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Program in Course Redesign

Penn State University

Elementary Statistics—Course Planning Tool

The Course Planning Tool is a formatted spreadsheet that facilitates a three-step process for institutions to establish and compare the instructional costs before redesign (the traditional course) and the instructional costs after the redesign (the redesigned course).

Step #1 shows the calculation of all personnel costs associated with preparing and delivering the course expressed as an hourly rate. Annual salary for faculty listed is the average of all faculty teaching the course and includes a 27% benefits rate. Step #2 uses this initial calculation to determine the cost of preparing and delivering the traditional course. Step #3 calculates these costs for the redesigned course. More specific Course Planning Tool instructions are available.

Below are a summary of the cost savings anticipated at Penn State and the completed course planning tool.

Cost Savings

By offloading many instructional tasks performed by faculty and GTAs in the traditional model of Elementary Statistics to interactive computer-based learning, the planned redesign will result in a 30% reduction in the cost-per-student—from about $176 to $123. The total number of students will remain the same. Faculty will spend less time preparing and delivering lectures and more time interacting with students. Overall, instructor time will decrease from 980 hours to 800 hours, or 45 hours less per instructor per term.

The primary savings will result from the reduction in GTA time, from 3,636 hours to 1,632, and from the reduction of the number of GTAs, from 12 to 6 with assistance from 8–10 undergraduate interns in the labs. Students will spend more time on computer lab applications. GTAs and faculty will provide assistance in the lab as students and groups solve problems. Additional personnel will provide clerical support for tracking students’ progress and technical support for maintaining the course Web site.

The savings that will be generated for one 240-student section is calculated to be $12,604, with a semester savings for four sections of $50,416. Because this course enrolls 2,200 students annually at the University Park campus, the redesign savings translate into annual savings of at least $116,600.

[For more detailed information regarding their initial academic redesign, consult the project plan description.]

Step #1: Determine Instructional Costs per Hour

Instructional Costs per Hour—Elementary Statistics

Faculty  
   
Salary and Benefits $70,037
% devoted to instruction 50%
% devoted to this course 60%
$ devoted to this course $21,011
   
Contact hours for course 45
Out of class hours 200
Total hours 245
Cost per hour $86
   
Graduate TAs  
   
Salary of one TA $14,130
% devoted to instruction 50%
% devoted to this course 100%
$ devoted to this course $7,065
   
Contact hours for course 105
Out of class hours 198
Total hours 303
Cost per hour of one TA $23
   
Undergraduate TAs  
Cost per hour $10
   
Professional/Staff $ per
Positions Hour
   
#1 Web Tech Support $15
#2 Clerical Support $10

Step #2: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course

Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—Elementary Statistics

  Faculty   TAs/GAs  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $86 Hourly rate = $23
I. Course Preparation        
         
A. Curriculum Development        
B. Materials Acquisition        
C. Materials Development        
1. Lecture/presentations 360 $30,873    
2. Learning materials/software     720 $16,788
3. Diagnostic Assessments        
4. Assignments 24 $2,058    
5. Tests/evaluations 100 $8,576    
Sub-Total 484 $41,508 720 $16,788
            
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training          
1. Orientation/Training     48 $1,119
2. Staff meetings 60 $5,146 180 $4,197
3. Attend lectures     540 $12,591
Sub-Total 60 $5,146 768 $17,907
Total Preparation 544 $46,653 1488 $34,695
         
II. Course Delivery        
          
A. Instruction        
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge        
2. Presentation 180 $15,437 720 $16,788
3. Student Interactions 120 $10,291 360 $8,394
4. Progress monitoring        
Sub-Total 300 $25,728 1080 $25,182
         
B. Evaluation         
1. Test proctoring 40 $3,430 180 $4,197
2. Tests/Evaluation 96 $8,233 888 $20,705
Sub-Total 136 $11,663 1068 $24,902
Total Delivery 436 $37,391 2148 $50,085
          
TOTAL 980 $84,044 3636 $84,780
              
             
            
GRAND TOTAL   $168,824    
Total # of students    960      
Cost per student    $176      

Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of the Redesigned Course

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—Elementary Statistics

  FACULTY   TAs/GAs   Undergrad TAs   Clerical Support   Web Tech Support  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $86 Hourly rate = $23
Hourly rate =
$10 Hourly rate = $10 Hourly rate = $15
I. Course Preparation                    
                     
A. Curriculum Development                    
B. Materials Acquisition             60 $600    
C. Materials Development                    
1. Lecture/prepreparation 120 $10,291 180 $4,197            
2. Learning materials/software                    
3. Diagnostic assessments                    
4. Assignments 8 $686                
5. Tests/evaluations 16 $1,372         30 $300    
Sub-Total 144 $12,349 180 $4,197     90 $900    
                               
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training                        
1. Orientation/training     48 $1,119            
2. Staff meetings 60 $5,146 90 $2,099            
3. Attend lectures     180 $4,197            
Sub-Total 60 $5,146 318 $7,415            
Total Preparation 204 $17,495 498 $11,612     90 $900    
                     
II. Course Delivery                    
                     
A. Instruction                    
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge                    
2. Presentation 300 $25,728 300 $6,995            
3. Interaction 240 $20,582 510 $11,892 840 $8,148      160 $2,400
4. Progress monitoring     180 $4,197            
Sub-Total 540 $46,310 990 $23,084 840 $8,148     160 $2,400
                     
B. Evaluation                    
1. Test proctoring 24 $2,058 48 $1,119     30 $300    
2. Tests/evaluation 32 $2,744 96 $2,238            
Sub-Total 56 $4,803 144 $3,358     30 $300    
Total Delivery 596 $51,113 1134 $26,441 840 $8,148 30 $300 160 $2,400
                     
TOTAL 800 $68,608 1632 $38,053 840 $8,148 120 $1,200 160 $2,400
                     
                     
                     
GRAND TOTAL   $118,409                  
Total # of students   960                  
Cost per student   $123                

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