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Course Redesign FAQs


·What is Course Redesign?

Course Redesign is a systematic way of improving student learning while cutting instructional costs. The basic philosophy of Course Redesign is that the traditional large lecture format has proven to be one of the least effective and efficient ways to produce measurable results in student learning. Since different students learn in different ways and at different speeds, Course Redesign seeks to replace “sage-on-a-stage” lectures with self-directed learning. Much of the content of courses is moved onto the Internet so students can access it at all hours, have more control over their progress through the material, and revisit topics where they need additional help. This frees up class time to be spent in troubleshooting and more engaging discussions, many of which can be led by graduate assistants or fellow students. 

· How does Course Redesign save money?

Typically, the highest cost for institutions when running a course is the faculty salary. Course Redesign aims to reduce the number of faculty necessary for teaching multiple sections of a course and use the time of remaining faculty more efficiently. For example, much of the grading is and content instruction is moved online, freeing faculty to be more productive with their time. Resources are shared among multiple sections of the course, greatly reducing the duplication of effort spent by multiple faculty designing and teaching multiple variations. A technological and instructional support system can be constructed so that different kinds of learning situations can be handled by different kinds of personnel, no longer requiring faculty to be available to handle every aspect of the class experience.   

· How does Course Redesign improve learning outcomes?

There are many ways in which learning can be improved. By replacing the lecture-note taking-regurgitation model of the classroom with more active learning methods, students have a greater engagement with the material. Homework, for example, can be moved online, freeing up faculty productivity time as well as offering students immediate feedback on their progress and mastery of the content. More class time is free to be spent on discussions of the material, trouble shooting, field trips or activities, and breakout conversation groups that can be led by other students. In some cases, computer labs are made available where student assistants are available for targeted help on an as-needed basis.    

· Are all redesigned courses alike?

There are as many ways to redesign a course as there are courses. It may be helpful, however, to summarize some various approaches to Course Redesign in the five general models that have been identified by National Center for Academic Transformation. These are ordered from least to most radical redesign.

oSupplemental Model: This retains the basic structure of the traditional course and supplements lectures and textbooks with technology-based, out-of-class activities, and changes what goes on in the class by creating an active learning environment within a large lecture hall setting.

o   Replacement Model: This reduces the number of in-class meetings and replaces some in-class time with out-of-class, online, interactive learning activities, and  makes significant changes in remaining in-class meetings.

oEmporium Model: This eliminates all class meetings and replaces them with a learning resource center featuring online materials and on-demand personalized assistance, using an open attendance model or a required attendance model depending on student motivation and experience levels.

oFully Online Model: This eliminates all in-class meetings and moves all learning experiences online, using Web-based, multi-media resources, commercial software, automatically evaluated assessments with guided feedback and alternative staffing models.

oBuffet Model: This customizes the learning environment for each student based on background, learning preference, and academic/professional goals and offers students an assortment of individualized paths to reach the same learning outcomes. 

·How do I get started?

First, begin conversations with your colleagues and administrators in your department. Faculty buy-in on the shared goals and content of Course Redesign is essential to its long-term success. (Additionally, significant cost savings are often seen only when every section of a given course participates in the redesign.) Visit the “Resources” section of this website to look at various articles, studies, and organizations that can help you identify your course goals and a curriculum design that is appropriate for your resources and your institution. While there are no development grants forthcoming from the Coordinating Board at this time, they may be available from various internal and external sources. Please see the “Contact” section of this website for the names and addresses of Coordinating Board staff who would be happy to assist you at any stage of the Course Redesign process.


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