Application for Technology-Based Learning and Support

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Board of Regents Meeting
November 18 & 19, 2004
Item 7
Page 1 of 21

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


ACTION ITEM: Application for Technology-Based Learning and Support (ATLAS) ASU


ISSUE: It is requested that the Board approve the ATLAS (Application for Technology-
Based Learning and Support) system, a university-wide IT system for student
learning and support, pending legislative approval of a $25 million decision
package.


BACKGROUND:
Arizona State University seeks to address student enrollment growth and declining faculty to
student ratios through the implementation of an advanced academic learning and support
environment that harnesses the power of technology to create a dynamic, individualized, and
interactive knowledge network. The goals of this network are to: 1) Maximize the return on
technology investment to support the rapidly growing student enrollment; 2) Improve
educational outcomes such as graduation rates and student performance; 3) Establish ASU as
a center for excellence in the integration of technology and education, attracting faculty,
students, and strategic alliances; and 4) Extend the reach of ASU’s assets and knowledge
capital.


DISCUSSION:

ASU is in the process of upgrading its core IT Infrastructure as a result of a
$22,000,000 CDP funding package already approved. ATLAS is the natural
progression as ASU makes technology a Strategic Advantage for ASU and positions
ASU to be able to serve the future educational needs of the State of Arizona.

A description of ATLAS can be found on pages 3 through 21 of this Executive
Summary.


RECOMMENDATION:
It is recommended that the Board of Regents approve the Application for Technology-Based
Learning and Support (ATLAS) system, pending legislative approval of a $25 million
decision package.





Contact: William E. Lewis, ASU CIO and Vice Provost, 480.965.9059,
William.Lewis@asu.edu
Application for Technology-Based
Learning and Support (ATLAS)
Arizona State University
1
Application for Technology-Based
Learning and Support (ATLAS)
Table of Contents
Overview ........................................................................................................................2
Enrollment growth and technology-based solutions ......................................................2
Proposal .........................................................................................................................4
Platform features ...........................................................................................................5
Platform functionality ....................................................................................................6
Examples of platform applications .................................................................................7
Current platforms ...........................................................................................................9
Platform development ...................................................................................................9
Other considerations in the success of the platform ......................................................9
Conclusion ...................................................................................................................11
Budget .........................................................................................................................13
Appendix: Technology-based platforms ........................................................................14
Table of Contents
Rev. 11/01/04
2
Overview
Arizona State University has grown from 35,000 students in 1975 to more
than 57,000 students today. To meet the projected 10,000 students that will
bring the university student population to 67,000 before 2008, the university
must plan for growth on a systematic basis, rather than on a per student basis.
The following approach looks at the university at the design level, and
recommends a scalable, technology-based solution to be called ATLAS
(Application for Technology-based Learning and Support). ATLAS will be a
university-wide information technology (IT) system with significant practical
as well as pedagogical advantages. Dynamic, individualized features of the
university-wide IT system will help students to succeed, improve freshman
retention and increase graduation rates. ATLAS will also allow ASU to support
additional students on an already-capitalized base, resulting in a large state
university with sustainable operations and an increased number of college
graduates for the State of Arizona.
Enrollment Growth and Technology-Based Solutions
The population of the metropolitan Phoenix area has increased between 40
percent and 55 percent every decade since 1970. In the last decade alone, the
metropolitan area grew from 2.1 million to over 3 million people – all served
by one major research university: ASU. Arizona State University is committed
not only to teaching and research, but to social and economic development
of the region as well. We want to be judged by who we include, not who we
exclude.
Enrollment growth:

Arizona State University will continue to experience
hyper enrollment growth. However, resources to support students have
not grown proportionally, resulting in less than adequate academic and
administrative support for students. While traditional means of addressing
enrollment growth and student achievement have been implemented, the
challenge of exponential enrollment growth has stretched traditional support
to its maximum. Increased numbers of English teaching assistants, increased
numbers of adjunct mathematics faculty, increased numbers of students in
existing classes and classrooms, increased numbers of academic advisors,
increased numbers of tutors, and increased numbers of administrators in
operational support – all of these assume a direct relationship between new
students, and the essential new physical, human and financial resources. This
is the case because this is how our institutional operations are designed. They
are designed to address short-term needs, as defined by the current set of
students, for the current condition of the State.
Enrollment at
Arizona State
University has
signifi cantly
increased while
proportional
support for each
additional student
has decreased.
Exponential
enrollment growth
has strained
traditional
student support
mechanisms.
Overview
3
There are
currently an
estimated
5,000 FTE
students at
ASU with no
state funding
support.
ASU can build
upon its already
progressive
online
experience.
Background
Historical under-investment in enrollment growth:

