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A Summary of NCAT Program Outcomes

NCAT was established in 1999 as a university center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts. We became an independent, non-profit organization in 2003. Our mission is to teach colleges and universities how to use technology to improve student learning outcomes and reduce instructional costs.

What Does NCAT Mean by Course Redesign?

Course redesign is the process of redesigning whole courses (rather than individual classes or sections) to achieve better learning outcomes at a lower cost by taking advantage of the capabilities of information technology. Course redesign is not just about putting courses online. It is about rethinking the way we deliver instruction in light of the possibilities that new technology offers.

NCAT PROGRAMS

Program in Course Redesign (PCR) 1999 – 2003

The Program in Course Redesign was a national program funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Its purpose was to demonstrate how colleges and universities could redesign their instructional approaches using technology to achieve cost savings as well as quality enhancements. Redesign projects focused on large-enrollment, introductory courses, which impact significant numbers of student and generate substantial cost savings.

  • 30 institutions initiated redesigns; 30 completed
  • 30 redesign projects were initiated; 30 completed
  • 35 courses were planned to be redesigned; 35 were redesigned

Outcomes:

  • 25 of 30 PCR completed projects (83%) improved learning; five showed equivalent learning.
  • 24 measured course completion rates; 18 (75%) showed improvements.
  • All 30 reduced costs by 37% on average, with a range of 15% to 77%.
  • Impacted 54,000 students annually.

The Roadmap to Redesign (R2R) 2003 – 2006

The Roadmap to Redesign (R2R) was a national program funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). Its goal was to establish an efficient means of spreading the ideas and practices of the Program in Course Redesign to additional institutions. R2R partnered experienced, successful institutions with new institutions, using a streamlined redesign methodology. The program focused on redesigns in four academic areas: pre-calculus mathematics, psychology, Spanish and statistics.

  • 19 institutions initiated redesigns; 11 completed
  • 21 redesign projects were initiated; 12 completed
  • 26 courses were planned to be redesigned; 17 were redesigned

Outcomes:

  • 10 of 12 R2R completed projects (83%) improved learning; two showed equivalent learning.
  • 9 of 12 (75%) improved course completion rates.
  • All 12 reduced costs by 32% on average, with a range of 13% to 68%.
  • Impacted 17,700 students annually.

Increasing Success for Underserved Students 2004-2005

Supported by Lumina Foundation for Education, Increasing Success for Underserved Students assessed the impact of the Program in Course Redesign (PCR) on the success of traditionally underserved students: low-income students, students of color and adults. The PCR demonstrated that NCAT’s redesign methodology worked for general student populations. The evidence collected in the Lumina project showed that the redesign methodology worked just as well for underserved students and suggested that some redesign elements, if implemented carefully and intentionally, could redress historical gaps in achievement as well

Colleagues Committed to Redesign (C2R) 2006 – 2009

Colleagues Committed to Redesign (C2R) was a national program funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). Its purpose was to build on the successes of the PCR and R2R and engage additional institutions in large-scale redesign. C2R participants were required to conduct a pilot implementation only. While NCAT does not systematically track post-program redesign activity, it has been reported to us that at least 17 of the 27 participating institutions fully implemented their redesigns.

  • 27 institutions initiated redesigns; 25 completed
  • 28 redesign projects were initiated; 26 completed
  • 29 courses were planned to be redesigned; 27 were redesigned

Outcomes:

  • 14 of 26 C2R projects (54%) for which data were available improved learning; 12 showed equivalent learning.
  • 13 of the 26 projects (50%) for which data were available improved course completion. 
  • The 26 projects projected cost reductions of 39% on average, with a range of 9% to 74%.
  • Impacted 26,000 students annually.

State/System Programs 2006 – 2013

From 2006 to 2013, NCAT focused its work on states and systems in order to replicate its successful course redesign methodology developed at the national level and produce similar results at the state level. The goal was to scale the successes of its national programs as quickly and efficiently as possible. NCAT's "train the trainer" approach coupled with a comprehensive communications initiative sought to ensure that capacity was built within the state/system and institution to undertake subsequent course redesign programs that significantly scale learning improvements and cost savings.

State/System Course Redesign Projects (2006 – 2013)

NCAT worked with the following higher education systems to conduct a full implementation of its three-phase course redesign methodology. NCAT was directly involved in all phases of each project, from initial planning through implementation to evaluating final project outcomes.

  • Arizona Board of Regents (2006 – 2009)
  • The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (2007 - 2010)
  • Missouri Public Four-Year Universities (2010 - 2013)
  • State University of New York (2007 - 2010)
  • Tennessee Board of Regents (2006 – 2009)
  • University System of Maryland (2006 – 2009)

 

 Institutions

Projects Initiated

Courses Initiated

Projects Fully Implemented

Courses Fully Implemented

Cost Savings

ABR

3

13

20

10

17

38%

IHL

7

15

19

15

18

37%

MO

11

13

13

11

11

37%

SUNY

9

10

13

8

11

39%

TBR

6

6

17

5

14

33%

USM

7

7

9

5

6

50%

 

43

64

91

54 (84%)

76 (84%)

38%

Outcomes:

  • 34 of 54 projects (63%) improved learning.
  • 53 of 54 projects (98%) reduced costs by 38% on average, with a range of 10% to 81%.
  • Impacted 63,000 students annually.

State/System Pilots (2004 – 2008)

In prior years, NCAT worked with three states/systems to pilot parts of its three-phase course redesign methodology. In each case, NCAT helped initiate a course redesign program and advised system and state staff about how to conduct it. NCAT’s involvement did not include program implementation; hence, we cannot report program outcomes.

  • Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (2005 – 2006)
  • Ohio Learning Network (2004 – 2006)
  • University of Hawaii System (2004 – 2008)

 

Institutions

Projects

Courses

MnSCU

2

2

2

OLN

9

9

10

Hawaii

5

3

3

The Redesign Alliance 2006 – 2012

The Redesign Alliance was a membership organization whose mission was to advance the concept of course redesign throughout higher education to increase student success and access while containing or reducing instructional costs. The Redesign Alliance pursued this mission by creating a community of higher education institutions and others who were committed to and experienced with large-scale course redesign. During the six years of its existence, about100 institutions and companies participated in the Alliance. The Alliance sponsored four national conferences on course redesign as well as numerous smaller, topical events.

Changing the Equation (CTE) 2009 – 2012

Changing the Equation was a national program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its purpose was to engage the nation’s community colleges in a successful redesign of their developmental math sequences. Institutions that participated in the program both improved student learning outcomes and reduced costs for both students and institutions, using NCAT's proven redesign methodology. Each participant in Changing the Equation redesigned its entire developmental math sequence—all sections of all developmental courses offered—using NCAT's Emporium Model and commercially available instructional software. Each redesign modularized the curriculum, allowing students to progress through the developmental course sequence at a faster pace if possible or at a slower pace if necessary, spending the amount of time needed to master the course content.

  • 38 institutions initiated redesigns; 32 completed
  • 38 redesign projects were initiated; 32 completed
  • 114 courses were planned to be redesigned; 96 were redesigned

Outcomes:

  • 76 of 96 courses (89%) showed improved learning.
  • 37 of 50 courses that were able to calculate completion rates (74%) showed improvement.
  • 31 of 32 projects reduced costs by 29% on average, with a range of 5% to 55%.
  • Impacted 82,000 students annually.

THE HOW MANYS

  • Some institutions have participated in more than one NCAT program.
  • Some projects have involved more than one course.
  • Some institutions have gone on to redesign more courses.

How many institutions has NCAT worked with?

  • 159 institutions submitted a fully developed and NCAT-approved course redesign plan as part of a formal NCAT program.
  • Of those 159 institutions, 64 planned to redesign more than one course.
  • Many of those 159 institutions have gone on to conduct additional redesigns, but we do not track them.

How many course redesigns (projects) have been initiated?

  • 195 individual course redesign project plans have been submitted and approved as part of a formal NCAT program.
    • 131 projects planned to redesign a single course.
    • 64 projects planned to redesign multiple courses.

How many courses have been redesigned?

  • Redesign project plans for 310 courses were submitted and approved as part of a formal NCAT program.
  • 197 of those 310 courses were fully implemented.
  • 113 courses were not fully implemented for the following reasons:
    • 79 courses were only expected to be piloted (35 in PCR, 29 in C2R, 15 in state pilots).
    • 24 courses were piloted but not fully implemented.
    • 10 courses were expected to be piloted but were not.

How many course redesigns have been developed and implemented outside of formal NCAT programs?

  • Many additional institutions have developed course redesign plans and implementations. These institutions include Redesign Alliance members, participants in course redesign programs where NCAT provided consultation but not oversight, participants in our national and state-based workshops, and so on. Well over 1,500 institutions have participated in NCAT conferences, workshops and seminars. We do not systematically track these redesign efforts.

SUMMARY

  • 156 of 195 redesign projects that were initiated (80%) were completed.
  • Of the 156 completed projects, 72% improved student learning outcomes; 28% showed equivalent student learning.
  • Cost reduction
    • Overall = 34% (5% to 81%)
    • All completed redesigns without CTE = 37% (9% to 81%)
    • CTE = 20% (4% to 54%)
  • Impacted ~250,000 students nationwide annually.
    • Other outcomes achieved
    • Increased course-completion rates
    • Improved retention
    • Better student attitudes toward the subject
    • Increased student and faculty satisfaction with the mode of instruction