|Program in Course Redesign
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona)
The Traditional Course
Taught every quarter, General Psychology is a high-enrollment course that fulfills a general education requirement. Approximately 36% of Cal Poly Pomona students take the course, and one-sixth of those students retake the course at least once. The course, taught in traditional lecture format, previously served 1500 students per year in 30 sections of 50 students. At least 750 more students were not able to take the course because of classroom space limitations.
During the 1995-96 academic year, the traditional course was redesigned. One redesigned, mediated section of the course, serving 120 students, has been offered each quarter with the rest of the sections taught in the traditional format. This first mediated version of the course consists of 18 video modules, each 55 minutes long, available through streaming video and broadcast television. Course materials include a guidebook and a custom text. The use of mediated materials reduced 33 hours of lecture time to two hours with an additional ten hours redirected into tutorials, resulting in a net cost savings of 21 hours. Faculty reinvested that time in tutorials, with one faculty and one teaching assistant (TA) managing two tutorials per quarter, and in interaction with students during office hours and via e-mail.
While faculty reduced their preparation time significantly in the first redesigned version of General Psychology, their instruction time remained constant and their evaluation time increased. Total faculty time increased by 12 hours per section, while the number of students served increased by a factor of 2.4. The tutorials, chatrooms, and e-mail have been labor-intensive for faculty, and the technology-mediated course, as first redesigned, did not result in optimum cost savings.
The most significant problem for faculty is the labor-intensiveness and increased time required from the tutorial, chatroom, and e-mail support structures. The most significant problem for students is that the course is still not wholly student-directed. And the most significant problem for the institution is that this first iteration of technology-assisted General Psychology still does not meet the need to serve the anticipated 40% increase in the number of students entering the California State University system. More specifically, Cal Poly Pomona has only seven rooms that accommodate more than 100 students, limiting its ability to offer large sections of introductory courses such as General Psychology. Cal Poly Pomona needs to cope with larger numbers of students in a high-demand introductory course while at the same time enhancing student success and reducing costs.
The Redesigned Course
The prime objective in course redesign is to use technology to increase the number of students served to 2250 per year by improving on the 1995-96 pilot redesign model and increasing the number of students per section from 120 to 450. General Psychology, in its second redesign, will use technology to create greater engagement with students. The faculty believes that self-paced learning is superior to instructor-directed learning in that it facilitates success for different types of learners, enhances student retention, and gives students the ability to apply their knowledge to other disciplines and situations. To succeed in the course, students must take responsibility for their own learning outcomes.
The learning goals for the redesigned course will require students to
The goals of the redesigned course are to
To achieve these goals, the redesign of General Psychology will focus on three major areas—content modules, CD, and tests—all of which involve using asynchronous technology to meet student learning needs, reduce costs, and serve greater numbers of students.
Approximately one-quarter of the existing content modules will be re-edited and some segments re-shot to improve production values and incorporate updated material. The content modules will be available asynchronously, through video and audio streaming, allowing students to access them as needed.
Faculty will design an interactive CD to replace the 20 hours of tutorial time and cover key topics in the course: experimental design, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, cognitive tasks, social influence, personality disorders, depression. An interactive animated character will guide students through modules in the CD, and graphic elements will illustrate key concepts. The CD will link directly to the course web site, with updates and links to other resources including electronic textbooks. The problem-centered tutorials on the CD will offer self-paced learning opportunities for students and provide a capital for labor substitution.
Cal Poly Pomona is negotiating with Wadsworth to develop a data bank to store publisher and faculty test questions in order to offer Internet-based, individually-generated, randomly-assigned testing. Using this testing system, students receive immediate feedback on problem areas based on their performance. Faculty in General Psychology have observed that when students have the opportunity to set their own goals and re-test to their own criteria, they spend more time on task and achieve better quality learning. TAs will supervise tests in computer labs, resulting in an additional saving of six faculty hours for test proctoring.
Traditional Course Structure
Pilot Redesign Course Structure
Redesigned Course Structure
In summary, the redesigned course will implement the following changes:
Program in Course Redesign Quick Links: