Course Planning Tool Instructions
OVERVIEW
The Course Planning Tool (CPT) is a spreadsheetbased decisionmaking tool that enables institutions to compare the “before” activities and costs (the traditional course) and the “after” activities and costs (the redesigned course) and demonstrate cost savings. Completing the CPT allows you to consider changes in specific instructional tasks, make decisions about how to use technology (or not) for specific tasks, visualize duplicative or unnecessary effort and complete a cost/benefit analysis regarding the right type of personnel for each instructional task.
Please read this entire document before starting to complete the CPT.
The CPT consists of four worksheets:
 Instructional Costs per Hour  This worksheet is used to determine all personnel costs associated with preparing and delivering the course and to express each kind of cost as an hourly rate.
 Traditional Course  This worksheet is used to determine the activities involved in and the costs of preparing and delivering the course in its traditional format.
 Redesigned Course  This worksheet is used to determine the activities involved in preparing and delivering the course in its redesigned format when it is fully operational.
 Annual Cost Comparison – This worksheet is used to compare the costs of the traditional course and the cost of the redesigned course. The outcome is the costperstudent for both the traditional and the redesigned course.
Here are the steps required to complete the CPT and to calculate the savings that result from redesigning a course:
STEP 1 – Identify the categories of personnel involved in preparing and offering the course in its traditional format and in its redesigned format. Determine all personnel costs expressed as an hourly rate using the worksheet labeled “Instructional Costs per Hour.”
STEP 2 – Determine the average amount of time each type of instructor involved in preparing and offering one section of the course in its traditional format spends on each of the tasks using the worksheet labeled “Traditional Course.” The costs will be calculated by the CPT (multiplying the hours spent on each task by the hourly rates you determined in Step 1.)
STEP 3 – Determine the average amount of time each type of instructor involved in preparing and offering one section of the course in its traditional format spends on each of the tasks using the worksheet labeled “Instructional Course.”
STEP 4 – Calculate the annual cost of offering the course in its traditional and redesigned formats using the worksheet labeled “Annual Cost Comparison.” Enter the total number of sections taught in fall and spring by each type of instructor. The instructional costs of offering the whole course will be calculated by the CPT (multiplying the number of sections taught by the cost of each type of instructor.) Enter all other costs associated with offering the course and divide the total cost of the course by the number of students enrolled to generate a costperstudent for the traditional course.
HOW TO COMPLETE THE INSTRUCTIONAL COSTS PER HOUR WORKSHEET
The worksheet labeled “Instructional Costs per Hour” is used to determine all personnel costs associated with preparing and delivering the course expressed as an hourly rate. There are two ways to determine hourly personnel costs.
1) Hourly costs as a Percentage of Salary: FullTime Faculty (Tenure Track and NonTenure Track) and GAs/TAs)
General instructions (percentage of salary)
 Use the average salary/benefits cost and professional obligation for each type of instructor involved in the course. Do not show data for all specific individuals involved in teaching the course.
 If a type of instructor shown on the worksheet is not involved in the course, leave the cells blank or delete the headings.
 If another type of instructor is involved in the course, add or substitute headings and columns appropriately.
Entry instructions (percentage of salary)
 Salary and benefits – Enter the average annual salary in the department for faculty of this type involved in the course plus the value of annual benefits based on that salary average.
 % devoted to instruction – Enter the percentage of his/her professional obligation that is devoted to instruction on an annual basis.
 % devoted to one section of this course – Enter the percentage of his/her instructional time that is devoted to one section of this particular course on an annual basis
Cost of one section of this course  the dollar value of the faculty member’s time that is devoted to one section of this particular course on an annual basis. The CPT will automatically calculate this number.
Example
 Average tenured faculty member’s annual salary = $67,000
 Average tenured faculty member’s annual benefits = $22,538
 Average tenured faculty member’s annual salary plus benefits = $89,538
 Professional obligation expectation = 50% devoted to instruction (50% devoted to research)
 Percentage of instructional time devoted to one section this course = 50% (faculty member teaches one section of the course per semester, two sections of the course per year.)
 Dollar value of the average tenured faculty member’s time devoted to one section of this course = $22,385 (50% devoted to instruction = $44,769; 50% of instructional time = $22,385.)
(If the same faculty member taught two sections per semester, the dollar value of his/her time for one section of this particular course would be $11,192 and so on.) 
General instructions (hours)
 Display the hours for a single instructor by type.
 Use the expected number of hours rather than attempting to calculate the actual number of hours.
Reason: Most institutions have a ruleofthumb expectation. By using this expectation, we avoid the “selfreporting” problem. Establishing this ruleofthumb expectation as a framework also encourages faculty members to be more realistic when estimating time associated with specific instructional tasks on the traditional course and redesigned course worksheets.
Entry instructions (hours)
 Contact hours for course – Enter the number of inclass contact hours for one section of the course.
 Outofclass hours – Enter the number of outofclass hours for one section of the course. Most institutions have a ruleofthumb expectation of something like two hours prep time for each hour spent in class. This number will change when additional tasks like supervising TAs are included.
 Total hours  total contact hours + total outofclass hours. The CPT will automatically calculate this number.
 Cost per hour  dollar value of the faculty member’s time devoted to one section of this course/total number of hours spent on one section of the course. The CPT will automatically calculate this number.
NOTE: The number of hours (inclass plus outofclass) on the Instructional Costs per Hour worksheet and the Instructional Costs of Traditional Course worksheet must be the same for each kind of instructional personnel.
2. PreEstablished Course and Hourly Costs
Adjunct/Parttime Faculty
 Adjunct/parttime faculty are typically paid by the course.
 Enter the average salary of an adjunct (parttime) faculty member to teach one section of the course.
 If adjuncts are paid benefits, calculate the value of his/her annual benefits for teaching one section.
Professional/Support Staff
 Professional/support staff members typically have an institutional expectation for the total number of hours they are expected to work per week (e.g., a professional staff member gets paid $21 per hour: total salary and benefits of $40,000 /1920 working hours) or they may be paid by the hour (e.g., tutors get paid $15 per hour.)
 List each type of professional/support staff involved in the course by title.
 $ per hour – Enter the staff member’s hourly wage or his/her annual salary/number of hours per year.
Undergraduate Assistants
 Undergraduate Assistants are typically paid by the hour.
 List each type of Undergraduate Assistant involved in the course if there are differences if there are differences in roles or hourly wages.
 $ per hour – Enter the undergraduate assistant’s hourly wage.
HOW TO COMPLETE THE TRADITIONAL COURSE WORKSHEET
Course Preparation and Delivery
NOTE: Data displayed for the course activities on the Traditional Course worksheet should reflect one section of the whole course for each type of instructional personnel.
General instructions
 Each column of calculations is labelede.g., tenuretrack faculty, nontenure track faculty, adjunct faculty, graduate teaching assistants, etc.) in the top row. Add other columns as needed.
 If a particular type of instructor is not utilized in your course, leave the columns blank or delete the columns.
 There are four major activities associated with preparing the course: curriculum design, materials acquisition, materials development, and preparation/training of instructional personnel.
 There are two major activities associated with delivering the course: instruction and evaluation.
 Column A lists the tasks associated with preparing and offering a course. Insert additional categories if needed. Do not delete tasks—just leave the hourly cells blank.
 The definitions of each activity are embedded in the worksheet. Click on the red triangle in the upper right corner of each cell.
 Some courses will involve only some tasks—i.e., do not necessarily expect to fill in every cell. If you need to add categories, please insert them as needed after carefully considering the definitions embedded in the worksheet.
Entry instructions
 Enter the hourly rate of each type of personnel in row 6. (To derive these costs, use the spreadsheet labeled “Instructional Costs per Hour.”)
 Enter the number of hours spent by each type of personnel on each task in one section of the course in columns C, E, G and so on. Insert additional columns if needed.
 The CPT will automatically calculate the total cost for each instructional task.
Review instructions
 The total number of hours spent by each type of personnel on preparing and delivering one section of the course will be calculated by the CPT. This total should equal the total hours shown on page 1 for each type of instructor. If it does not, you need to reconsider your entries to be sure that the total hours for each type of personnel are equal on page 1 and page 2 of the CPT.
 The total cost of one section of the course taught by each type of personnel will be calculated by the CPT and displayed in the blue cells. This total should equal the total cost of one section shown on page 1 for each type of instructor. If it does not, you need to reconsider your entries to be sure that the total hours for each type of personnel are the same on page 1 and page 2 of the CPT.
HOW TO COMPLETE THE REDESIGNED COURSE WORKSHEET
Course Preparation and Delivery
NOTE: Data displayed for the course activities on the Redesigned Course worksheets should reflect one section of the whole course.
General instructions
 Each column of calculations is labelede.g., tenuretrack faculty, nontenure track faculty, adjunct faculty, graduate teaching assistants, etc.) in the top row. Add other columns as needed.
 If a particular type of instructor will not be utilized in the redesigned course, leave the columns blank or delete the columns.
