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Impact on Students

Fairfield University

In the redesign, did students learn more, less or the same compared to the traditional format?

Improved Learning

Students in the redesigned course performed significantly better on benchmark exam questions. The questions on the new exams were designed to test higher order thinking and allow students to synthesize material from the basic concepts.

In addition, specific exam questions incorporated in the second year genetics course (required of all biology majors) were used to measure the retention of key concepts and compare the performance of traditional students and redesign students. Students from the redesigned course performed significantly better on this set of questions than did students from the traditional course (88% correct vs. 79% correct, respectively).

Improved Retention

After the first semester of full-scale implementation, the DFW rate dropped. Only 3% of the students in the redesign decided to drop the course compared to an average of close to 8% in previous years. There was no significant change in the failure or withdrawal rates.

Furthermore, the number of students who decided to enroll in the second semester of the course approached 85% compared to less than 75% in previous years. There was a 4% increase in the number of declared majors between freshman and sophomore years after implementing the redesigned course.

Other Impacts on Students

  • Instructors observed that students were more likely to work through problems when working in teams. Interactive online labs where students worked in teams on inquiry-based tasks facilitated sophisticated and in-depth discussions that were extremely rare in the traditional course.
  • Instructors observed improvement in the data analysis skills students learned from the computer-based activities as well as their ability to represent and present their data in a clear and concise manner.

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Program in Course Redesign Quick Links:

Program In Course Redesign Main Page...

Lessons Learned:
Round 1...
Round II...
Round III...

Savings:
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Round II...
Round III...

Project Descriptions:
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