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The Redesign Alliance

Call to Participate

November 2006

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The need to increase access, improve student learning and control or reduce rising costs continues to challenge American higher education. These issues are, of course, interrelated. As tuition costs continue to rise, access is curtailed. Promises to increase access ring hollow when large numbers of students fail to graduate.

The solutions to these challenges are also interrelated. Historically, improving quality or increasing access has meant increasing costs; reducing costs has meant reducing both quality and/or access. To sustain its vitality while serving a growing and increasingly diverse student body, higher education must find ways to resolve the familiar tradeoff between quality and cost.

In partnership with more than 60 colleges and universities, the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) has shown how using information technology to redesign courses can improve student learning while reducing instructional costs. Each participating institution has found that success depends upon collaboration among faculty members, professional staff and administrators. Institutions that have completed a large-scale course redesign want to find ways to continually improve their redesigns and to scale their successes throughout their institutions. Institutions that have not yet embarked upon a large-scale course redesign want to learn from the experiences of those that have done so and to collaborate with knowledgeable faculty and staff to accelerate the redesign process. To meet these goals, the institutions and organizations listed below as founding members have formed an alliance to facilitate the exchange of ideas, experiences, resources and strategies among institutions interested in course redesign. We seek other institutions and organizations to join us.


From 1999-2004, NCAT managed a national project, the Program in Course Redesign, involving 50,000 students at 30 institutions. Results show improved student learning in 25 of the 30 projects; the remaining five show learning equivalent to traditional formats. All 30 institutions reduced their costs by 37% on average (from 20-77%) and produced a collective annual saving of $3 million. Of the 24 that measured retention, 18 show noticeable increases. These 30 institutions want to find ways to share their experiences and scale their success.

From 2003-2006, NCAT managed a second national project, the Roadmap to Redesign, involving 26,500 students at 20 institutions. Preliminary results show similar results to the PCR with regard to improved learning, increased retention and reduced costs. These 20 institutions want to find ways to share their experiences and scale their success.

NCAT is also working with states, higher education systems and community college districts to create local programs building on the two national programs in order to impact greater numbers of students, faculty members and institutions and achieve significant educational change. Colleges and universities in Hawaii , Ohio and Minnesota have embarked upon redesign programs. These institutions want to find ways to share their experiences and scale their success.

NCAT has been telling the story of how course redesign can improve student learning while reducing instructional costs at conferences and campuses across the nation. In response, campus leaders including executive staff, faculty members and professional staff want to find ways to initiate course redesign efforts on their campuses and to learn from the experiences of those who have done so successfully.

NCAT’s Corporate Associate Program brings companies and educational institutions together. Institutions participating in cutting-edge course redesigns want to have knowledge of the best content and best technology available to produce the best outcomes; companies want to learn what is needed by institutions to further our shared mission of improved learning at reduced costs. These companies want to find ways to scale what they have learned to the broader higher education community.


By becoming a member of the Redesign Alliance, you will have the opportunity:

  • to advance the goals of the Redesign Alliance
  • to participate in a high-level national forum on course redesign
  • to learn and gain access to state-of-the-art information and knowledge
  • to influence the direction of the Redesign Alliance
  • to access professional development opportunities for faculty and administrators who are new to redesign
  • to exchange ideas and problem-solving strategies with those experienced in course redesign
  • to return to your home institution or organization and apply the knowledge gained

As founding members of the Redesign Alliance, we ask you to join us. The following program strategy outlines our collective vision.


The mission of the Redesign Alliance is to advance the concept of course redesign throughout higher education to increase student success and access while containing or reducing instructional costs. The Redesign Alliance pursues this mission by creating a community of higher education institutions and others who are committed to and experienced with large-scale course redesign. The Redesign Alliance widens the community of those involved in course redesign by holding a series of meeting and conferences that will 1) enable those experienced in course redesign to exchange ideas and experiences, and 2) establish a place where new colleagues can learn about the benefits of course redesign and how to implement course redesign on their home campuses.

Goals and Objectives

  • To inspire, by promulgating a vision of redesigned learning environments that lead to greater student success and devising strategies to make them a reality.
  • To inform, by showcasing those who have succeeded in improving learning and reducing costs and enabling other s to understand what has made them successful.
  • To leverage, by harnessing national, state and corporate interest in course redesign so as to realize a significant return on current and future investments in instructional applications of information technology.
  • To influence, by advocating constructive ways to address student achievement and the affordability issue that are strategic in nature.
  • To enable, by creating a forum where those with common interests in improving student success and access while reducing instructional costs through course redesign can collaborate.

Areas of Work

  • Pedagogy
    The Redesign Alliance will promote proven pedagogical techniques that result in the most effective learning (e.g., increased success rates, responsiveness to diverse learning styles and needs, increased course completion rates, greater retention) for higher education's students.
  • Resources
    The Redesign Alliance will elucidate what are the most effective techniques that reduce the cost of instruction, thereby enabling institutions to deal constructively with budget constraints, to serve more students, to decrease time to graduation by eliminating academic bottlenecks and to free resources to be used for other institutional purposes.
  • Assessment
    The Redesign Alliance will emphasize the importance of assessing student learning outcomes, will disseminate the use of simple assessment techniques that can be embedded in everyday academic practice and will encourage multi-institutional assessments of shared innovations.
  • Underserved Students
    The Redesign Alliance will pay particular attention to the impact of course redesign on underserved students—students of color, low-income students, first-generation college students and working adults—in order to increase their access and success.
  • Learning Materials
    The Redesign Alliance will stimulate the development of high-quality, affordable software and learning tools that meet challenging content standards through partnerships between institutions and content/technology producers and inter-institutional collaboration.
  • Technologies
    The Redesign Alliance will identify those technology applications that have the most promise for increasing student learning while containing instructional costs and will help institutions understand the instructional contexts that make those applications effective.
  • Learning Space Design
    The Redesign Alliance will explore the implications of course redesign for campus facilities and help institutions connect space planning and effective learning.
  • Change
    The Redesign Alliance will advance strategies that will lead to substantial changes in instructional practices—i.e., are replicable and scalable—by helping institutions learn from the successes of those who have done it.

Organizational Strategy

  • The Redesign Alliance is an activity sponsored by NCAT. NCAT's role is to serve as a catalyst to bring together participating colleges and universities to create joint solutions to the challenge of scaling the benefits of course redesign.
  • The Redesign Alliance carries out its work through an association of institutions and organizations that pay its member fees and actively participate in Redesign Alliance activities.
  • Participating institutions and organizations designate one individual as their liaison to the Redesign Alliance. Decisions about who participates in particular Redesign Alliance meetings and activities are made by the participating institutions and organizations depending upon level of interest and involvement.
  • The Redesign Alliance Advisory Board, appointed by NCAT, coordinates the development of the Redesign Alliance and its activities.
  • The Advisory Board actively consults with the members to identify issues, topics and strategies around which meetings and conferences are organized.

Financial Strategy

  • Participating institutions and organizations pay an annual membership fee of $5,000. These institutions and organizations are members of the Redesign Alliance.
  • Individual institutional members of the Redesign Alliance receive an unlimited number of discounted registration fees at the annual conference and at smaller meetings.
  • System or district members of the Redesign Alliance receive up to five discounted registration fees at the annual conference and up to two discounted registration fees at smaller meetings.
  • Travel and housing expenses that result from such meetings are covered by the member institution or organization with which a given individual is associated.


  • Austin Community College District
  • Bedford, Freeman and Worth Publishing Group
  • Blackboard Inc.
  • Boise State University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • California State University at Fresno
  • Connors State College
  • Dallas County Community College District
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Educational Testing Service
  • Fordham University
  • Georgia State University
  • Houghton Mifflin
  • Indiana University
  • Lorain County Community College
  • Louisiana State University
  • Ocean County College
  • Ohio Learning Network
  • The Ohio State University
  • Pearson Education
  • Penn State University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rio Salado College
  • Riverside Community College
  • Seton Hall University
  • SunGard Higher Education
  • Tennessee Board of Regents
  • Thomson Learning
  • The University of Alabama
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Hawaii System
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Massachusetts System
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Texas
  • The University of Southern Mississippi
  • The University of Texas System
  • University System of Maryland
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Wayne State University