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Program in Course Redesign

Fairfield University

General Biology—Course Planning Tool

The Course Planning Tool is a formatted spreadsheet that facilitates a three-step process for institutions to establish and compare the instructional costs before redesign (the traditional course) and the instructional costs after the redesign (the redesigned course).

Step #1 shows the calculation of all personnel costs associated with preparing and delivering the course expressed as an hourly rate. Annual salary for faculty listed is the average of all faculty teaching the course and includes a 39% benefits rate. Step #2 uses this initial calculation to determine the cost of preparing and delivering the traditional course. Step #3 calculates these costs for the redesigned course. More specific Course Planning Tool instructions are available.

Below are a summary of the cost savings anticipated at the Fairfield University and the completed course planning tool.

Cost Savings

Cost savings in the redesign of General Biology will result from combining all students into one large section in a single large classroom, reducing the number of faculty teaching the course. The use of the BioQUEST software library and other online resources and interactive learning experiences in place of many faculty lectures will further reduce faculty preparation time. The number of faculty needed to teach the course will decline from 7 to 4 annually. Faculty time will be reconfigured to support a division of teaching responsibilities so that the four faculty members can each teach from his/her area of expertise. Overall faculty time devoted to this course will decrease from 1550 hours to 1063 hours. In addition, one-half of the labs will be virtual, generating a significant savings in lab expenses as well as in set-up and clean-up time for the professionals.

Consolidating lecture sections and introducing computer-based modules in the lecture and laboratory will result in a planned cost-per-student reduction from $506 to $350, a savings of 31% with a slight increase in the number of students served. The savings will allow faculty members to teach needed upper division biology courses at Fairfield.

[For more detailed information regarding their initial academic redesign, consult the project plan description.]

Step #1: Determine Instructional Costs per Hour

Instructional Costs per Hour—General Biology

Faculty  
   
Annual salary and benefits $79,352
% devoted to instruction 67%
% devoted to this course 33%
$ devoted to this course $17,545
   
Contact hours in Classroom 75
Out of class hours 172
Total hours 247
Cost per hour $71
   
TAs/GAs  
    
Salary and Benefits   
% devoted to instruction  
% devoted to this course  
$ devoted to this course  
   
Contact hours for this course  
Out of class hours  
Total hours  
Cost per hour  
   
Undergraduate TAs  
Cost per hour  
   
Professional/Staff $ per
Positions Hour
    
#1 Laboratory Supervisor/Instructor $20

Step #2: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course

Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—General Biology

  Faculty   Professional Staff
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $71 Hourly rate = $20
I. Course Preparation        
         
A. Curriculum Development 30 $2,130    
B. Materials Acquisition 30 $2,130 72 $1,440
C. Materials Development        
1. Lectures/presentations 333 $23,643 96 $1,920
2. Learning materials/software        
3. Diagnostic assessments        
4. Assignments 36 $2,556    
5. Tests/evaluations 42 $2,982    
Sub-Total 471 $33,441 168 $3,360
         
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training        
1. Orientation        
2. Meetings 158 $11,218 96 $1,920
3. Attend lectures        
Sub-Total 158 $11,218 96 $1,920
Total Preparation 629 $44,659 264 $5,280
              
II. Course Delivery            
           
A. Instruction          
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge            
2. Presentation 453 $32,163 288 $5,760
3. Interaction 196 $13,916    
4. Progress monitoring        
Sub-Total 649 $46,079 288 $5,760
         
B. Evaluation        
1. Test proctoring 42 $2,982    
2. Tests/evaluation 230 $16,330 176 $3,520
Sub-Total 272 $19,312 176 $3,520
Total Delivery 921 $65,391 464 $9,280
         
TOTAL 1550 $110,050 728 $14,560
         
Laboratory Supplies       $7,000
         
GRAND TOTAL   $131,610    
Total # of students   260    
Cost per student   $506    

Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—General Biology

  Faculty   Professional Staff  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $71 Hourly rate = $20
I. Course Preparation        
         
A. Curriculum Development 30 $2,130    
B. Materials Acquisition 30 $2,130 48 $960
C. Materials Development        
1. Lectures/presentations 102 $7,242 54 $1,080
2. Learning materials/software 61 $4,331 45 $900
3. Diagnostic assessments        
4. Assignments 45 $3,195 45 $900
5. Tests/evaluations 68 $4,828 36 $720
Sub-Total 336 $23,856 228 $4,560
         
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training        
1. Orientation        
2. Meetings 54 $3,834 54 $1,080
3. Attend lectures        
Sub-Total 54 $3,834 54 $1,080
Total Preparation 390 $27,690 282 $5,640
         
II. Course Delivery        
         
A. Instruction        
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge        
2. Presentation 192 $13,632 216 $4,320
3. Interaction 112 $7,952    
4. Progress monitoring 112 $7,952    
Sub-Total 416 $29,536 216 $4,320
         
B. Evaluation        
1. Test proctoring 12 $852    
2. Tests/evaluation 245 $17,395 225 $4,500
Sub-Total 257 $18,247 225 $4,500
Total Delivery 673 $47,783 441 $8,820
         
TOTAL 1063 $75,473 723 $14,460
         
Special Supplies/Software       $8,100
         
GRAND TOTAL   $98,033    
Total # of students   280    
Cost per student   $350    

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