|Arizona Board of Regents: Learner-Centered Education Course Redesign Initiative
Arizona State University
Course Title: Organizational Management and Leadership
The Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University (ASU-Polytechnic) plans to redesign Organizational Management and Leadership. The course is a critical component of the business core curriculum and a foundation for subsequent upper-level business courses. Offered in the fall and spring semesters, the course is the seventh largest course on campus, enrolling ~270 students annually in six sections of ~45 students each. In its traditional lecture format, the course meets twice a week for seventy minutes. Students' preference for the Polytechnic campus business programs continues to grow at about 20% a year. In the past, most enrollees have been junior-year transfers from the ASU Tempe campus or from one of the nearby community colleges. Relatively few students were admitted as freshman. However, larger freshman classes have been admitted for fall 2007 and are planned for subsequent semesters, thus increasing the demand for the course.
ASU-Polytechnic plans to use the Replacement Model. The current two lectures per week will be replaced by one face-to-face meeting and one online meeting. Students will assess their knowledge and understanding of course content by taking online quizzes. Students will collaborate online by completing small-group exercises focused on chapter concepts and theories, discussing recommended courses of action, and submitting their work via the course Blackboard site. During weekly face-to-face meetings, professors will lead discussions, taking direction from the most recent assignments submitted by the students. These face-to-face sessions will provide a context for what students are discovering during the online sessions and deepen the students' knowledge of the subject matter.
The redesign will enhance course quality by ensuring consistency across sections. Faculty will collaborate to generate a rich collection of cases, exercises, articles and a host of related materials, and they will agree on how and when to use these materials. Students will be actively engaged in the learning process, and their progress will be monitored throughout the course. Graduate teaching assistants will provide individualized assistance for students who fall behind.
Faculty members will identify agreed-upon learning outcomes for the spring 2008 pilot. Outcomes in two redesigned sections will be compared to the outcomes in one traditional parallel section. Data from the traditional section in the spring 2008 pilot will be compared to the data collected from all redesigned sections offered during full implementation in 2008-2009. Assessment data will include comparisons of common final exams, of student work using common rubrics and of course grades using common criteria.
With the introduction of technology, the redesigned course will allow ASU-Polytechnic to increase the number of students served from the current 270 to 360 students. Section size will be increased from ~45 to ~60 students. The cost-per-student will be reduced from $373 to $159, a 57% decrease. Savings are projected to remain in the Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness. In addition, space will become available for other campus classes/activities because of the reduction of in-class sessions.
Students in the redesigned course performed better than students in the traditional format. Performance was measured and compared using common content items selected from exams. Exam questions were selected from across various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Some questions tested recall of fact, concepts or definitions; others required students to use reasoning or problem-solving skills. Exam scores in the traditional course averaged 67.4%, whereas in the redesigned course, scores averaged 76%.
The student success rate (a grade of C or higher) was 90.2% in the redesigned course during full implementation. It was not as high as that experienced in the traditional course where the rate was 94%.
Other Impacts on Students
The team planned to increase the number of students served from 270 to 360 students and to increase section size from ~45 to ~60 students, reducing the cost-per-student from $373 to $159, a 57% decrease. The actual cost-per-student was $154, which is a 59% decrease.
Following the pilot semester, the team reviewed elements of the original redesign plan and determined that some adjustments should be made.
1) Most notable was the desire to increase the number of faculty hours devoted to assessing student assignments, both individual and group, thereby keeping the faculty in closer contact with all aspects of the course.
2) Larger classrooms in which the course could be taught became available. Because of this opportunity, section size was increased from 60 (as noted in the original plan) to approximately 90 students, and the number of sections was reduced from six to four. During full implementation, a total of 364 students were enrolled in four sections of the course. This change meant that the team was able to reduce the number of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) per term from three to two and the number of undergraduate teaching assistants (UGAs) per term from three to two.
Now that the course is taught in a new building with larger classrooms, the team believes they will be able to increase enrollment to as high as 250 students per term, because one classroom will hold 150 and a second classroom will hold 100. This means that the annual enrollment can be increased to ~500 (from the current 360) without additional resources.
Pedagogical Improvement Techniques
Cost Savings Techniques
The redesign initiative has been a success. Student learning has increased while the cost-per-student in the course has decreased. There is no question that the team is committed to the redesign and that it will be sustained. Other faculty members who might be assigned to teach the course in the future have also expressed their intent to employ the course redesign in their sections. Additionally, the redesign has also become a model for other courses taught by professors on the team as well as by other faculty in the school.
The team believes the redesign will enable them to accommodate even more students without adding new sections as enrollment in the school continues to grow. With the availability of larger and suitable (that is, classrooms suitable for grouping students on occasion) classrooms, the team believes that class size could increase by about 20% with perhaps one GTA and one student-grader being the only modest cost increase.