was to consider ways in which online delivery can more squarely address some of the perennial challenges facing higher education and meet its true potential. Carol’s presentation juxtaposed NCAT’s course redesign approach, where the pedagogical and cost impact of technology-mediated delivery is front and center, with more typical online higher education where such impact is much more muted. Carol provided examples of how online courses have been completely redesigned by moving away from simply replicating small, on-ground seminars. Among those projects cited were the redesign of Understanding the Visual and Performing Arts at Florida Gulf Coast University and the redesign of Computer Literacy at Arizona State University. Both courses were restructured to allow for enrollment growth without a commensurate growth in cost for the institution, while maintaining or improving student mastery of the course content. Eduventures assists online higher education providers looking to grow their online enrollments, develop strategies for online higher education and reduce costs through increased operational efficiencies. To learn more about Eduventures, see

NCAT Success Highlighted in Newsweek

A December 4, 2009 article in the online version of Newsweek entitled “States of Crises” describes the state of California's problems with skyrocketing college tuition. The article goes on to observe, “ As is often the case, California is leading a national trend. Higher education is becoming less affordable across the country every year. If states and universities don't make major structural changes in the way they operate, anger and frustration could start to boil over nationwide.” According to the article, “Colleges argue that there's nothing they can do about this, because they work in an industry that depends heavily on skilled, expensive labor. But it's perfectly possible for higher education to do what scores of other industries have done: use technology to improve service quality while simultaneously lowering costs. Indeed, hundreds of colleges have already taken this step, using system-redesign techniques pioneered by a nonprofit organization called the National Center for Academic Transformation.” The author observes that the number of institutions recognizing the benefits and undertaking such redesigns is not growing fast enough and discusses some of the reasons why he believes this is so. To read the full article, see

Sustainability – The Ultimate Test of Course Redesign

As noted in the October 2009 issue of The Learning MarketSpace, we intend to provide a series of updates on redesign projects that have been underway for an extended period of time and have essentially become the “traditional” way that the course is offered on campus. Longtime readers of this newsletter may remember that Louisiana State University’s (LSU) first term of its math redesign coincided with Hurricane Katrina, a rocky start indeed! The math department not only persevered in implementing its initial redesign in college algebra but also extended it to other courses. Student success rates (grades of C or better) in fall 2009 were 72% in college algebra, 76% in trigonometry and 81% in pre-calculus, a wonderful demonstration of sustained success. As a participant in Round I of Colleagues Committed to Redesign (C2R), Hagerstown Community College piloted its redesign of college algebra in fall 2007. Today the course has been fully implemented. The percentage of students earning a grade of C or better in the traditional course was 53%; the percentage of students earning a grade of C or better was 67% after the redesign was fully implemented in fall 2008. According to faculty, the course is now more difficult, so the increase in student success is even more impressive. At Frostburg State University, the redesign of general psychology has been so well accepted that the entire psychology major is now being redesigned. By rethinking how the upper-level courses are taught (e.g., are four credits always needed for every course?), the department has been able to reduce the number of adjuncts teaching in the program and grant one course release every two years for every full-time faculty member. These changes, in turn, increase faculty interest in redesign since the benefits are clear. To learn more about these projects or contact the project leaders, see


Featuring initiatives to scale course redesign through state- and system-wide redesign programs.

Louisiana Commission Recommends Course Redesign

The 2009 Louisiana Legislature, with strong support from Governor Bobby Jindal, passed legislation creating the Postsecondary Education Review Commission to study the governance, facilities, funding, operations, and number and alignment of degree programs at Louisiana public colleges and universities and to provide a written report of findings and recommendations to the Board of Regents by February 12, 2010. The Commission has been reviewing and analyzing Louisiana’s educational needs, relevant data, current policies and practices, structure, and funding mechanisms. It has now made a number of recommendations to the Board of Regents and the legislature regarding the most efficient and effective ways for the state to meet its goal of providing citizens with the educational attainment necessary to meet the critical needs of the state and region in the context of the state’s financial challenges. One resolution which passed unanimously is the following: “Louisiana will become a leader in conjunction with the National Center for Academic Transformation in Academic Course Redesign that uses information technology in proven ways to improve student learning outcomes and reduce the cost of higher education. The Board of Regents with designated funding from the legislature will oversee the initial development of at least two Academic Course Redesigns at each University with emphasis given to those courses that have the potential to yield the greatest impact in terms of student success and savings. The Academic Course Redesign at each institution shall be developed with the intent of potential sharing with other institutions. The funding formula developed by the Board of Regents will incorporate the Academic Course Redesigns’ productivity measures and cost savings into its performance funding elements. The aim of the state’s Academic Course Redesigns will be to make Louisiana a recognized national leader in this proven national program for increasing student outcomes at lower costs.” Among others, members of the commission include David Longanecker, President, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education; Mark Musick, President Emeritus, Southern Regional Education Board; and, Belle Wheelan, President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. To learn more about the commission, see

New England Board of Higher Education Learns About Course Redesign

On October 26, 2009, Carol Twigg made a keynote presentation on course redesign at a New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) conference, "After the Crash: A New Reality for Higher Education." NEBHE works with institutions from the six New England states and administers programs and initiatives that encourage access to education for those in the region. In these tight economic times, many NEBHE members see the benefit of instituting a course redesign initiative. While NCAT has been focusing on state- and system-wide course redesign programs, we recognize that many states may be too small to create an individual program and that a regional course-redesign initiative open to all institutions in member states may be a better option. This joint approach is one that would work especially well where states have existing cooperative relationships such as NEBHE, the Southern Regional Education Board or the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Sponsoring a regional initiative would allow interested member institutions to work with NCAT and benefit from the experience of others. To learn more about how such a regional program might work, contact Carol Twigg at To learn more about NEBHE, see

Outcomes in New York and Mississippi To Be Reported in Spring 2010

Spring is the time to report the outcomes achieved in either pilot or full implementations of the redesigns that are part of NCAT state and systemwide initiatives. Workshops that will bring redesign teams together are being scheduled for two initiatives in April 2010. We will include summaries of the outcomes in the July 2010 issue of The Learning MarketSpace.

The State University of New York (SUNY) is in the final stages of the SUNY Course Redesign Initiative. Project teams will report on the outcomes achieved during the fall 2009 full implementations of their redesigns at a workshop in April 2010 in Syracuse, NY. The institutions and the courses they have redesigned are Buffalo State College: The Economic System; SUNY Canton: Introduction to Biology; SUNY Fredonia: First-Year Spanish; Niagara County Community College: Introduction to Statistics; SUNY College at Old Westbury: College Algebra; SUNY at Oswego: College Algebra; SUNY at Potsdam: European and US History; and Stony Brook University: Physics for Life Sciences. To learn more, see

The project teams from Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) are in the process of analyzing the outcomes of the full implementation of their redesigns in fall 2009. Project teams will report on those outcomes at a workshop in April 2010 in Jackson, MS. The IHL institutions and the courses they have redesigned are: Alcorn State University: College Algebra; Delta State University: College Algebra; Jackson State University: Intermediate Algebra and College Algebra; Mississippi State University: Biology, Introduction to Statistics, Statics and Survey of Chemistry; Mississippi University for Women: Intermediate Algebra and College Algebra; Mississippi Valley State University: Intermediate Algebra; The University of Mississippi: Business Calculus; The University of Southern Mississippi: First-Year Spanish, General Psychology, Intermediate Algebra, Introduction to Computing, Nutrition and Food Systems, and Technical Writing. To learn more, contact Alfred Rankins at or see


Featuring progress reports and outcomes achieved by the C2R program.

C2R Round III Final Reports Due

The redesign teams participating in Round III of Colleagues Committed to Redesign (C2R) are working on their final reports of their fall 2009 pilot implementations. Redesigns included Coppin State University: Technology Fluency, Edison State College: Reading, Morehead State University: College Algebra, Regis University: Essentials of Writing, Santa Fe College: Intermediate Algebra, University of Maryland Eastern Shore: Biology, and University of North Carolina, Charlotte: Spanish. While teams are still in the midst of collecting and analyzing data on student learning and instructional costs, anecdotal indications are positive. At Edison State College, faculty were able to teach twice as many sections of Reading as they had under the traditional format, and students were equally successful. Early analysis of performance on a common final examination at Santa Fe College indicate that students did significantly better in the redesigned format than in the traditional mode. Both faculty and students are pleased with the results. Project leaders will present their results at the Redesign Alliance Conference in March 2010. Summaries of these results will also be shared in the April 2010 issue of The Learning MarketSpace. Abstracts of each project are available at


Featuring updates from the Alliance, a member organization of institutions, organizations and companies committed to and experienced with large-scale course redesign.

Redesign Alliance Conference Deadlines Are Approaching

Registration and hotel reservation deadlines for the Fourth Annual Redesign Alliance Conference are approaching quickly. Be sure to register for the conference by February 26, 2010 to save $100 on the registration fee. Final registration closes on March 19, 2010. The hotel reservation deadline for a guaranteed conference rate at the Rosen Centre Hotel is also February 26, 2010. To ensure that there will be a place for you at the conference when it opens on March 28th, it is time to make those reservations at

What's New At the 2010 Redesign Alliance Conference?

More redesign projects just beginning, more projects conducting pilots and more projects fully implemented!  New academic areas and new projects in biology, developmental math, economics, Spanish and technical writing!

  • Sunday afternoon will include an Orientation Session especially designed for institutional teams planning to apply to NCAT’s newest national program, Changing the Equation.
  • Monday morning’s Showcase Sessions will feature fully implemented redesign projects featuring complete learning outcome and cost reduction data.
  • Monday afternoon’s Roundtable Discussions will feature projects still in development to serve as case studies for discussion on issues and challenges one is likely to encounter and ideas about how to resolve them.
  • New Sector Roundtables will allow participants time for in-depth discussion of the course redesign issues and challenges that are particular to different kinds of institutions.
  • Adjacent to the Monday evening reception, Poster Sessions will feature innovative techniques, and poster developers will be available to exchange ideas with conference participants.
  • Tuesday morning’s Hot Topics Sessions will cover new topics such as departmental redesign, linked courses and modularization along with perennial favorites like how to engage students, how to get started and assessment planning.

Both plenary sessions will focus on one of the Alliance’s areas of work: pedagogy. In the opening keynote, David Daniel from James Madison University will discuss effective pedagogical techniques that positively impact both student learning and teacher performance as well as a practical approach to studying teaching and learning. The plenary session on Tuesday morning will feature the first Leadership in Innovation Keynote Address. To recognize outstanding achievement in innovative course redesign, NCAT will invite one course redesign project leader to give a plenary address about an exceptionally interesting course redesign each year. The inaugural address will be given by Dennis Pearl, the project leader of Ohio State’s innovative Buffet Model redesign in introductory statistics.

The final conference agenda as well as registration information is available at We look forward to seeing you there!

Second Developmental Math Workshop: A Resounding Success

On November 6, 2009, the Redesign Alliance and the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) co-sponsored a second workshop focused on redesigning developmental math that involved about 90 faculty and administrators. This workshop was scheduled after a significant waiting list emerged for an October workshop on developmental math. The agenda for the second workshop was identical and included presentations from Austin Peay State University, Cleveland State Community College and Jackson State Community College, each of which completed a redesign of their developmental math course sequences using a modular approach as part of the TBR Developmental Studies Redesign Initiative. The institutions provided evidence of improved learning outcomes and cost reduction after fully implementing their plans. The discussion was lively and reflected the challenges facing institutions across the United States as they seek to work with students who need assistance in preparing to do college-level work. Many of the attendees expressed interest in applying to Changing the Equation, which will also focus on redesigning the entire developmental math course sequence. To view the slides used by the workshop speakers, see To learn more about the TBR Initiative, see or contact Treva Berryman at

Getting Started Seminar at UNC-Chapel Hill Addresses Challenges

Getting started on course redesign presents a number of challenges for institutions, even when they have already identified the problem they are trying to solve and the outcomes they seek. To provide some solutions to these challenges, the Redesign Alliance and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) co-sponsored a seminar on the UNC-CH campus on November 13, 2009. More than 75 faculty members and administrators participated. The day-long event provided participants the opportunity to learn about how redesign efforts have begun at both four-year and two-year institutions as well as how an initial redesign has spread to other departments on campus. Representatives from UNC-CH and Tallahassee Community College shared their experiences in initiating course redesigns in more than one academic area. The agenda included time for discussion, including an interactive exercise to help attendees think about how to get started. Slides linked to the various presentations can be found at For those of you who were unable to come to Chapel Hill in November, a concurrent session that will address the same issues will be offered at the Fourth Annual Redesign Alliance Conference in March.


Linking content and software providers with leading edge institutions.

