The Learning MarketSpace, October 2007
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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Offering perspectives on issues and developments at the nexus of higher education and information technology
DEVELOPMENTAL COURSES: AN OXYMORON?
The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) has launched a Developmental Studies Redesign Initiative to reform its remedial and developmental math and English curriculum. The goal is to develop and implement a more effective and efficient assessment and delivery system that will increase completion rates for students, reduce the amount of time that students spend in remedial and developmental courses, and decrease the amount of fiscal resources that students dedicate to remedial and developmental education.
A 2005 TBR study revealed that level of academic preparation continues to be a major barrier to successful matriculation among first-time freshmen, regardless of age at time of entry, in Tennessee’s public universities and community colleges. A large percentage of recent high school graduates fail to meet college readiness assessments. In fall 2005, 74% of recent high school graduates enrolled at TBR two-year institutions were required to take a remedial or developmental studies course. At TBR four-year universities, the level of remedial and developmental requirement was over 40%. In addition, 50% of non-traditional aged students returning to education after long periods away from the classroom are required to take remedial or developmental courses.
In the TBR system, approximately $25 million is spent on remedial and developmental instruction annually, the cost of which is split 50/50 between state appropriations and student tuition revenues. Those tuition costs can add quickly to students’ overall debt. In addition, none of the tuition payments and classroom effort results in credit toward a degree.
Students lacking the skills required to enroll in college-level courses face significant challenges persisting to a degree. 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. Reductions of overall costs and time to completion is a primary goal of the initiative, which will represent future permanent cost savings to students and to institutions.
During the course of this three-year project, the TBR will partner with NCAT to aggressively redesign the remedial and developmental curriculum, teaching and learning methods, and assessment strategies. Building on the successful models and lessons learned from NCAT’s Program in Course Redesign, this project will develop new delivery structures that streamline course delivery, leverage new learning technologies, increase the quality of learning and reduce the cost of developmental education.
The TBR is also working with an internal task force to 1) collect and review data about the current state of its remedial and developmental curriculum, with an emphasis on ascertaining levels of student success and costs for both institutions and students; 2) align curricular expectations from early high school through the first-year college-level course in math and English, with an emphasis on placement and outcomes; and 3) develop content expectations for modularizing the curriculum such that students can be assessed and placed appropriately depending on their level of achievement with the goal of streamlining the ways in which diverse students move through that curriculum. The work of this task force and the redesign efforts led by NCAT will inform and complement one another.
The Need to Redesign
Currently, the TBR operates a remedial and developmental studies program that dates back to the early 1980’s, comprised of seven courses taught primarily in traditional classroom settings in a 16-week format. The TBR program exhibits many positive qualities that other states could emulate. It uses a uniform placement testing system and offers the same seven courses (remedial and developmental) at all of its 13 community colleges and the same four of those courses (developmental only) at its six universities, helping to ensure a consistent experience for all TBR students regardless of location.
That being said, the TBR’s program is not meeting the needs of its students who are quite diverse in levels of preparation, learning styles, and specific educational goals.
The current delivery strategy for courses offers a gradation of “basic remedial,” “basic developmental,” and “intermediate developmental” and does not afford an opportunity for students to quickly get up to performance level in one stage so that they can move to the next stage sooner. Students are required to take an entire course even though they may only be deficient in a portion of the topics. Restated, even if someone is marginally below the standard for freshman-level College Algebra, they are still placed into a 16-week course in Intermediate Developmental Algebra that requires them to sit through the full course to satisfy one or two limited or missing competencies.
The developmental course structure can present a significant obstacle to students’ ability to realize their educational goals. Many students who begin a developmental course withdraw due to work, family or health issues. Students who withdraw and return the following semester must begin the same course from the beginning, even though they may have demonstrated mastery of some portion of the material prior to their withdrawal. Weaker students may be required to complete up to three full semesters of coursework prior to advancing into regular college-level courses. Many students are delayed in applying for admission to specific academic and professional programs. Others give up and drop out completely. Typical drop-failure-withdrawal rates in these courses of 40% to 50% further compound the problem.
In addition, TBR students are placed into remedial and developmental courses based on ACT or COMPASS test scores. Frequently, students are placed in a course that is beyond their skill level, and consequently, they are unable to complete the course successfully. Instructors often intervene early in the term and recommend moving to a lower level course. Since students are not required to move back once they are placed, however, they rarely choose to do so. Clearly, one important goal of redesign is to offer a more accurate placement system and thereby reduce the problems that arise with improper placement.
Finally, the current course structure standardizes the student learning experience as if all students’ learning needs, interests, and abilities were the same. All students are required to learn at the same pace and with the same instructional strategies as the entire class. Because learning occurs in specific increments--especially in these skills-based courses-- and the time required to master each increment varies from person to person, the current system lacks the flexibility that could lead to greater student success.
Tennessee is not alone in dealing with these issues. Every state in the country faces similar problems in the ways in which remedial and developmental education is organized. By thinking more creatively about how to respond to a variety of learning abilities and preferences, it is possible to design structures and activities that work well with diverse types of students and lead to better, more cost-effective learning for all.
Modularization: A Key Strategy
In order to address the problems identified by the TBR and its member institutions, it became clear early on that modularizing the curriculum would be a key strategy. The development of better placement systems combined with shorter, more tailored remedial and developmental modules would enable students to save time and money by only enrolling in the modules that address their deficiencies.
In December 2006, the TBR issued a Call to Participate in the Developmental Studies Redesign Initiative to its six universities and thirteen community colleges. Specifically, campuses were invited to redesign a remedial and/or developmental course sequence in mathematics, reading, writing or English (combined reading and writing.) With support from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), the initiative was able to award a total of $240,000 in grants to participating institutions to support their redesign efforts. Twenty-seven proposals were submitted in July 2007, and six projects were ultimately funded. NCAT collaborated with the TBR throughout the planning and selection process.
What were we looking for in a successful redesign proposal? In addition to describing a solid plan to improve learning and reduce costs by implementing NCAT’s Five Principles for Successful Course Redesign, the TBR proposals needed to include a plan to modularize the remedial and developmental course sequences. Specifically, we wanted each institution to develop a plan to:
Most of the proposals we received struggled with the concept of modularization. No one had trouble dividing the course content into modules-–after all, that’s like chapters in a textbook. Almost all recognized that today’s high-quality instructional software is itself modularized. But most planned to have students continue to meet in small groups in traditional classroom settings, and most planned to have “teacher-led” activities dominate the redesign. They could conceptualize how to modularize course content but not how to modularize the student experience.
There is a contradiction between individualizing the student experience (i.e., diagnosing individual students’ strengths and weaknesses and creating individual paths for them to correct their deficiencies) and meeting in traditional classes in which students are grouped together primarily for scheduling reasons. Student progress through the course materials will vary considerably. One-third may be in the middle of the material in any given class, one-third may have already accomplished the goals of today’s class, and one-third may be lagging behind. Some students may be bored because other students’ questions result in repetition of conceptual material they have already mastered, while other students feel overwhelmed by the amount of material covered in one class.
It’s not that meeting in groups is a bad thing to do. But a successful TBR redesign proposal needed to reconcile modularization and group meetings in new and innovative ways. Six institutions were able to do just that: Austin Peay State University, Chattanooga State Technical Community College, Cleveland State Community College, Columbia State Community College, Jackson State Community College and Northeast State Technical Community College.
In the January 2008 issue of The Learning MarketSpace, we’ll tell you how they did it.
--Carol A. Twigg
Featuring initiatives to scale course redesign through state- and system-wide redesign programs
Mississippi is the latest state to announce a major course redesign initiative. The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), comprising eight public universities, has launched the Mississippi Course Redesign Initiative in partnership with NCAT. The goal is to achieve improvements in learning outcomes as well as reductions in instructional costs. During the 2007-2008 academic year, the program expects to award up to 15 grants to support redesign projects. It is anticipated that most course redesign projects can be completed for $50,000 and most awards will be in this range. An additional $50,000 per project may be awarded to projects of exceptional merit requiring significant equipment purchases (e.g., establishing a mathematics emporium).
NCAT will conduct an Orientation Workshop open to all interested IHL faculty and administrators on November 15, 2007, in Jackson , MS . The purpose of this session is to provide all interested members of the university community the opportunity to learn more about the program and why they may want to participate. For more information about this program, see http://www.thencat.org/States/MS.htm or contact Dennis Watts at email@example.com at IHL.
The State University of New York (SUNY) and NCAT recently held two Informational Workshops for the SUNY Course Redesign Initiative, which will run from 2007 through 2010. The Initiative is focused on improving learning and reducing costs in large enrollment, multi-section courses. In selecting projects, SUNY will give preference to developmental courses and courses with high failure rates. On October 4, 2007, more than 70 faculty and administrators participated in a workshop at Genesee Community College in Batavia, NY to learn more about this program and the NCAT methodology. On October 5 , 2007, the workshop was repeated at SUNY headquarters in Albany, NY, with more than 80 participating faculty and administrators. The next step in the application process is for interested teams to submit responses to a series of readiness criteria by November 19, 2007. A second workshop focused on effective planning is scheduled for January 24, 2008. To learn more, see http://www.thencat.org/States/SUNY.htm or contact Patricia Pietropaolo at Patricia.Pietropaolo@suny.edu at SUNY.
From among 27 proposals submitted in July 2007, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) has selected six institutions to redesign developmental math and English course sequences as part of a major grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Four institutions will focus on developmental math: Austin Peay State University, Chattanooga State Technical Community College, Cleveland State Community College, and Jackson State Community College. Two institutions will focus on developmental English: Columbia State Community College and Northeast State Technical Community College. As noted by Carol Twigg in her article above, a unique aspect of this program is its explicit focus on modularization. The development of better placement systems combined with shorter, more tailored instructional modules will enable students to save time and money by only engaging in the remedial and developmental modules that address their specific deficiencies. Teams from these projects will give full reports at the Redesign Alliance Conference in March 2008 described below. To learn more about the TBR initiative, see http://www.thencat.org/States/TBR.htm or contact Treva Berryman at Treva.Berryman@tbr.edu at the TBR.
Earlier this summer, the Arizona Board of Regents awarded grants to 13 excellent redesign projects as part of its Learner-Centered Education Course Redesign Initiative. Eight of the redesigns will occur at Arizona State University, two at Northern Arizona University, and three at the University of Arizona. The teams are in the midst of planning for pilots implementations in spring 2008. Teams from many of these projects will give full reports at the Redesign Alliance Conference in March 2008 described below.
Arizona State University-Tempe plans to redesign Uses of Accounting Information, the introductory financial accounting course that is mandatory for all business majors. The traditional course enrolls ~1800 students annually with most students attending one large lecture and two smaller recitation sessions. In the redesign, the number of in-class lectures will decrease by half. Instructional time will be replaced with online activities, which incorporate the content previously included in a separate one-credit course. The remaining lecture time will be altered to involve students in hands-on practice and problem-solving. Mandatory recitations will promote active learning and teamwork. This combination of technology, individual lesson plans, immediate feedback and appropriate assistance will enrich the learning experience for the students and increase their success rates. The redesigned course will reduce instructional costs by eliminating the separate one-credit course, reducing the number of sections from 56 to 47, increasing the section size from ~31 to ~37 and reducing the number of teaching personnel. The redesign will reduce the cost-per-student by 33%, saving ASU ~$108,000 annually. For more information, contact Dianne Leshinski at Dianne.Leshinski@asu.edu.
The redesign of College Algebra at Arizona State University-Tempe seeks to reduce an unacceptable drop-failure-withdrawal rate which ranges from 35-50% and to increase the number of ASU students who want to become mathematics teachers. The current course enrolls about 1700 students annually in more than 80 sections of 20 students each, about 20% of ASU freshmen. The redesigned course will continue to meet three times per week and will use well-trained undergraduates to teach approximately half of the sections, using consistent, research-based, active-learning strategies. Students in College Algebra will engage in assignments and in-class experiences that focus on key ideas in College Algebra and will apply these in real-world and hands-on exercises that are scaffolded to promote inquiry. Cost savings will result from the integration of these highly trained undergraduates who will earn college credit toward secondary certification rather than being paid and a reduction in the number of graduate teaching assistants involved in the course from 44 to 19. The cost-per-student will decrease by 36%, from $403 to $256, providing a significant savings of over $244,000 annually. To learn more, contact Deiter Armbruster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arizona State University-Tempe plans to redesign General Chemistry using the Supplemental Model. The traditional six course sequence enrolls ~2640 students each term. The six courses differ primarily in the student populations served, ranging from well-prepared chemistry, science, chemical engineering and pre-medicine majors to non-science majors and pre-professional nursing students. In the redesigned course, online activities including homework, pre-laboratory assignments and quizzes will increase students' understanding of chemistry through active learning, prompt feedback and assistance. The first hour of lab will be replaced with a guided problem-solving session, and lecture activities will be modified to increase active learning and interaction among peers and instructors. The team anticipates that the redesign will lead to greater success in subsequent chemistry and science courses. The redesigned course will reduce instructional costs by replacing the recitation period with a guided problem-solving session of 66 students led by two experienced graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). The number of GTAs will decrease from 95 to 49 annually. The redesign will reduce the cost-per-student by ~$56, resulting in ~$149,000 in savings each term. For more information, contact Janet Bond-Robinson at Bond-Robinson@asu.edu.
