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June 9, 2011 Volume 32, No. 31

Adding technology can improve learning in high-enrollment courses


Statewide initiative will share course redesigns

The University if Missouri is taking part in a statewide redesign initiative that will integrate technology into high-enrollment courses.

Under the initiative, offered through the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT), one class from each of the 13 four-year institutions in Missouri will undergo a redesign. Student outcomes from those courses will be measured, and the basics of the course structure, such as the syllabus and decisions made in the course redesign, will be shared with the other institutions across the state

“The goal is to redesign a class so that students have more ways to learn and be able to demonstrate that the changes are effective,” Danna Vessell, director of Educational Technologies at Missouri (ET@MO) said. “This process involves large enrollment classes taught on campus.”

Larry Ries’ Statistics 1200 class has been proposed as the MU course that will be redesigned through the initiative. The redesign will take place next fall, with the pilot course in place for the Spring 2012 semester.

“I have taught Stat 1200 for the past 14 years and the course works well as is,” Ries said. “However, as faculty members, we must constantly reassess and reinvent the things we do. This project is an exciting opportunity to make a good course even better.”

The 13 Missouri universities taking part in the redesign project are: Harris-Stowe University, Lincoln University, Missouri Southern State University, Missouri State University, the four UM System campuses, Missouri Western State University, Northwest Missouri State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Truman State University and University of Central Missouri.

Because many potential course projects were submitted for redesign, MU has also implemented its own course redesign program. ET@MO will work with five on-campus courses to promote student-centered learning and enhance the effective use of technology in those classes.

“We will be conducting a redesign for five courses on campus,” Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies, said. “The instructors will be working with ET@MO to change the technological elements used in those courses, and redesign the learning experiences for students, which will be focused on improving student learning outcomes.”

While the five courses are being redesigned as part a campus program and are not part of the statewide project, they will follow guidelines similar to those set forth by NCAT.

“The ultimate goal is to improve the courses to improve student learning,” Spain concluded.

— Josh Murray