The Ohio State University
How would you assess the transferability of the re-design approach you employed to new subject areas or disciplines?
The idea of offering a buffet of activities is likely to be transferable to learning any subject as long as the overall course is large enough to subdivide appropriately. Nearly all of the content specific materials used in the pilot were already publicly available. Much of the specific software written to facilitate the buffet approach is not likely to be transferable beyond Ohio State, although the integrated collection of pedagogical and administrative approaches we have taken to resolve key challenges should be.
Several co-PIs of the Pew Grant Program are also co-PIs on a new grant that will extend the outcomes from the Pew project. The new project is focused on creating re-usable learning objects linked together as materials, activities, and assessments in a competency-based curricular effort. These learning objects are being developed to meet the needs of different learning styles and to work within various contexts appropriate for the life and information sciences. The objectives realized by using the learning objects will be keyed to the objectives articulated in the redesign of Ohio State's general education curriculum.
How are you disseminating the re-design among your colleagues?
Ohio State's buffet model has been disseminated to statistics department faculty through quarterly updates at faculty meetings. An in-depth article in the annual department newsletter presented details of the redesign to the broader departmental community (including students, staff, and alumni). The autumn, 2001 newsletter of the office of Faculty and TA Development brought a 3-page article on the redesign to the Ohio State community. Some aspects of the redesign were also discussed in local newspapers and in the March 22, 2002 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Talks by members of the project team have disseminated project ideas locally (to the Technology Enhanced Learning and Research seminar and to a meeting of undergraduate advisors), statewide (to the Ohio Learning Network conference), and nationally (to a faculty development conference). Each presentation was met with a generally favorable response. The key concerns expressed have been about the reality of potential cost savings and the difficulty of the logistics problems that the buffet model entails. A presentation to the International Conference On Teaching Statistics was given in July 2002 in Capetown, South Africa.
December 2002 Update: The buffet course redesign was selected for the 21st-Century Achievement Award by the Computerworld Honors Program <http://www.cwheroes.org/caa_4.asp>. The buffet model is now part of this important case study collection of successful uses of technology to benefit society.
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