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Dissemination

Brigham Young University

How would you assess the transferability of the re-design approach you employed to new subject areas or disciplines?

We have made elements of our course modules available on a Web site so that these can be integrated into other courses on campus. We have found that experienced teachers of writers are showing more interest in the course modules than are the new teachers of writing. Perhaps their experience helps them more readily see how the course modules might work in their class. As a way to disseminate these modules, we have received support from our College of Undergraduate Education to conduct a workshop for full-time and part-time faculty on how to teach writing in an online environment in May 2003.

How are you disseminating the redesign among your colleagues?

We have been presenting our redesign model in several different venues, both at the institutional level and beyond. When we began the redesign process, we presented the redesign model at a meeting of General Education faculty from throughout campus. And this last spring we presented some of our preliminary results at a follow-up meeting. Last month, we made a formal presentation of our results to the university's vice-president's council. Our results were well received by faculty and administrators in both of these groups, although the primary point of interest was the effect of our redesign on student learning. One member of our team presented the redesign model and preliminary findings at a meeting between our university president, Merrill Bateman, and Utah Senator Bob Bennett, who is a member of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force. This fall, we will be presenting our findings to the English department and interested faculty from the College of Humanities. The support of English department faculty ranges from strong opposition to the project (because it involves technology) to guarded optimism. We anticipate that our preliminary findings may resolve some concerns but raise others.

In addition to presenting our findings here on campus, members of our redesign team have presented information about our redesign at several professional meetings, including the following:

  • Department of Education Financial Aid Administrators, St. Louis, Mo (2001)
  • Computers & Writing, Muncie, IN (May 2001)
  • Computers & Writing, Normal, IL (May 2002)
  • Collegis/Eduprise Executive Summit, Orlando, FL (June 2002)
  • 2nd Annual Fox School of Business Online Conference, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
    (June 2002)
  • Sloan Workshop on Asynchronous Learning Networks (September 2002)

Our colleagues in the profession are interested in the model and in the process of redesign we followed. They express appropriate caution about the preliminary nature of our results and have offered helpful suggestions for how we might improve the course and the evaluation. They have generally been impressed by the thorough nature of our assessment. What has attracted the most attention has been the data on our portfolio assessment. As one might expect, there has been less concern (and much skepticism) among faculty in the humanities about cost savings through capital-for-labor substitutions.

December 2002 Update: Our presentation at Sloan, "Balancing Efficiency and Effectiveness in First-Year Reading and Writing," will be published in Elements of Quality Online Education, SLOAN-C, edited by J. Bourne and J. Moore. We were also invited to publish a version of the presentation we gave at Computers and Writing in a special issue of the Quarterly Review of Distance Education (forthcoming 2004).

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