[INSTITUTION] Course Redesign Initiative

This Plan of Work is designed to identify an explicit set of activities with a timeline that will ensure that all members of the [INSTITUTION] Course Redesign Initiative (ICRI) team are clear about what will be accomplished and by whom.

This Plan of Work consists of six stages, each of which is discussed more fully below:

Stage #1: Program Development
Stage #2: Building Awareness and Commitment
Stage #3: Orientation, Selection, and Training of Participating Course Redesign Teams
Stage #4: Individualized Consultation during Planning Phase
Stage #5: Redesign Implementation
Stage #6: Capacity Building and Scaling

Stage #1: Program Development

Prior to the program’s launch, the ICRI team will engage in a series of program development tasks. NCAT’s methodology will be adapted to [INSTITUTION] and the problems it seeks to solve. A program structure will be developed that includes grant strategies for redesign teams, participation guidelines and a plan to bring extensive visibility to the program at all levels of [INSTITUTION].

Step 1: Program Design. [INSTITUTION] will work out the details of the program structure, making any needed modifications to NCAT’s general approach in order to fulfill [INSTITUTION’s] priorities and develop a strategy for publicizing the program.

Step 2: Data Collection. [INSTITUTION] will collect data about the potential courses to be redesigned (e.g., top 25 in enrollment). Data will include the total enrollment in each course and the successful completion rates (C or better) in each course for the most recent fall term for which data are available.

Step 3: Program Structure. [INSTITUTION] will discuss and resolve the decisions listed in Chapter III that form the basis for customizing the redesign program according to [INSTITUTION’s] individual goals and objectives. [INSTITUTION] will then develop (1) a Call to Participate directed toward all members of the campus community, (2) Application Guidelines directed toward those who are interested in applying to participate, and (3) a Publicity Plan. Both the Call and the Guideline will be issued by [INSTITUTION].

Stage #1 will be completed by 11/1/15.
Outcome: [INSTITUTION] redesign program established.

Stage #2: Building Awareness and Commitment

Because the goals of the program are to build capacity and awareness in addition to redesigning specific large-enrollment courses, [INSTITUTION] will engage both faculty and administrators throughout a three-phase process: an initial education and commitment-building phase, a well-structured planning phase, and a comprehensive implementation phase. Throughout the process, [INSTITUTION] will emphasize building awareness among and communicating results to both the [INSTITUTION] and national higher education communities.

Step 1: Campus Leadership Consultation. On [DATES], program leaders will meet with campus administrators and faculty leaders. The purpose of the meetings will be to explain the course redesign concept and its benefits and to enlist the support and leadership of those parties. Because institutional leadership is key to the success of a course redesign initiative, the meetings will help ensure that key leaders will support the new initiative. When the [INSTITUTION] senior administration is actively in favor of the initiative, it indicates to all campus constituents the importance of the program.

Step 2: Program Visibility. [INSTITUTION] will generate interest in the program in multiple ways, including (1) creating a website dedicated to the program linked to NCAT’s national efforts that will provide an ongoing method for the [INSTITUTION] community and other stakeholders to know the status of the initiative and to be aware of deadlines, workshop plans, and so on; (2) building a database of the names of those who will receive information and updates about the program throughout its duration; and (3) developing other communication mechanisms such as broadcast emails or a newsletter dedicated to the effort as appropriate. Throughout this stage, [INSTITUTION] will answer questions as they arise. These communication mechanisms will be established by 11/1/15.

Step 3: Distribution of Call to Participate. The Call to Participate will be drafted by [INSTITUTION] by 9/8/15 and circulated to the ICRI team for additions and revisions as needed to be sure that the Call is well suited to the goals of the [INSTITUTION] program. The Call will be issued by the campus provost to the [INSTITUTION] community by 10/1/15 and will include information about the Orientation Workshop described next.

