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Impact on Cost Savings

Iowa State University

Were costs reduced as planned?

The original plan estimated that the redesign of Discrete Mathematics would lower instructional costs from $129 to $75 per student. A number of changes in course organization were made during the developmental period. The team originally budgeted for a computer support person at a cost of ~$30,000 but found that this position was not really needed. There was, however, a need for more mathematical help and supervision. The redesign staffing plan called for two faculty members and 10 TAs; however, to provide greater student assistance, the final implementation included three faculty members and 12 TAs. The changes, in effect, canceled one another since the savings from eliminating the computer support person was sufficient to cover most of the cost of increasing the teaching personnel. The final cost-per-student is $77.

The traditional course used 12 faculty members and 15 teaching assistants to deliver the course to 1,800 students annually, in contrast, the final redesigned course requires only 3 faculty members and 12 teaching assistants. The savings of almost $94,000 per year will be used to keep hardware and software updated and to reduce class sizes in other areas.

Due to a delay in acquiring enough computer lab space, the university has not yet been able to go to full-scale implementation, but it will achieve proportional savings for one-third of the course in fall 2003, and the full savings in spring 2004 and beyond.

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