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The Pew Learning and Technology Program Newsletter

Vol. 2, No. 2
June 2000
Editor: Lowell Roberts
An electronic newsletter of the Pew Learning and Technology
Program (PLTP) highlighting ongoing examples of redesigned
learning environments using technology and examining issues
related to their development and implementation.

. . . sponsored by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts.


1. Redesigning Learning Environments
* Pennsylvania State University: Elementary Statistics

2. Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign
* Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign Announces Second Round of Grant Awards
* Dr. Carolyn Jarmon to Join Pew Program
* Cost Comparison Summary for Round I Projects

3. Pew Project Updates
* Pennsylvania State University: Elementary Statistics
* Rio Salado College: Introductory Algebra
* University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Economic Statistics
* Virginia Tech: Linear Algebra
* University of Colorado at Boulder: Interactive Astronomy

4. Common Ground
* Sloan ALN Program Shifts Priorities
* University of Maryland Offers Help to Professors Designing Online Courses
* North Central Association Rethinks Accreditation
* As Online Education Grows, So Grow Collaborative Portals
* Interesting Reading

5. Meetings and Events

6. PLTP Calendar

7. Archives and Reposting

1. Redesigning Learning Environments

* Pennsylvania State University: Elementary Statistics

A team of Penn State Statistics faculty, in collaboration
with Penn Stateís Schreyer Institute for Innovation in
Learning and the Center for Academic Computing, has
redesigned the elementary statistics course (STAT 200) to
emphasize statistical literacy over formulas and improve the
retention and transfer of statistical concepts. The STAT 200
team decided that actively engaging studentsí minds with
statistics requires plenty of practice, opportunities to
puzzle through the material with another mind, and frequent
feedback. They are accomplishing this by reducing lectures,
utilizing technology-assisted exercises and implementing
RATs (Readiness Assessment Tests).

The project will begin its fourth phase, full-scale
implementation, in the fall semester of this year. Phases
one through three involved selecting and sequencing of
course materials, creating the course Web site and
interactive course assignments, piloting the changes in the
course, and collecting baseline data and preliminary
assessment information for the new design.

Plan for Redesign

In the traditional model of the course, students attended
three lectures and two recitation sections each week. At the
University Park campus, STAT 200 serves more than 2200
students each year. Approximately 60 different majors,
representing each of the 11 colleges and schools, require
the course. In the new course format, students spend one
session a week in a large group session and two sessions in
a computer studio lab, actively working through statistical
problems under the guidance of experienced instructors. The
new model capitalizes on technology-enhanced practice
exercises and active and collaborative learning. The
technology for the course includes a Web-based text book, a
basic statistical package that students use for their
assignments, the course Web page, and Test Pilot, a software
package that will enable the faculty to give quizzes and
collect data on-line. The course team is also considering
using CourseTalk or another communication software package.

The course Web site for the Statistics 200 project is
scheduled to be fully in operation for Fall 2000 and will
offer many new advancements in the course. The Web site will
leverage existing resources, including the electronic
textbook Cyberstats ( and other online
statistics resources. The focus of developing the course
site has been designing administrative functions, such as
calendar tracking, syllabus database and schedule generator,
searchable activities archive, student enrollment tracking,
faculty schedules, and office hours tracking. Because the
Web site includes an underlying SQL database, students will
be able to view their schedule and assignments in a number
of modes including current week, all weeks, readings only,
and assignments only. This new system should prove more
effective both for instructors and students in organizing
course information. The server for the course Web site,
purchased with funds from the Pew project, will be housed in
CAC and administered jointly by CAC and the Penn State
Statistics Department.

In the studio labs and through the text, students get
practice analyzing data, working with statistical software,
and evaluating the results of statistical reports and
studies. The activities range in complexity from mini-
application exercises in which students work with data
supplied by the instructors to case studies in which they
figure out both what they need to measure and how to measure
it. The students also contribute to a course data set that
they use for some of the assignments.

The laboratory activities and group RATs give students the
opportunity to talk about and wrestle with course material
collaboratively. The RATS are also an efficient tool to get
feedback to students while building the teams'
effectiveness. The RAT process has five steps—assigned
readings, individual test, group test, appeals, and oral
instructor feedback. Students begin by reading the material
in the textbooks. In class, before the instructor discusses
the material, they take a short (10-20 questions) multiple-
choice quiz. The students then take the same quiz as a
group. This enables them to work through concepts, argue
their positions, and so forth. Once the group tests are
scored, students can choose to appeal the scoring of any of
the specific items. Through this process of focused studying
of the material, students can clarify their understanding of
challenging concepts. In the final step, the instructor can
address specific confusion about the concepts with lectures
or other assignments.

Assessing the Changes

The extensive assessment of the redesigned STAT 200 focuses
on changes in student attitudes about and knowledge of
statistics. The strategies to measure the impact of the
redesign include pre- and post-tests; ongoing course
evaluations through surveys, focus groups, student
innovation and quality teams (IQ Teams); and classroom
observations. The plan also includes tracking studentsí
attitudes and understanding in subsequent semesters as they
take courses in their majors that require statistics.

The pilot highlighted the importance of giving students the
opportunity to really grapple with the material. Many of the
students were initially uncomfortable with the new course
format -- particularly the decrease of lectures and the
testing of material not previously covered by the
instructors. One faculty member recounted a student yelling
at him to ìTalk! Talk!î during class time allotted to group
work. Over time, however, the students began to understand
the value of the new structure and the opportunity to do
analysis themselves. Some students who were concurrently
enrolled in courses that required statistics reported a
dramatic increase in their understanding. They were excited
about being able help their classmates with statistics
problems in other courses. Commenting on the active learning
in the new design, one faculty member noted, ìItís what the
theorists tell us, but itís nice to see it work.î Other
students appreciated that the course allowed them to work
more at their own pace than traditional lecture-based

The studio lab also enabled students to get to know each
other better, resulting in a more congenial environment.
Some students came to class early to work together and study
for the midterm and final with their groups.

Cost Savings

By shifting the role of the instructor from presenting
material to facilitating learning, the department will
reduce the cost per student by 30 percent (from about $176
to $123). With the course enrollment of 2200 students a
year, the new format will lead to annual savings of more
than $116,000.

For more information about the course Web site, contact John
Harwood at The demo site for the Statistics 200
projects can be viewed at

For more information about the course design and assessment,
contact Lisa Firing Lenze at

For more information about the projectís implementation,
contact Bill Harkness at

2. Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign

* Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign Announces Second
Round of Grant Awards

The Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign is pleased to
announce the second of three rounds of grant awards.
Redesign projects will focus on large-enrollment,
introductory courses, which have the potential of impacting
significant student numbers and generating substantial cost

The institutions that will receive a $200,000 grant include
Cal Poly Pomona (Psychology), Carnegie Mellon University
(Statistics), Fairfield University (Biology), Riverside
Community College (Elementary Algebra), the University of
Alabama (Intermediate Algebra), the University of Dayton
(Psychology), the University of Idaho (Pre-Calculus), the
University of Iowa (Chemistry), the University of
Massachusetts (Biology) and the University of Tennessee

Full descriptions of each project will be available on the
programís Web site. For more information about the grant
program, see Project Descriptions

Please note that the first deadline for the Round III
application process is November 15, 2000.

*Dr. Carolyn Jarmon to Join Pew Program

Dr. Carolyn Jarmon will join the Pew Learning and Technology
Program on July 15, 2000, as Associate Director of the
Center for Academic Transformation. Dr. Jarmon has worked
with the program since its inception on a consulting basis.
She brings a rich background in distributed learning from
her experience as a senior faculty member and academic
administrator at SUNY Empire State College, a knowledge of
the national scene from her two years as a Visiting Fellow
at Educom, and an understanding of traditional teaching and
learning practices from her many years of teaching at both
the baccalaureate and community college level. We are
extremely pleased to have Dr. Jarmon as a full-time

*Cost Comparison Summary for Round I Projects

A summary of the projected cost savings for the Round I
project participants is now available on the program Web
site. The average cost-per-student savings is 40 percent,
which is identical to the projected cost-per-student savings
for the just announced Round II projects. The total dollar
savings for the Round I projects is projected to be
$1,418,518 on an annual basis. See

3. Pew Project Updates

* Pennsylvania State University: Elementary Statistics

Penn State has leveraged its Pew grant with a $450,000 grant
from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to study the impact of
technology on introductory biology instruction. Biology 110
enrolls more than 1,000 students per year at the University
Park campus and a similar number of students at other Penn
State campuses. Full implementation of a technology-mediated
version of Biology 110 is expected in the Fall 2001
semester. As with Pew grants, the Mellon grant provides
funds for assessing the efficacy of the introduction of
technology. Thus, the research design calls for some Fall
2001 students to complete the course in the current lecture
format and others in a Web format. Among the research
questions are implications for costs and for student
performance, including identification of the types of
students who learn better using computers and the types of
materials and structures that promote preparedness for
upper-level courses. For more information on Penn Stateís
Mellon-supported redesign of Biology, contact John Harwood
at or the PI, Richard Cyr at

* Rio Salado College: Introductory Algebra

The goals of Rio Saladoís redesign project are (not in
priority order) to: 1) upgrade the faculty role, 2) increase
class from 35 to 100 enrollments, 3) maintain or increase
student achievement, 4) reduce per student costs by at least
one-third, and 5) increase retention (course completion) by
20 percent. Activities for achieving project goals included
adding a student assistant for greater communication and
proactive intervention and shifting non-instructional
questions from the instructor to the assistant. The redesign
model was piloted during the Spring 2000 semester with the
following results: Post-drop data (based on those students
who did not drop before or during the first week of class)
indicated a semester retention rate of 68 percent —
compared to 59 percent from the previous spring semester.
The direct per-student cost was reduced by 38 percent from
$61.03 to $44.01. Student satisfaction averaged 8.3 on a
scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest. For students who
received a final grade — Rio Salado provides multiple start
dates, causing students to finish at varying times — the
distribution of grades mirrored the traditional bell curve.
Students spent an average of 14 weeks to complete their
courses at an average of 3.7 hours per week (slightly longer
than what is spent in a Carnegie-based classroom setting).
While the student feedback on the role of the assistant
seemed positive, comments from surveyed students indicated
an apparent dissatisfaction with faculty-to-student
communication. Students indicated delayed and/or no response
from the instructor, but tracking reports revealed "same
day" and "next day" responses. This disparity between
student perception and reality has caused the redesign team
to consider ways to shape student expectations from the
beginning. For more information on Rio Saladoís redesign of
mathematics courses, contact Karen Mills at

* University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Economic

The second offering of revised Econ 173, a project-oriented,
team-based course, was completed in the spring semester.
Econ 173 is the second course of the sequence and one in
which technology had been used prior to the Pew grant.
General findings are that students like the integration of
Mallard quiz software with Excel and think that is how they
are learning statistics. They donít like writing up the
projects with executive summaries that their parents should
be able to understand, viewing that as make-work. Faculty
will be working on integrating the write-ups with analytic
work and on making changes in the student and TA workloads.
UIUC will introduce Mallard with Excel in Econ 172, the
first course in the sequence, this summer. Since the plan is
to ramp up consistently, but at a measured pace, projects
will not be assigned; instead, students will do exercises
from the text that have been converted into online format.
UIUC also has started a major assessment effort, including
focus groups with students who have completed Econ 173 and
the tracking of students as they take the rest of their
business courses, concentrating on courses where knowledge
of statistics is required. They also have administered
surveys in several sequential courses to gather attitudinal
information about studentsí statistics knowledge and the
quality of prior statistics instruction, as well as
demographic information that will be correlated with student
performance data to track how taking Econ 172 and 173 in
different versions affects student performance. The results
of these surveys will be available on the project Web site,
For more information on UIUC's redesign of Economic
Statistics, contact Lanny Arvan at

* Virginia Tech: Linear Algebra

This spring, two faculty taught about 650 students—a
somewhat higher enrollment than is typical in the spring.
Average scores on the common final exam were slightly higher
than in the fall, even though students who were repeating
the course did quite poorly. (They accounted for 11 percent
of the spring enrollment and 40 percent of the exam scores
below 50.) The Web-based system used in Math 1114 is
essentially trouble-free at this point. Continued
development of the online testing engine is the main
software project at present; a new Sun 450 Enterprise server
for testing (a major budget item in the grant) was
purchased. For Fall 2000 the entire course, with an
enrollment of about 1500, will be administered by a single
instructor, bringing personnel costs down to the long-term
level projected in the grant proposal ($24 per student from
$77 for the traditional course). For more information on
Virginia Techís redesign of Linear Algebra, contact Ken
Hannsgen at

* University of Colorado at Boulder: Interactive Astronomy

The University of Colorado at Boulder has leveraged its Pew
grant with an additional $197,000 from the NSF Division of
Undergraduate Education and a matching grant from Sun
Microsystems. These two additional grants put Colorado in a
position to buy better hardware, including outfitting their
interactive classroom space with a spectacular new computing
system that contains two very powerful servers and 30
interactive stations. In addition, they will be able to
support continued development of the course by other
instructors in the astronomy department. For more
information, please contact Dr. Richard McCray at

4. Common Ground

Reporting on projects that share the goals and objectives of
the Pew Learning and Technology Program.

* Sloan ALN Program Shifts Priorities

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a pioneer funder of
networked instruction in higher education, is changing its
focus from developing new programs to promoting existing
online educational opportunities. Since 1993, the
Foundationís Asynchronous Learning Network (ALN) has awarded
up to $8 million annually for the development of online
courses and curricula. While it will continue to fund
institutions that want to start or expand such programs, the
focus of ALN now will be on creating an online catalog where
students can find information on existing programs—the
Sloan Consortium Catalog (
Currently the catalog contains information about Sloan-
financed programs only, but plans are to add other programs.
Sloan also intends to work with unions and trade
publications to promote industry-specific online learning
opportunities. The ALN now supports the National Coalition
for Telecommunications Education and Learning
( for workers in the
telecommunications industry. The coalition consists of Bell
Atlantic, GTE, and the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers, and the curriculum was developed by Pace

* University of Maryland Offers Help to Professors Designing
Online Courses

The University of Maryland University College, with a grant
from Bell Atlantic, has developed a Web site that provides
examples of online course activities from various
institutions. The creators of Virtual Resource Site for
Teaching with Technology
( say their intention is
to help instructors build online courses from teaching
objectives, rather than technology. Thus, examples are
organized by type of learning outcomes, as well as type of
technology, and they range from simple posting of lecture
notes to interactive games. Maryland expects to add a module
in Fall 2000 on issues of online pedagogy. Another approach
to easing the professorateís transition from physical to
virtual instruction is online faculty development, such as
Penn Stateís Faculty Development 101
( and
commercial trainers such as University Access

* North Central Association Rethinks Accreditation

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has
implemented an alternative accrediting process that may
facilitate accreditation of online educational programs. The
new process is based on continuing evaluations of
institutional progress toward self-determined goals, rather
than on traditional external standards. North Central
expects a majority of institutions to follow the traditional
accreditation process, but those that elect the Academic
Quality Improvement Project (AQIP) will set goals and
measurements of progress every 3 to 5 years. They will
submit annual progress reports, and North Central will
formally reaffirm accreditation every 7 years. A booklet
summarizing AQIP is available in PDF format from

