|Program in Course Redesign
The University of Southern Mississippi
The Traditional Course
The University of Southern Mississippi is redesigning World Literature, a required general education course that provides students the opportunity to learn critical reading, thinking, and writing skills through the study of primary literary sources. Each term 1,000 students enroll. The traditional course is offered in multiple lecture sections of approximately 65 students, 16 sections per term, with eight sections taught by full-time faculty and another eight by adjuncts.
The course suffers from problems typical of multiple-section courses:
The Redesigned Course
The university will replace these 16 minimally coordinated sections of World Literature with a coherent, single online section. A course coordinator will direct the team-teaching of four faculty members and four graduate assistant graders. Each faculty member will teach his or her area of expertise on a particular theme for four weeks, together providing the full range of content.
The faculty team will offer modularized course content through a combination of optional attendance live lectures and required, Web-delivered, media- and resource-enhanced presentations. Students will develop the three target competencies (critical readings, critical thinking and critical writing) through a series of increasingly demanding readings and assignments devised to encourage students to think about and write about literature first as isolated texts, then as texts in relation to one another and finally as texts related to human culture.
Each module will last four weeks with one faculty expert responsible for content in that period. As part of a team, that expert will also collaborate on the design of quizzes and exams and the selection of complementary materials. Students will complete a pre- and post-quiz for each module. Links to additional required literary and/or critical readings, audio and/or video files and other resources devoted to particular authors or themes will be provided. The goal is to engage the student in an active learning environment, rather than as a recipient of a passive lecture.
The administration and scoring of quizzes and exams will be shifted to WebCT. Providing immediate feedback, these quizzes will keep the students updated regarding their understanding of the particular themes. Multiple-choice exams will be administered by WebCT after each module as one assessment of learning.
Writing assignments will also be administered by WebCT and graded by graduate assistants trained for the task and using the college-wide five rubrics. Students having trouble with a particular rubric will be referred to the Writing Center or for additional help online. The course coordinator will keep the entire team working in concert.
The impact of the redesign on student learning will be assessed through a variety of means including comparisons of before and after redesign DWF rates, course grades, responses to a uniform set of exams and quizzes, performance on similar written assignments, student surveys and faculty reports. To assess implementation, team-teaching faculty will keep journals and write brief end-of-term reports on the experience. These journals and reports will become part of a website used to disseminate information about how to transform a traditional multiple-section course into a single-section, technology-enhanced one.
Traditional Course Structure - Lecture/Recitation Format
Redesigned Course Structure
In summary, the redesigned course will implement the following changes:
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