At Pace University, asynchronous learning tools provide support to faculty and curriculum development projects and improve student and faculty satisfaction with little or no additional costs.
Cost effective aspects of online environment:
Online tools have been used at Pace University to support "anytime, anywhere" faculty training and curriculum development. Pace developed a Blackboard delivered course management software that would allow faculty the ability to review and study training material in greater detail. In addition, the University has undertaken a major curricular revision significantly ahead of schedule through the innovative use of technology.
The online training replaced what normally would be 15 hours of on-site training at various locations. The online delivery of training reduced costs by $1200 for catering and copying costs alone. Additional savings are achieved by eliminating the distribution of paper materials (and postage). Physical space and training facilitator costs also have been eliminated.
The curriculum revision was managed by a "committee of the whole" made up of all faculty members in two department locations (consisting of 20 full-time faculty members in two physical locations). With the challenges of distance and a compressed timeframe, the only way to accomplish this task was through the use of technology. The curriculum committee depended quite heavily on a listserv for immediate e-mail contact and a Blackboard Faculty Site serving as a central repository for posting and review of documents. Due to the extensive use of the listserv and faculty site, the curriculum was revised in about 1/3 the time required in the past. In addition to saving time, savings also were achieved in terms of the elimination of paper copies of curriculum materials.
The overall effectiveness of the CIS101 Site can be measured by examining the frequency of faculty access to the Site. An analysis of Blackboard course statistics shows that every faculty member (100%) assigned to CIS101 for Fall 2002 or Spring 2003 accessed the site. From September 2002 through June 2003, faculty accessed the CIS101 Site on an average of 13 different occasions. The minimum number of accesses was two and the maximum number of accesses was 25. The universal and frequent access of this site demonstrates that this was an effective way to provide faculty development support for such a large and complex course revision.
Another measure of the cost-effectiveness for the CIS101 Site is to compare the online faculty development course costs with that of face-to-face faculty training. We estimate that to replicate the CIS101 Site would require training sessions of at least five days, three hours per day, repeated at a Westchester and New York City location. Eliminating face-to-face training saves at least $1200 in catering and copying expenses. Hosting materials on the CIS101 Site also saves the school the cost of distributing the materials. Sending materials to faculty via Federal Express would cost approximately $375 a semester. There are additional savings as well in terms of classroom space and the training facilitator salaries.
The effectiveness of the IS Site can be demonstrated with an analysis of the Blackboard course statistics, which show that 80% of full-time IS faculty have accessed the IS Site. This compares quite favorably to the level of participation in scheduled meetings. Faculty used the IS Site on an average of seven separate occasions, with a minimum number of accesses equal to one and a maximum equal to 22. Consequently, the frequent and nearly universal access of the IS Site demonstrates the level of interest and engagement of faculty in the development of a new IS undergraduate curriculum.
The primary evidence of cost-effectiveness for the IS Site is the dramatic reduction in the time required to complete the curriculum revision. Spending only about one-third the time is a significant savings on the salaries of those involved.
Using online support for the Portfolio workshops results in a cost savings of approximately $1400 per workshop.
Each of these three applications demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology through an improvement in quality, and a decrease in mostly out-of-pocket costs. However, since additional expenses are minimal, the overall cost-effectiveness is quite high.
Little if any additional costs are associated with this application of asynchronous tools to these projects.