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The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Course Title: Introductory Statistics
Contact: Ray Purdom

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:
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) will redesign its Introductory Statistics course. The course has an annual enrollment of approximately 800 students and is taught primarily by adjunct instructors (16 sections) plus graduate teaching assistants (4 sections) in multiple sections of 40 students each. In the traditional format, students attend class three times per week.

The quality of student learning in Introductory Statistics has been uneven, and the overall student preparation for subsequent courses has been uncertain. Uniform student learning objectives have not been developed for the 20 sections of this course offered annually, and assessments of student learning have been at the individual class level rather than for the entire course. In addition, the passive learning environment and the lack of extensive individual assistance to students have further limited the quality of student learning. The planned course redesign will involve developing uniform student learning objectives and assessing the achievement of those objectives.

The course redesign will enhance the quality of learning by moving students to an active learning environment. UNCG will use the Replacement Model in its redesign, reducing the number of required class meetings per week from three to one. Classroom instruction will change from instructors primarily lecturing to instructors discussing online assignments and resources, and learning issues and strategies. Online, interactive, guided homework problems, practice tests, tutorials and assessment tools that promote active learning will be required.

Student progress will be monitored closely, and both online and face-to-face assistance will be provided to students. A combination of several software resources will provide both online materials and will track student progress. The software will also be used to generate personalized study plans for students to enable them to master necessary skills. A new Math Help Center will also provide both online and face-to-face individualized assistance.

Course-wide assessment of the achievement of the course learning objectives will be accomplished by using common tests for all major exams. Comparison of student learning outcomes from the redesigned course with baseline data from the traditional course in the 2003-2004 academic year will assess the impact of the course redesign on learning. Exams for the baseline traditional course and for the redesigned courses will be similar, primarily multiple-choice questions selected from the textbook's test bank. Comparison of student learning will be made using a minimum of 20 common content questions from the baseline and redesigned course exams.

The cost savings produced by the course redesign will be the result of increasing the class size from 40 students to 60 students and reducing the number of sections from 20 to 13. As a result, the number of adjunct faculty teaching the course will decline from 16 to 13. GTAs will be reassigned to the Help Center. The cost of adding the Math Help Center reduces the net savings, but the redesign project will produce an annual savings of $15,919 as a result of reducing the cost-per-student from $102 to $82. The redesign project is an important component of an overall plan for the improvement of the quality of the math program at UNCG. Cost savings from this redesign project will be applied to creating new tenure-track faculty positions. When new larger capacity classroom buildings currently under construction are completed, the class size for these courses may be increased for greater savings.



Quick Links:

Roadmap to Redesign Main Page...