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Program in Course Redesign

Virginia Tech

Linear Algebra—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 25% 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 Virginia Tech and the completed course planning tool.

Cost Savings

Virginia Tech will replace 38 sections with 1 large section conducted in the Math Emporium. All former class meetings will be eliminated. One instructor and one-tenure track faculty member share duties in approximately a 2:1 ratio of hours. The instructor handles most of the day-to-day activities in course delivery, while the tenure-track faculty member takes the lead in planning and preparation. Tenure-track faculty members’ time in the course is reduced from 1,050 hours to 160 per term, a decline of 85%. The time for all instructors declines from 1,365 to 320 hours per term, a decrease of 77%.

The new cost structure associated with the redesigned learning environment also includes graduate and undergraduate Math Emporium helpers. The time spent by GTAs decreases by 82%; all 290 hours in the redesigned course are devoted to interaction with students. The additional 1,885 hours of peer tutoring in the redesigned model provide even greater assistance to students when they need it. The total interaction time of all personnel increases from 1,140 hours in the traditional model to 2,305 hours in the redesigned course. Two technical support people for database management and software upkeep are also included in the redesign. In addition, a reallocation of responsibilities among multiple types of professionals contributes to the savings.

Virginia Tech anticipates savings of $64 per student (from $91 to $27), or $96,000 for the fall semester. Annual savings for all sections of Linear Algebra are expected to be $128,180 (more students take the course in the fall term than in the spring, and some costs do not scale down with total class size).

[For more detailed information regarding their initial academic design, consult the project plan description.]

Step #1: Determine Instructional Costs per Hour

Instructional Costs per Hour—Linear Algebra

Faculty Tenure Instructor
  Track  
Annual salary and benefits $89,507 $35,386
% devoted to instruction 50% 100%
% devoted to this course 17% 8%
$ devoted to this course $7,460 $2,948
     
Contact hours for course 30 30
Out of class hours 75 75
Total hours 105 105
Cost per hour $71 $28
     
TAs/GAs    
     
Salary $15,010  
% devoted to instruction 50%  
% devoted to this course 22%  
$ devoted to this course $1,668  
     
Contact hours for course 30  
Out of class hours 75  
Total hours 105  
Cost per hour $16  
     
Undergraduate Peer Tutors    
Cost per hour $7  
     
Professional/Support $ per  
Position Hour  
     
#1 Database manager $12  
#2 Programmer (upkeep) $10  

Step #2: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course

Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—Linear Algebra

  Tenure Track Faculty   Instructor   TAs/GAs  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $71 Hourly rate = $28 Hourly rate = $16
I. Course Preparation            
             
A. Curriculum Development 17 $1,207        
B. Materials Acquisition 3 $213        
C. Materials Development           $0
1. Lectures/presentations 150 $10,650 195 $5,460 255 $4,080
2. Learning materials/software 5 $355 7 $196 8 $120
3. Diagnostic assessments            
4. Assignments 150 $10,650 195 $5,460 225 $3,600
5. Tests/evaluations 25 $1,775 33 $924 38 $600
Sub-Total 350 $24,850 429 $12,040 525 $8,400
             
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training            
1. Orientation     4 $112    
2. Staff meetings     7 $196    
3. Attend lectures     15 $420    
Sub-Total     26 $728    
Total Preparation 350 $24,850 455 $12,740 525 $8,400
             
II. Course Delivery            
             
A. Instruction            
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge            
2. Presentation 280 $19,880 364 $10,192 420 $6,720
3. Interaction 300 $21,300 390 $10,920 450 $7,200
4. Progress monitoring            
Sub-Total 580 $41,180 754 $21,112 870 $13,920
             
B. Evaluation            
1. Test proctoring 20 $1,420 26 $728 30 $480
2. Tests/evaluation 100 $7,100 130 $3,640 150 $2,400
Sub-Total 120 $8,520 156 $4,368 180 $2,880
Total Delivery 700 $49,700 910 $25,480 1050 $16,800
             
TOTAL 1050 $74,550 1365 $38,220 1575 $25,200
             
             
             
GRAND TOTAL   $137,970        
Total # of students   1,520        
Cost per student   $91        

Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—Linear Algebra

  Tenure Track Faculty   Instructors   TAs/GAs   Peer Tutors  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $71 Hourly rate = $28 Hourly rate = $16 Hourly rate = $7
I. Course Preparation                
                 
A. Curriculum Development 30 2130 10 $280        
B. Materials Acquisition                
C. Materials Development                
1. Lectures/presentations 5 $355 10 $280        
2. Learning materials/software 20 $1,420 15 $420        
3. Diagnostic assessments 10 $710 10 $280        
4. Assignments                
5. Tests/evaluations 20 $1,420 20 $560        
Sub-Total 85 $6,035 65 $1,820        
                  
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training                 
1. Orientation 10 $710 25 $700        
2. Staff meetings 5 $355 5 $140        
3. Attend lectures                
Sub-Total 15 $1,065 30 $840        
Total Preparation 100 $7,100 95 $2,660        
                 
II. Course Delivery                
                 
A. Instruction                
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge                
2. Presentation     45 $1,260        
3. Interaction 40 $2,840 90 $2,520 290 $4,640 1885 $13,195
4. Progress monitoring                
Sub-Total 40 $2,840 135 $3,780 290 $4,640 1885 $13,195
                 
B. Evaluation                
1. Test proctoring     30 $840        
2. Tests/evaluation 20 $1,420 60 $1,680        
Sub-Total 20 $1,420 90 $2,520        
Total Delivery 60 $4,260 225 $6,300 290 $4,640 1885 $13,195
                 
TOTAL 160 $11,360 320 $8,960 290 $4,640 1885 $13,195
Data Base Manager 150 $1,800            
Programmer 60 $600            
                 
GRAND TOTAL   $40,555              
Total # of students   1,520            
Cost per student   $27            

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