Arizona State University-Tempe plans to redesign Computing and Information Literacy using the Replacement Model. The traditional course uses a large-lecture format and enrolls ~2200 students annually. The redesigned course will feature problem-solving projects using conceptual models and technology tools, such as XML, scripting, and open-source software, to interact with peers and solve real-world problems. All four sections offered each semester will be replaced with two types of courses, two hybrid sections and one online section. The hybrid sections will combine lecture, interactive labs and online resources. Projects and assignments will all be completed online. The fully online section will replace all in-class meetings with online learning experiences, including automated weekly assessments, guided feedback and links to a plethora of online resources. The redesign will enhance course quality and produce a higher success rate by focusing on problem-solving with technology resources that students will continue to use in school and work. The redesigned course will reduce instructional costs by 1) changing the personnel mix; 2) reducing the number of TAs from two to one per term; 3) increasing section size from 270 to 299, thereby maximizing classroom resources; and 4) replacing four lecture sections with two hybrid sections and one fully online section. The cost-per-student will be decreased from $50 to $38, a 24% reduction. To learn more, contact Toni Farley at email@example.com.
Arizona State University-Tempe plans to redesign Introduction to Geology, which is currently taught in a traditional lecture format. The course serves 2200 students annually who are primarily enrolled in general studies. The planned course redesign, using the Replacement Model, will bring the course under a common syllabus and mastery-based assessment plan, organize content and activities into modules, and use synchronous and asynchronous instructional technologies. Half of the lecture will be replaced with a technologically-enhanced delivery of vibrant web content, using online mastery exams with immediate feedback and ongoing support. Class time will become more interactive and be used to enrich, enliven, and extend the basic concepts introduced through the media-rich textbook and web material. The redesign will enhance quality by creating a uniform knowledge framework across all sections, provide rich interactive web content, and a more meaningful and directed faculty-student dialogue. The redesigned course will decrease instructional costs by changing the mix of personnel teaching the course and decreasing total faculty effort by half. Interactive online learning activities will replace 1.5 hours of course meetings. Time required for curriculum and materials development will also be saved. The redesign will reduce the cost-per-student from $92 to $68, a 26% decrease. For more information, contact Kip Hodges at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizational Management and Leadership is a critical component of the business core curriculum and thus is the focus of a redesign at Arizona State University-Polytechnic. This course is a foundation for subsequent upper-level business courses and enrolls ~270 students annually. The planned redesign replaces the current two lectures per week with one face-to-face meeting and one online class. Online activities will include quizzes, small group exercises focusing on chapter concepts and theories, and submission of student work via the course's Blackboard site. Face-to-face sessions will concentrate on providing a context for what students are discovering during the online sessions and deepening the students' knowledge of the subject matter. The redesign will ensure consistency across sections and actively engage students in the learning process. Section size will be increased from ~45 to ~60 students. The cost-per-student will be reduced from $373 to $159, a 57% decrease. To learn more, contact Roger Hutt at email@example.com.
Arizona State University is redesigning its West campus offering of Public Speaking, a course meeting a university-wide literacy requirement for students. It also is a core requirement for communications studies majors and an out-of-program requirement for pre-law, education, business, life sciences, and organizational studies. The redesigned course will meet increasing enrollment demand while providing consistency across sections. The course currently enrolls 200 students annually. The redesign will triple the course enrollment to 600 students by using a combination of large lectures and small lab sections. There will be a common syllabus, set of learning objectives and textbook. Student speeches and audience feedback will take place in lab sections of 25 students each. Students will receive increased feedback after speeches as well as individualized assistance, and different student learning styles can be addressed. Students will complete the course with a strong grasp of public speaking concepts through greater exposure to activities that facilitate speech development, organization, research and delivery. The redesigned course will reduce the cost of offering Public Speaking from $321 to $142 per student, an estimated 56% cost reduction, while increasing the capacity of the course enrollment threefold. For more information, contact Meg McConnaughy at MEG.MCCONNAUGHY@asu.edu.
Arizona State University-Tempe plans to redesign Women in Society and Women in Contemporary Society, two high-enrollment courses serving ~2400 students annually. Both courses provide an overview of the Women's Studies discipline and an overview of issues facing women in contemporary American Society. The current courses are generally taught in a large lecture format with limited student engagement. The redesign plan will replace part of the lecture time with required online student activities such as virtual field trips and group discussions around course topics. Student feedback will be increased with required, online low-stakes quizzes and an in-class personal response system. The redesigned course will lead to higher student engagement as they actively interact with the material and their peers, learning to apply course concepts to real-life examples. The redesign will allow ASU-Tempe to increase the number of students served from 2400 to 2800 by increasing section size and changing the mix of instructional staff. Three full-time faculty will be replaced through the use of additional TAs and ULAs to facilitate the online activities. The redesign will reduce the cost-per-student from $78 to $57, a 27% decrease. To learn more, contact Mary Margaret Fonow at MaryMargaret.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introductory Biology at Northern Arizona University is taught by a variety of instructors and is the first course required for all biology majors as well as 22 other majors, serving ~1000 students annually. The redesign of this course, using the Supplemental Model, will have multiple online components including tutorials, simulations, quizzes, and virtual labs. Implementing a classroom response system will increase active student participation in the learning process. Supplemental instruction that is closely aligned with class and lab content will help students stay current with the class. Student progress will be monitored with appropriate individualized support. The redesigned course will be enhanced by the inclusion of real-life applications of concepts, increased student participation, consistency and coordination among sections, and a standard set of learning outcomes. The redesign will allow NAU to increase the number of students served annually from ~975 to ~1460, a 50% increase. This increase is made possible by redesigning 33% of the lab sections into virtual labs. This redesign will reduce the cost-per-student from $263 to $174, a 34% projected savings. For more information, contact Catherine Ueckert at Catherine.email@example.com.
Northern Arizona University plans to redesign Introduction to Psychology, a course serving ~1925 students annually, the fifth-largest course on campus. This course fulfills campus-wide liberal studies requirements and serves a variety of majors and minors, giving it unusually far-reaching impact on the education experience of NAU students. The redesign will focus on an active, learner-centered approach, incorporating technology to facilitate a more individualized course experience. The team will implement an in-class student response system, required web activities and quizzes. An early intervention system will target students who are struggling. Team teaching will enhance course quality by giving students the opportunity to learn from faculty with the greatest expertise in a given topic area. The operational cost of the course will be reduced by increasing enrollment, reducing the number of sections from 11 to six, increasing section size, and reducing the number of people teaching the course from seven to three. Implementing a team-teaching model will enable a section size increase from 175 to two sections of 400 and one section of 200. Each of the 400 student sections will be taught by two full-time faculty, and one full-time faculty member will teach the 200-student section. A full-time faculty member will act as course coordinator to facilitate student research participation and consistency across sections. The cumulative impact of these changes will be to decrease the cost-per-student by 23%, from $62 to $48. To learn more, contact Michelle Miller at Michelle.Miller@nau.edu.
The University of Arizona plans to redesign Introductory Biology, a course in cell and molecular biology serving approximately 1800 students annually. The course is currently taught in a typical lecture format with an additional, optional, one-hour discussion section. The redesign will include pre-class, online tutorials and mastery quizzes, allowing more student-centered activities in class. Case studies, animations, computer modeling and other materials will reinforce course concepts. Small groups of students will work together to complete group projects. The redesigned course will be consistent across sections, emphasizing conceptual understanding and application. The operational cost of the course will be reduced by decreasing the number of instructors from six to four, reducing the number of graduate teaching assistants and increasing the number of undergraduate learning assistants. Enrollment is projected to grow to more than 2300 students during the next five years. During the period of the redesign project, increased enrollment can be accommodated within the current sections. The cumulative impact of these changes will be to reduce the cost of course delivery by 51%, from ~$266 per student to $130. For more information, contact Kathleen Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using the Supplemental Model, the University of Arizona plans to redesign General Chemistry. Currently designed as a two-semester course sequence for science and engineering majors, this course introduces students to the fundamental principles of chemistry and enrolls ~4000 students annually. The lecture and laboratory are currently run as separate courses with the lecture course a pre-requisite for the laboratory course. The redesign plan will combine the lecture and lab courses into one course. Learner-centered modules will be created to involve students in collaborative group activities during the lecture, laboratory and discussion sessions. All homework will be completed and graded on-line with a common homework system. The redesigned course, with better alignment between all components, will improve both student success and the quality of their educational experience with active, inquiry-based learning and individualized attention. Four faculty and eight lecturers supported by 85 GTAs currently teach the course at a cost of $188 per student. The redesigned course will be staffed by four faculty, six lecturers and 85 GTAs at a cost of $171 per student. The result will be a cost-per-student reduction of 10% and a projected savings of ~$100,000 annually. For more information, contact Vicente Talanquer at email@example.com.
The University of Arizona, plans to redesign A Geological Perspective, a general education course for non-science majors, using the Replacement Model. Currently enrolling ~1200 students annually, the course is taught in a traditional lecture format by several different faculty members and includes optional, weekly study groups taught by graduate teaching assistants. These optional study groups will be replaced with weekly mandatory break-out sessions where small groups of students will complete activities that have been introduced in the lectures. A large portion of the lecture periods will be devoted to active learning in small groups. Students will submit the majority of their work online, receiving immediate feedback. Online tutorials and a classroom participation system will be implemented. The planned redesign will enhance course quality by providing an active learning experience with individualized support. The redesigned course will reduce instructional costs by decreasing the number of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) from seven to four and replacing many of them with undergraduate preceptors who are not paid but receive academic credit for their teaching service. The number of hours spent by faculty and GTAs on preparation, class time and grading will be greatly reduced. These changes will reduce the cost-per-student by 58%, from $437 to $185. To learn more, contact Jessica Kapp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the fall 2007 term, four community colleges are piloting redesigns of developmental math and English courses as the final stage of the Texas Technical Degree Program Course Redesign Project. All four seek to improve student success and to reduce instructional costs.
Austin Community College is piloting a redesigned Learning Community (LC) of paired courses: Writing Skills II (WSII), the exit-level course for the developmental writing sequence, and English Composition I. This LC is reserved for students who score in the top 10% of a writing assessment and/or have earned an A or B in Writing Skills I. Students are simultaneously enrolled in both courses. The traditional LC sections, which have an average of 12 students and meet six hours a week for 16 weeks, include a lot of lecture that encourages passive learning and restricts students from becoming independent learners. Faculty spend significant time reviewing and re-teaching basic skills to the entire class when all students do not necessarily need this review. The redesigned LC replaces some in-class meetings with online interactive activities and makes significant changes to the remaining in-class meetings. This will free in 1.3 full-time instructors to teach another course. Students will spend additional time on task with their instructors, allowing for a greater chance of mastering the objectives, and will spend less time in the learning lab, which produces additional cost savings. During the pilot, class size will be increased to 18 to determine if additional students can be effectively managed. To learn more, contact Stacey Stover at email@example.com.
Brookhaven College, part of the Dallas Community College District, is piloting their redesign of developmental writing and English composition courses. Because remediation is no longer mandated at the college, fewer than 40% of the 350 students who test into developmental writing actually take it. Of those who do enroll, more than 40% fail to successfully complete the course, 10% withdraw from the course and approximately 20% successfully complete the course but are unable to pass required departmental exams. The pilot currently underway offers Developmental Writing as an eight-week course in conjunction with an eight-week version of English Composition I. In addition, a 16-week form of the redesigned course is also being piloted. The students are divided into two groups; each group is assigned a classroom meeting day. Instructors meet with each group of students once a week for 1.5 hours and involve students in peer interactions that incorporate multi-level writing skills. The other half of the course, conducted online using commercial software and assignments posted on eCampus, includes lessons on grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and vocabulary. The redesigned course will double each section’s capacity and include half as many sections. To learn more, contact Kendra Vaglienti at KVaglienti@dcccd.edu.
Houston Community College(HCC) is piloting a new bridge course designed for the approximately 250-300 students whose pass rate in Intermediate Algebra is between 60% and 69% in the previous term. Offered in a four-week format using the Emporium Model and MyMathLab, the course begins by identifying students’ areas of weakness. Students then study those particular concepts in preparation for retaking the required final exam for Intermediate Algebra. If students pass the exam successfully, they can start College Algebra immediately since HCC offers an enrollment option which begins four weeks after the start of the regular term. By pairing the two courses in one term, HCC will reduce the time these students need to complete the developmental sequence. The bridge course will reduce costs because it allows faculty to work with 75 students over the four-week term rather than in small groups of 25 over an entire term as is done in the traditional format. To learn more, contact Juan Carlos Reina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kingwood Community College, part of the North Harris Montgomery Community College District, is piloting a redesign of Intermediate Algebra to address low levels of student success since approximately 50% of the students fail or withdraw. As the team correctly observed, the primary reason many students do not succeed in Intermediate Algebra is because they do not actually do the homework problems. The traditional model of this course meets two or three times a week using a lecture/discussion approach. The redesigned course will meet twice a week for 16 weeks. Each session will last one hour and 20 minutes and will be held in a computer lab. During the first 20 minutes of the class, new material will be presented to the students; the remaining time will consist of students’ doing homework using MyMathLab. For more information, contact Jon Connolly at Jon.H.Connolly@nhmccd.edu.
For more information about the Texas Technical Degree Program Course Redesign Project, contact Cynthia Ferrell at Cynthia.Ferrell@THECB.state.tx.us at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
House Bill #1, Section 61.076 of the Texas Education Code, passed in 2006, requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to “implement a project under which institutions of higher education selected by the Board will review and revise entry-level lower division academic courses . . . to improve student learning and reduce the cost of course delivery through the use of information technology.” To meet this mandate, the THECB has developed multiple initiatives throughout the state. On October 15, 2007, NCAT conducted a workshop for the 14 teams that have been awarded grants as part of Phase III of the Texas Program in Course Redesign. The workshop provided an overview of the NCAT redesign methodology as well as information about assessing student learning and instructional costs. Participants included 40 representatives from Austin Community College, Dallas Community College District, Del Mar College, Texas A&M University, Texas Woman’s University, University of Texas-El Paso, University of Texas-San Antonio, University of Texas-Brownsville/Texas Southmost College and West Texas A&M University. For more information about this multi-year initiative, contact Kevin Lemoine at Kevin.Lemoine@THECB.state.tx.usat the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
On November 9, 2007, the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) and NCAT are co-sponsoring a one-day conference in Richmond, VA, entitled “Learning by Design: Using Technology to Improve Learning and Reduce Cost through Course Redesign.” The program will include a keynote by Carol Twigg and presentations and discussions of successful redesign projects by NCAT Redesign Scholars Malcolm Hill from the University of Richmond, Gordon Hodge from the University of New Mexico, Phoebe Rouse from Louisiana State University and Jim Wohlpart from Florida Gulf Coast University. In addition, participants will participate in an exercise to consider a number of innovative ideas for course redesign, see software demonstrations by NCAT’s corporate associates and learn about open-source possibilities. Participants who are considering a redesign will have an opportunity to get feedback on their ideas from the Redesign Scholars and NCAT staff. To learn more, see http://www.schev.edu/lbd/grants.asp or contact Vernon Harper at VernonHarper@schev.edu at SCHEV.
Featuring updates from the Alliance, a member organization of institutions, organizations and companies committed to and experienced with large-scale course redesign
Registration is now open for the Second Annual Redesign Alliance Conference that will be held March 16 - 18, 2008 at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, FL. This conference will provide an exciting opportunity to learn more about course redesign and share ideas with those who have accomplished a successful redesign as well as those who are working on one right now. Building on the highly successful 2007 conference which had an attendance of more than 400 people, the 2008 conference promises to be even more engaging. Since last year’s conference, more than 50 new large-scale course redesigns have been launched. The program will feature new examples from academic areas such as accounting, Women and Gender Studies and geology as well as new redesigns in core areas such as developmental math and English, Spanish and psychology, to name a few. The preliminary agenda is available at http://www.thencat.org/RedesignAlliance/PrelimAgenda08.htm.
IMPORTANT: While the conference registration deadline is February 29, 2008, registration will close when 600 people have registered. Last year, registration reached 400 well before the deadline. Plan to register early at http://www.thencat.org/RedesignAlliance/Conference08.htm.
The Redesign Alliance and the University of Alabama (UA) are co-sponsoring a day-long seminar on December 1, 2007, entitled “Learning Mathematics at the University of Alabama: Before and Today.” This event is open to Redesign Alliance members with an interest in redesigning introductory math courses. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about UA's highly successful math redesigns. They will visit the Math Technology Learning Center and talk with the various kinds of instructional personnel involved. To see the preliminary agenda and register for this event, visit http://www.thencat.org/RedesignAlliance/UAWorkshop.htm.
Featuring progress reports and outcomes achieved by the C2R program
NCAT is pleased to announce the second round of the Colleagues Committed to Redesign (C2R) program, partially supported by the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). The purpose of the program is to support the efforts of colleges and universities to redesign their instructional approaches using technology to achieve improvements in student learning while reducing instructional costs. Redesign efforts will focus on large introductory courses with high enrollments.
Building on lessons learned in the Program in Course Redesign and the Roadmap to Redesign, NCAT will bring four-person teams from 20 institutions together with NCAT staff and 19 Redesign Scholars at four disciplinary institutes (humanities; mathematics, statistics and computer science; natural sciences; and, social sciences). The institutes will introduce the teams to the NCAT redesign methodology, share strategies and techniques for successful course redesign and help teams develop plans for course redesigns on their home campuses.
Following each institute, NCAT will support collaboration and consultation among NCAT staff, Redesign Scholars and institutional teams to help teams apply what was learned at the institutes on campus and replicate prior successes. Each participating C2R institution will have resources made possible by the FIPSE grant to invite one or more consultants drawn from the Redesign Scholars to their campus for follow-up consultations and workshops.
Participating institutions will implement a pilot redesign in fall 2008 and will share their experiences and lessons learned with the larger higher education community at the annual conference sponsored by the Redesign Alliance. FIPSE funding will support team travel to the institutes and to the conference.
The deadline for applying to participate in the second round is January 15, 2008. For a full description of the Colleagues Committed to Redesign (C2R) program and the application guidelines, see http://www.thencat.org/RedesignAlliance/DissemProgram.htm. For more information, contact Kay Katzer, NCAT Program Coordinator, at kkatzer@theNCAT.org.
Pilots for the first round of C2R projects are underway and are going quite well. Teams have encountered some difficulties related to technology and physical facilities, but they are working through these to complete their pilot implementations. Teams from the C2R projects will give full reports at the Redesign Alliance Conference in March 2008 described above.
At Boise State University, the redesign of a two-semester Introductory Accounting sequence is well underway, which will impact 600 students enrolled in Accounting I and 300 students enrolled in Accounting II. To provide the desired resource savings, the department has reduced the number of sections from 20 small sections to six sections of 150 students each, which greatly improves the consistency of content coverage. Student engagement with the course concepts has definitely increased, and faculty members are pleased with the significant decrease in paper grading. The team has discovered some unanticipated benefits of the redesign. Because they were having difficulty with the technology early in the term, the team decided to allow students two tries on a quiz. As a result, students are now turning to the undergraduate learning assistants for help and are working collaboratively to master the concepts before taking the quiz a second time. To learn more, contact Paul Bahnson at email@example.com.
Cosumnes River College (CRC) is redesigning Elementary Algebra, which enrolls ~1200 students annually. CRC will replace five hours of traditional lecture to three hours of computer-based workshops plus three hours of individual computer sessions. To provide interactive instruction, CRC will use MyMathLab, which includes an online textbook, video lectures, online exercises, quizzes and exams. The planned redesign will shift primary course delivery from a passive, traditional lecture format to an independent, active learning format that is student-focused. Enrollment will increase by 10%, and instructional costs will be reduced by 9%. CRC also anticipates additional benefit over time from reducing classroom hours. Two pilot sections are currently underway. A significant portion of the students say they like the course more than previous math courses and feel more confident than they had in previous math courses. Instructors indicate that students are generally more engaged with the material. As they began the semester, the team encountered a range of unanticipated IT problems, reinforcing the importance of IT commitment and support for a successful redesign. For more information, contact Mary Martin at martinms@CRC.losrios.edu.
At DePaul University, College Algebra enrolls ~850 students annually and has been offered in a traditional lecture/discussion format. In the planned course redesign, students will attend a traditional lecture/discussion session for 1.5 hours each week and will be required to spend an additional three hours in a new math lab working with MyMathLab. Specific concepts will be introduced in the lecture sessions, which students will practice in the lab and at home. The traditional course has 27 sections of 40 students each, taught by 13 full-time and 14 part-time faculty. The redesigned course will offer 14 sections, each with 80 students, taught by seven full-time and seven part-time faculty. The cost-per-student will be reduced from $190 per student to $140 per student, a 26% savings. The pilot is currently underway, and full implementation of the redesign plan is scheduled for winter 2008. The team benefited from a recent campus consulting visit by Redesign Scholar Tristan Denley. DePaul is also considering 1) extending the redesign to other developmental math courses, 2) modifying the precalculus curriculum, and 3) trying to make more effective use of both the lecture and lab time in the redesigned course. To learn more, contact Jeff Bergen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hagerstown Community College is redesigning College Algebra, one of the three highest enrolled courses at the institution with a current annual enrollment of ~745 students. The traditional course consists of lecture only, taught by as many as 13 different faculty members. The redesign plan, will offer two hours of lecture and two hours of lab, using the Replacement Model. The introduction of a computer-based lab experience using MyMathLab will provide the students with individualized assistance, ongoing assessment and sufficient time on task. Students will become active learners in this new environment. The redesign will enhance quality by ensuring course consistency across all sections. As planned, the number of sections of College Algebra will decrease from 33 to 19 with an increase in section size from ~25 to 40. The annual enrollment will increase slightly to 760. Overall these changes will lead to a 54% decrease in the cost-per-student from $211 to $97. To learn more, contact Bob Carson at email@example.com.
Harry S. Truman College is redesigning College Algebra, which is required for all students enrolled in a mathematics, business, science or engineering curriculum. The course will continue to meet twice a week in two-hour sessions. One hour of each session will be devoted to content development. The second hour of each session will take place in a computer lab where students will work on the concepts using MyMathLab either on their own or with another student with additional support provided by peer mentors. Course requirements include data gathering activities to teach students how to use new technology tools and to acquire new skills. As soon as an appropriately equipped lab room is established, experiments using Vernier Lab Pro/TI-83/84/Sensors will be incorporated into modeling exercises. At this stage, the team is receiving positive responses about the redesign from both students and instructors. College representatives plan to visit Redesign Scholar Kirk Trigsted to learn more about the University of Idaho’s successful redesign. Over time, the operational cost of the course will be reduced by increasing section size from ~25 students to 40 per section, resulting in a 67% annual increase in enrollment from 215 to 360 students. The redesign will reduce the cost-per-student from $246 to $140, a savings of approximately 43%. To learn more, contact Sheila McNicholas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indiana State University has selected the Supplemental Model to redesign General Psychology, which enrolls ~1000 students annually. The number of weekly lectures will be reduced to two and taught by full-time faculty rather than graduate instructors. Currently, graduate students are leading weekly 50-minute discussion groups, but the plan is to transition to a system where undergraduate students lead the discussions, and a graduate student supervises the undergraduate peer leaders. The project is using a customized text that includes codes for access to MyPsychLab. By developing a customized text, course content has been made consistent across all redesigned sections of the course. Students are receiving early feedback and individualized assistance with any learning problems that are identified. All exams are administered via Blackboard and are timed, which has created difficulties for students with learning disabilities. The team has addressed this problem by providing a paper-based option and assistance from teaching assistants. Indiana State has scheduled a campus consulting visit by Redesign Scholar Gordon Hodge. The redesigned course will reduce instructional costs by decreasing the number of sections from 27 to six and increasing section size from ~35 to ~200 students. As a result, the cost-per-student will move from $101 to $73, an estimated cost savings of approximately 28%. For more information, contact Karen Schmid at email@example.com.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) is redesigning Principles of Biology, the first core course in the biology curriculum as well as the first college science course for most students, enrolling ~200 students annually. IUP is using the Supplemental Model in its redesign, initiating changes in both the lecture and laboratory components of the course. Redesign Scholar Elizabeth Connor visited IUP in June to provide consulting assistance to the campus. The team has developed 14 weekly online modules that include pre- and post-class assignments, detailed lecture outlines, chapter review activities, self-test quizzes, relevant readings, and concept questions. They have also added daily quizzes in the lecture as well as a weekly review quiz to better prepare students for the lecture sessions as well as for exams. Active learning in the classroom has been expanded through a student response system. In the lab, computers have been installed on every lab table, and the team has introduced a series of simulations to familiarize students with concepts before they actually do the experiments. These simulations along with quizzes on the material to be covered have increased the preparedness of the students as they plan their own experiments. Finally, students do a number of writing exercises in the laboratory to prepare them for the lab report of their final project. The redesigned course will reduce instructional costs by increasing enrollment from 216 to 288 students and increasing section size from 72 to 96 students using the same personnel. The cost-per-student will be reduced from $509 to $399, a 22% decrease. To learn more, contact Nicholas Kolb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lorain County Community College (LCCC) is using the Buffet Model to redesign General, Organic and Biochemistry to meet a range of student learning styles and to increase success rates. The redesign will create a single blended course offered in three formats (online, blended and face-to-face) that provides consistency in instruction and evaluation, while giving students the flexibility to choose the format that enables them to achieve the desired learning outcomes most effectively. All students have access to the same online materials for both lectures and labs. The laboratory portion is offered online via simulations and home chemistry kits as well as in the college laboratory. Students often enroll in this course without the math skills necessary to succeed. Faculty are addressing this issue by developing a math diagnostic pre-test, customized for this particular course. The redesign will enable LCCC to increase the number of students served annually from 980 to 1200 by increasing online section size from 20 to 25 and face-to-face section size from ~25 to ~35 during the year and to 60 during the summer. LCCC plans to decrease the number of full-time faculty teaching the course from three to two and the part-time faculty from 14 to 10. Overall the cost-per-student will decrease from $339 in the traditional format to $192 in the redesigned course, a 44% savings. To learn more about this innovative approach, contact John Crooks at email@example.com.
St. Cloud State University is well into the pilot implementation of its Preparatory Chemistry redesign. The course serves as the gateway to further chemistry courses for science majors and as a general education course. In its traditional format, this course consumes 25% of the department's faculty resources. The redesign is using the Supplemental Model and incorporating several new techniques and strategies for improving student learning. Undergraduate learning assistants (ULAs) are working with students to facilitate active learning during class time as well as the scheduled laboratory sessions. The redesign incorporates an online homework system, ALEKS, into the course. Challenges have included providing access to ALEKS through the university computers and improving the flow of online activities in relation to the lectures. The team believes that the pilot implementation is going well and is looking forward to using the lessons learned to make further improvements. In the traditional format, seven full-time faculty offered 28 sections annually. The redesigned course will be staffed by four full-time faculty assisted by ULAs in four sections of 200 students each. As a result, the cost-per-student will decrease from $337 to $185, a reduction of 45%. The department plans to use the savings to offer upper-level elective courses. For more information, contact Rebecca Krystyniak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Truman State University (TSU), the pilot redesign of British Literature Chronology is currently underway. TSU's plan will replace one of three hours of lecture per week with a one-hour, student-led seminar and an online discussion board. The historical and cultural background components of the course will be delivered through online resource material. Weekly online master quizzes will provide immediate feedback to students. The instructors will monitor student progress, identifying and addressing the areas that students are finding difficult. The team benefited from a June campus consulting visit by Redesign Scholar Jim Wohlpart. At this point, students generally seem to be more engaged than in previous terms. In response to an informal survey regarding the student-led meetings, 95% of the students found the meetings to be helpful in preparing them for the midterm and 97% found them helpful for their own learning. Although several students had trouble with Blackboard during the first few weeks of class, the overwhelming majority found the online resources and quizzes helpful for midterm preparation as well as for their own learning. The redesign, when fully implemented, will allow TSU to increase the number of students served to ~180 from the current 90, increasing section size from ~45 to ~ 90 students. Savings will be used in a variety of ways, including support for important but under-enrolled courses that are facing possible reduction or elimination due to resource pressures. To learn more, contact Julie Lochbaum at Lochbaum@truman.edu.
The redesign of Introductory Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is using the Replacement Model. The redesigned course will replace three of the four weekly contact hours with alternative activities, reducing the amount of time students spend in the classroom. Two of the four contact hours will shift to an interactive, feedback-rich online program (En Linea by Vista Higher Learning). The third hour will be replaced with weekly, small group conversation sessions led by undergraduate student assistants. Initial student responses to these sessions have been very positive. Students say they are more comfortable speaking in smaller groups and in front of peers. Instructors teaching the redesigned sections are adjusting to having only one weekly face-to-face hour with their students. The project team is conducting training for instructors on how to offer online tutoring services to students using tablet PCs and DyKnow software to facilitate interaction with students. All low-stakes quizzes are administered through Blackboard. Based on qualitative feedback to date, the team believes that the Introductory Spanish redesign is off to a positive start. When fully implemented, the number of sections will increase from 20 to 30, and the annual enrollment will increase from 340 to 580. The number of instructional staff will be reduced from 10 to eight, and each instructor will teach two sections. The redesign is expected to decrease the cost-per-student from $416 to $213, a 49% savings. To learn more, contact Bob Henshaw at email@example.com.
The University of West Florida (UWF) is redesigning Elements of Statistics using the Replacement Model. The redesign seeks to improve student learning by providing greater hands on experiences and one-to-one assistance for students who are falling behind. All but one of the weekly face-to-face lectures has been changed to computer-aided lab work using Hawkes Learning Systems. The team is very positive about the progress of the pilot, and it appears that the new format has been well accepted by the majority of the110 students enrolled in the pilot section. UWF benefited from an August campus consulting visit by Redesign Scholar Tristan Denley. Additional activities during the pilot phase include adding lecture notes online, building faculty consensus and disseminating information about the redesigned course. The redesigned course will reduce instructional costs by decreasing the number of sections from 10 to four per semester, increasing section size and increasing enrollment by 4%. Regular faculty involved in teaching the course will be reduced, and adjuncts will be eliminated. The 40% savings will be used to redesign other general education courses, enhance upper-level undergraduate and graduate offerings, or provide additional resources for research and service in the department. For more information, contact Pam Northrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winston-Salem State University is redesigning General Biology, a general education course required of all students. The traditional three-credit course serves 1500 students annually. It currently consists of two hours of lecture and two hours of lab. Using the Replacement Model, the planned course redesign will eliminate the required lab (the lab will become a separate optional course) and will reduce the contact hours from a total of four hours to two. A third hour will consist of online assignments and laboratory style exercises. The redesign will increase the number of students served to 1600, reduce the number of sections from 20 to 18 and decrease the number of part-time faculty involved in the course from 14 to 12. The cost-per-student will decrease from $132 to $100, a 24% savings. For more information, contact Sharia Phillips at email@example.com.
Complete abstracts and contact information for each Round I C2R project are available at www.thencat.org/RedesignAlliance/C2R/Rd1ProjDesc.htm.
Linking content and software providers with leading edge institutions
Blackboard launched its NCAT Corporate Associate relationship with two well-received events at this year’s Blackboard World, the first combined Users Conference in North America for Blackboard and former WebCT clients. BbWorld participants were able to register for a special NCAT pre-conference workshop or attend a regular conference session on the principles of course redesign. Led by Carolyn Jarmon, NCAT’s Senior Associate, both events offered numerous examples of how NCAT’s research-based course redesign methodology has leveraged educational technology to improve student outcomes and reduce instructional costs. The NCAT/Blackboard partnership is a key component of Blackboard’s renewed focus on educational transformation.
On September 28, 2007, Carol Twigg met with the senior executive team of McGraw-Hill Higher Education, a new NCAT Corporate Associate. McGraw-Hill executives benefited from an overview of course redesign as well as an opportunity to ask questions and clarify their understanding of NCAT programs and opportunities for collaboration. Carol was joined at the meeting in New York City by Tristan Denley, an NCAT Redesign Scholar and math department chairman at the University of Mississippi. Tristan described his successful redesign projects in math and statistic coursesthat have led to increased student learning and reduced instructional costs. On November 1 and 2, McGraw-Hill will host an invitational workshop in Dubuque, Iowa for teams interested in learning more about the Colleagues Committed to Redesign Program. Carolyn Jarmon, NCAT’s Senior Associate, will participate in this workshop as teams discuss their redesign ideas and think about next steps in the application process.
More than 140 faculty and administrators participated in Pearson’s most recent course redesign workshop in Tucson, AZ on October 26 and 27, 2007. Pearson, one of the first NCAT Corporate Associates, designed the workshop around the critical question of improving student learning in large introductory courses in both quantitative and qualitative disciplines. After a keynote by NCAT’s Carolyn Jarmon, attendees had the opportunity to hear from faculty members experienced in course redesign who were able to provide in-depth case studies to guide those considering a project. Experienced instructors offered tangible examples of improved learning, increased student retention, and contained costs in such diverse fields as math, economics, physics, political science, and English. The size of this event is one more indicator that course redesign is achieving widespread visibility and attracting interest from a significant number of faculty from a broad cross section of institutions.
Reporting on initiatives that share the Center's goals and objectives
On October 31, 2007, the National Association of System Heads (NASH) launched their newest initiative, "Access to Success,” in partnership with the Education Trust. This initiative is focused on improving overall student success and closing by at least half the gaps in both college-going and college completion rates that separate low-income and minority students from others. About 20 higher education systems have signed on to participate; each system will choose how best to meet the identified goals of the initiative by 2015. Each participating system is committed to collecting and providing data annually and sharing their knowledge and best strategies regarding how to scale successful activities for students. One of the four key goals of this initiative is to “improve student success in our developmental and introductory courses,” which clearly links to the course redesign programs that many states and systems are initiating in partnership with NCAT. Among the systems joining NASH in “Access to Success” as well as working with NCAT on large redesign programs are the University System of Maryland, the State University of New York and the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. NASH is a membership organization of chief executive officers of the 52 public higher education systems in 38 states and Puerto Rico. To learn more about this important effort, contact Jan Somerville at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On March 10 -12, 2008, Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative (CMU-OLI) will hold an Interplay Symposium in Pittsburgh, PA. The goal of this event is to explore how theory, strategies, and methods from the learning sciences can be applied to the design of open learning environments and how the use and evaluation of those environments can inform the learning sciences. CMU-OLI expects to bring together a broad range of perspectives to inform participants’ understanding of ways in which to frame problems and prospects for open educational programs productively and unconventionally. The topics at the March Symposium will be crafted based on preliminary group meetings that have explored the topics of developing conceptual understanding, the social context of learning and the ecology of use and reuse. Although the number of symposium participants is limited, it will be open to colleagues across disciplines who want to discuss the best ways to promote this agenda and share knowledge on a continuing basis. To learn more, see www.cmu.edu/oli/symposium2008/ or contact Candace Thille at email@example.com.
Michigan’s Ferris State University (FSU) has a well-established program that improves student success in courses with high failure rates which grew out of a need to reach large numbers of students who would not normally seek academic assistance voluntarily. Supplementary Student Learning Assistance (SLA) workshops are paired with the targeted courses. Workshop facilitators, chosen for their knowledge in specific content areas, conduct workshops in parallel with the core course. Facilitators act as role models to foster student responsibility and task commitment. During the 12 years of the program, more than 29,000 FSU students have participated. In fall 2007, the program is serving over 1200 students in courses such as chemistry, developmental math, introductory writing and accounting. The FSU program served as a model for the planned redesign of developmental math at Austin Peay University, one of the funded projects in the Tennessee Board of Regents Developmental Studies Redesign Initiative. On March 17-18, 2008, FSU will hold SLA training workshops in Big Rapids, MI, open to interested faculty and administrators who are considering a program for their campus. For more information, contact Julie Thatcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/academics/sla/.
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.
Copyright 2007, The National Center for Academic Transformation