The Learning MarketSpace, April 2005
A quarterly electronic newsletter of the National Center for Academic Transformation highlighting ongoing examples of redesigned learning environments using technology and examining issues related to their development and implementation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
SPEAKING ABOUT COSTS...WHAT'S ON YOUR WISH LIST?
As readers of The Learning MarketSpace know, the National Center for Academic Transformation’s primary goal is the expansion of our course redesign methodology beyond the original 30 institutions that participated in the Program in Course Redesign.
One of the questions that we frequently get asked is, "Why isn't everyone doing this? Everyone wins students, faculty members, institutions. This looks like a no-brainer!"
In our view, perhaps the biggest stumbling block that prevents institutions from embarking on a redesign program is the knee-jerk response that most academics have when they hear the words "reducing costs." And, as you might guess, that response is rarely positive. Most academics (and most people in general) associate "loss of jobs" or "heavier workloads" with cost reduction. That's really not surprising since that's how costs have been controlled in higher education for at least the past two decades.
What's different about NCAT's approach to cost reduction is that rather than taking resources away from institutions, course redesign frees instructional resources to be used for other purposes such as developing new programs, serving more students or responding to areas of pressing need. What the institutions involved in the Program in Course Redesign and the Roadmap to Redesign have in common is that insufficient resources have prevented them from doing all of the things they want to do. Perhaps you have that problem too. Course redesign let's you do what you want to do if you had more resources-–it lets you achieve what's on your wish list.
What's on your wish list?
Featuring updates and announcements from the Center.
As part of our move to independent status, the NCAT web site will premier May 9th at www.theNCAT.org. Be sure to visit our new site to see the new look and to bookmark the new URL. The current site (www.center.rpi.edu) and the new site (www.theNCAT.org) will both operate through January 1, 2006, but please start to use the new one on May 9th and please update your links. All of the valuable information from the old site is still available with a new, easily accessible format for your continued use. We welcome your feedback!
This newsletter is the last that you will receive in the current format. While you will still get the same great content, we will change the format to take advantage of our new newsletter software, Constant Contact. On May 6th, we will use this software to announce our new web site. On that date, if you do not receive an email from us, please check your spam or bulk mail folder. If the message was redirected, please change your e-mail filter settings accordingly to be able to receive mail from the Constant Contact service. The email will still come from Carol Twigg, but make sure that you are able to receive it directly in your Inbox by adding ctwigg@theNCAT.org to your address book. Please contact Pat Bartscherer at pbartscherer@theNCAT.org if you have any questions.
Don’t forget that the NCAT Staff have new email addresses: Carol Twigg at ctwigg@theNCAT.org, Carolyn Jarmon at cjarmon@theNCAT.org, Pat Bartscherer at pbartscherer@theNCAT.org and Andrea Fuller at afuller@theNCAT.org. Please update your address book!
Final Seminar on Underserved Students in May
One more opportunity remains! On May 20, 2005, the final seminar in the three-seminar series titled, "Increasing Success for Underserved Students: Redesigning Introductory Courses" will be held in Chicago, IL. The Program in Course Redesign (PCR) has demonstrated that it is possible to increase student success while reducing instructional costs in first-year courses. Funded by Lumina Foundation for Education, these events focus on specific techniques used in the PCR that led to increased student success and retention among underserved students. Faculty from four institutions will discuss the varied methods that were used to achieve better learning at reduced costs with an emphasis on the approaches that fostered greater learning among underserved students: adults, students of color, and low- income students. Participants will be able to interact with these experienced faculty from multiple institutions to learn how their redesign decisions led to greater student learning. For information and registration materials, visit The Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign: Workshop Information.
FGCU Wins Instructional Technology Council (ITC) Award
Congratulations to the redesign team at Florida Gulf Coast University! Their redesign of Understanding the Visual and Performing Arts was a 2005 winner of an ITC Award for Excellence in Distance Education in the category "Outstanding Online Course." The winners were chosen by an exemplary panel of judges that included ITC board members, past board members, past awards winners and other ITC members. This achievement was recognized on April 4 at e-Learning 2005 in Dallas, Texas. To learn more about ITC, visit http://www.itcnetwork.org.
Improving Articulation through Redesign
Two Portland area community colleges are adapting the innovative approach to first-year Spanish developed by Portland State University (PSU) as part of the Program in Course Redesign. Portland Community College (PCC) and Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) have adopted the same textbook (Dos Mundos) for all sections of first-year Spanish as well as the online WebCT-based course content adapted, enhanced and developed at PSU. All three institutions expect this collaboration to give students greater continuity of experience as they move among schools and campuses. For more information about this collaboration or the materials involved, contact Rob Sanders.
NCAT Corporate Associates Program Gains Momentum
Previously we announced the formation of NCAT's Corporate Associates program that was created with the goal of strengthening the ties between the content and technology sectors and those in the education community engaged in cutting edge redesign projects. We are very pleased that representatives from our founding Corporate Associates, Houghton Mifflin, Pearson Education, and Thomson Learning have participated in our Lumina-sponsored seminars and have provided their perspectives. Representatives will also be attending the June R2R workshop to learn more about the redesign projects and what is needed in terms of content and technology. In addition, NCAT has been invited to participate in high level strategy meetings with Thomson Learning and Houghton Mifflin executives to provide our perspective on the future of educational content and technology and what they can do to further our shared mission of improved learning at reduced costs. We are also working with Pearson Education to develop two workshops on course redesign for Pearson clients. Please contact Carolyn Jarmon at cjarmon@theNCAT.org for more information on the Corporate Associates program.
Featuring initiatives to scale course redesign through state- and system-wide redesign programs.
The University of Hawaii System Awards Three Redesign Grants
The University of Hawaii System (UH) has awarded three grants to redesign large-enrollment, introductory courses. University of Hawaii at Manoa's department of information and computer science will redesign Tools for the Information Age. At Windward Community College, the department of psychology will redesign Introductory Psychology. A group of faculty from five UH campuses (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kapiolani Community College, Leeward Community College, Maui Community College and Windward Community College) will jointly redesign Ethnobotany, and the redesigned course will be taught at all five institutions. Project teams will finalize their plans during summer 2005; the pilots will occur in fall 2005; and, the new redesigns will be fully implemented during spring 2006. Continuing its partnership with NCAT, UH is planning a second round of course redesign grants beginning in fall 2005. Congratulations to all of our colleagues in Hawaii for an excellent start to what promises to be three great course redesigns! For more information, contact Hae Okimoto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCAT Works Directly with Recipients of Statewide Grants
NCAT has been working with a number of systems and states to establish statewide redesign programs. In addition, we have begun to work directly with recipients of these statewide grants to help them implement their plans. These institutions have built planned consultations with NCAT into their successful proposals.
A systemwide initiative to redesign large enrollment courses for greater student learning and lower cost called the Brain Gain Grant Program is underway in Oklahoma sponsored by The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education with a focus on mathematics and ecology. NCAT staff and PCR faculty project leaders from Fairfield University and the University of Idaho played a major role in a two-day kickoff event in February 2004 for more than 100 faculty and administrators across the state. One of the Brain Gain Grant awardees, Connors State College, is working with NCAT in their redesign of three pre-calculus math courses--Basic Math, Introductory Algebra and Intermediate Algebra--using the emporium model. The redesigns will be phased in beginning with Basic Math in fall 2005. Math faculty plan to share their lab facility with the students and faculty in basic reading classes for more effective and efficient usage of space. For more information, contact Jo Lynn Digranes.
One of the recipients of a Technology Innovation Course Redevelopment grant funded by the Ohio Learning Network (OLN) was Lorain County Community College (LCCC). LCCC's redesign of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics will use an online format to increase course enrollment. LCCC has consulted with NCAT about their plans to create an internal process to engage other faculty in course redesign. NCAT staff visited the campus on April 22nd to share what has been learned from the PCR and R2R. To learn more about LCCC’s plans, contact Karen Wells.
For more information about how your state, system or district can work with NCAT to create a course redesign program, please contact Carol Twigg.
The Roadmap to Redesign is well underway, and spring pilots are drawing to a close. Representatives from the participating institutions will meet in mid-June to report on learning outcomes from the pilots and to share their experiences to date in implementing a large-scale redesign. Here are some updates on their progress:
At East Carolina University (ECU) the pilot redesign of two introductory psychology sections (~250 students each) includes master lectures one day a week accompanied by mastery quizzing, small group sessions conducted by either undergraduate or graduate student discussion group leaders, and online materials. To provide greater options for students, two team members doubled the textbook publisher's mastery quiz bank (with permission) by reviewing test items from a different text published by the same company, correlating the questions with the selected text, and verifying and entering the questions and answers. Preliminary review of the first two exams indicates that the two redesigned sections did better, on average, than previous sections taught by the same professor. Student comments are positive. All sections of introductory psychology took the same pretest at the beginning of the term, and post-testing is underway. For more information, contact Dorothy Muller at email@example.com.
Eastern Washington University (EWU) completed one pilot in March and is now engaged in a second pilot with an unexpected enrollment of over 200 (only 130 were predicted). The second pilot involves the use of radio- frequency response pads in the large lecture hall, which have been very effective. A mentor-training program for 10-12 peer mentors per quarter is in place. New mentors participate in seminars led by an experienced peer mentor before being assigned a section of their own. Initially EWU quizzed students on each module, but found that students tended to devalue the quizzes when there were too many. The online quiz schedule has been adjusted to include one online quiz per week. Faculty identify non-performing students in the first three weeks so that they can intervene early; they are collecting data to determine whether this intervention increases retention. A module-structured book has replaced a chapter- structured book to cover more topics during the ten-week term. EWU has also incorporated new digital videos from Worth Publishing in the redesign. To learn more, contact Bill Williams.
