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Program in Course Redesign

Fairfield University

Course Title: General Biology
Contact: Shelley Phelan

Fairfield University redesigned its two-semester General Biology course, one of the largest at Fairfield with an annual enrollment of 260 students. The traditional course was taught in a multiple-section model of 35-40 students each. The goal was to change the focus of activity from memorization to a student-centered, inquiry-based pedagogy. The plan for the redesigned course emphasized the application of scientific methodology and critical thinking skills and incorporated modern instrumentation, software modules and online databases in order to increase student comprehension and retention of material. The planned redesign condensed all sections into a single large-classroom format in which students worked in teams of 2-3 around individual laptop computers, utilizing software modules that focused on inquiry-based instruction and independent investigations. Redesign goals intended for students to improve their understanding of foundational concepts in biology, develop increased confidence in their knowledge, understand the effectiveness of collaborative team efforts and develop higher-order cognitive skills. Significant cost savings were expected from reducing faculty time in three major areas: 1) materials development for lectures; 2) out-of-class course meetings; and 3) in-class lectures and labs. Consolidation of the seven lecture sections to two in the redesigned course and the introduction of computer-based modules in the lecture and laboratory were expected to result in a cost-per-student reduction from $506 to $350, a savings of 31%. The results of the completed redesign can be found by following the links listed below under Final Report.

Initial Planning (as of 7/1/00)

Interim Progress Report (as of 12/31/01)

Final Report (as of 12/31/02)

 

 

Program in Course Redesign Quick Links:

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Lessons Learned:
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Savings:
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