Design and Implementation of Universal Course Shell Templates to Enhance Student Outcomes in Online Degree Programs

Author Information
Dr. Art Borgemenke
Dr. Chuck Holt
Dr. Wade Fush
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Texas A&M University Commerce
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

This effective practice describes processes utilized by the faculty members of an Educational Administration Principal Preparation program in conceptualizing, developing and implementing a universal course shell (UCS) for all graduate degree/state specific certification courses. This effective instructional practice includes the rationale behind the faculty perceptions documenting the need for the UCS. Steps used to determine what components can be most effectively included in a universal course shell for use with a proprietary online course management system (CMS) are also described.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

The UCS was developed and implemented to: Provide students participating in an accelerated online principal preparation program a more user-friendly experience by seeing consistent formatting across program courses. Maintain program alignment to state competency requirements and university content. Deliver consistent rigor by preventing course focus drift between multiple instructor course sections. Allow subject matter experts to concentrate resource utilization on developing methods of delivering concept content instead of course delivery.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Texas A&M Commerce Educational Administration has seen a dramatic increase in first-time passers of the TExES Principal Certification Examination. The program passing rates are approaching 95%. The Texas A&M Commerce Educational Administration program has also experienced a phenominal growth since institution of the UCS. Enrollment rates since January 2012 have qradrupled indicating student interest and satisfaction in the program. The three authors have received students evaluations that consistently rank above University students evaluation averages.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Learning Effectiveness - research demonstrates that clarity and consistency reduces student anxiety and increases student achievement. Scalability - reproduction of UCS enable adjunct and new faculty to be able to teach courses that maintain departmental standards and competency requirements. Student Satisfaction - students evaluations for courses using UCS increase student satisfaction and student outcomes.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Access to consistent LMS and robust technical and instructional design support.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

Once a consistent learning media platform is adopted by the institution, the costs for implementation or maintenance costs are minimal. Faculty collaboration to establish universal standards is all that is required.

References, supporting documents: 

Hines, C. V., Cruickshank, D.R., and Kennedy, J.J., (1985). Teacher Clarity and Its Relationship to Student Achievement and Satisfaction American Educational Research Journal. Vol. 22, No. 1, Spring, 1985

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Dr. Art Borgemenke
Email this contact:
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Dr. William Charles Holt
Email contact 2:
Effective Practice Contact 3: 
Dr. Wade Fish
Email contact 3: