|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.
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
Step #2: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course
Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—Intermediate Algebra
Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course
Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—Intermediate Algebra
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