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Program in Course Redesign

University of Colorado at Boulder

Introductory Astronomy—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 23% 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 the University of Colorado at Boulder and the completed course planning tool.

Cost Savings

Colorado's redesign will initially be developed in one large section with the intent of implementing it throughout the course. The course-planning tool shows the cost of the traditional course as taught in both large and moderate-sized sections and the impact of redesign on both formats. Faculty preparation is reduced by 50%, and GTA time is reduced from 600 to 200 hours in the large section and eliminated entirely in the moderate-sized sections. ULAs provide 720 hours of interaction time in the large redesigned sections and 450 hours in the moderate-sized redesigned sections to support students’ learning.

In the redesign, the cost-per-student in the large sections will decrease from $146 to $125, a 14% saving, reflecting the fact that the large lecture model is already relatively inexpensive. The cost-per-student in the moderate-sized sections (approximately 80 students) will shrink from $304 to $199, a 35% cost savings. Taking the two configurations together, the cost-per-student is reduced from $171 to $137, a 20% savings that translates to a total course savings of $34,910 each term.

[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—Introductory Astronomy

Faculty  
   
Annual salary and benefits $88,340
% devoted to instruction 40%
% devoted to this course 50%
$ devoted to this course $17,668
   
Contact hours for course 45
Out of class hours 195
Total hours 240
Cost per hour $74
   
TAs/GAs Color
   
Annual salary and benefits $27,200
% devoted to instruction 50%
% devoted to this course 50%
$ devoted to this course $6,800
   
Contact hours for course 45
Out of class hours 255
Total hours 300
Cost per hour $23
   
Undergraduate TAs  
Cost per hour $9
   
Support Staff $ per
Position Hour
   
Programmer $40

Step #2: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course

Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—Large Sections—Introductory Astronomy

Color Faculty 1 TAs/GAs 2
Color # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $74 Hourly rate = $23
I. Course Preparation        
         
A. Curriculum Development        
B. Materials Acquisition        
C. Materials Development        
1. Lectures/presentations 90 $6,660    
2. Learning materials/software        
3. Diagnostic assessments        
4. Assignments 30 $2,220    
5. Tests/evaluations 20 $1,480    
Sub-Total 140 $10,360    
         
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training        
1. Orientation 2 $148 10 $230
2. Staff meetings 8 $592 20 $460
3. Attend lectures     90 $2,070
Sub-Total 10 $740 120 $2,760
Total Preparation 150 $11,100 120 $2,760
         
II. Course Delivery        
         
A. Instruction        
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge        
2. Presentation 45 $3,330    
3. Interaction 30 $2,220 300 $6,900
4. Progress monitoring        
Sub-Total 75 $5,550 300 $6,900
         
B. Evaluation        
1. Test proctoring        
2. Tests/evaluation 15 $1,110 180 $4,140
Sub-Total 15 $1,110 180 $4,140
Total Delivery 90 $6,660 480 $11,040
         
TOTAL per section 240 $17,760 600 $13,800
         
         
         
GRAND TOTAL per section   $31,560    
Total # of students per section   216    
Cost per student   $146    

Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—Moderate Sections—Introductory Astronomy

Color Faculty   TAs/GAs  
Color # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
Color Hourly rate = $74 Hourly rate = $23
I. Course Preparation        
         
A. Curriculum Development        
B. Materials Acquisition        
C. Materials Development        
1. Lectures/presentations 90 $6,660    
2. Learning materials/software        
3. Diagnostic assessments        
4. Assignments 30 $2,220    
5. Tests/evaluations 20 $1,480    
Sub-Total 140 $10,360    
         
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training        
1. Orientation 2 $148 5 $115
2. Staff meetings 8 $592 10 $230
3. Attend lectures     45 $1,035
Sub-Total 10 $740 60 $1,380
Total Preparation 150 $11,100 60 $1,380
         
II. Course Delivery        
         
A. Instruction        
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge        
2. Presentation 45 $3,330    
3. Interaction 30 $2,220 90 $2,070
4. Progress monitoring        
Sub-Total 75 $5,550 90 $2,070
         
B. Evaluation        
1. Test proctoring        
2. Tests/evaluation 15 $1,110 150 $3,450
Sub-Total 15 $1,110 150 $3,450
Total Delivery 90 $6,660 240 $5,520
         
TOTAL 240 $17,760 300 $6,900
         
         
         
GRAND TOTAL per section   $24,660    
Total # of students per section   81    
Cost per student   $304    

Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of the Redesigned Course

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—Large Section—Introductory Astronomy

Color Faculty   GTAs   UTAs 8 Professional Staff  
Color # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
Color Hourly rate = $74 Hourly rate = $23 Hourly rate = $9 Hourly rate = $40
I. Course Preparation                
                 
A. Curriculum Development                
B. Materials Acquisition                
C. Materials Development                
1. Lectures/presentations 30 $2,220            
2. Learning materials/software         240 $2,040 30 $1,200
3. Diagnostic assessments                
4. Assignments 15 $1,110            
5. Tests/evaluations 20 $1,480            
Sub-Total 65 $4,810     240 $2,040 30 $1,200
                 
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training                
1. Orientation 2 $148 5 $115        
2. Staff meetings 8 $592 15 $345 120 $1,020    
3. Attend lectures     15 $345 120 $1,020    
Sub-Total 10 $740 35 $805 240 $2,040    
Total Preparation 75 $5,550 35 $805 480 $4,080 30 $1,200
                 
II. Course Delivery                
                 
A. Instruction                
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge                
2. Presentation 15 $1,110            
3. Interaction 45 $3,330 90 $2,070 720 $6,120    
4. Progress monitoring                
Sub-Total 60 $4,440 90 $2,070 720 $6,120    
                 
B. Evaluation                
1. Test proctoring                
2. Tests/evaluation 15 $1,110 75 $1,725        
Sub-Total 15 $1,110 75 $1,725        
Total Delivery 75 $5,550 165 $3,795 720 $6,120    
                 
TOTAL 150 $11,100 200 $4,600 1200 $10,200 30 $1,200
                 
                 
                 
GRAND TOTAL per section   $27,100            
Total # of students per section   216            
Cost per student   $125            

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—Moderate Section—Introductory Astronomy

Color Faculty   UTAs 3 Professional Staff  
Color # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
Color Hourly rate = $74 Hourly rate = $9 Hourly rate = $40
I. Course Preparation            
             
A. Curriculum Development            
B. Materials Acquisition            
C. Materials Development            
1. Lectures/presentations 30 $2,220        
2. Learning materials/software     90 $765 30 $1,200
3. Diagnostic assessments            
4. Assignments 15 $1,110        
5. Tests/evaluations 20 $1,480        
Sub-Total 65 $4,810 90 $765 30 $1,200
             
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training            
1. Orientation 2 $148        
2. Staff meetings 8 $592 45 $383    
3. Attend lectures     45 $383    
Sub-Total 10 $740 90 $765    
Total Preparation 75 $5,550 180 $1,530 30 $1,200
             
II. Course Delivery            
             
A. Instruction            
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge            
2. Presentation 15 $1,110        
3. Interaction 45 $3,330 270 $2,295    
4. Progress monitoring            
Sub-Total 60 $4,440 270 $2,295    
             
B. Evaluation            
1. Test proctoring            
2. Tests/evaluation 15 $1,110        
Sub-Total 15 $1,110        
Total Delivery 75 $5,550 270 $2,295    
             
TOTAL 150 $11,100 450 $3,825 30 $1,200
             
             
             
GRAND TOTAL per section   $16,125        
Total # of students per section   81        
Cost per student   $199        

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Lessons Learned:
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