Improving the Quality of Student Learning
The Ohio State University
Based on available data about learning outcomes from the course pilot, what were the impacts of re-design on learning and student development?
The spring 2002 quarter pilot offering was completed in mid-June. The pilot was offered to 300 daytime students who were given a choice between two large group sections and between one of three lab sections.
The students in the pilot had greater success on the common exams than the daytime students in the traditional course and about the same scores as students in the evening class (Table 1). In previous quarters the evening class, which has smaller class sizes and generally older students, has outperformed the daytime class.
Table 1. Grades on common exams in spring 2002 traditional and pilot formats:
*Under IRB-approved procedures, 20 students opted to remove their grades from the data base.
Since one goal of the redesign is to reduce the percentage of students who need to retake the course, it was encouraging to see a reduced fraction of pilot students scoring under 70% on exams. These results were not associated with student learning styles or study skills as measured at the start of the quarter. Of course, caution must be taken in the interpretation of these preliminary findings since we are still investigating whether they can be explained by lecture-to-lecture variability, differences in student preparation, or unusual exam questions that might favor the students in the pilot.
Preliminary evidence (Table 2) suggests a high level of student satisfaction with the course design as illustrated by the vast majority of written comments on this topic.
Table 2. Tabulation of written comments in response to: "How did the way in which the course was designed help or hinder your learning? Please provide any other comments you have about the course."
December 2002 Update: The buffet model was implemented in all sections during the fall 2002 quarter. When compared to the last four quarters before the buffet model was implemented:
Importantly, the buffet model did not appear to leave any type of learning style behind. When all sections were taught under the buffet model beginning in fall 2002, there was almost no section-to-section variation in scores. However, students who missed the orientation and were unable to choose a section matching their learning style did worse (see Tables 3 and 4). A revision of the orientation process now ensures that all students are able to make a choice.
Table 3. Fall Quarter 2002 Average Grades by Small Group Choices
Table 4. Fall Quarter 2002 Average Grades by Large Group Choices
Program in Course Redesign Quick Links: