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Program in Course Redesign

University of Iowa

General Chemistry—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 24.5% 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 Iowa and the completed course planning tool.

Cost Savings

Enrolling about 1,300 students annually, General Chemistry is taught in lectures of 250-400 and discussion sections of 25. The lab is taught separately as a one-credit course with one large, one-hour lecture and 3 hours of lab. In the redesign, the lecture and lab components of General Chemistry will be integrated. The number of lecture sessions each week will decrease from 3 hours to 2, and the lab-lecture will be eliminated. Cost savings will result from substituting 2 instructors for the current 3 and automating homework grading (over 16,000 assignments per term), thus reducing the number of TAs needed by four.

The cost-per-student will be reduced by 20%, from $277 to $223, for an annual saving of about $70,000. Additional savings are anticipated by decreasing the number of students who must repeat the course. Savings will permit TAs to be redeployed to courses that have a long-standing need for them and will enable full-time faculty to teach courses formerly taught by part-time faculty.

[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 per person per semester—General Chemistry

Faculty Full time Instructors
     
Annual Salary and Benefits $86,528 $30,000
% devoted to instruction 40% 100%
% devoted to this course 50% 50%
$ devoted to this course $17,306 $15,000
     
Contact hours for course 48 96
Out of class hours 232 384
Total hours 280 480
Cost per hour $62 $31
     
TAs/GAs    
     
Salary $18,725  
% devoted to instruction 50%  
% devoted to this course 50%  
$ devoted to this course $4,681  
     
Contact hours for course 96  
Out of class hours 224  
Total hours 320  
Cost per hour $15  
     
Undergraduate TAs    
Cost per hour    
     
Professional/Staff $ per  
Positions Hour  
     
#1: Chem Center $14  
#2: Lab Director $34  

Step #2: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course

Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—General Chemistry

  Faculty 3 TAs/GAs 21.5 Chem Center Staff   Lab Director  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $62 Hourly rate = $15 Hourly rate = $14 Hourly rate = $34
I. Course Preparation                
                 
A. Curriculum Development 16 $989            
B. Materials Acquisition 8 $494            
C. Materials Development                
1. Lectures/presentations 32 $1,978            
2. Learning materials/software 32 $1,978 32 $468        
3. Diagnostic assessments     32 $468        
4. Assignments 16 $989            
5. Tests/evaluations 16 $989            
Sub-Total 120 $7,417 64 $936          
                 
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training                
1. Orientation                
2. Staff meetings: TA 16 $989 16 $234        
3. Attend lectures     48 $702        
Sub-Total 16 $989 64 $936         
Total Preparation 136 $8,406 128 $1,873          
                 
II. Course Delivery                
                 
A. Instruction                
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge                
2. Presentation 48 $2,967 80 $1,170     64 $2,176
3. Interaction: office hrs, email 32 $1,978 32 $468        
4. Progress monitoring 32 $1,978              
Sub-Total 112 $6,922 112 $1,638       64 $2,176
                      
B. Evaluation                
1. Test proctoring 14 $865 14 $205        
2. Tests/evaluation 18 $1,113 66 $966 160 $2,240     
Sub-Total 32 $1,978 80 $1,170 160 $2,240     
Total Delivery 144 $8,900 192 $2,809 160 $2,240 64 $2,176
                  
TOTAL 280 $17,306 320 $4,681 160 $2,240 64 $2,176
                        
Iowa Students at Kirkwood CC Costs    $22,815              
(lost revenue at CC tuition)                 
GRAND TOTAL for all sections    $179,795            
Total # of students   650            
Cost per student   $277            

Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—General Chemistry

  Faculty 2 TAs/GAs 17.5 Instructor 2 Chem Center Staff  
  # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost # of Hours Total Cost
  Hourly rate = $62 Hourly rate = $15 Hourly rate = $31 Hourly rate = $14
I. Course Preparation                
                 
A. Curriculum Development 16 $989     32 $992    
B. Materials Acquisition 8 $494     8 $248    
C. Materials Development                
1. Lectures/presentations 16 $989 32 $468 48 $1,488    
2. Learning materials/software 32 $1,978 32 $468 16 $496    
3. Diagnostic assessments 16 $989     16 $496    
4. Assignments 16 $989     8 $248    
5. Tests/evaluations 16 $989     48 $1,488    
Sub-Total 120 $7,417 64 $936 176 $5,456    
                 
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training                
1. Orientation         32 $992    
2. Staff meetings 16 $989 16 $234 48 $1,488    
3. Attend lectures     48 $702 32 $992    
Sub-Total 16 $989 64 $936 112 $3,472      
Total Preparation 136 $8,406 128 $1,873 288 $8,928    
                 
II. Course Delivery                
                 
A. Instruction                
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge     24 $351        
2. Presentation 32 $1,978 32 $468 96 $2,976    
3. Interaction 16 $989 32 $468        
4. Progress monitoring 16 $989 24 $351 64 $1,984    
Sub-Total 64 $3,956 112 $1,638 160 $4,960    
                        
B. Evaluation                
1. Test proctoring 14 $865 14 $205 14 $434    
2. Tests/evaluation 18 $1,113 66 $966 18 $558 160 $2,240
Sub-Total 32 $1,978 80 $1,170 32 $992 160 $2,240
Total Delivery 96 $5,933 192 $2,809 192 $5,952 160 $2,240
                 
TOTAL 232 $14,339 320 $4,681 480 $14,880 160 $2,240
                       
Iowa Students at Kirkwood CC costs   $2,282            
(lost revenue at CC tuition)                
GRAND TOTAL    $144,882            
Total # of students   650            
Cost per student   $223              

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