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Calhoun Community College

Course Title: Business Statistics I
Contact: Randy Cox

Status: This project originated as part of NCAT's FIPSE-funded Roadmap to Redesign (R2R) program, 2003 – 2006, and was successfully completed.

Descriptive Materials: In addition to the project description below, links for this project include a final project report, which describes the impact of the redesign on student learning and student retention; final cost savings achieved; techniques that most contributed to improved learning and reduced costs; and, an assessment of future sustainability.

Project Plan:
Calhoun Community College (CCC) plans to redesign its Business Statistics I course. Because it is included in several A.S. and A.A.S. degree curricula and is a requirement for students seeking a B.S. degree in Nursing, course enrollment is increasing. Annually enrolling more than 280 students, the course is taught in small sections averaging 20 students each by full-time and part-time faculty (6 and 8 sections respectively). Business Statistics I is a full equivalent of corresponding courses at state baccalaureate institutions to ensure that credits earned in the course are transferable. The traditional format requires students to attend three hours of classroom lecture each week. Some integration of computer-based instruction has been attempted, but these efforts have been less than fully satisfactory and have not been available to all students.

The traditional course suffers from four academic problems. First, because instructors design their sections individually, a major problem is course drift. Students arrive at the sequential course (Business Statistics II) with widely differing levels of preparation, requiring an extensive "review" that is more of a crash course in missing knowledge. Second, the course makes limited use of computer-based instruction and relies primarily on the traditional lecture method. Third, students enter the course with different learning styles, but the lecture method does not address these differences. Fourth, the course does not provide individualized attention for students experiencing difficulties. The result is that the first-time success rate (grade of C or higher) is only 65%.

Calhoun CC plans to use the Replacement Model, substituting a computer lab session for one of the three weekly class meetings. The course will be restructured to a modular format, with general topics divided into smaller units. The redesign will use a combination of StatTutor, iLrn, Minitab and WebCT software to provide automated tutorials, online exams, low stakes quizzes, and automated course management. The new course design will encourage active learning by including more hands-on problem-solving practice. It will allow faculty to identify problems earlier and provide students with timely, focused, individualized assistance. Course standardization will provide students better and more uniform preparation for their second statistics course. Finally, the redesign will allow the college to control the costs of increased enrollment while maintaining small class size.

The performance of students in the redesigned course and in the traditional course will be compared. During the pilot phase, faculty will develop and use a common comprehensive final exam for the parallel sections. Faculty will also use common statistical problems in the four other course exams and will develop and use an agreed upon "cut scale" in grading all exams to ensure valid comparisons are achieved. Similar comparisons of results during the implementation phase will be made using baseline data drawn from the pilot phase. In both instances, pass rates and final grade distribution will be compared. Faculty teaching sequential courses will be surveyed regarding their perception of the students' knowledge, and students will be given a pre-test upon entry into the sequential course to assess their level of preparation.

The redesign will allow Calhoun CC to accommodate an anticipated enrollment growth of up to 70% while enhancing course quality and coherence. Average section size will increase from 20 to 24, and the number of sections offered will increase from 14 to 20. The additional sections will be taught by part-time faculty as part of the redesigned, integrated course. In the traditional format, it costs Calhoun CC $47,888 to teach 281 students at a cost-per-student of $170. In the redesigned format, Calhoun CC projects costs of $52,740 to teach 480 students, which results in a 35% reduction in the cost-per-student to $110. The college anticipates additional revenue to be generated by increased enrollments.


Quick Links:

Roadmap to Redesign Main Page...