Georgia State University (GSU) has focused on training faculty, graduate learning assistants (GLAs) and a student assistant to use MyMathLab and to understand the implications for teaching in the redesign. Monthly meetings provide a forum for faculty to assess the project's progress. During the spring term, GSU offered six redesigned sections of College Algebra, one online section and two traditional sections. The majority of students have had a positive response to the redesign and prefer it to a traditional class. GSU also conducted a pre-pilot for the redesigned precalculus course this term in six sections. Students who were in the pre- pilot College Algebra sections offered in fall 2004 signed up for this semester's pre-pilot of Precalculus. Because there was additional space in the in the lab, GSU also offered two sections of Mathematical Modeling in the same format. Full implementation of the College Algebra and Precalculus redesigns will occur in fall 2005. To learn more, contact Margo Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louisiana State University (LSU) is running a seven-section (200 students) pilot for College Algebra taught by four experienced instructors using a modified emporium model. Students are required to attend the Math Learning Lab for a minimum of two hours per week and meet in focus groups one hour per week. Currently open 30 hours each week, the lab is staffed with four instructors, four TAs, and four undergraduate math majors. LSU faculty have learned three valuable lessons from the pilot and will make changes accordingly in the fall: 1) quizzes will be due the night before a focus group is held rather than the night of the focus group so that students can start working on new material right away; 2) because task lists organized by textbook sections, while working well, generate too many pieces of paper for students, the lists will be combined by units; and 3) make-up tests for the four major tests will be administered two days after the test cycle finishes, not one day after, allowing for time to communicate with students, the coordinator and the testing center. With funding from the LSU Student Technology Fee, the Louisiana Board of Regents, and the LSU Office of Academic Affairs, a ballroom is being renovated to house a new 114-seat Math Learning Lab slated to open in August 2005. To learn more about this project, contact Phoebe Rouse.
The Mohave Community College team is happy to report that students who are actively involved in the pilot redesigned Introduction to Psychology course are doing well. In the buffet model, students are able to complete coursework online, on-ground, or using both modalities; take five quizzes per week to achieve the best score possible; and choose to work with one or all of the instructors to gain a different perspective from each instructor or to work with a compatible personality. The pilot will be continued through the summer. The team is addressing issues of better advising, student retention, and equitable grading. Students will receive an information packet at registration if they register for the redesigned course. Student Service personnel are also included in meetings about the course so that they may better discuss it with interested students. Faculty are working to create grading rubrics that are acceptable to all. Previously, instructors created their own grading criteria and made classroom policy decisions on their own. To learn more, contact Danette Bristle.
Ocean County College (OCC) offered six sections of the redesigned General Psychology course during the spring. The team learned several important lessons that will inform fall implementation. First, students seem to prefer more instructor contact than the original design specified, leading instructors to make mid-semester changes in response to formative feedback. Next fall's course will include similarly increased contact and either online or laboratory hours for some activities formerly conducted in class. Second, advisors must know about the specific skills students need to succeed in a hybrid course: self-management, motivation, independent and group learning skills, and technology friendliness. Third, OCC must "get the word out" to students directly using flyers, posters, and coverage in the student newspaper; the Dean has undertaken these efforts in preparation for the fall semester. Fourth, combining multiple sections of the redesigned course into larger WebCT shells will allow for better collaboration among faculty, course assistants and students. Fifth, OCC will provide a better technical orientation at the initial class meeting, which will be held in a computer lab. For more information, contact Claudine Keenan.
Seventeen students are part of the pilot redesign of Precalculus Math at Seton Hall University (SHU), and 60 students are in the traditional lecture format. Changes in the redesign plan that will be made as a result of the pilot include: 1) instituting a weekly short recap lecture to engage students in a discussion of the material to reinforce the learning objectives; 2) expanding the lab period from 50 to 75 minutes to allow students enough time to finish an assignment; 3) adding small-group tutoring to support low-achieving students; 4) setting up learning contracts with students who need to work at a slower pace and intend to register for another semester to finish the work. Students enjoy the redesign version better than the traditional format. They like the resources and activities of MyMathLab, the opportunity to work at their own pace and the individualized attention they receive. SHU will run a redesigned Pre-Algebra course for the Equal Opportunity Program and a redesigned Beginning Algebra course in the summer. SHU hopes to have the new Mathematics Learning Laboratory ready for the summer. For more information, contact David Middleton.