Step 4: Orientation Workshop. NCAT and/or program leaders will conduct a one-day, face-to-face workshop open to anyone interested in submitting a course redesign proposal or learning more about course redesign. The goal of this workshop is for participants to acquire a solid understanding of what is needed to implement a good redesign. Through presentations, case studies, and group work, participants will learn basic planning steps as well as how to adapt NCAT’s redesign methodology to the needs of their particular institution. Workshop topics will include:

  • An Introduction to Redesign. Presents an overview of the redesign methodology, its purpose, the premises upon which it has been developed, the strategies it employs, and the planning process.
  • Case Studies in Redesign. Engages participants in an interactive application of course redesign models to institutional cases.
  • Course Readiness. Includes a discussion of how to choose appropriate courses for redesign.
  • Planning for Assessment. Provides guidance about how to assess the impact of course redesign on student learning.
  • Planning for Course Redesign. Provides an overview of NCAT’s Cost Planning Tool, which facilitates the quality- and cost-planning tasks associated with redesign.
  • Developing a Cost Savings Plan. Discusses how resources can be saved through redesign and what can be done with the savings.

Participants will be expected to have completed some assigned reading about course redesign developed by NCAT prior to the workshop.

The Orientation Workshop will occur on 11/15/15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at [PLACE].

Step 5: Distribution of Application Guidelines. Application Guidelines will be drafted by 10/15/15 and circulated among ICRI team members for additions and revisions as needed. They will be available to the [INSTITUTION] community at the time of the Orientation Workshop. The Guidelines will include the overall goals and focus of the ICRI, the timeline for applying, the expectations to be met by applicants at each step of the application process, and information regarding the kinds of grants and other assistance that will be available through the entire redesign process. The idea is to establish an atmosphere of competition so that campus constituencies will strive to be selected to participate in the program. Establishing a competition also conveys the message that the program is highly valued.

Stage #2 will be completed by 11/15/15.
Outcome: Awareness of the program throughout the [INSTITUTION] community and interest in participating among many departments and programs.

Stage #3: Orientation, Selection and Training of Participating Course Redesign Teams

The purpose of this stage is to ensure that course redesign teams are created that are clear about what they are trying to accomplish and how they intend to achieve it. [INSTITUTION] will manage the program application and selection process and will work with teams to develop full project proposal plans.

Step 1: Establish Course Redesign Teams. Participants will be asked to establish redesign teams and to think carefully about which courses are good candidates for redesign at their institution. Teams should include faculty experts, administrators, technology professionals and assessment experts.

Step 2: Establish Readiness to Participate. Those interested in participating in the redesign program will complete a Course Readiness Instrument. Team responses to the Course Readiness Criteria will be due 1/15/16 and will be submitted electronically. ICRI team members will review the responses and select teams to be invited to the Planning Workshop described later. The ICRI team will send feedback to those submitting readiness criteria, asking for more information if needed and advising weaker applicants about what they need to do to be ready.

Step 3: Publicity. [INSTITUTION] will publicize through all available communication channels those who submitted responses to the readiness criteria and those who get selected to move on to the next stage. The message: it’s a privilege to have been selected, and we applaud their success.

Step 4: One-Day Planning Workshop for Course Redesign Teams. NCAT and/or program leaders will conduct a one-day Planning Workshop for course redesign teams. Teams will complete three activities prior to the workshop: a draft of parts of the Cost Planning Tool (CPT) and of the Scope of Effort form, which will be reviewed by NCAT staff and/or program leaders prior to the workshop, and an outline of their redesign plan. Workshop agenda topics will include identifying academic problems and resource problems, establishing academic goals and resource goals, developing an assessment plan, developing a project implementation plan, completing the CPT, and establishing a project budget.

The Planning Workshop will occur on 2/28/16 at [WHERE].

Stage #3 will be completed by 3/1/16.
Outcome: Potential redesign projects identified.

Stage #4: Individualized Consultation during Planning Phase

Successful redesign requires the development of a detailed plan for improved learning outcomes and a cost analysis of the traditional course and the redesigned course. The analysis provides a clear context for understanding how an institution uses its resources (human as well as other resources) and how these might be more effectively deployed for greater benefit to all. Teams of faculty, administrators, assessment professionals and technology staff will work in consultation with the ICRI team to understand the student outcomes expected from the course redesign and how the outcomes will be measured. Teams will work collaboratively to determine the kinds of tasks that must be performed by faculty, those that can be done by effective use of information technology, and finally, those that can be done by people other than faculty.

Step 1: Ongoing Consultation to Develop Project Plans. As teams develop their full project plans, the ICRI team will monitor progress in proposal development and provide individualized consulting for entire teams or individuals working on specific segments. Project teams will develop and submit final proposals by 7/1/16 by following a specific proposal format.

Step 2: Plan Review and Ongoing Feedback. The ICRI team will review plans (both drafts and final proposals) and provide individualized consultation for campus teams of faculty, administrators, assessment professionals, and technology staff as they develop their project plans. A key to success is to require very specific plans as part of the proposal process, which means that planning will be accomplished before grant awards are made. Such an approach makes sure the redesign teams are clear about what they are going to do and enables them to focus on implementing plans that are road maps to success.

Step 3: Selection. The ICRI team will review the proposals and make a final selection. Grant recipients will be notified by 7/15/16. To strengthen weak points in the plans and clarify data collection issues such as student learning assessment and cost analysis, ICRI team members will follow up with teams after team selection.

Step 4: Publicity. [INSTITUTION] will publicize through all available communication channels those who submitted proposals and those who get selected to participate in the program. Again, the message is: It’s a privilege to be selected, and we applaud your success.

Stage #4 will be completed by 7/15/16.
Outcome: The desired number of completed redesign project plans with high likelihood of success.

Stage #5: Implementation

The purpose of this phase is to implement the sound plans that have been developed and then follow through to ensure that adjustments get made where needed, that roadblocks get overcome, and that models of successful redesigns get achieved.

Step 1: Implementation Consultation and Ongoing Technical Support. During the redesign implementation process, the ICRI team will monitor course redesign teams’ adherence to their proposals to be sure that teams are actively following their plans for both quality improvement and cost reduction, providing individualized assistance as needed. If changes get made that have an impact on either cost or quality, the ICRI team will discuss the implications with the teams and suggest alternative strategies. NCAT staff and NCAT Redesign Scholars are available to work with participants by sharing lessons learned from other course redesign efforts, offering suggestions, and helping them overcome roadblocks that threaten innovation.

Step 2: An Active Communications Plan. [INSTITUTION] will continue building a comprehensive website by adding project descriptions and progress reports and will engage in other awareness-raising activities to make sure information gets communicated on a timely basis to all campus constituencies. Active communication is crucial to ensuring that efforts do not get duplicated, that lessons learned get shared, and that course redesign experiences can be scaled to produce more quality improvements and cost savings.

Step 3: Preparing for Pilots. During summer and fall 2016, project teams will engage in concrete preparation for a pilot term with some subset of the students in the course. Teams will meet and make necessary changes to (1) the course content or other aspects of the expected student experience such as any modifications needed to the space for the course, (2) the design of web materials or other student guides, (3) planning for student and faculty training, (4) data-gathering preparations for effective assessment, and (5) other such preparations that must be completed in advance of the pilot term. Throughout this period, the ICRI team will consult with project teams as appropriate.

Step 4: Pilot Phase. During spring 2017, the selected projects will conduct pilot implementations of their redesigns. The ICRI team will monitor pilot implementation progress and consult with teams as appropriate. Teams will be required to submit to the ICRI team regular progress reports that include assessment data in a consistent format that facilitates comparison between projects. The ICRI team will review the redesign teams’ work and offer suggestions for improvement.

Step 5: Mid-Course Sharing Workshop. After completion of the campus pilots, the ICRI team will conduct a one-day, face-to-face workshop that will provide a forum for project teams to share their experiences and learn from one another. Teams will share their initial findings regarding learning and retention outcomes, cost containment, and implementation issues. Teams will receive feedback from the group as well as from the ICRI team. The ICRI team will review the teams’ work, assess the pilot outcomes, and offer suggestions for improvement and adjustments in preparation for full implementation. The ICRI team will meet with teams individually, if needed, to resolve any particular issues they face and have not been able to overcome. This workshop will occur in June 2017.

Step 6: Full Implementation. During fall 2017, teams will fully implement the redesigned courses and collect assessment data. The ICRI team will continue to monitor and support redesign teams as the course moves to full implementation, consulting with teams or individual team members as appropriate.

Step 7: Progress Reporting. After the first term of full implementation, the ICRI team will collect, review, and verify assessment data and cost data from the teams. The ICRI team needs to be sure of the validity of the assessment results, the accuracy of costing figures, and the overall fidelity of the process. Ongoing progress reporting is important to make sure plans stay on track and desired outcomes get achieved and are valid.

Stage #5 will be completed by 12/31/17.
Outcome: The desired number of fully implemented course redesigns.

Stage #6: Capacity Building and Scaling

Throughout the course redesign process, the ICRI team will work to build capacity at all institutional levels so as to manage and support subsequent redesign efforts.

Step 1: Assessing the Results Workshop. After the first term of full implementation, the ICRI team will conduct a one-day, face-to-face workshop as a forum for teams to describe their experiences and learn from one another. Teams will share their data regarding learning and retention outcomes and cost reduction as well as their plans for sustainability. This workshop may be open to the broader [INSTITUTION] community so others can learn about the redesign process and outcomes. This workshop will occur in April 2018.

Step 2: Publicity. Throughout the implementation phase, the ICRI team will communicate program progress and results through all available communication channels.

Step 3: Program Evaluation. The ICRI team will meet with [INSTITUTION] leadership (e.g., president’s cabinet) to assess what happened and why and to establish future plans. The ICRI team will provide advice about how course redesign efforts could be proliferated throughout [INSTITUTION].

Step 4: Building Internal Capacity. In addition, the ICRI team will advise [INSTITUTION] leadership on how to scale the redesign effort and develop long-term policies that encourage institutionalized course delivery mechanisms that maximize quality and minimize costs.

Stage #6 will be completed by 8/1/18.|
Outcome: Institutional experience and capacity to improve the quality and reduce the instructional costs of more courses.

Timeline Summary

Stage #1: Program Development         

September 1, 2015 Program Development Begins
September 8, 2015 Draft Plan of Work
September 8, 2015 Draft Call to Participate
October 1, 2015 Plan of Work Finalized
October 1, 2015 Call to Participate Finalized
October 15, 2015 Draft Application Guidelines
November 1, 2015  Application Guidelines
November 1, 2015  Communications Mechanisms Established

Stage #2: Building Awareness and Commitment

October 1, 2015  Call to Participate Issued
November 15, 2015  Workshop #I
November 15, 2015 Application Guidelines Issued

Stage #3: Orientation, Selection, and Training of Course Redesign Teams

January 15, 2016 Responses to Course Readiness Instrument Due
February 1, 2016  Course Redesign Teams Invited to Workshop #2
February 28, 2016 Workshop #2

Stage #4: Individualized Consultation during Planning Phase                              

March-June  2016 Course Teams Develop Final Plans
June 10, 2016 Course Teams Submit Draft Cost Planning Tools
July 1, 2016    Course Teams Submit Final Proposals
July 15, 2016    Grants Awarded

Stage #5: Redesign Implementation                                               

Summer and Fall 2016   Project Planning and Development
Spring 2017  Course Redesign Pilots
June 2017 Interim Project Reports Due
June 2017 Workshop #3
Summer 2017 Course Plan Revisions
Fall 2017    Course Redesign Full Implementations

Stage #6: Capacity Building and Scaling        

March 15, 2018 Final Project Reports Due
April 2018 Workshop #4
Summer 2018   Dissemination of Results
Summer 2018   Program Evaluation
August 1, 2018 Program Concludes



Table of Contents

I. The Critical Components of a Successful Course Redesign Program
II. Assessing Institutional Readiness to Redesign
III. Making Key Decisions before the Program's Launch
IV. Developing a Plan of Work
V. Building Awareness and Capacity
VI. Assessing Course Readiness
VII. Preparing Teams to Submit Strong Proposals
VIII. Selecting Proposals That Will Succeed
IX. Monitoring the Redesign Implementations
X. Maintaining Consensus and Ensuring Sustainability
XI. Building Capacity and Scaling Initial Success


A. Plan of Work
B. Publicity Plan
C. Call to Participate
D. Application Guidelines
E. Workshop I Agenda
F. Workshop II Homework
G. Workshop Logistics
H. Workshop II Agenda
I. Workshop III Invitation
J. Workshop III Agenda
K. Workshop IV Invitation
L. Workshop IV Agenda
M. Final Report Format
N. Program Evaluation