Changing the Course of Learning

Provost's Large Course Redesign Grant Initiative

The University of Connecticut (UConn) invites participation in a new university-wide initiative to redesign large-enrollment courses using technology-supported active learning strategies. The initiative expects to provide a maximum of $30,000 in funding per accepted application to support a large-scale course redesign.
 
BACKGROUND
Many colleges and universities including UConn have adopted exciting new ways of infusing technology to enhance the teaching and learning process to improve learning outcomes and to extend access to new populations of students. UConn has been successful in applying technology, but, like most institutions, has not fully harnessed the potential of technology to improve the quality of student learning, increase retention, and enhance resource effectiveness in courses that have the broadest impact.

Research has shown that undergraduate enrollments in the United States are highly concentrated in introductory courses. On average, nationally at the baccalaureate level, the 25 largest courses generate about 35 percent of student enrollment. In addition, successful completion of these courses is key to student progress toward a degree. High failure rates in these courses--typically 15% at research universities--can lead to significant drop-out rates between the first and second years of enrollment.

National course redesign initiatives have demonstrated significant improvement in achievement of learning outcomes, reductions drop-failure-withdrawal (DFW) rates, and enhanced resource effectiveness. They also demonstrated improved student attitudes toward the subject matter and increased student satisfaction with the mode of instruction.

To learn more about course redesign experiences at other institutions:

Carol A. Twigg (2015) Improving Learning and Reducing Costs: Fifteen
Years of Course Description, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 47:6, 6-13, DOI:
10.1080/00091383.2015.1089753   http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2015.1089753

Carol A. Twigg (2003) Improving Learning and Reducing Costs: New Models for Online Learning, EDUCAUSE review, September/October 2003; 23-36. Available at: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0352.pdf

Philip M. Turner (2009) Next Generation: Course Redesign, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 41:6, 10-16, DOI: 10.1080/00091380903297642. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00091380903297642

 

THE UCONN PROGRAM
The Provost’s Large Course Redesign Grant Initiative is aimed at “making large courses feel small” through the integration of pedagogy with technology. The initiative will identify opportunities to improve learning outcomes in the following areas:

  • Large course: Courses selected should have an enrollment of 100+ students in very large sections or a large number of smaller sections;
  • Identifiable academic problem or opportunity: Courses selected to be redesigned should face an identifiable academic problem (e.g., low successful completion rates), a resource problem (e.g., an inability to meet demand based on current resources), or a faculty aspiration to improve learning effectiveness and outcomes, or a combination of multiple problems or opportunities;
  • Whole course redesign: In each case, the whole course--rather than a single class or section--is redesigned;
  • Advancing active learning: The redesign project should make the teaching-learning enterprise significantly more active and learner-centered through the use of different classroom techniques or pedagogy (such as hybrid/blended courses or problem-based learning);
  • Integrated educational technology: Instructional equipment, instructional software and/or web-based learning resources assume an important role in engaging students with course content. Resources include tutorials, exercises and low-stakes quizzes that provide frequent practice, feedback, and reinforcement of course concepts;
  • Mastery of learning: The redesign projects include assessment of student achievement of predefined learning outcomes; and
  • Resource efficiency: Wherever possible, efficiency in university or student resources are critical to the redesign, such as the use of open educational resources.

 

To Submit a Proposal - we are working on the 2017 submission information, please revisit our website for more details at a later date.
To apply, interested parties should submit by November 21, 2016 to Lauren Schlesselman at CETL (lauren.schlesselman@uconn.edu):

  • The application form (available at www.cetl.uconn.edu);
  • A copy of the current course syllabus;
  • An acknowledgement from all faculty involved in the course of their commitment to the redesign;
  • A letter of support from your department head; An explicit budget and justification of the proposed expenses; and
  • No more than 4 pages outlining the proposed concept including:
    • A narrative describing the course’s identified academic problem;
    • A narrative describing the proposed redesign project, including how it will correct the identified academic problem, advance active learning, integrate educational technology, and improve resource efficiency; and
    • A narrative of the learning outcomes for the course and how they are assessed in the current course format and will be assessed in the redesigned format to demonstrate improved learning achievement.

Applicants may be asked to present the merits of their proposal to the CETL review team during the week of December 5, 2016. Participants will be selected through an application review process conducted by the Changing the Course of Learning Grant team.

 

To Learn More
If you are interested in learning more about this program, please visit CETL’s webpage (www.cetl.uconn.edu). You may also contact CETL’s Associate Director Lauren Schlesselman at 860-486-3402 or at lauren.schlesselman@uconn.edu for more information.

 

2017 Timeline  
TBD Application period opens
TBD Deadline for submitting application
TBD Applicants meet with review team
TBD Participant selections announced
TBD Course redesign process
TBD Course redesign implementation
TBD Interim course reports due to team
TBD Mid-course sharing event
TBD Final team reports due to team
TBD Dissemination of Results