Preliminary results from the pilot redesign of General Psychology at University of Arkansas–Fort Smith (UAFS) have been encouraging. Students in the redesigned sections, even with less thorough coverage of content in lecture, have been scoring as well, and in some cases better, than students in the traditional sections. Faculty largely attribute this to the way in which mandated quizzes provide students with valuable feedback on their learning and force many into a more thorough review of the text material. UAFS encountered several challenges including 1) registration problems due to an unclear description of the pilot section, 2) logistical and technological problems in accessing material on the publisher's web site; 3) disparities between publisher materials and course objectives; and 4) logistical difficulties with its planned use of a classroom response system and online activities in both the large lecture hall and small-group sessions. Because of the fourth problem, the team has decided to follow a supplemental rather than a replacement model as originally intended. During the summer the team will revise course materials to match learning objectives more closely and produce audio programs to supplement lectures. In the fall, UAFS will run another pilot with two 40-student sections. UAFS anticipates that the second pilot will work more smoothly, and the course will be ready for full implementation in spring 2006. To learn more, contact Karen Stauffacher.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) pilot of Precalculus Algebra with ~70 students progressed fairly well with a few bumps along the way. First, faculty discovered that in their emphasis on the self-paced aspect of the course, they underestimated the need for requiring students to spend a certain amount of time in the lab each week. Unfortunately, many students simply waited until the last minute to work through their assignments prior to a quiz or exam and did not take advantage of the instructional support available in the emporium facility. Second, the team wrestled with the issue of progress monitoring vs. student responsibility i.e., what the appropriate level of intervention should be when students are not completing assignments. Third, in traditional sections, students often earn partial credit as they write out their equations during assignments, quizzes, and exams. In the redesigned section, questions are presented as either A, B, C, or D. Students might very well work a problem correctly up to the final step and then make a mistake yet receive no credit for their work because the ultimate answer is wrong. The team has made some mid-stream corrections based on discussion of these issues and will take what they have learned forward in preparation for the full implementation of Precalculus Algebra with ~300 students and the pilot of Precalculus Mathematics in fall 2005. To learn more, contact Charlie Green.
The University of Alabama (UA) is very pleased to have completed three pilot sections of the Introductory Spanish sequence. The graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) who taught these sections surpassed UA's already high expectations. The team has gathered data throughout the semester from the pilots, selected traditional sections for comparison, and anticipates successful results. Recently UA held the third in a series of three spring workshops for all Spanish GTA’s who will be teaching in the fall 2005 semester full implementation. The summer will give ample time for the team to work on the changes needed in order for the technological aspects to function even better than they have in the pilots. For more information, contact Alicia Cipria.
Wayne State University (WSU) is in the second semester of fully implementing its emporium model, and all is going smoothly. Earlier problems with attendance hours and test registration have been rectified, and the students are more positive about the redesigned course this semester. The lab is now open seven days a week for a total of 79 hours. With only 100 computers in the lab, the faculty have set different assignment due dates for each section in order to encourage students to "spread out" and to reduce lines. Unfortunately, students seem to flock to the lab on the day an assignment is due. First semester results show a promising improvement over the previous lecture format: the mean score for the final exam increased by 5%. As WSU streamlines the operation, faculty hope to see even greater improvements. WSU plans to add Intermediate Algebra to the lab next term, bringing the total number of students served for the fall semester to ~1200. To learn more, contact Patty Bonesteel.
Reporting on initiatives that share the Center's goals and objectives.
New Software for Grading Oral Foreign Language Exercises
Questionmark has recently announced the integration of Perception testing and assessment software with vocal collaboration tools from Horizon Wimba. Foreign language instructors can author and deliver online questions; students then speak into a microphone and have the computer record their answers. Spoken responses are stored on a voice server where they are available for grading by Perception. A new Questionmark Scoring Tool enables instructors to establish rubrics for the manual grading of spoken responses. Horizon Wimba questions can be mixed within the same assessment as other automatically graded Perception questions, and scores for spoken responses can be processed along with other test scores. More information is available at http://www.questionmark.com/go/horizonwimba.
Virginia Union Creates Performance-Based Curricula
With support from the W. M. Keck Foundation, faculty at Virginia Union University are redesigning three disciplines: English, psychology, and drama using a formal, tightly structured Instructional Systems Design (ISD) process which produces performance-based curricula. The ISD process contains five distinct phases: analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. This new initiative builds on Virginia Union’s success in redesigning its freshman writing program where the overall pass rate was 10% higher than the traditional program and 45% of the students with SAT verbal scores below 400 passed compared to 18% in the traditional program. One of the most important aspects of the redesign is training teachers to transform their classrooms into active learning centers. For more information contact James Armstrong, the project leader.
The National Center for Academic Transformation serves as a source of expertise and support for those in higher education who wish to take advantage of the capabilities of information technology to transform their academic practices.
Copyright 2005, The National Center for Academic Transformation