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Program in Course Redesign

University of Wisconsin–Madison

General Chemistry—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 format) 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 University of Wisconsin – Madison and the completed course planning tool.

Cost Savings

UW-Madison’s course-planning tool depicts a single section of 350 students. The redesigned course will reduce weekly lectures and recitation sections by one each, saving 83 hours of time per faculty member in each term, while continuing to enroll 350 students in a section. TA time decreases from 2,880 hours to 2,040 hours because recitation sections and required lecture attendance are reduced by 50%. By substituting technology-based materials for time spent by faculty and TAs, UW-Madison expects to reduce cost-per-student from about $257 to $185, a reduction of 28%. Were the redesign to be extended to the entire course, which enrolls nearly 4,100 students per year, the saving translates into an annual cost reduction of approximately $295,000.

[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—General Chemistry

Faculty  
   
Annual Salary and benefits $106,297
% devoted to instruction 50%
% devoted to this course 50%
$ devoted to this course $26,574
   
Contact hours for course 35
Out of class hours 162
Total hours 197
Cost per hour $135
   
TAs/GAs  
   
Salary $31,199
% devoted to instruction 50%
% devoted to this course 50%
$ devoted to this course $7,800
   
Contact hours for course 116
Out of class hours 244
Total hours 360
Cost per hour $22
   
Undergraduate TAs  
Cost per hour  
   
Professional/Staff $ per
Position Hour
   
Computer Room Staff $9

Step #2: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course

Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—General Chemistry

  Faculty   TAs/GAs  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $135 Hourly rate = $22
I. Course Preparation        
         
A. Curriculum Development        
B. Materials Acquisition        
C. Materials Development        
1. Lectures/presentations 60 $8,100 848 $18,656
2. Learning materials/software        
3. Diagnostic assessments        
4. Assignments 12 $1,620    
5. Tests/evaluations 27 $3,645 80 $1,760
Sub-Total 99 $13,365 928 $20,416
         
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training        
1. Orientation     240 $5,280
2. Staff meetings 15 $2,025 120 $2,640
3. Attend lectures     240 $5,280
Sub-Total 15 $2,025 600 $13,200
Total Preparation 114 $15,390 1528 $33,616
         
II. Course Delivery        
         
A. Instruction        
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge        
2. Presentation 30 $4,050    
3. Interaction 30 $4,050 1048 $23,056
4. Progress monitoring        
Sub-Total 60 $8,100 1048 $23,056
         
B. Evaluation        
1. Test proctoring 5 $675 40 $880
2. Tests/evaluation 18 $2,430 264 $5,808
Sub-Total 23 $3,105 304 $6,688
Total Delivery 83 $11,205 1352 $29,744
         
TOTAL 197 $26,595 2880 $63,360
         
         
         
GRAND TOTAL per section   $89,955    
Total # of students   350    
Cost per student   $257    

Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—General Chemistry

  Faculty   TAs/GAs   Professional Staff  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $135 Hourly rate = $22 Hourly rate = $9
I. Course Preparation            
             
A. Curriculum Development            
B. Materials Acquisition            
C. Materials Development            
1. Lectures/presentations 30 $4,050 448 $9,856    
2. Learning materials/software            
3. Diagnostic assessments            
4. Assignments            
5. Tests/evaluations 16 $2,160        
Sub-Total 46 $6,210 448 $9,856    
             
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training             
1. Orientation     240 $5,280    
2. Staff meetings 15 $2,025 120 $2,640    
3. Attend lectures     120 $2,640    
Sub-Total 15 $2,025 480 $10,560    
Total Preparation 61 $8,235 928 $20,416    
             
II. Course Delivery            
             
A. Instruction            
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge            
2. Presentation 15 $2,025        
3. Interaction 15 $2,025 808 $17,776    
4. Progress monitoring         304 $2,736
Sub-Total 30 $4,050 808 $17,776 304 $2,736
             
B. Evaluation            
1. Test proctoring 5 $675 40 $880 176 $1,584
2. Tests/evaluation 18 $2,430 264 $5,808    
Sub-Total 23 $3,105 304 $6,688 176 $1,584
Total Delivery 53 $7,155 1112 $24,464 480 $4,320
             
TOTAL 114 $15,390 2040 $44,880 480 $4,320
             
             
             
GRAND TOTAL per section   $64,590        
Total # of students   350        
Cost per student   $185        

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