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Lorain County Community College

Course Titles: Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
Contacts:
Mary Jane Palmer

Status: This project originated as part of a collaborative program between NCAT and the Ohio Learning Network, 2004 – 2006. NCAT’s role was to introduce the course redesign methodology to Ohio institutions and assist them in developing a project plan. NCAT was not involved in project implementation; consequently, the project’s status is unknown. For more information, contact George Steele at gsteele@oln.org or the project contact listed above. The project plan serves as a good example of how to think about redesigning a large-enrollment course.

Project Plan:
Lorain County Community College (LCCC) will redesign two three-credit courses, Macroeconomics and Microeconomics, that are among the top 20 enrolled courses at the institution. These courses have historically been offered in 16-week, face-to-face formats serving 1200 students annually. LCCC is often forced to turn away students because of lack of capacity to offer more sections. In spring 2005, the course was offered online for the first time in a section of 24 students. The overall high enrollment is attributed to the inclusion of both courses in the Ohio Transfer Model and the fact that there are no prerequisites for either course.

In addition to the bottleneck problems, there is a lack of consistency in both content and style among the multiple sections since eight different faculty members teach the courses. An additional reason for lack of consistency is because the courses are also offered in multiple modes: face-to-face, as a telecourse, and by interactive, two-way audio/one-way video. The drop-failure-withdrawal rates are high; about 35% of the students fall into this category.

Using the fully online model, LCCC plans to modularize the content into one-credit-hour components to allow students greater flexibility. Each course section will consist of 100 students instead of 40 students per section in the current, traditional face-to-face format and 24 students per section online. Serving as the content expert, the instructor will be assisted by a course liaison who will oversee student interaction, be able to answer non-analytical questions and/or technical questions, and assist in student assessment.

Using a team approach, the courses will be developed to address diverse student learning styles. Each course will utilize eight to ten video segments on DVDs that will contain important economics lectures. Online exercises, such as computer enhanced supply-and-demand simulations, will be created to foster student interaction with the content. Team projects and short essays will be required, and frequent self-assessment exercises will be made available for students to obtain feedback with emphasis on areas needing improvement. Students will work in small groups online to critique each others writing; these activities will be designed to improve their critical thinking and writing abilities. In addition, voluntary recitation sessions will be held several times during the semester.

Student learning will be assessed by comparing common final exams in both the traditional and redesigned sections. Common rubrics will provide guidance to instructors in evaluating essays to provide additional information about student learning.

The cost-per-student is projected to decline from $132 to $79, a decrease of 40%. Student enrollment is anticipated to increase by 30% to accommodate the demand for these two courses. Additionally, needed classroom space will be made available for use by other courses on a campus with growing enrollment and capacity constraints.


 

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