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Impact on Cost Savings

The Ohio State University

Were costs reduced as planned?

OSU experienced three changes in its plan during the redesign implementation. First, students chose out-of-class problem solving together with online mastery quizzing far more often than in-class problem solving. This allowed for a reduction in the number of in-class problem solving sessions from five per week to three per week. The senior TAs conducting those sessions were then reassigned to give lectures to the active learner sections. Thus, the amount of faculty lecturing was reduced by two hours with faculty giving lectures only to the reflective learner sections. Ohio State met its planned reduction of three full-time faculty each quarter.

Second, the idea of moving office hours into the help room was adopted by the entire statistics department. Now all undergraduate statistics classes at Ohio State share the same help room staffed by two TAs at every hour. The resulting efficiency eliminated the need for one TA position that was planned to offer office hours only. This efficiency was counter-balanced by a paucity of students choosing small-group options that met once, rather than twice, per week. Thus, overall, the number of teaching assistants needed in the course met targeted reduction levels.

Third, while the overall cost of the redesigned course, $376,200, met its planned level, a drop in enrollment from 2850 to 2650 led to a final cost-per-student of $142 rather than the planned $132. The number of students needing to retake the course in subsequent quarters was reduced from 20% to 12%. In addition, the course enrollment has dropped by ~100 students because other introductory courses in the statistics department began to use some of the buffet techniques. Students who should have been in these other introductory courses rather than in the redesigned statistics course have transferred to a more appropriate placement.

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