|Program in Course Redesign
Tallahassee Community College
The Traditional Course
Tallahassee Community College plans to redesign College Composition, a required course for all A.A. and A.S. degree-seeking students. The course serves approximately 3,000 students annually in sections of 30 students in a traditional setting that combines lecture and writing activities.
This course serves as the foundation for reading and writing courses across the curriculum. Students successfully completing College Composition must take at least one more English course and two Humanities courses that require extensive writing. There is also a Florida graduation requirement that assesses essay writing, English language skills and readings skills.
A number of academic problems are associated with College Composition in its current form:
The Redesigned Course
The major thrust of the redesign is to provide students with student-centered learning experiences that promote active learning through interactive technology, individualized learning plans, and collaborative activities. The English Department has established a clear set of performance objectives and basic requirements of style and effectiveness, all part of a common syllabus.
The planned redesign has two major components. The first component involves using appropriate technologies to provide diagnostic assessments resulting in individualized learning plans; interactive tutorials in grammar, mechanics, reading comprehension, and basic research skills; online tutorials for feedback on written assignments; follow-up assessments; and discussion boards to facilitate the development of learning communities.
Students will submit mid-stage drafts to online tutors at TCC or to SMARTHINKING, reducing the burden on the Writing Center and the amount of time faculty spend grading papers. These activities will take place outside the classroom and will be accessible to students at any time.
The second component involves restructuring the classroom environment to include a wide range of learner-centered writing activities that foster collaboration, proficiency, and higher levels of thinking. By shifting to technology many basic instructional activities that can be readily individualized, the classroom portion of the class will be redesigned so that students and faculty alike can focus on the writing process and enhance the quality of the learning experience. Students may work in small groups or on individual writing efforts, depending on their identified needs.
Quality will be enhanced through greater individualization and collaboration, decreased response time and, in the case of interactive tutorials, immediate feedback. Increased time-on-task, increased interaction both in terms of human interaction and interaction with instructional materials, and increased opportunities to engage in the writing process will further strengthen course quality.
TCC will assess the impact on student learning through a quasi-experimental study that will be conducted by using eight sections of the redesigned course and a similar number of sections of the traditional course. Courses will be similar in terms of the array of student characteristics. The study will compare performance on a pretest and posttest of grammar, mechanics, and reading comprehension. To assess the impact on writing proficiency, eight written assignments from redesigned and traditional sections will be compared by using a standardized grading procedure. Overall performance data also will be collected. Students will be tracked through the next English, second-level composition course and two Humanities courses. Finally, the performance of students from redesigned courses will be compared to that of students from traditional courses.
The redesign of College Composition will result in greater standardization and make it possible to decrease the number of full-time faculty teaching the course, resulting in significant savings. An online orientation and support site for adjunct faculty will contribute to the consistency in learning environments.
Traditional Course Structure
Redesigned Course Structure
In summary, the redesigned course will implement the following changes:
Program in Course Redesign Quick Links: