Impact on Cost Savings
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Were costs reduced as planned?
The implementation was consistent with the original course-planning tool, with three modest departures. First, there was a new crop of instructors in Economic Statistics II. It seems prudent to anticipate further turnover in the future. This imposes costs in that new instructors must learn the technology and the teaching approach. The summer term provides the opportunity to prepare new faculty to teach in the new learning environment. Although the student numbers are small during the summer, experienced TAs are assigned to work with new faculty as part of the training experience. Summer teaching is not an additional cost, but having senior TAs who are already well-acquainted with the approach during the summer adds cost. Second, before the turnover, one instructor gave all the optional lectures. Now, two instructors provide these optional lectures. The overall increase in cost from these two factors is about $20,000 per year, reducing the total savings from approximately $250,000 to about $230,000.
TAs are currently assigned three sections per semester for a half-time assistantship. The instructors in both courses reported that the TAs do not seem to be working very hard and could readily accommodate another section per semester. Since there are no plans at present to have the TAs teach more, one can regard this as additional savings that accrue to the TAs rather than to the Economics Department. It should be noted that the projected savings in TAs have already been spent. The Economics Department has been admitting smaller classes into the doctoral program, and there are simply no longer the students to staff the course in the old way.
Program in Course Redesign Quick Links: