Will the redesign be sustained now that the grant period is over?
Virginia Tech has overwhelming reasons for continuing with the redesigned course. The cost-reduction goals have been met, and the learning results are at least as good as those in the traditional course. The financial pressures that provided part of the motivation for redesigning are likely to intensify. In addition, not only has demand for classroom space for this course been eliminated, but also computer lab space in the Math Emporium serves many purposes and will remain available as part of the university infrastructure.
During 2001, a new tutorial system for an additional course, Precalculus, was produced and went into full-scale use in the fall 2001 semester. The new system replaces an inadequate commercial one. The experiences, both good and bad, with Linear Algebra have led the developers to important structural changes; but the main idea for a Web-based package as the principal instructional carrier, with independent learning in the Math Emporium setting, is the same. With a server-based testing system in place, and with recent improvements in authoring technology, the new materials were produced relatively quickly. Work will soon begin on a similar Web-based system of learning modules for a calculus course, with a yearly enrollment of about 1,600.
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