Course Redesign: Increasing Student Success at a Reduced Cost

From working with large numbers of students, faculty, and institutions since 1999, the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) has learned what works and what does not work in improving student achievement while reducing instructional costs in undergraduate college courses. We call that process course redesign. Course redesign is the process of redesigning whole courses (rather than individual classes or sections) to achieve better learning outcomes at lower costs by taking advantage of the capabilities of information technology.


NCAT and its partner colleges and universities have initiated 195 redesign projects, 80 percent of which were completed.

  • Of the 156 completed projects, 72 percent improved student learning outcomes and 28 percent showed learning equivalent to traditional formats.
  • Of the 156 completed projects, 153 reduced their costs by 34 percent on average (ranging from 4 percent to 81 percent).
  • Collectively, the 253 courses that have been redesigned enroll about 250,000 students annually.

Other positive outcomes include increased course-completion rates, improved retention, better student attitudes toward the subject matter, and increased student and faculty satisfaction with the new mode of instruction.

Planning Resources

This guidebook discusses how to implement NCAT's course redesign methodology to increase student success and redeuce instructional costs.

Highlights include:

The Essential Elements of Course Redesign
A description of eight elements that are essential to successful course redesign.

Six Models for Course Redesign: Those Most Frequently Used
Six Models for Course Redesign: Those Less Frequently Used
A description of the six course redesign models that emerged from NCAT's programs in course redesign.

Four Models for Assessing Student Learning
A description of the most effective and efficient ways to assess student learning.

Cost Reduction Strategies
A description of the most effective strategies to reduce instructional costs.