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Impact on Cost Savings

Virginia Tech

Were costs reduced as planned?

The redesign of Linear Algebra went as planned. The original projected savings was $128,180, but after full implementation, the university will save $140,000 annually. By fall 2000 it became apparent that one instructor working full-time could handle all faculty duties for the course. The introduction of online lectures and testing in 2001 has reduced the labor requirement for the instructor to half-time, with some additional time spent supervising exams and checking and revising learning materials. Time for tenure-track faculty was reduced to zero (a 100% decline). Instructors’ time was reduced to 366 hours a year, a reduction of 73% from the traditional model.

A teaching assistant was specifically assigned to the course, mainly to interact with students but also to help with test proctoring and checking of materials. Total time for teaching assistants in the redesigned model is 420 hours, a decrease of 73%. Altogether, the cost-per-student in the new format declined $70, from $91 in the traditional format to $21 in the redesigned model.

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