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Program in Course Redesign

The University of Alabama

Intermediate Algebra—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 25% 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 University of Alabama and the completed course planning tool.

Cost Savings

Using a model based in part on the Math Emporium at Virginia Tech, the redesign of Intermediate Algebra at the University of Alabama will generate cost savings by decreasing the number of faculty needed to teach the course while providing greater student interaction and consistency in learning outcomes. The university will combine all sections into one and move all structured learning activity to a Math Technology Learning Center (MTLC) open 65 hours per week.

The result of combining all sections into one will be that the number of faculty and GTAs needed to teach the course decreases from 10-12 to 6. Six undergraduate peer tutors will be added each term to provide individualized student assistance. Faculty time spent on the course will decline by more than 20%, from 3740 to 2964 hours annually and will be redirected from presentation of material to interaction with students. Time spent interacting with students will increase from 990 hours in the traditional format to 2080 in the redesigned course. A similar shift will occur with the GTAs as they spend less time on grading homework, quizzes and exams and more time on working with students. GTA preparation time decreases from 1270 to 174 hours annually. GTA-student interaction time will increase by more than 42%, from 990 to 1408 hours.

The redesign will reduce the cost-per-student from approximately $122 to $86, a 30% savings. Additional savings are anticipated as students are more successful in learning math and fewer repeat the course. Savings from the redesign will be retained in the mathematics department and will be used to expand the Math Technology Learning Center facilities and fund redesigns of other math courses.

[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—Intermediate Algebra

Faculty  
   
Annual Salary & Benefits $35,000
% devoted to instruction 100%
% devoted to this course 50%
$ devoted to this course $17,500
   
Contact hours for course 180
Out-of-class hours 500
Total hours 680
Cost per hour $26
   
Graduate TAs/Gas
   
Salary $15,760
% devoted to instruction 100%
% devoted to this course 100%
$ devoted to this course $15,760
   
Contact hours for course 180
Out-of-class hours 500
Total hours 680
Cost per hour $23
   
Undergraduate TAs  
Cost per hour $7
   
Professional/Staff $ per
Positions Hour

Step #2: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course

Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—Intermediate Algebra

  Faculty   Graduate TAs  
  Total Hours Total Cost Total Hours Total Cost
  Hourly Rate = $26 Hourly Rate = $23
I. Course Preparation        
         
A. Curriculum Development        
B. Materials Acquisition        
C. Materials Development        
1. Lectures/presentations 660 $17,160 660 $15,180
2. Learning materials/software 165 $4,290    
3. Diagnostic assessments 22 $572    
4. Assignments 165 $4,290 412 $9,476
5. Tests/evaluations 110 $2,860    
Sub-Total 1122 $29,172 1072 $24,656
         
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training        
1. Orientation 44 $1,144 88 $2,024
2. Staff meetings 110 $2,860 110 $2,530
Sub-Total 154 $4,004 198 $4,554
          
Total Preparation 1276 $33,176 1270 $29,210
         
II. Course Delivery        
         
A. Instruction        
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge 11 $286 11 $253
2. Presentation 990 $25,740 990 $22,770
3. Interaction 990 $25,740 990 $22,770
4. Progress monitoring 88 $2,288 88 $2,024
Sub-Total 2079 $54,054 2079 $47,817
         
B. Evaluation        
1. Test proctoring 121 $3,146 121 $2,783
2. Tests/evaluation 264 $6,864 264 $6,072
Sub-Total 385 $10,010 385 $8,855
Total Delivery 2464 $64,064 2464 $56,672
         
TOTAL 3740 $97,240 3734 $85,882
         
         
GRAND TOTAL   $183,122    
Total # of students   1500    
Cost per student   $122    

Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—Intermediate Algebra

  Faculty   Graduate TAs   Undergraduate TAs  
  Total Hours Total Cost Total Hours Total Cost Total Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $26 Hourly Rate= $23 Hourly Rate = $7
I. Course Preparation                  
             
A. Curriculum Development            
B. Materials Acquisition            
C. Materials Development            
1. Lectures/Presentations              
2. Learning materials/software 340 $8,840        
3. Diagnostic assessments 68 $1,768         
4. Assignments            
5. Tests/evaluations 68 $1,768        
Sub-Total 476 $12,376        
             
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training            
1. Orientation 96 $2,496 72 $1,656 96 $672
2. Staff meetings 136 $3,536 102 $2,346 136 $952
3. Attend lectures            
Sub-Total 232 $6,032 174 $4,002 232 $1,624
Total Preparation 708 $18,408 174 $4,002 232 $1,624
             
II. Course Delivery            
             
A. Instruction            
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge 68 $1,768        
2. Presentation            
3. Interaction 2080 $54,080 1408 $32,384 2080 $14,560
4. Progress monitoring 68 $1,768        
Sub-Total 2216 $57,616 1408 $32,384 2080 $14,560
             
B. Evaluation            
1. Test proctoring            
2. Tests/evaluation 40 $1,040        
Sub-Total 40 $1,040         
Total Delivery 2256 $58,656 1408 $32,384 2080 $14,560
             
TOTAL 2964 $77,064 1582 $36,386 2312 $16,184
             
             
             
GRAND TOTAL    $129,634        
Total # of students   1500        
Cost per student   $86        

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