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Labor Saving Techniques

Rio Salado College

Given that a major goal of the course re-design project is to substitute technology "capital" for faculty teaching "labor," in what particular aspects of the course and its delivery are you finding that you are able to do this?

The Rio Salado re-design specifically addressed the substitution of technology capital for teaching labor. The intent of the redesign was to increase class size while combining the interactivity of technology (Academic Systems CD-ROM) with the asynchronicity of an existing on-line course. This re-design was based on using pre-developed materials. The materials have been and continue to be extremely suitable for the delivery of Rio?s on-line math courses.

Use of the Academic Systems software had had significant impact prior to the redesign project because Rio had already substituted technology capital for teaching labor in using the CDs as the primary point of instruction in its distance learning math classes. However, the redesign had additional impact because the pilot project confirmed that the CD-ROM materials could be substituted for faculty labor without decreases in achievement or retention since the number of students was, in fact, increased from 30 to 100.

The redesign included adding a student assistant for greater communication and proactive intervention and shifting non-instructional questions from the instructor to the assistant. In the spring 2000 pilot, much of the student interaction was assigned to the assistant and deemed manageable with 100 students. There was little to no impact on creating and grading assignments because these functions are incorporated into the Academic Systems package. The instructional role for the faculty was improved greatly by having the course assistant respond to non-instruction communications.

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