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Program in Course Redesign

Drexel University

Course Title: Computer Programming
Contact: Jeff Popyack

Drexel University planned to redesign introductory Computer Programming by combining two courses, Computer Programming I, the primary entry point for computer science majors, and Computer Programming B, a less technical version. Taken together, the two courses were required for 33% of all freshmen, and enrollments were anticipated to exceed 1,300. The courses faced a number of problems including 1) a computer science faculty whose modest growth could not keep pace with enrollment growth; 2) incoming students whose widely divergent experience and skills could not be accommodated by the large-lecture format, and 3) a DFW rate in excess of 25%. The plan for the redesigned course increased hands-on participatory learning experiences by replacing the lecture format with interactive, Web-based modules that enabled students to self-schedule learning each week. Each module covered a particular topic at different knowledge levels, enabling students in different majors to acquire the appropriate skill level. In the redesign plan, students would be able to enter the course in one of three groups and earn varying amounts of credit based on their knowledge and a skills-based placement test. The redesigned course was anticipated to reduce per-student costs by 36% compared to the traditional format of Computer Programming I (from $156 per student to $100) and by 52% for the traditional format of Computer Programming B (from $208 to $100). The plan anticipated using the resulting savings to handle expected enrollment increases and to reassign faculty to upper-level courses where enrollment was also increasing. The results of the completed redesign can be found by following the links listed below under Final Report.

Initial Planning (as of 7/1/01)

Interim Progress Report (as of 12/31/02)

Final Report (as of 10/31/03)

 

Program in Course Redesign Quick Links:

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Lessons Learned:
Round 1...
Round II...
Round III...

Savings:
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Round II...
Round III...

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