~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Pew Learning and Technology Program Newsletter
Vol. 2, No. 3
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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Redesigning Learning Environments
2. Pew Learning and Technology Program
3. Pew Project Updates
1. Redesigning Learning Environment
Two award recipients in Round II of the Pew Course Redesign Program are no strangers to redesign. Both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst submitted successful proposals that will redesign previously redesigned courses to realize further improvements.
The Carnegie Mellon redesign is a "second generation" effort to revamp Introduction to Statistical Reasoning, a required course for students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and in several other majors. It enrolls between 400 and 500 students per year, over a third of the freshman class. In 1991, innovative faculty constructed new computer- based quizzes and interactive lab exercises to give students experience with designing and implementing analyses of statistical data using a statistical software package. The 1991 redesign succeeded in increasing opportunities for students to develop interest in and skills for solving statistical problems. The new course also produced a cost-per-student savings of 14 percent.
The CMU faculty seek further improvements. They want the labs and homework to be more open-ended, exploratory and active while providing more timely tutorial assistance. Because there is limited access to tutoring during labs and homework hours, students have difficulty staying on track. In addition, while the first redesign made significant use of information technology, there is still a need to rely heavily on teaching assistants to facilitate student learning. Finding, training and retaining these teaching assistants present major barriers to continued success. Thus, an additional goal of the new design is to change the TA staffing model to make the course less labor intensive.
The proposed redesign builds on the foundation of computer- based exercises developed in the first redesign. The current lab exercises are presented as written instructions for students to follow step-by-step. In the redesign, the exercises will be entirely computer-based. Computerizing the exercises will allow the introduction of the key element in the CMU strategy: an automated, intelligent tutoring system (ITS). The ITS uses a "scaffolding" approach that provides immediate feedback to students as they navigate the learning environment, keeping students on course to avoid wasting time on bad problem-solving strategies while allowing for exploratory, active learning. The intelligent software is, essentially, an individual tutor for each student working at his or her computer. The ITS will also allow the team to track and analyze the paths each student takes through exercises in great detail, assessing individual students acquisition of skills in statistical inference. These data will be analyzed to see if students abilities to do data analysis improve as they go through the course.
Adding the tutoring software will also reduce the number of teaching assistants required in labs. CMUs 1991 redesign reduced costs from $227 to $195 per student. Adding the ITS will cut the teaching assistant work force in half, reducing costs from $195 to $138 per student, an additional 29 percent savings. The total savings across the two redesigns is projected to be 39 percent. This "second generation" redesign will produce improved student learning while reducing the costs of instruction.
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst, on the other hand, has a different story to tell. Introductory Biology is the first course in the biological sciences for incoming students from 11 majors at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. It serves approximately 700 students each fall semester, representing about 20 percent of the freshman class.
A major redesign of the traditional lecture format occurred in fall, 1999. The goal was to increase active learning by incorporating ClassTalk, a commercially available interactive software product that compiles and displays student responses to problem-solving activities.
This redesign was essentially a bolt-on application, in which the addition of technology to increase interaction as one measure of quality ended up adding cost. The cost-per- student rose from $174 to $199 after the introduction of ClassTalk, a common occurrence in first-time technology introductions, because it increased both instructor preparation and support staff time. At the same time, the faculty were challenged to cover course content adequately. Reduced student success in biology increased pressure on course enrollments as many students needed to repeat the course.
The proposed redesign funded by the Pew program intends to reduce the cost of teaching, use faculty time more effectively, maintain an active learning format focused on problem-solving, and increase student learning success. The course redesign is intended to enhance student preparation prior to class in order to focus in-class activities on problem solving and concept manipulation while still maintaining adequate content coverage. To achieve these goals, Introductory Biology will be redesigned around an extensive set of online resources for class preparation, including quizzes, supplemental instruction and tutoring. Students will be provided with diverse opportunities to develop strategies for identifying deficits in their knowledge, to acquire study skills, and to assess their learning progress. Online quiz results will provide the instructor with data on student performance that can be used to structure class time and identify at-risk students and common misconceptions.