Upcoming Redesign Events Sponsored by Pearson Education

Pearson Education is pleased to announce its Sixth Annual Pearson Course Redesign Workshop at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, CA. Join colleagues, experienced and new to course redesign, on September 24-25, 2010 to learn how others in higher education are using Pearson products in their course redesigns. For more information about this upcoming workshop or to register online beginning at the end of March, visit To view or listen to presentations from past Pearson Course Redesign Workshops, see Pearson is hosting a drop-in suite (for breakfast, lunch or anytime during the conference) at the Fourth Annual Redesign Alliance Conference. If you are interested in sharing best practices and learning more about how MyLabs and Mastering products can contribute to the success of a redesign at your institution, please stop by the suite. For information about either of these events, contact Karen Mullane at

Middlesex County College Redesigns Basic Math Using McGraw-Hill’s ALEKS

Middlesex County College in Edison, NJ, has been piloting a redesign of its basic math course using McGraw-Hill’s ALEKS . Prior to the pilot, pass rates ranged from 45-50%, challenging faculty to find a way to increase student pass rates and better develop student skills and understanding. In the fall 2007 semester, two of 12 sections of basic math piloted ALEKS with a total of 48 students. In the spring 2008 semester, the number of sections using ALEKS grew from two to four sections. In both semesters, student pass rates increased dramatically compared with those of traditional sections. The pilot has been so successful that in fall 2008 Middlesex expanded the deployment of ALEKS to all sections of Algebra I and Algebra II, impacting many more students. McGraw-Hill will be part of the Redesign Alliance Conference in March, 2010, and representatives will be available to share additional success stories using ALEKS as well as provide demonstrations for faculty and administrators who would like to learn more. To view the full case study, see For more information, contact Torie Anderson at

Corporate Members of the Redesign Alliance to Exhibit at the 4th Annual Conference

Many project teams who have completed a successful course redesign will acknowledge that a major contributor to their success was the availability of well-designed instructional software and supporting services. Sometimes that software is a stand-alone product, sometimes it includes a course management system and sometimes it includes or coordinates with a text book. Regardless of the format selected, access to these technology-based resources and services is key to serving large numbers of students and increasing their engagement with course content and with each other. These products frequently provide immediate feedback for students, identifying for them what they have already mastered and what they still need to study. During the Sunday evening opening reception at the Redesign Alliance Conference, corporate members of the organization will exhibit the products they offer that can foster successful redesigns. Each company will also have representatives available to answer questions or provide demonstrations as attendees desire. The corporate members participating are Blackboard, Carnegie Learning, Cengage Learning, Hawkes Learning Systems, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Pearson Education and SMARTHINKING. We look forward to seeing you at the opening reception!


Reporting on initiatives that share the Center's goals and objectives.

New Data from the Access to Success Initiative

The National Association of System Heads (NASH) in partnership with the Education Trust has recently issued “Charting a Necessary Path: The Baseline Report of Public Higher Education Systems in the Access to Success Initiative.” The Access to Success Initiative (A2S) works with 24 public higher education systems that have pledged to cut the college-going and graduation gaps for low-income and minority students in half by 2015. The overarching goal of the initiative is to build system capacity to lead change and engage and mobilize campuses around critical issues. The Baseline Report provides a snapshot of the current situation so that each of the participating systems can establish their own plan to reduce the achievement gap. Each A2S participating system sets its own improvement targets based on these data and agrees to a common set of metrics to evaluate progress. A2S systems are drafting their own plans to cut achievement gaps and increase degree production through strategies attuned to the needs of their campuses and students. They have pledged to release progress reports every two years.

Much of the information in the Baseline Report, including the graduation rates of low-income and nontraditional students, has not previously been publicly available. The A2S metrics allow an unprecedented assessment of how well colleges and universities are serving low-income students, particularly those receiving financial aid. The A2S metrics provide four key data points for system leaders that are unavailable in the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): 1) A2S captures many students—but not all—who do not graduate at their first institution, but do graduate elsewhere by measuring success systemwide; students who transfer between institutions within the same system and graduate are included in A2S graduation rate calculations. 2) A2S collects and reports yearly retention rates for full-time and part-time students, including the percentage of students still enrolled the year beyond the success-rate measures, disaggregated by race and income. 3) The A2S metrics document more-precise outcomes for associate’s degree-seeking students. In particular, the metrics specify whether students have transferred to associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs. 4) The A2S metrics count the number of degrees earned by low-income and underrepresented minority students. To read the full report, see


The National Center for Academic Transformation serves as a source of expertise and support for those in higher education who wish to take advantage of the capabilities of information technology to transform their academic practices.

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