Stripling, J. (2009) Half-learned lessons Inside Higher Education, October 9

It is 10 years since the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) began working with colleges to improve learning outcomes while reducing cost by re-designing large introductory lecture courses. This article suggests:

  • the re-design process was successfully transferred from the initial courses to other courses in the same institution
  • in general, there were learning gains from the redesign
  • although there were significant cost reductions in some initial cases, this has not been tracked continuously by the institutions and in some institutions cost-reduction is not in fact a main objective.

Also, many of the course re-designs achieved their cost savings by using undergraduates as tutors, rather than teaching assistants or adjunct professors, mainly to support the small discussion groups. It is difficult then to know how much technology played a part in reducing costs/increasing learning gains, as many other factors were also involved.

More discussion of this will be found in my blogs on improving cost-effectiveness through e-learning.


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