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Program in Course Redesign

University of Southern Maine

Course Planning Tool—Introductory Psychology

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 33% 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 Southern Maine and the completed course planning tool.

Cost Savings

Redesign of the course will allow the number of students per section to grow from 75 to 125. Lecture time will be reduced by 50%, and per-term, per-section faculty time will be reduced by 31 hours. These changes will result in a planned 49% cost-per-student reduction, from $113 to $58. Total preparation time will decline from 95 to 72 hours. Time required for the evaluation of students’ work declines from 8 hours per section per term to 3, with the introduction of technology. The role of undergraduate TAs will also change; their involvement will increase from 38 to 78 hours, with the primary change in responsibilities being an increase in interaction.

The redesign will enable the university to offer Introductory Psychology to 875 students in 7 rather than 13 sections. As a result, psychology faculty will be free to engage in two other instructional options. A new, completely asynchronous section of the redesigned course will be offered using a combination of videotapes and Web-based materials. USM anticipates that an additional 100 students will take the new off-campus course. Currently, tuition is $354 per course for an in-state student; the anticipated revenue increase is $35,400. Other faculty who have previously been teaching Introductory Psychology will be free to teach other badly needed upper-level courses. The wider array of upper-level courses will enrich the curriculum and make it easier for students to graduate. Two additional sections of upper-division courses with an average enrollment of 30 will increase revenue by $21,240.

[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 Psychology

Faculty  
   
Annual Salary and Benefits $65,857
% devoted to instruction 75%
% devoted to this course 17%
$ devoted to this course $8,249
   
Contact hours for course 40
Out of class hours 135
Total hours 175
Cost per hour $47
   
Graduate TAs/GAs  
   
Annual Salary and Benefits  
% devoted to instruction  
% devoted to this course  
$ devoted to this course  
   
Contact hours for course  
Out of class hours  
Total hours  
Cost per hour  
   
Undergraduate TAs  
Cost per hour  
   
Professional/Staff $ per
Position hour

Step #2: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course

Instructional Costs of Traditional Courses—Introductory Psychology

  Faculty  
Undergraduate TAs
 
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $47 Hourly rate= $7
I. Course Development        
         
A. Curriculum Development        
B. Materials Acquisition        
C. Materials Development        
1. Lectures/presentations 28 $1,293 8 $54
2. Learning materials/software 40 $1,880    
3. Diagnostic assessments        
4. Assignments 8 $353    
5. Tests/evaluations 12 $555    
Sub-Total 87 $4,080 8 $54
         
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training        
1. Orientation        
2. Staff meetings 8 $54 8 $54
3. Attend lectures        
Sub-Total 8 $54 8 $54
Total Preparation 95 $4,432 15 $109
         
II. Course Delivery        
         
A. Instruction        
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge        
2. Presentation
38
$1,763 15 $109
3. Interaction 30 $1,410    
4. Progress monitoring 5 $235    
Sub-Total 73 $3,408 15 $109
         
B. Evaluation        
1. Test proctoring 2 $94 8 $54
2. Tests/evaluation 6 $282    
Sub-Total 8 $376 8 $54
Total Delivery $81 $3,784 23 $163
         
TOTAL 175 $8,216 38 $272
         
         
         
GRAND TOTAL $8,488       
Total # of students 75      
Cost per student $113      

Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Courses—Introductory Psychology

  Faculty   Undergraduate TAs  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $47 Hourly rate = $7
I. Course Preparation        
         
A. Curriculum Development        
B. Materials Acquisition        
C. Materials Development        
1. Lectures/presentations 10 $470    
2. Learning materials/software 30 $1,410    
3. Diagnostic assessments        
4. Assignments 15 $705    
5. Tests/evaluations 9 $437    
Sub-Total 64 $3,022    
         
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training        
1. Orientation        
2. Staff meetings 8 $353 8 $54
3. Attend lectures        
Sub-Total 8 $353 8 $54
Total Preparation 72 $3,375 8 $54
         
II. Course Delivery        
         
A. Instruction        
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge        
2. Presentation
23
$1,058    
3. Interaction 41 $1,941 70 $508
4. Progress monitoring 5 $235    
Sub-Total 69 $3,234 70 $508
         
B. Evaluation        
1. Test proctoring        
2. Tests/evaluation 3 $141    
Sub-Total 3 $141    
Total Delivery 72 $3,375 70 $508
         
TOTAL 144 $6,749 78 $562
         
         
         
GRAND TOTAL $7,311      
Total # of students 125      
Cost per student $58      

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