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Course Development Issues

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona)

To what extent have you been able to use previously developed materials in your re-design instead of creating new materials?

We were able to integrate both the video streaming and older Web site in the redesigned course. We had also anticipated using some publisher-created materials for learning simulations for the redesigned Web site, but none proved to be effective.

What kinds of activities took up the most time in your course development effort?

We anticipated spending most of our time on the creation of a Learning CD, and this was an accurate assessment. The next most intensive activity was learning to use WebCT to manage the course, which we had not anticipated. It was time well spent and an excellent addition. We anticipate that the fruits of this labor will result in large labor savings in the coming year.

Have students been directly involved in the re-design process?

Students have been involved in the course development. Some of it was sought from students in the form of surveys and focus groups, but they offered the rest when they perceived our needs. For example, after the first Web-based testing, students’ tests were available to them. They appreciated having that access in order to check out both their thinking on their responses and the possibility of mistakes in the test bank. We were worried about students’ collecting exams, which might lead to an advantage by some students. Students offered insightful and helpful information that we will use to resolve this issue even though the outcome of their input would not have a bearing on them.

What kinds of support for your project have you been receiving from your department or the institution more broadly?

Faculty have been supportive by allowing us access to their courses for our control group and by being willing to take over the course next year. Newer faculty have also prepared new video streaming content, thereby increasing their stake in the course. Our next departmental challenge is whether the redesigned course will replace all the traditional courses, serving 1800 students, each year in introductory psychology. Support at the college level has been unconditional, which has made the management of the project easier. We also received a great deal of support, both financial and otherwise from our Instructional Technology Division. It has proved invaluable.

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