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Lessons Learned

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona)

Pedagogical Improvement Techniques

What techniques contributed most to improving the quality of student learning?

The project did not improve student learning but rather showed no significant difference in outcomes when comparing the traditional format to the redesigned format. Consequently, the project reported that no pedagogical techniques improved the quality of student learning.

Cost Reduction Techniques

What techniques contributed most to reducing costs?

The project did not reduce costs. Consequently, the project reported no techniques that reduced costs.

Implementation Issues

What implementation issues were most important?

Unexpected change in project leadership. Cal Poly had intended to have a full implementation of the redesigned course during the fall 2001 quarter. Three days into the quarter, the project leader became so ill that she was forced to retire immediately. The faculty member who substituted for her in the course was not as familiar with the delivery mechanisms, and their overall implementation was put on hold. The team used the time to make improvements to the learning CD; they were able to continue the use of WebCT materials, but not the test generator. By January 2002, the project leader was replaced with another faculty member in the department, who used the winter 2002 quarter to learn how to manage the course using all of the previously developed materials. This change created a major setback in the project timeline.

Modifications in course materials. A survey designed to elicit student feedback on their experiences with the CD learning tool was invaluable in making decisions regarding future modifications. The instruction manual that accompanied the CD was modified as were the existing video lessons to include pre and post scripts that correlated textbook information, general psychological principles, and course objectives. Students were especially pleased with the segregation of topics within in a video lesson, making it easier to review taped segments that were of most interest.

Technical issues. Faculty training and support by university technical staff increased instructors' expertise, thereby increasing the amount of instructor time available to students. The university assigned a technical staff person to meet weekly with faculty to address any technical needs faculty might have. The process of reading and posting grades for written assignments submitted into WebCT was cumbersome and somewhat slow. In addition, any general university and/or WebCT problem produced expected disruptions in the course.

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