Chattanooga State Technical Community College

Course Title: General Psychology
Redesign Coordinator: Donna Seagle

Status: This project originated as part of NCAT's FIPSE-funded Roadmap to Redesign (R2R) program, 2003 – 2006, and was successfully completed.

Descriptive Materials: In addition to the project description below, links for this project include a final project report, which describes the impact of the redesign on student learning and student retention; final cost savings achieved; techniques that most contributed to improved learning and reduced costs; and, an assessment of future sustainability.

Project Plan:
Chattanooga State plans to redesign its General Psychology course, currently taught in a conventional lecture format. Eighteen sections with class sizes ranging from 18 to 95 students serve approximately 522 students each semester. Three full-time tenure-track professors teach ten sections and seven adjunct instructors teach the remaining eight sections. Each instructor develops his or her own syllabi and content.

The multiple section model used in the course leads to several academic problems including minimal faculty collaboration in developing and delivering course content, duplication of course administrative responsibilities, and an overall lack of consistency across sections in meeting transfer requirements. In addition, the lecture method pays insufficient attention to students' diverse learning styles. Finally, the department is concerned about its over-dependence on adjunct faculty instructors.

The college has chosen the Buffet Model as the basis for its redesign of General Psychology. The model was selected to reduce the number of in-class meetings and the number of faculty members teaching the course while increasing student-based learning. The number of sections will be reduced to six of 100 students each taught by two full-time faculty members each term, providing one hour of lecture per section per week. Adjunct faculty will no longer teach General Psychology. One adjunct faculty instructor will lead two optional one-hour discussion groups per week, monitor mandatory online threaded discussions, and provide technical support for students.

The redesign plan will focus on a 24/7 interactive web site developed cooperatively by tenure-track faculty. The web-based learning environment will include common elements such as the syllabus, learning objectives, online video segments, interactive activities with portfolio evaluation, mastery quizzing using WebCT quiz tools, class email, threaded discussions and grade book. Online simulations will illustrate concepts, theories and research methodologies. Grading will be based upon computerized portfolio evaluation, five proctored tests and collaborative writing assignments including online threaded discussion.

Ongoing assessment will evaluate student retention, performance, and satisfaction. Academic pre- and post-tests, two course evaluation questionnaires, and course web site tracking will provide comparable measures between the traditional and redesigned formats. Subject area pre- and post-tests will be developed collaboratively during the fall to be administered during the Spring 2005. Student failure rates and retention rates for all sections will be calculated. During spring 2005, five additional sections of the redesign will be added and comparison data gathered and analyzed. General Psychology will be taught using exclusively the redesign format during fall semester of 2005.

Cost savings will be achieved by reducing the number of full-time faculty teaching the course and eliminating adjunct instructors. The cost-per-student will decrease from $130 to $42, and the total semester course cost will decrease from $67,857 (serving 522 students) to $25,311 (serving 600 students.) Because each faculty member will be responsible for three rather than nine hours of lecture per week, the additional six hours per week will allow faculty members time to develop and teach new upper level courses. In addition, classroom space will be freed for other uses.


Quick Links:

Roadmap to Redesign Main Page...