Labor Saving Techniques
Tallahassee Community College
Given that a major goal of the course re-design project is to substitute technology "capital" for faculty teaching "labor," in what particular aspects of the course and its delivery are you finding that you are able to do this?
The development of the course Web site has provided several labor-saving mechanisms, vastly improving both the speed and ease of communication between faculty and students and eliminating redundancy. The Web site allowed for the posting of assignments with examples and directions, announcements, access to resources including library tutorials and skills review modules.
Skills review on the course Web site (although this is less than ideal at present) and Academic.com review materials on Writing Center computers assisted in skills tutoring. The time spent by Writing Center staff was documented during the spring 2002 semester and will be documented again for comparison during the fall 2002 semester.
Outsourcing electronic response to students' mid-stage drafts to Smarthinking and local electronic responders saved faculty time and increased quality. SMARTHINKING responds to three mid-stage drafts for each student. The faculty and students were universally pleased with the process and the results. Submission forms allowed students to specify details of the assignment and to select narrow areas of rhetoric or usage for the tutor's supportive commentary.
Since the students routed the tutorial comments along with the drafts directly to the instructor, the instructor was in the electronic loop of the commentary. This was a feature that the faculty particularly appreciated. Both the students and the faculty reported consistent 24-hour turnaround, valuable suggestions for improved writing, and supportive commentary and felt that the responders were highly capable and professional.
The sections using SMARTHINKING had a 60.5% success rate compared to 54.2% for those that used local e-responders. The redesign team has learned a great deal about process and principles of e-mailed draft commentary from SMARTHINKING and careful consideration will be given to training local e-responders to maintain quality and consistency. Despite the expense (which is approximately three times the cost of local responders), the pilot instructors and the Pew team fully support the continuing the contract with SMARTHINKING.
All writing assignments are posted on the Web site with directions and prompts to help students get started. The scoring rubric and what it means is also posted on the Web site. Students and faculty get immediate feedback on grammar and reading quizzes accessed through the site. Response to library skills assessments administered through the Texas Information Literacy Tutorial (TILT) is received electronically. It is questionable as to whether this is labor saving as it results in individual e-mails.
December 2002 Update:
Program in Course Redesign Quick Links: