Course Redesign Strategies Show Cost Savings and Improved Student Learning

Author Information
Tana Bishop
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
State University of New York at Buffalo
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

The University at Buffalo addresses learning effectiveness and cost-effectiveness simultaneously through two course redesign strategies.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

The University at Buffalo initiated two redesign strategies that reduced the cost associated with a Computer Literacy course. Faculty selected this particular course for redesign for several reasons: 1. It serves a large number of students (currently around 1,000 freshmen enroll in this course for non-majors). 2. The enrollments are expected to increase even more when the course becomes a General Education requirement. 3. Students are required to have computer access. One redesign strategy (Plan A) was to keep enrollments at the original level, reduce faculty lecture time by replacing some lectures with interactive online material, and employ undergraduate learning assistants rather than graduate assistants for technical help. The other redesign strategy (Plan B) also applied the same academic plan but raised course enrollment and increased faculty and learning assistant time slightly to accommodate the increase in students.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

The university detailed the costs for the various developments and delivery models and projected that Plan A would achieve a 54% cost savings. The cost per student decreased from $248 to $114. With Plan B, the cost per student decreased from $248 to $99, a cost savings of 60%.