As learning shifts outside the classroom, class meetings per week will decrease from three to two and exams from four to three. Because the online resources address both cost and student learning problems, faculty will be able to reduce class time spent on topics students clearly understand, increase time on problem areas, target individual students for remedial help, and manage resources efficiently using a database system. The online system is effective for faculty and for peer tutors who no longer must attend every class to prepare to answer student questions.
Use of these strategies will reduce the cost-per-student while increasing individualized learning opportunities. The cost per student is expected to decrease from $199 using ClassTalk in its current format to $117 after the redesign, a decrease of 41 percent.
Building on their past experiences to increase student learning while reducing instructional costs, both Carnegie Mellon and the University of Massachusetts demonstrate a high level of readiness to engage in large-scale redesign using information technology. While their histories are different, what they have in common is a collective approach to continuous course improvement, a key ingredient to achieving significant, ongoing gains for students and faculty.
For more information about the Carnegie Mellon project, please contact Joel M. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about the UMass project, please contact Elizabeth Connor at email@example.com.
2. Pew Learning and Technology Program
Proposals for Round III of the Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign are due November 15, 2000. The purpose of this $6 million institutional grant program is to encourage colleges and universities to redesign their instructional approaches using technology to achieve cost savings as well as quality enhancements. Redesign projects focus on large-enrollment, introductory courses, which have the potential of impacting significant student numbers and generating substantial cost savings. To be considered for an institutional grant, the first step is for the campus provost to send a brief narrative statement addressing the institutional readiness criteria, which can be found at Grant Guide. Information and complete guidelines for applying to the program are available at Application Guidelines (Archived.
November 13, 2000, Orlando Airport Marriott, Orlando, FL
XEach seminar will present the results of Round I of the Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign. Faculty project leaders from four institutions will talk about their models of course redesign, including their decisions regarding student learning objectives, course content, learning resources, course staffing and task analysis, and student and project evaluation. These models provide varied approaches that demonstrate multiple routes to success, tailored to the needs and context of each institution.
Co-sponsored by the Executive Forum in Information Technology at Virginia Tech, these seminars provide a unique opportunity for you to:
* Learn firsthand how to increase quality and reduce costs using information technology from successful faculty project leaders.
For information and registration materials, please visit Workshop Information.
One-page project abstracts for each of the recently awarded Round II projects are now available on the program Web site. Institutions receiving $200,000 grants for large-scale course redesign 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 (Spanish).
Redesign strategies include Web-based quizzing and class preparation, intelligent tutoring, student-centered online projects, and use of commercial as well as institution-developed software for student concept acquisition, practice, and tracking. Round II projects demonstrate a range of costs savings from 21% to 86 %, with an average savings of about 40%, consistent with the cost reductions found in the projects funded for Round I. For each project, the description includes a contact name and email so that interested individuals can learn more from the award-winning institutions. A full academic plan and a full cost savings plan will be added for each project by mid-October. To learn more, link to Project Descriptions Sorted by Grant Rounds.
The purpose of the Pew Symposia in Learning and Technology is to conduct an ongoing national conversation about the issues related to the intersection of learning and technology. On July 13-14, 2000, a group of national experts gathered to discuss the important topic of preserving quality in distributed learning environments. The advent of distributed learning has raised a series of questions about quality assurance. Ninety-four percent of all colleges and universities are either currently (63%) or planning to be (31%) engaged in distributed learning, outstripping the capacities of state agencies, accrediting agencies and others to monitor quality. Representatives of institutions, accrediting groups and higher education membership organizations met to discuss the following questions: How do established distance learning programs and institutions assure quality? What more needs to be done? This symposium explored the topic of quality assurance, with a special emphasis on the student's point of view, in an effort to provide some thoughtful advice to all parties concerned with this issue. A monograph based on the discussion will be published later this fall.
Colleges and universities are offering thousands of fully online courses and, in the process, ostensibly altering centuries-old methods of teaching and learning. Few of these courses, however, make significant improvements in either the cost or quality dimensions of student learning; instead, they frequently replicate face-to-face pedagogies and organizational frameworks. On December 11 and 12, 2000, the Pew Learning and Technology Program will convene a group of leading practitioners in Phoenix, Arizona. This roundtable will explore new designs for online learning that build on the strengths of the Internet in order to surpass traditional modes of instruction. A monograph that captures the thinking of these knowledgeable individuals will be produced in spring, 2001.
3. Round I Pew Project Updates
IUPUI is redesigning two high-enrollment, introductory courses, Introductory Sociology (averaging 800 student per semester) and English Composition (1,700 students). Redesign has centered on two changes. The first makes Web-based teaching central; the second links sections of Introductory Sociology and English Composition so that students in selected sections are registered, en bloc, in both courses. Thus, students have two instructors in common who work collaboratively to select readings, develop assignments, and sit in on each others classes. Over the summer, project faculty participated in a six-week seminar in which they mastered OnCourse (a campus course management product), got to know their faculty partners, and developed coordinated courses with their partners. Sociology faculty also met to develop a common set of lectures on sociological research methods and a set of 25 common examination questions. The seminar brought together two very different departmental cultures, resulting in faculty coming away with an appreciation of how their colleagues thought and taught. As of the beginning of the fall semester, IUPUI is offering six pairs of linked sections. Data for evaluation (grades, DWF rates, etc.) will be available after the semester ends. For more information on IUPUIs redesign of Introductory Sociology and English Composition, contact Bill Gronfein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The goals of Rio Salados redesign project are to: 1) upgrade the faculty role, 2) maintain or increase student achievement, and 3) increase course completion rates, and 4) decrease per student costs as a result of increasing class size from 35 to 100. The mid-point assessment provided evidence that these goals are achievable. Retention was increased by 9%. Student satisfaction averaged 8.4 on a scale with 10 as the highest rating. Academic achievement mirrored that of math students throughout the Maricopa district. Per-student costs were reduced by 38%. Phase I, now complete, was implemented by a full-time faculty member. In the second phase of the project, an adjunct faculty member and a completely remote operational structure (adjunct faculty and assistant in separate locations) will be implemented. The Phase I instructor perceived that his role in teaching the self-paced, online class improved because the work associated with responding to student questions was shared with a course assistant. Approximately 90% of questions students asked were non-instructional in nature. In Phase II, the project team must identify strategies to help the adjunct faculty member 1) determine which questions truly require an instructor response, 2) achieve a level of trust in the responses given by the assistant, and 3) understand how much information is appropriate when responding to students. For more information on Rio Salados redesign of mathematics courses, contact Ted Coe at email@example.com.
UB ran a pilot version of the redesigned Computer Literacy during the 2000 summer session. The project team found that the content level of the course is higher in the redesigned course than in the traditional course, despite the fact that fewer lectures are given. The Web-based supplementary materials and lab materials were found to be effective in providing students with interactive learning environments. As part of UBs recurring upgrade of lab equipment, the team is completing the design of a new studio-style lab that will be available in spring 2000. Presentations about the course redesign were given at: the Syllabus Greater Caribbean Conference in Puerto Rico, the Conference on Instruction Technologies in Buffalo, and the International Conference on Engineering Education in Taiwan. UB presenters pointed out the difference between being an "early adopter" and what they call an "early follower." Early adopters often incur significant costs both in terms of technology and faculty time in developing new materials. Early followers can achieve cost savings since the technology is already in place and it is possible to select from course materials developed by others. For more information on the University at Buffalos redesign of Computer Literacy, contact Deborah Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having introduced over 50 early-adopting faculty last year to the use of technology in their courses, the University of Southern Maine spent this summer preparing more faculty to teach WebCT- and Blackboard-based courses. Now every section of USMs Introductory Psychology course has a Web-based component, and faculty in biology and nursing also are online. The excitement about the availability of Web-based information is spreading rapidly, even to other University of Maine campuses. USM is working with the University of Maine - Farmington to develop a Web-based component to a course in developmental psychology. The use of the new computer center in Gorham has tripled over last semester. Learning Assistants are available there for students in the introductory course and, in response to demand, USM is looking to make similar assistance available on the Portland campus. The project is working with several publishers to improve the quality of their Web-based resources. For example, USM is beta-testing a group of exercises that cover the basic concepts in the introductory course and talking with publishers about enhancing the utility of Web-based testing, such as providing page numbers where students can turn if they get an answer to a quiz or test question wrong. For more information on the University of Southern Maines redesign of Introductory Psychology, contact John Broida at email@example.com.
This fall, the redesigned Math 1114 course is running with one instructor for all 1400 students. The main design development has been a software upgrade to Authorware 5. For the quizzes, this upgrade improves database connectivity and reduces administrative overhead for special needs students. For the presentations, it increases the level of interactivity within presentations and makes them clearer. Delays in getting the hosting server ready this summer (and other technical problems) squeezed the testing time. As a result, the software group is working to remove errors in the presentations and quick tests that were not caught before classes began. Problems have decreased since the first week of classes but are still common and bothersome. The instructor reports that the presentations, once corrected, are easier to understand in the new version. Work continues on the online system for major tests, with some implementation now projected for spring, 2001. For more information on Virginia Techs redesign of Linear Algebra, contact Ken Hannsgen at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Common Ground
Reporting on projects that share the goals and objectives of the Pew Learning and Technology Program.
Virtual universities are spawning virtual preparatory schools. Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Michigan have started, or plan to start, statewide virtual high schools. Other states e.g., New Mexico and West Virginia say they will follow. Each states virtual prep school is somewhat different, but most have been developed by or closely collaborate with the states virtual institution(s) of higher education. For example, the Michigan Virtual High School is a division of the Michigan Virtual University; the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy is a joint venture of the state boards of education, higher education and community colleges; and West Virginia department of education is working with several universities to develop its virtual high school. Initially, the virtual preps are focusing their curricula on advanced-placement courses, but they plan to eventually offer remedial and special-interest courses and courses for which a state has too few teachers. Web sites of virtual high schools include
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) this summer released standards for preparing teachers to use instructional technologies. The standards (http://cnets.iste.org/teachstand.html) outline the technology skills needed by beginning teachers for curriculum development, student assessment, and professional growth. ISTE also developed profiles of how teacher education programs should sequence skill development (http://cnets.iste.org/perfprofiles.html) and recommended minimum conditions and resources for colleges to meet the standards (http://cnets.iste.org/essential.html). Developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the ISTE standards influenced the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) to include technology preparation in its requirements for accreditation, effective fall 2001.
Thirteen member institutions of the Associated Colleges of the South have formed a Virtual Classics Department, creating one of the largest classics departments in the U.S. The experiment began in the spring with an online archaeology course taught by professors of biology, geology, classics, and religion. The first official offering of the Virtual Classics Department, advanced Latin, is being taught by professors from six colleges: Centenary, Furman, Rhodes, Rollins, Southwestern, and Washington and Lee. On Mondays at 6pm Central Time, the six professors rotate an online lecture and students from the six campuses ask questions and discuss in a live chat room. Each professor also holds an on-campus tutorial once a week. All students and professors participate in a semester-long online discussion. The Virtual Classics Department will allow each liberal arts college to offer a more comprehensive classics education, even though the departments at several colleges have only one faculty. Creation of the virtual department, Sunoikisis (after the alliance of Greek cities that revolted against the Athenian empire), was underwritten by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Stop by the department at http://www.sunoikisis.org.
