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Labor Saving Techniques

The University of Southern Mississippi

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 redesign model for World Literature essentially provides a single rather than multiple sections to deliver course content. The labor savings are substantial as 16-20 sections per term become one, though these savings will not be fully realized until fall 2002 when approximately 800 students enroll in a single section. The greatest savings are produced by using only four faculty members to team-teach World Literature, each of whom receives credit for teaching a single course, and a course coordinator, who also receives a course release for directing activities. In sum, instead of staffing 16-20 sections, it will now require only the equivalent of 5 staffed sections to deliver content to all students who need it. Graduate students have been assigned the task of helping students with writing assignments and then grading the essays, though the cost of these graduate students is small and therefore they have little impact on the bottom line cost of the course. We have followed the plan that was originally proposed and anticipate fall 2002 savings that were originally projected.

December 2002 Update: The projected savings will not be fully realized until approximately 800 students, a term's typical total enrollment, register for a single section. Although we have followed the plan that was originally proposed, the full enrollment of 800 students in a term has yet to be realized because some students have apparently decided to wait to see how others perform in the course before taking it themselves. The course, however, is required, so the enrollment will inevitably rise. At that point, the savings originally projected will be realized.

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