* As Online Education Grows, So Grow Collaborative Portals

One of the more amazing outcomes of the recent decadeís rush
to technology-mediated learning and instruction is the
abandonment of higher education's traditional rule, "If it
wasnít invented at our institution, we can't use it."
Collaboration has become the rule of online curriculum
development. The latest example is the proliferation of
collaborative portals through which several institutions
promote and share access to online courses, permitting
students to minimize the hassle of transferring credits from
one institution to another. Four examples: The Pennsylvania
Virtual Community College Consortium (
represents a national trend of collaboration among community
colleges, traditionally the most local of institutions. A
broader statewide approach is represented by the Connecticut
Distance Learning Consortium (, a
portal to 27 public and independent institutions in the
state. Broader yet is the Southern Regional Education
Boardís Electronic Campus (, which
includes over 260 institutions in 16 states offering more
than 3,200 courses and over 100 degree programs to 20,000
students. S.R.E.B. has recently announced a collaboration
with the University System of Georgia to create Ways In, a
student services portal to provide most types of assistance
students require during their college careers. In addition
to geopolitical collaborative portals, affinity portals are
emerging, such as the Jesuit Distance Education Network
(, a consortium of 28
Jesuit institutions.

* Interesting Reading

Quality on the Line: Benchmarks for Success in Internet-
Based Distance Education (executive summary:, prepared by the
Institute for Higher Education Policy and sponsored by the
National Education Association and Blackboard, Inc. This
monograph provides 24 benchmarks of quality instruction in
distance programs derived from a survey of six leading
distance education institutions.

Developing a Distance Education Policy for 21st Century
Learning (,
prepared by the American Council on Education. This white paper
briefly addresses several major policy issues, including copyright,
accreditation, financial aid, and intellectual property ownership.
It is not intended to specify policies, but to encourage institutions
to develop policies that account for new environments for
instruction and learning and new constituents.

5. Meetings and Events

Meetings and events of interest to the PLTP community,
July-October, 2000:

June 26-28: NECC 2000: Connecting @ the Crossroads
Conference sponsored by the National Educational Computing
Association, Atlanta.

June 26-July 1: ED-Media 2000: World Conference on
Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications
Conference sponsored by the Association for the Advancement
of Computing in Education, Montreal.

July 7: Shining a Flashlight on the Library, Technology and
the Curriculum
Conference sponsored by The TLT Group and the Association of
College and Research Libraries, Chicago.

July 10-16: I*EARN 7th Annual International Teachersí
Conference: Sharing and Understanding: Tele-Education in the
21st Century
Beijing, China.

July 13-17: The TLT Groupís Sixth Annual Summer Institute

July 16-29: Project Kaleidoscope Summer Institute
Workshop series in science education, web technology and
education reform, Keystone, CO.

July 17-20: The University of the Future and the Future of
Universities: Learner-Centered Universities for the New
Conference sponsored by Goethe University, Frankfurt,

July 19-23: Powerful Partnerships on Learning Reconsidered
Institute sponsored by the American Association for Higher
Education (AAHE), Snowbird, UT.

July 21-22: Fifth Annual Ethics and Technology Conference
Sponsored by Loyola University, Chicago.

July 22-23: Syllabus2000
Santa Clara, CA

July 22-25: Annual Meeting of the National Association of
College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)

July 23-29: Dissemination of Reforms: A Marketplace of
Teaching and Learning Ideas
Institute sponsored by FIPSE and Project Kaleidoscope,
Keystone, CO.

July 24-26: Education Technology
Conference sponsored by the Society for Applied Learning
Technology (SALT), Arlington, VA.

July 26-28: Syllabus Institute
Sponsored by Syllabus Press, Palo Alto, CA.

August 1-3: Innovation in Student Services Forum: Models for
the e-Revolution
Sponsored by IBM and Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

August 2-4: Sixteenth Annual Conference on Distance Teaching
and Learning
Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Extension, Madison,

August 4-9: Seminars on Academic Computing
Sponsored by Educause, Snowmass Village, CO.

August 10-11: Challenges for Institutional Researchers in
the 21st Century
Annual Conference of the Tennessee Association for
Institutional Research, Nashville.

August 17-18: Licensing Electronic Information Resources
Workshop sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries
(ARL), Seattle.

August 17-19: SchoolTech Expo
Sponsored by Technology & Learning Magazine, Chicago.

August 25-27: Technology in Teaching and Learning in Higher
Conference sponsored by National-Louis University, Samos,

September 6-9: Institutional Responses to Mass Higher
Education: The Challenge of Social Change and Technological
Annual conference of the European Association for
Institutional Research, Berlin, Germany.

September 21-23: Seminar on Teacher Preparation
Sponsored by the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences,
San Antonio.

September 27-29: Distance Learning in the New Millennium
Conference sponsored by the Georgia Distance Learning
Association, Jekyll Island, GA.

October 10-13: Educause Annual Conference
Nashville, TN

October 30-November 4: WebNet2000: World Conference on the
WWW and Internet
Sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of
Computing in Education (AACE), San Antonio.

6. PLTP Calendar

A comprehensive calendar of meetings, symposia, publishing
dates, and relevant deadlines for the Pew Learning and
Technology Program community.

*** JULY ***
Publication of ìWho Owns Online Courses and Course
Materials? Intellectual Property Policies for a New Learning
Environment,î a monograph based on a February 2000
Who Owns Online Courses and Course Materials?

Pew Learning and Technology Program Newsletter
Vol. 2, No. 3

*** NOVEMBER ***
November 15
Deadline for Institutional Readiness Criteria submission
(First step in Pew Grant Program application process for
Round 3.)
Grant Guide

*** DECEMBER ***
Pew Learning and Technology Program Newsletter
Vol. 2, No. 4

December 7-8
Pew Symposium in Learning and Technology
Phoenix, Arizona
Who Owns Online Courses and Course Materials?

*** JANUARY 2001 ***
January 11-12
Orientation to Redesign Workshop
Overview of redesign process for Pew Grant Program Round
3 participants.
New Orleans, Louisiana

*** FEBRUARY ***
February 15
Deadline for Course Readiness Criteria submission
(Second step in Pew Grant Program application process for
Round 3.)
Grant Guide

*** MARCH ***
Pew Learning and Technology Program Newsletter
Vol. 3, No. 1

Mid-Course Sharing Workshop
A workshop for Round 2 grant recipients to exchange ideas
and share experiences.

Developing the Proposal Workshop
(Third step in Pew Grant Program application process for
Round 3.)
Workshop Information

*** JUNE ***
June 1
Deadline for Final Pew Grant Program proposal submission
(Last step in Pew Grant Program application process for
Round 3.)
Grant Guide

Pew Learning and Technology Program Newsletter
Vol. 3, No. 2

7. Archives and Reposting

The Pew Learning and Technology Program is an $8.8 million,
four-year effort to place the national discussion about the
impact that new technologies are having on the nation's
campuses in the context of student learning and ways to
achieve this learning cost effectively. The program has
three areas of work: The Pew Grant Program in Course
Redesign, the Pew Symposia in Learning and Technology, and
the Pew Learning and Technology Newsletter. For more
information, click here.

* Archives of The Pew Learning and Technology Program
Newsletter are available here.

* You are welcome to repost The Pew Learning and Technology
Program Newsletter on your intranet without charge. Material
contained in The Pew Learning and Technology Newsletters may
be reprinted with attribution for noncommercial purposes

Copyright 2000, The Pew Learning and Technology Program

Pew Learning and Technology Newsletter ~ June 2000