Meetings and events of interest to the PLTP community, October through December, 2000:
October 5-6: Workshop on Evaluating Distance Training Programs for College Credit. Center for Adult Learning and Educational Credentials, American Council on Education (ACE), Washington, DC. http://www.acenet.edu/calec/corporate/workshops2000.html
October 10-13: Converging/Emerging in the 21st Century. EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, Nashville, TN. http://www.educause.edu
October 12: Are You History? Faculty Job Security in the Online World. Satellite conference, PBS Adult Learning Service. http://www.pbs.org/als/pd/index.html
October 15-18: Telelearning 2000. Sponsored by the Instructional Communications Council and Telecourse People, Atlantic City, NJ. http://www.itcnetwork.org
October 19: Using Technology to Enrich Learning. Satellite conference, PBS Adult Learning Service. http://www.pbs.org/als/pd/index.html
October 30-November 4: World Conference on the World Wide Web and Internet. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), San Antonio, TX. http://www.aace.org/conf/Webnet
November 2-4: Managing Finances for Effective Learning: Strategic Choices, Tools, Technologies. Workshop sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) and National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), Washington, DC. http://www.aacu-edu.org
November 3-5: ALN: Asynchronous Learning Networks. Annual conference sponsored by the Sloan Foundation and University of Maryland University College, Adelphi, MD. http://www.aln.org
November 12-15: Computers on Campus. Conference sponsored by University of South Carolina, Myrtle Beach, SC. http://www.rcce.sc.edu/coc
November 14-15: Managing Online Education Partnerships: Plain Talk and Practical Tools for Internet-Based Consortia. Workshop sponsored by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), Chicago, IL. http://www.cael.org/confwork/2000%20conference/mainpage.htm
November 15-18: 2000 Conference on Information Technology. League for Innovation in the Community College, Anaheim. http://www.league.org
December 7: With a Little Help from My Friends: Implementing Information Technology into the Curriculum. Satellite conference, PBS Adult Learning Service. http://www.pbs.org/als/pd/index.html
A comprehensive calendar of meetings, symposia, publishing dates, and relevant deadlines for the Pew Learning and Technology Program community.
*** OCTOBER ***
October 27 PLTP Advisory Board Meeting Atlanta, GA Workshop Information
*** NOVEMBER ***
November 13 Public Seminar State-of-the-Art Learning Environments: The Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign Round I Results Orlando Airport Marriott, Orlando, FL (Faculty project leaders describe how to redesign large- enrollment courses to improve quality and reduce costs.) Workshop Information.
November 15 Deadline for Institutional Readiness Criteria submission (First step in Pew Grant Program application process for Round III.) Grant Guide
November 17 "Who Owns Online Courses and Course Materials: Intellectual Property Policies for a New Learning Environment," a featured presentation by Carol Twigg at the League for Innovation in the Community College Conference on Information Technology. Anaheim, CA http://www.league.org/cit2000/default.asp
*** DECEMBER ***
Pew Learning and Technology Program Newsletter Vol. 2, No. 4
December 11-12 Pew Symposium in Learning and Technology "Innovations in Online Learning: Moving Beyond No Significance Difference" Phoenix, AZ 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 III participants. New Orleans, LA Workshop Information
*** FEBRUARY ***
February 15 Deadline for Course Readiness Criteria submission (Second step in Pew Grant Program application process for Round III.) Grant Guide
February 26 Public Seminar State-of-the-Art Learning Environments: The Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign Round I Results DFW Airport Marriott South, Dallas, TX (Faculty project leaders describe how to redesign large- enrollment course to improve quality and reduce costs.) Workshop Information.
*** MARCH ***
Pew Learning and Technology Program Newsletter Vol. 3, No. 1
March 14-15 Mid-Course Sharing Workshop (A workshop for Round II grant recipients to exchange ideas and share experiences.) San Antonio, TX Workshop Information
March 15-16 Developing the Proposal Workshop (Third step in Pew Grant Program application process for Round III.) San Antonio, TX 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
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.
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