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Program in Course Redesign

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Introductory Biology—Course Planning Tool

The Course Planning Tool is a formatted spreadsheet that provides a 3-step process enabling institutions to establish and compare the instructional costs before redesign (the traditional course format) 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 31% benefits rate. Step #2 uses this initial calculation in the cost evaluation of preparing and delivering the traditional course and Step #3 determines these costs for the redesigned course. More specific Course Planning Tool instructions are available.

Below is a summary of the cost savings anticipated at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the completed course planning tool.

Cost Savings

In fall 1999 the University of Massachusetts Amherst redesigned Introductory Biology, moving from a traditional lecture format to an active learning environment incorporating ClassTalk. While the redesign improved the quality of student learning, it also increased costs ($174 per student in the traditional course compared to $199 per student in the ClassTalk course). The new redesign will retain the quality improvements while reducing the per-student cost.

UMass's course-planning tool depicts the cost of the course in its original lecture format, the cost the first redesign incorporating ClassTalk, and the cost of the new redesign. The cost-per-student is projected to decrease from $199 using ClassTalk in the first redesign to $117 in the second redesign, a decline of 41%, while keeping the number of students enrolled unchanged. Because laboratory sessions are unchanged in the new redesign, they are not included in the course planning tool.

In the new redesign, class meetings will decrease from three to two per week and exams from four to three. The number of faculty teaching each section of the course will drop from two to one, and faculty time for preparation will drop 41% from 644 hours to 380 hours annually. The online system will track individual students needing assistance and identify topics causing difficulty. Faculty will focus class time on these problem topics. Total delivery time is reduced by 100 hours. The university will use the savings to provide greater time for faculty research and to offer additional graduate seminars.

[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—Introductory Biology

Faculty  
   
Salary $89,828
% devoted to instruction 50%
% devoted to this course 50%
$ devoted to this course $22,457
   
Contact hours for course 73
Out of class hours 140
Total hours 213
Cost per hour $105
   
TAs/GAs  
   
Salary $22,000
% devoted to instruction 100%
% devoted to this course 10%
$ devoted to this course $2,200
   
Contact hours for course 22
Out of class hours 42
Total hours 64
Cost per hour $34
   
Professional/Support Staff  
Position $ per
  Hour
#1 BCRC Director $48
#2 Assessment Coordinator $33
#3 Support Staff $19

Step #2A: Determine Instructional Costs of Traditional Course

Instructional Costs of Traditional Course—Introductory Biology

  Faculty   TAs/GAs   Director BCRC   Assess. Coord.   Support Staff  
  # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost
  Hrly rate $105 Hrly rate $34 Hrly rate $48 Hrly rate $33 Hrly rate $19
I. Course Preparation                    
                     
A. Curriculum Development 16 $1,687  
4 $194  
 
B. Materials Acquistion 20 $2,109  
 
 
 
C. Materials Development  
 
 
 
 
1.Lectures/presentations 336 $35,425  
14 $677  
 
2. Learning materials/software 32 $3,374  
14 $677  
 
3. Diagnostic assessments  
 
 
 
 
4. Assignments  
 
 
 
 
5. Tests/evaluations 72 $7,591  
 
 
 
Sub-Total 476 $50,186

32 $1,548



                     
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training                    
1. Orientation    
   
 
 
 
2. Staff meetings  
 
 
 
 
3. Attend lectures 84 $8,856 504 $17,325  
 
 
Sub-Total 84 $8,856 504 $17,325





Total Preparation 560 $59,042 504 $17,325 32 $1,548



                     
II. Course Delivery                    
                     
A. Instruction                    
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge 4 $422  
 
 
 
2. Presentation 80 $8,435  
 
 
 
3. Interaction 140 $14,761 168 $5,775  
 
 
4. Progress monitoring  
 
 
 
 
Sub-Total 224 $23,617 168 $5,775





                     
B. Evaluation                    
1. Test proctoring 20 $2,109 96 $3,300  
 
96 $1,849
2. Tests/evaluation 48 $5,061  
 
64 $2,095  
Sub-Total 68 $7,169 96 $3,300

64 $2,095 96 $1,849
Total Delivery 292 $30,786 264 $9,075

64 $2,095 96 $1,849
                     
TOTAL 852 $89,828 768 $26,400 32 $1,548 64 $2,095 96 $1,849
                     
                     
GRAND TOTAL   $121,721                
Total # of students   700                
Cost per student   $174                

Step #2B: Determine Instructional Costs of First Redesign

Instructional Costs of First Redesign—Introductory Biology

  Faculty   TAs/GAs   Director BCRC   Assess. Coord.   Support Staff  
  # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost
  Hrly rate $105 Hrly rate $34 Hrly rate $48 Hrly rate $33 Hrly rate $19
I. Course Preparation                    
                     
A. Curriculum Development 16 $1,687  
4 $194  
 
B. Materials Acquistion 20 $2,109  
 
 
 
C. Materials Development  
 
 
 
 
1.Lectures/presentations 252 $26,569  
35 $1,694  
 
2. Learning materials/software 32 $3,374  
28 $1,355  
 
3. Diagnostic assessments 168 $17,713  
 
 
 
4. Assignments  
84 $2,888  
 
 
5. Tests/evaluations 72 $7,591  
 
 
 
Sub-Total 560 $59,042 84 $2,888 67 $3,242



                      
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training                    
1. Orientation  
 
 
 
 
2. Staff meetings  
 
 
 
 
3. Attend lectures 84 $8,856 504 $17,325  
 
 
Sub-Total 84 $8,856 504 $17,325





Total Preparation 644 $67,898 588 $20,213 67 $3,242



                     
II. Course Delivery                    
                     
A. Instruction                    
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge 16 $1,687  
84 $4,065  
 
2. Presentation 48 $5,061  
 
 
 
3. Interaction 160 $16,869 168 $5,775  
 
 
4. Progress monitoring  
 
 
 
 
Sub-Total 224 $23,617 168 $5,775 84 $4,065



                     
B. Evaluation                    
1. Test proctoring 20 $2,109 96 $3,300  
 
96 $1,849
2. Tests/evaluation 48 $5,061  
 
64 $2,095  
Sub-Total 68 $7,169 96 $3,300

64 $2,095 96 $1,849
Total Delivery 292 $30,786 264 $9,075 84 $4,065 64 $2,095 96 $1,849
                     
TOTAL 936 $98,685 852 $29,288 151 $7,307 64 $2,095 96 $1,849
                     
                     
GRAND TOTAL   $139,224                
Total # of students   700                
Cost per student   $199                

Step #3: Determine Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course

Instructional Costs of Redesigned Course—Introductory Biology

  Faculty  

TAs/

GAs

  Dir. BCRC   Tech. Support Staff   Asses. Coord.   Support Staff  
  # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost # of Hrs Total Cost
  Hrly rate $105 Hrly rate $34 Hrly rate $48 Hrly rate $19 Hrly rate $33 Hrly rate $19
I. Course Preparation                        
                         
A. Curriculum Development 8 $843  
4 $194  
 
 
B. Materials Acquistion 10 $1,054  
 
 
 
 
C. Materials Development  
 
 
 
 
 

1.Lectures/

presentations

112 $11,808  
14 $677  
 
 
2. Learning materials/software 56 $5,904  
14 $677 14 $270  
 
3. Diagnostic assessments 112 $11,808  
 
28 $539  
 
4. Assignments 28 $2,952 56 $1,925  
 
 
 
5. Tests/evaluations 54 $5,693  
 
 
 
 
Sub-Total 380 $40,064 56 $1,925 32 $1,548 42 $809



                         
D. Faculty/TA Devmt/Training                         
1. Orientation  
 
 
 
 
 
2. Staff meetings  
 
 
 
 
 
3. Attend lectures  
84 $2,888  
 
 
 
Sub-Total

84 $2,888

 


 
Total Preparation 380 $40,064 140 $4,813 32 $1,548 42 $809



                         
II. Course Delivery                        
                         
A. Instruction                        
1. Diagnose skill/knowledge 14 $1,476 70 $2,406  
70 $1,349  
 
2. Presentation 28 $2,952  
 
 
 
 
3. Interaction 112 $11,808 168 $5,775  
 
 
 
4. Progress monitoring  
 
 
 
 
 
Sub-Total 154 $16,237 238 $8,181

70 $1,349



                         
B. Evaluation                        
1. Test proctoring 12 $1,265 72 $2,475  


 
72 $1,387
2. Tests/evaluation 24 $2,530  
 
 
48 $1,571  
Sub-Total 36 $3,796 72 $2,475



48 $1,571 72 $1,387
Total Delivery 190 $20,032 310 $10,656

70 $1,349 48 $1,571 72 $1,387
                         
TOTAL 570 $60,096 450 $15,469 32 $1,548 112 $2,158 48 $1,571 72 $1,387
                         
                         
GRAND TOTAL   $82,230                    

Total # of students

  700                    
Cost per student   $117                    

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