The Learning MarketSpace, April 2007
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:
Featuring updates and announcements from the Center
On March 21 , 2007, Carol Twigg joined a diverse group of higher education policy makers and stakeholders in Washington, D.C. for a summit on "A Test of Leadership: Committing to Advance Postsecondary Education for all Americans." Convened by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, the summit focused on action items around five key recommendations by the Secretary's Commission on the Future of Higher Education to improve college access, affordability and accountability. Small work groups discussed the following five recommendations: 1) Aligning K-12 and higher education expectations; 2) Increasing need-based aid for access and success; 3) Using accreditation to support and emphasize student learning outcomes; 4) Serving adults and other non-traditional students; and 5) Enhancing affordability, decreasing costs, and promoting productivity. Once again, NCAT’s work in course redesign was cited as something to be emulated throughout higher education. To learn more about the summit see http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/03/03222007.html.
On March 15, 2007, Inside Higher Education published an article featuring examples of course redesign using NCAT’s approach to increase student learning and control costs. Entitled “Introductory Course Makeovers,” the article features the University of Alabama’s redesign of mathematics and the increased student success that has resulted. Also discussed is NCAT’s work with the University System of Maryland, the Arizona Board of Regents and an upcoming program with the State University of New York. To read this article and the responses by readers, see http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/03/15/ncat.
On March 3, 2007, NCAT’s Senior Associate, Carolyn Jarmon, joined Dennis Jones of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and Travis Reindl of Jobs for the Future on a panel, “Faster, Cheaper, Better: How Can America’s Workforce Get the Education It Needs?“at a regional meeting of the Education Writer’s Association. Held in Chapel Hill, NC, this meeting was attended by journalists from across the United States who focus on K-12 and higher education.
Jones and Reindl discussed a recent research report on the state of higher education. The report documents increasing cost and price challenges in higher education, as well as troubling trends related to its quality. Rapidly rising institutional spending to provide students an education—and skyrocketing prices paid by students and families for that education—are being met with declining skill levels among college graduates. To address this productivity problem—spending more on higher education and getting less—the report calls on states and institutions to set goals for access, quality, and cost.
Carolyn followed their policy presentation with examples from NCAT’s Program in Course Redesign and the Roadmap to Redesign that demonstrate concretely how institutions can address many of the major points made by Jones and Reindl. Reporters in the audience were particularly interested in examples from their states and regions, and several stories featuring specific course redesigns have already been published.
Faculty and administrators frequently ask us about particular ideas or best practices in course redesign that make a significant difference in student learning and reduce costs at the same time. To respond to this interest, we have created a new section of the NCAT web site, Innovative Course Redesign Practices, at http://www.thencat.org/PlanRes/Innov_CrRedPractices.htm. Each practice is described and linked to a number of specific examples of how it has been implemented. We have identified the following as particularly effective practices that cut across various redesign models and disciplines: 1) Creating ”Small” within “Large,” 2) Undergraduate Learning Assistants, 3) Freshman Don’t Do Optional, 4) Modularization, 5) New Instructional Roles and 6) Avoiding “Either/Or” Choices. Part of the recent Redesign Alliance Annual Conference program was structured around these innovative practices, and we are featuring them in the Planning Workshops which we conduct as part of our state- and system-wide initiatives.
Featuring initiatives to scale course redesign through state- and system-wide redesign programs
The University System of Maryland (USM) is partnering with NCAT to develop at least one successful redesign project at each of the system’s 11 institutions. The initiative is moving quickly toward the final decision stage. Courses in the planning stage include chemistry, writing, nursing, computing, three in psychology, three in biology and two in mathematics. Final redesign plans were submitted on April 20, 2007, and participant selections will be announced in early May. Each redesign will be piloted in spring 2008. In fall 2008, institutional teams will fully implement their course redesigns and collect data on comparative student learning outcomes and on final instructional costs. To learn more about this system-wide initiative, see http://www.thencat.org/States/USMaryland.htm.
As part of a major grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) is working with its 19 institutions to increase the success of students in developmental math and English and to contain the costs of developmental education. The number of students who take at least one developmental course is high, and many of them are not successful after their first enrollment. TBR is modeling their program on the successful redesigns of large enrollment courses conducted by institutions that have worked with NCAT. The TBR will award at least six grants to institutions that want to redesign the entire developmental sequence in either math or English.
On February 16, 2007, more than 200 faculty and administrators representing all 19 institutions attended an Orientation Workshop in Clarksville, TN. Here the attendees learned about the expectations of the redesign program and the concurrent effort of a TBR task force to review and make recommendations about curricular change. All 19 institutions submitted responses to NCAT’s Readiness Criteria in regard to their developmental English and math courses with the goal of providing the TBR an overview of the state of developmental education in Tennessee.
On April 13, 2007, 95 representatives of all 19 colleges and universities met in Dickson, TN to participate in a second workshop focused on planning. Here the teams brainstormed about the six good practices that have proven to increase success and control costs and presented their redesign ideas to a small group with the goal of receiving feedback and additional suggestions to strengthen their plans. Four NCAT Corporate Associates’ representatives participated at this workshop to make institutions aware of products and services that could be useful in their redesigns.
Final proposals are due on July 15, 2007, with awards to be made by July 30. Each grantee will launch the first of three pilots during spring 2008. Multiple pilots are scheduled to allow institutional teams to try different ideas and to incorporate curricular changes that emerge as the task force reviews and considers new ways of organizing course content. To learn more about the TBR initiative, see http://www.thencat.org/States/TBR.htm or contact Houston Davis at Houston.Davis@tbr.edu or Treva Berryman at Treva.Berryman@tbr.edu.
The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) has established a major course redesign initiative, in partnership with NCAT, for its member institutions. The initiative, called the Learner-Centered Education Course Redesign Initiative, will provide institutional grants of up to 15 grants of $40,000 to $50,000 each, with the option of funding one or more projects of exceptional merit at up to $100,000. To begin the process, two Orientation Workshops were held simultaneously on February 20, 2007. Carol Twigg conducted a workshop at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ attended by 55 faculty and administrators. Carolyn Jarmon met with 30 faculty and administrators at Northern Arizona University. On February 21, Carol and Carolyn jointly conducted an Orientation Workshop for approximately125 faculty and staff at Arizona State University West in Glendale.
In the next phase of the program, 27 teams submitted responses to NCAT’s Readiness Criteria, representing a wide variety of courses including nursing, English, biology, organizational behavior, philosophy, math and Spanish. Twenty-one teams were invited to move forward and to attend a Planning Workshop on April 25, 2007, in Glendale, AZ. Final proposals are due on July 1, 2007, and grant awards will be made by mid-July. To learn more about the ABOR initiative, see http://www.thencat.org/States/ABOR.htm or contact Maryn Boess at Maryn.Boess@asu.edu.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) has several initiatives moving forward related to course redesign. House Bill #1, Section 61.076 of the Texas Education Code, passed in 2006, requires the THECB to “implement a project under which institutions of higher education selected by the Board will review and revise entry-level lower division academic courses . . . to improve student and learning and reduce the cost of course delivery through the use of information technology.” THECB has developed multiple initiatives throughout the state to meet this goal.
One of these initiatives is titled “Texas Technical Degree Program Course Redesign Project.” NCAT will partner with the THECB to support institutions in their efforts to redesign pairs of high risk courses. Pairs will consist of a developmental course and a subsequent college-level course that have become major exit points for students pursuing a technical degree. Five community colleges are involved: Alamo Community College District, Austin Community College, Brookhaven College of the Dallas Community College District, Houston Community College and Kingwood College of the North Harris Montgomery Community College District. On March 8, 2007, Carolyn Jarmon conducted an Orientation Workshop in Austin, TX for representatives from the five community colleges. A number of other Texas institutions were also invited to observe. Alamo Community College District and Houston Community College are part of Round I of C2R; the other three institutional teams also participated in the C2R Disciplinary Institutes held in Austin, TX on April 27. The goal is for all five institutions to conduct pilots of their redesigns during fall 2007. For more information, contact Cynthia Ferrell at Cynthia.Ferrell@THECB.state.tx.us.