 Column A lists the tasks associated with preparing and offering a course. Insert additional categories if needed. Do not delete tasks—just leave the hourly cells blank.
Entry instructions
 Enter the number of hours planned to be spent by each type of personnel on each task in one section of the course in columns C, E, G and so on. Insert additional columns if needed.
HOW TO COMPLETE THE ANNUAL COURSE COST COMPARISON WORKSHEET
In planning for cost reduction as a part of redesign, there are two steps. The first is to complete the CPT for the traditional and redesigned formats (pages 2 and 3) of the course, which lets you demonstrate how the number of hours spent each person involved in the course can change. The second step is to translate those “saved” hours to one of NCAT’s Cost Reduction Strategies. Your chosen strategy will be reflected on page 4 of the CPT.
If you stop at the first step, you may create what NCAT calls “paper savings.” By paper savings we mean savings that represent a workload reduction for individual faculty members or others but do not produce cost savings to the department or institution.
Reducing time spent by individual faculty members and other as displayed on the CPT is an enabler that allows you to choose a cost savings strategy, one of the choices listed in the Cost Reduction Strategies document. For example, if a faculty member or TA spends half the time on the redesigned course that he or she did on the traditional course, he or she could increase section enrollment or carry two sections without an increase in workload. That then produces real savings to the institution.
Annual Cost of the Traditional Course
Entry instructions
 Total number of sections taught in fall and spring  Enter the total number of sections taught in fall and spring by each type of instructor in Column C, D, E and so on in the yellow highlighted cells. Do not include sections taught in summer.
 Enter the total cost of one section of the course taught by each type of personnel in the blue cells. These figures are the same as those in the blue cells on page 1 and page 2 for each type of instructor.
 Cost of instruction by type  The CPT will calculate the total cost of each type of section in Column B, C, D and so on by multiplying the number of sections times the cost of one section.
Example
Ten sections of the course are offered in the fall, and eight sections are offered in the spring, a total of 18 sections offered annually.
 10 of the 18 are taught by tenured faculty members
 4 of the 18 are taught by nontenured fulltime faculty members
 2 of the 18 are taught by adjunct (parttime) faculty members
 2 of the 18 are taught by graduate teaching assistants

 Total cost of direct instruction – The CPT will sum the total cost of instruction by multiplying the cost of each type of section by the number of each type of section offered in fall and spring.
 Total cost of course coordination – Enter the cost of course coordination in the yellow highlighted cell. If one person functions as a course coordinator, enter the percentage of salary and benefits of that person devoted to this course(s) during fall and spring. For some, that percentage may be 100%; for others, that may be a percentage of total salary and benefits since coordination may be only part of his/her responsibilities. If more than one person functions as a course coordinator, enter the combined salaries and benefits. Please specify these costs in the CPT narrative.
 Total cost of other personnel (noninstructional) – Enter the total cost of other course personnel (professional and support staff, undergraduate assistants) during fall and spring in the yellow highlighted cell. Calculate that cost by multiplying the number of hours devoted to the course during fall and spring by each type of professional/support staff by the hourly cost of page 1. Please specify these costs in the CPT narrative.
 GRAND TOTAL – The CPT will sum the total cost of offering the course in fall and spring.
 Total # of students – Enter the total course enrollment for fall and spring in the yellow highlighted cell.
 Costperstudent – The CPT will calculate the costperstudent by dividing the total cost of offering the course by the total course enrollment.
Annual Cost of the Redesigned Course
Entry instructions
 Total number of sections taught in fall and spring  Enter the total number of sections planned to be taught in fall and spring by each type of instructor in Column B, C, D and so on in the yellow highlighted cells. Do not include sections taught in summer.
 Enter the total cost of one section of the course taught by each type of personnel in the blue cells. These figures are the same as those in the blue cells on page 1 and page 2 for each type of instructor.
NOTE: The reason for using the same baseline salary figures from the traditional course rather than the actual salaries from the redesigned course is to demonstrate the effect of the structural changes made in the course on cost and to isolate the impact of the redesign on those changes. Were one to use actual redesign salaries, the effect may be to "deflate" the savings simply because of salary increases at the institution between the two timeframes. (Example: instructor salaries in 200910 = $30,000; instructor salaries in 201112 = $32,000.)
EXCEPTION: If your cost reduction strategy is to increase the number of sections any instructor (tenuretrack faculty, nontenuretrack faculty, adjunct faculty, graduate teaching assistants) carries for the same workload credit, you may change the cost of that type of section appropriately using the traditional figure as a base.
Examples
 Traditional: Each FT faculty carry 10 sections annually (fall and spring) for a fulltime workload; each section costs $8,000.
 Redesign: Each FT faculty carry 20 sections annually (fall and spring) for a fulltime workload; each section costs $4,000. Enter $4,000 for the cost of a faculty redesigned section.
 Traditional: Each GTA teach 2 sections annually (fall and spring) as required teaching load; each section costs $2,000.
 Redesign: Each GTA teach 3 sections annually (fall and spring) as required teaching load; each section costs $1,333. Enter $1,333 for the cost of a GTA redesigned section.

 The CPT will calculate the total cost of each type of section in Column B, C, D and so on by multiplying the number of sections times the cost of one section.
Example
Five sections of the course are offered in the fall, and four sections are offered in the spring, a total of 9 sections offered annually.
 5 of the 9 are taught by tenured faculty members
 2 of the 9 are taught by nontenured fulltime faculty members
 0 of the 9 are taught by adjunct (parttime) faculty members
 2 of the 9 are taught by graduate teaching assistants

 Total cost of direct instruction – The CPT will sum the total cost of instruction by multiplying the cost of each type of section by the number of each type of section offered in fall and spring.
 Total cost of course coordination – Enter the cost of course coordination in the yellow highlighted cell. If one person will function as a course coordinator, enter the percentage of salary and benefits of that person that will be devoted to this course(s) during fall and spring. For some, that percentage may be 100%; for others, that may be a percentage of total salary and benefits since coordination may be only part of his/her responsibilities. If more than one person will function as a course coordinator, enter the combined salaries and benefits. Please specify these costs in the CPT narrative.
 Total cost of other personnel (noninstructional) – Enter the total cost of other course personnel (professional and support staff, undergraduate assistants) during fall and spring in the yellow highlighted cell. Use the same hourly rate as you used for the traditional if the same kinds of personnel are used. Use new hourly rate if new kinds of personnel are used. Please specify these costs in the CPT narrative.
 GRAND TOTAL – The CPT will sum the total cost of offering the course in fall and spring.
 Total # of students – Enter the planned total course enrollment for fall and spring in the yellow highlighted cell.
 Costperstudent – The CPT will calculate the costperstudent by dividing the total cost of offering the course by the total course enrollment.
ADDITIONAL TIPS AND INFORMATION
 Remember to include your institution's name and the course name on each worksheet/ page.
 Round all costs to the nearest dollar.
 Explain any aspect of the CPT that is not selfevident on the worksheets in the CPT narrative as part of your final plan.
When You Need To Complete More than One CPT
There are several instances when you may need to complete more than one CPT:
 When you plan to redesign more than one course.
 When you are considering more than one redesign model. (The SUNYBuffalo case illustrates this approach.)
 When you are combining more than one course into a single course.
 When you offer two versions of the traditional course (e.g., small expensive sections and large cheap sections) that you are combining into a new redesign. (The University of Colorado case illustrates this approach.)
 When you have already begun to redesign a course and are planning further redesign. (The University of Massachusetts—Amherst case illustrates this approach.)
ASSUMPTIONS OF THE NCAT PLANNING MODEL
Developmental costs are not included.
This planning model compares the before costs (current/historical/ traditional) and the after costs (forecast of what the course will cost when it is fully operational, say for example, In its “third” offering)—i.e., it asks you to plan what the redesigned course will look like at the end of the developmental process. It does not include the upfront developmental costs of either the traditional or the redesigned course.
The reason for this approach is twofold. The first is that we are trying to show institutions that by investing in ITbased course development, they can see a return of their investment provided that they redesign the course. The second is that, while the developmental period for course conversion has costs associated with it, those costs can be paid for from onetime allocations, such as grants from foundations, federal agencies, or the institution, and/or they can be amortized over any number of years. If institutions can see that they will ultimately realize a return on their investment, they will have an incentive to make the needed developmental investment. Then, of course, questions about how much to invest for how much return come into play.
Institutionwide support services, administrative overhead, infrastructure and equipment costs are not included.
The assumption is that these costs are constant—are part of the campus environment—for both the traditional and redesigned courses. Campus networking, site licenses for course management systems and desktop PCs for faculty, for example, are part of the campuswide IT environment.
Who Captures the Savings?
The CPT is neutral on the question of who captures the savings. Savings can be used by the department or by the institution in a variety of ways—conduct more research, teach different courses, teach more students, support an incentive plan to encourage faculty productivity, etc.