On February 22, 2007, NCAT’s Carol Twigg joined Kati Haycock of The Education Trust and George Mehaffy of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) as keynote speakers at a Louisiana statewide education forum. Held in Baton Rouge, LA, the forum provided an opportunity for public discussion about the need to improve student success at all levels of the educational system. Approximately 175 system heads, campus presidents and chancellors, faculty, administrators and students attended. There was significant enthusiasm among the group about the need for constructive change.
A follow-up event designed to provide an opportunity for Louisiana institutions to learn more about how course redesign can improve student success occurred at Louisiana State University (LSU) on April 12. Representatives of twelve institutions visited the LSU Math Learning Lab to learn more about LSU’s highly successful redesign of mathematics. A participant in NCAT’s Roadmap to Redesign, LSU has expanded its initial redesign to include multiple courses in two labs with over 200 computers. To learn more about LSU’s redesign, contact Phoebe Rouse at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.thencat.org/R2R/Abstracts/LSU_Abstract.htm.
Representatives of five higher education systems (Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi and New York) gathered at a pre-conference meeting on March 18, 2007, to discuss the project entitled, “Mathematics Success,” organized by the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and the Education Trust in collaboration with NCAT. The meeting was conducted by Danette Gerald of the Education Trust and Ron Henry, NASH consultant and NCAT Redesign Scholar. Because of the national concern about high failure rates in college mathematics and the need to understand clearly the situation in each particular state, the five systems are working to collect data on student success and retention. They are focused on the following mathematics courses: remedial, terminal math (e.g. math modeling and fundamental math), college algebra, pre-calculus, and calculus I. In addition, the systems are examining success in mathematics courses for fall 2005 first-time, full-time freshman and the relationship between placement exams and success in college math courses. Next steps will be to identify and examine institutional strategies and best practices that contribute to, or hinder, student success in these courses; and to create tools and templates that other systems and colleges/universities can use to analyze their own data and facilitate student success in first-year math courses. For more information, contact Danette Gerald at email@example.com or Ron Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featuring updates from the Alliance, a member organization of institutions, organizations and companies committed to and experienced with large-scale course redesign.
Membership in the Redesign Alliance continues to grow as more institutions and companies learn about the power of course redesign. Since the January 2007 issue of this newsletter, 13 institutions and companies have joined the Redesign Alliance, bringing the total number of members to 69. We welcome Alamo Community College District; Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia; California State University, Northridge; East Tennessee State University ; Hawkes Learning Systems; Hocking College; Idaho State University; Minnesota State University, Mankato; Purchase College (SUNY); Saint Cloud State University; Southwest Minnesota State University; The University of North Carolina; and, University of South Carolina. We look forward to working with these new members. To learn more about Alliance membership, see http://www.thencat.org/RA.htm.
On March 18-20, 2007, more than 400 representatives of 150 institutions and companies gathered in Orlando, FL to learn more about course redesign. On Sunday afternoon, about 200 people attended a Newcomer’s Session, indicating that a large number of the attendees were both new to the ideas and quite interested in learning more. On Monday morning, Carol Twigg’s opening plenary talk, “State-of-the-Art Course Redesign: What We’ve Achieved and Where We Need To Go,” addressed the national context for course redesign, what we have learned thus far about how to improve learning while reducing costs, and the kinds of issues and challenges that the Redesign Alliance needs to address.
Following the opening plenary, a series of Disciplinary Showcases featured the Redesign Scholars who described the successful course redesigns they have already implemented and answered questions posed by the participants. A variety of concurrent sessions on Monday afternoon focused on “Eight Great Ideas: Successful Redesign Techniques.” Presenters included representatives from the Program in Course Redesign, the Roadmap to Redesign as well as other projects that demonstrate both increased student learning and reduced instructional costs. The day culminated with an excellent panel entitled, “Building an Assessment Culture” and included Steve Crow from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Peter Ewell from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and Mari Pearlman from the Educational Testing Service. These speakers provided a national perspective on the issues facing higher education including the relationship between accountability and assessment as well as the role of course redesign as a significant contributor to addressing these national issues.
On Tuesday, the day began with the Feedback Forum, held in four disciplinary areas, for those who have good ideas for redesigns and wanted input from those who have already successfully completed a redesign. The Redesign Scholars and others attending these sessions responded to each presentation and provided ideas for strengthening the preliminary ideas of presenters. Concurrently others at the conference were attending sessions on “Hot Topics in Course Redesign” such how to get started, redesigning developmental and remedial education and increasing retention. The conference concluded with a panel on “Change Strategies: Moving Beyond the First Redesign”. Panelists included Malcolm Hill from the University of Richmond who talked about how the redesign has spread throughout the biology department at Fairfield University; Bob Olin from the University of Alabama who described how redesign has spread throughout the College of Arts and Sciences; and, Nancy Shapiro described the system-wide initiative in course redesign at the University System of Maryland.
Throughout the conference, corporate members of the Alliance sponsored hospitality suites where attendees could learn about various products and services that can be used in course redesign. These suites were overrun by participants, indicating a high level of interest in gaining practical knowledge that can be incorporated in course redesign. A special session on Use and Reuse of Materials conducted by Redesign Scholar Candace Thille from Carnegie Mellon University on Monday night attracted more than 100 participants.
Comments from most participants were enthusiastic and indicated that the conference gave them practical advice and inspired them to think differently. These comments were echoed by the Redesign Alliance Advisory Board which met on Tuesday afternoon after the close of the Annual Conference. Advisory Board members recommended that NCAT poll both conference attendees and Alliance members to gather input to shape next year’s conference as well as other Alliance activities. NCAT will conduct this survey in May 2007.
Slides from most of the presentations are available on the NCAT web site at http://www.thencat.org/RedesignAlliance/Agenda.htm linked to each item on the agenda. For more information about membership in the Redesign Alliance, see http://www.thencat.org/RA.htm.
Colleagues Committed to Redesign (C2R) is a FIPSE-funded program designed to link those new to course redesign with experienced practitioners to support new institutions’ efforts to redesign large-enrollment introductory courses using the NCAT methodology. On April 27, 2007, 20 Round I C2R institutional teams met in Austin, TX to learn more about course redesign and to share their preliminary plans with the other teams in their disciplines and 19 Redesign Scholars. The C2R teams were joined by three additional teams from the Texas Redesign Project described above. Prior to attending the Disciplinary Institutes, teams completed a series of reading assignments on course redesign and collected baseline data on student learning outcomes and instructional costs for the traditional course to be compared to outcomes and costs after the course is redesigned.
The institutional teams were divided into four disciplinary clusters: Humanities, Quantitative, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. The teams presented their preliminary redesign plans, including the model they expect to use and how their redesign embodies the five principles of successful redesign. After the presentations, each team received feed back from other teams in their disciplines and the Redesign Scholars. Also participating were representatives of NCAT's Corporate Associates. Teams will submit their final course redesign plans on June 1, 2007 and will pilot their redesigns in fall 2007.
A second round of C2R institutions will be selected in January 2008. To learn more about this program and how to apply for Round II, see http://www.thencat.org/RedesignAlliance/DissemProgram.htm.
Linking content and software providers with leading edge institutions
The National Center for Academic Transformation welcomes a new Corporate Associate, McGraw-Hill Higher Education Division. McGraw-Hill joins Houghton Mifflin, Pearson Education and Thomson Higher Education in working with NCAT to ensure that educational institutions participating in cutting-edge course redesigns have knowledge of the best technology and best content that will help produce the best student learning outcomes. By strengthening the communication between those creating the technology and content and those using it, we can further our shared mission of improved learning at reduced costs. McGraw-Hill is particularly interested in strengthening its online resources and learning more about how these can be incorporated in successful course redesigns.
Houghton Mifflin’s (HM) TeamUP/Faculty Programs Group is partnering with Middlesex County College (MCC) in Edison, New Jersey to redesign its beginning algebra course using the replacement model. Dr. Mike Hamm, HM Faculty Programs Senior Consultant and math specialist, is working with Dr. Maria Delucia, Chair of the Mathematics Department at MCC, on the redesign project. MCC will use Aufmann Beginning Algebra with Applications 7th edition textbook and its online course management system, Eduspace. Eduspace includes an interactive multimedia textbook, an assessment tool called HM Assess, SMARTHINKING’s online tutoring services as well as interactive tutorials, videos and thousands of exercises for homework or practice.
Houghton Mifflin is also partnering with the University of Utah to redesign Introductory Spanish. Dr. LeeAnn Stone, HM World Language Specialist, will work with Dr. Fernando Rubio, Course Coordinator, in developing the redesign parameters and curriculum incorporating both a replacement model and a fully online model for the course. The University of Utah will use the Nexos Media Edition introductory Spanish interactive e-book.
Both projects will measure differences in student success and will focus on containing instructional costs. Houghton Mifflin’s TeamUP/Faculty Programs Group includes experienced college educators able to offer consulting, training and curriculum design services for online, hybrid and on-ground courses in all disciplines. For more information about these projects or the HM services or materials, contact Melissa Zantello, Director of TeamUP/Faculty Programs, at email@example.com.
Pearson Education hosted an exciting course redesign workshop on March 3, 2007, at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL entitled, “ Our Pain is your Gain: the UA Experience.” More than 100 math educators attended the event which featured reports by MyMathLab users highlighting implementation ideas and student learning results. Open to any and all aficionados of course redesign in mathematics, the workshop also served as an opportunity to provide MyMathLab training. A similar event is planned for April 20, 2007, at the Fullerton Marriott in Fullerton, CA. Visit www.pearsoncourseredesign.com later this spring for information about the next NCAT/Pearson Course Redesign workshop in October 2007.
For more information on how to become an NCAT Corporate Associate, contact Carolyn Jarmon at cjarmon@theNCAT.org or call (518) 695-5320.
Reporting on initiatives that share the Center's goals and objectives
During summer 2007, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) will offer a series of free workshops building on its Open Learning Initiative (OLI), a collection of "cognitively informed," openly available and free online courses and course materials that enact instruction for an entire course in an online format. Course materials have been developed in many fields including biology, French, logic, chemistry, economics and statistics. Track #1 workshop, “Faculty Course Use and Customization” is intended to support instructors in using the existing OLI online courses as well as in customizing lab activities. This workshop will occur on June 18 and19. Track #2 workshop, “Developing Effective Online Courses using the OLI Tools and Processes,” will occur June 18 - 22. This second, longer workshop is designed for development teams of 2 - 3 people who want to build effective online courses using the OLI development and delivery environment. To learn more, see http://www.cmu.edu/oli/summer_workshop/index.shtml, or contact Candace Thille at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new Lumina initiative, “Making Opportunity Affordable: Reinvesting in College Access and Success,” is focused on assisting states and institutions in addressing three fundamental problems: 1) stagnant educational attainment, 2) escalating spending, and 3) eroding quality. Funded by Lumina and managed by Jobs for the Future, the initiative will seek to help states and institutions expand student access and success and improve learning outcomes at a reasonable cost. A March, 2007 publication, “Hitting Home: Quality, Cost and Access Challenges Facing Higher Education Today,” describes the background research done by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems for the initiative and recommendations for future action. For more information about the initiative and to download the new publication, see www.makingopportunityaffordable.org.
Jobs for the Future is a non-profit research, consulting, and advocacy organization, working to strengthen society by creating educational and economic opportunity for those who need it most. To learn more, visit www.jff.org.
NCHEMS is a private nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist colleges and universities as they improve their management capability and is committed to bridging the gap between research and practice by placing the latest managerial concepts and tools in the hands of working administrators on college and university campuses. To learn more, visit www.nchems.org.
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 2007, The National Center for Academic Transformation