From FY 2001 to FY
2004, ASU experienced the largest enrollment increase than during any three-
year period in the past two decades. For FY 2004, ASU served over 7,600 Full-
Time Equivalent (FTE) students with no net increase in the State investment.
Even with the modest FY 2005 increase in enrollment growth dollars, after a
period of such large enrollment increases, there remains an estimated 5,000
FTE students with no state funding support. This contributes to the widening
of the funding gap, on a per student basis, between ASU and the other state
universities. With the historical under-investment for enrolled students and
anticipated enrollments in the future, a technology based solution is needed
to better serve ASU’s students.
Technology-based solutions for learning and support:
Technology has
changed from a necessary administrative support, accessible by a relatively small
number of the university staff, to a “mission critical” element of the modern
learning environment, essential to the work of students, faculty, and staff. This
shift places new burdens on the University’s technology infrastructure, not
simply in its capacity, but in its design, since it must now serve the needs of a
broad learning community. Any disruption in the infrastructure, particularly
in the learning platform, is a disruption to the learning experience.
To date, the university has relied on home-grown solutions that customize
existing software and systems. While this approach has been adequate and
affordable, it has not resulted in the ease of use and professional look-and-feel
that is an important factor for widespread adoption among a large community
with varied levels of technology expertise, nor are these patchwork systems
financially or operationally efficient.
In a recent audit prepared for the Arizona Board of Regents, ASU was noted
for the “very progressive online experience (it) provides for students,” with
particular praise given to the customized admission requirement information,
excellent overview of financial aid and integration of guidance, sophisticated
academic course planner, online career-related assessments, access to
internships and job listings, single sign-on access, customized transfer student
orientation, and online tutorials for technical problems. The same report,
however, also called attention to the conflicting access points. While some
services have certainly moved to the web, the infrastructure behind the scenes
is strained. The Student Information System and the financial administration
system at ASU are both examples of systems that can no longer support
additional development.
4
While Arizona State University has been successful despite a home-grown
support infrastructure, these systems have already scaled to their maximum
capacity. Moreover, striking developments in individualized learning have been
made possible through technology-based platforms. These advances will enable
ASU to meet its enrollment needs and improve the student experience.
Proposal
Enhanced online services and classes are the means by which ASU can overcome
the constraints of financial resources, physical space, and human resources.
Technology will assure a greater level of support at a lower marginal cost for
each student. Increasing the numbers of students who take online courses will
help to free up physical space, e.g. a student preferring more individualized
instruction may choose to take math online, freeing up classroom space for a
student who prefers to learn in a more traditional setting.
The learning or content management system (LMS or CMS) is an essential
building block within the academic computing environment. The CMS is the
underlying architecture for the course web site, which is created by faculty
and staff with the help of the instructional design and production team. Most
of ASU’s course development has been uncoordinated with the rest of the
institution and has also not taken full advantage of advances made at other
institutions that share ASU’s aspirations to migrate key academic content and
services to the web. As one of the largest public universities, ASU has much to
offer in strategic alliances with other universities and learning vendors.
Enrollment
growth can
be addressed
through ATLAS,
a university-
wide IT system
for student
learning and
support.
Proposal
5
Below are the desired features of the ASU technology-based platform for student learning and support:
Platform Features
Communication Tools
• Discussion forums
• File exchange
• Email
• Online journal/notes
• Chat
• Whiteboard
• Collaborative workspace
Communication and Collaboration
• Discussion boards
• Project management tools
• Document sharing
Student Involvement Tools
• Project teams
• Self-assessment
• Student community building
• Portfolios
• Workshop formats
Faculty Services/Curriculum Design
• Instructional design tools
• Instructional design tutorial
• Instructional standards
Assessment Management
• Flexible test formats
• Customized student feedback
• Statistical analysis
Faculty Services/Administration
• Authentication
• Course authorization
• Registration integration
• Schedule
• Syllabus
• Announcements
• Library and other university resources
Course Delivery Tools
• Automated testing and scoring
Productivity Tools
• Orientation/help
• Search
• Bookmark
• Calendar/program review
• Work offline/synchronize
Content Management
• Flexible content repository for text,
video, simulations, internal discussions
• Gateway to library
• SCORM compliant
• Digital rights management
Platform Features
6
Platform Functionality
Student perspective:

The course web site is the backbone of the course, a virtual extension of the classroom,
departmental/faculty office, registrar, and gateway to the library. In addition to the course’s administrative
nuts and bolts (i.e. its schedule and syllabus), the course web site is interactive, linking students to each
other, to resource materials, and to faculty.
• Communications and collaborative tools enable students to exchange files, work on projects
together, and comment on each other’s work.
• Content selected by the faculty include text as well as multimedia, simulations, digital learning
objects, and case studies. They are interoperable with the ASU library so that the digital materials
for each course lead seamlessly to the full intellectual wealth of the traditional library.
• Sophisticated tracking tools enable the student to mark his/her progress in the course, obtain
advising and tutoring services, and receive additional problem sets or readings depending on
individual needs.
• A writing lab provides bibliographical style sheets for research papers as well as immediate feedback
on drafts.
• The course web site tracks relevant lectures, symposia, or other live programs on the ASU campus
and Phoenix areas, extending the virtual learning environment to the vibrant life of the campus and
community.
Faculty perspective of additional features:

CMS tools have instructional design tools built into them
because many faculty do not have the skills to design good learning modules. Faculty may be experts in
content areas, but may not have the time or resources to become well versed in instructional design.
• CMS tools will provide wizards, course templates, and modules that model and link learning
activities associated with content and teaching modules.
• Content management tools will aid in enabling faculty to tap the library, digital learning objects,
and internet-based multimedia and reference to provide a full range of traditional and interactive
course materials.
Institutional perspective:

Individual student data can be aggregated for assessment and analysis of academic
objectives and performance for the department and university. CMS can aggregate the university’s assets
for leverage not only within the university, but for strategic alliances and the public as well.
Platform Functionality
7
Examples of Platform Applications
Interactive model of student learning
• Issue and solution: At Penn State, the traditional course delivery model for Introductory Statistics
did not serve student needs and was not cost effective. The university reduced the number of weekly
lectures from three to one, giving faculty more time to interact with students and less time to prepare
and deliver the lectures. Two of the traditional lectures have been replaced with computer-mediated
workshops.
• Result: Faculty and teaching assistants utilize these computer-mediated workshops to provide
interactive and substantive feedback to students. In addition, the redesigned course offers a variety
of online learning materials as well as computerized testing. The redesigned course provides a more
interactive model of student learning and reduces costs, particularly in terms of TA support typically
required in large, traditional lecture sections.
• Cost effectiveness: An overall 30 percent reduction in cost-per-student, from approximately $176
to $123. Annually, this means a projected savings of more than $115,000.
Seamless and collaborative support for students
• Issue and solution: In order to deal with a high percentage of first-year drop-outs, Sinclair
Community College designed a technology infrastructure that could tie together processes for
identifying at-risk students, providing support, and tracking progress. The resulting web-based
support system for students and counselors includes a screening process that enables the college to
determine the students’ risk of failure and provide a Student Success Plan (SSP) for identified at-risk
students. The SSP offers assessments, a case-management counseling approach for both new and
current students, and transition plans that range from intensive support services to self-service and
web-based systems.
• Result: High student satisfaction with the counseling system. Students appreciate the collaborative
process and the combination of individualized counseling sessions and the ability to track their own
progress independently.
More physical space, more faculty time
• Issue and solution: Brigham Young University is trying to accommodate student enrollment
growth simultaneously with square footage restrictions imposed by the administration. The university
redesigned the Freshman Composition course to reduce the amount of time students spend in the
classroom from three hours to one hour per week, allowing the faculty to spend more time in one-
on-one student consultations. A series of interactive multimedia lessons and additional peer-to-peer
sessions replace the time students previously spent in the campus classroom.
• Result: The redesign leveraged online multimedia modules to teach students key concepts about
reading and writing.
• Cost effectiveness: The redesigned course shows an overall faculty time savings of 25 percent
when compared to the traditional course.
Platform Applications
8
Desirable learning environment
• Issue and solution: For the Introductory Psychology course at the University of Southern Maine,
the faculty-to-student ratio prohibited a desirable learning environment in which students could
receive frequent feedback; faculty were primarily devoted to serving these large introductory course
sections and spent less time on developing and revising upper-level course materials. Online resources
and a variety of interactive computer activities were implemented.
• Result: Improves learning opportunities through more interaction, redeploy key resources, and deal
effectively with enrollment. Students receive timely feedback.
• Cost effectiveness: Reduced lecture time by 50 percent. While course sections increased in size
from 75 to 125, online resources also increased interaction and personalized attention between
students and faculty. The department anticipates that savings will accrue, in particular, with the
reduction in traditional lecture format classes and the increase in course section size. The previous
course model costs approximately $113 per student, and the planned course structure revision is
anticipated to cost $58 per student.
Individualized attention
• Issue and solution: Linear Algebra at Virginia Tech serves about 2,000 students per year and was
traditionally taught in sections of 40 students. The mathematics department sought a way to reduce
costs while retaining the individual focus of small sections. The redesigned course operates entirely
online, with personal support by a staff of peer tutors and faculty, available weekdays, evenings and
Sundays at the Math Emporium, a large 24/7 learning laboratory adjacent to campus. Tests and
lectures are available online, in addition to the main interactive learning modules.
• Result: A study of learning effectiveness concluded that test and grade results have been essentially
the same as just before the redesign, except that retention and completion rates have clearly increased.
The freedom to work at convenient times and for as long as needed probably makes the greatest
contribution to student satisfaction.
• Cost effectiveness: Annual cost savings have been approximately $130,000 (per-student costs in
the fall semester from $91 to $21).
Academic achievement
• Issue and solution: Harper College has used a blended learning format to deliver chemistry
instruction effectively. Key course design strategies include: a discussion board that fosters interaction
between students and instructors, thus creating a sense of community, support; and an array of
audio and video teaching and learning materials that fit diverse learning styles and create a learning-
centered environment.
• Result: Grade comparisons show that students in blended chemistry courses receive a much higher
percentage of ‘A’s (40 percent vs. 22 percent) than students in face-to-face chemistry courses.
Platform Applications
9
Current Platforms
The backbone of the university’s upgraded academic computing environment will be an expanded version
of its current learning management system. ASU currently relies on Blackboard, an off-the-shelf software
solution that is difficult to customize to meet the needs of the university and does not support a complex
learning environment. Blackboard focuses primarily on the mechanics of the classroom experience, such
as its syllabus and class schedules. ASU seeks to expand on this functionality, either by supplementing or
replacing Blackboard.
The Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) is to course management systems what Linux is to operating
systems. It is an open source initiative that has evolved from the creative energy of programmers and faculty
at several universities. The general idea is to take software modules successfully deployed in two or more
locations and enable those modules to function on other campuses individually, in conjunction with other
homemade modules or as a comprehensive system. All of this should be possible if standards are developed
and then followed. The Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards, which represents all
higher education institutions in the UK, is using the OKI specifications to create a nationwide infrastructure
for e-learning.
OKI has developed a commercial venture named Sakai that will implement java-based programming
standards. These standards, specifically designed for higher education, specify how different educational
software products communicate with one another as well as with other enterprise systems. The first version
of the software, Sakai Release Candidate 1, was made available to the public this summer. The brand equity
and academic credibility behind Sakai is powerful. The development project is funded by four universities
– Michigan, Stanford, Indiana, MIT – and supported by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.
Platform Development
The most appropriate development option is to disseminate a detailed Request for Proposal to determine
the most appropriate path and partner(s). ASU estimates the one-time project design and implementation
costs at $12.5 million per year, with a two-year implementation timeframe and an annual maintenance and
operations cost of $3.6 million. ASU requests the first phase of funding in FY 2006.
Other Considerations in the Success of the Platform
Leadership:

ASU’s many technology and academic achievement programs have grown without the
organizational structure, strategic planning, and coordination that will enable a campus-wide transformation
in enhancing academic achievement through technology. At this critical juncture in ASU’s growth, leadership
in technology is essential in order to scale the university’s programs with quality and efficiency, and to
address underlying considerations such as digital rights management and copyrights, faculty participation,
and organizational structure.
Learning environment:

Key to this initiative is a reliable and efficient information technology (IT)
infrastructure, enhanced online library and a seamless and transparent computer environment that supports
Current Platforms
10
all members of the academic community. At the center of this environment is
a university-wide learning platform that supports individualized instruction
and high academic achievement. Its basic features are on the next few pages,
and its selection will be based on consideration of existing platforms and the
specialized needs of ASU and its knowledge network. This university-wide IT
system will establish a scalable digital media management and delivery system
that can be customized to individual project needs, and that immediately
provides a useable and workable environment for our range of users—from
instructors to researchers to the libraries.
Content Repositories:

Academic institutions can create content repositories
at institutional, school or departmental levels to facilitate the sharing and
searching of digital content. Librarians can create and manage (indexed and
searched) collections of digital content to be used by specific courses or
institutions. If several instructors use the same learning content, an institution
need only save the content once, thereby reducing storage costs. In addition,
students can use these systems as virtual hard drives for storing and sharing
academic assignments, resumes and job applications.
Training:

Professional development for faculty, department chairs, and other
senior administrators will assure the adoption of instructional technology
through training and special incentives, as well as support for innovative
applications and prototypes that fulfill specialized needs for teaching or
research.
Research:

Ongoing research and assessment of educational outcomes will be
supported and new research and assessment will be initiated, setting goals in
areas such as course completion rates and student performance to measure
progress. Data collection and analysis will support additional development in
individual programs and research initiatives, but will also provide an objective
rubric for measuring institutional progress.
This university-
wide IT system
will establish
a scalable
digital media
management
and delivery
system.
Platform Development
11
Conclusion
The case for ATLAS, a university-wide IT system for student learning and
support, is strong. Beyond supporting enrollment growth, this university-wide
IT system has the potential to enhance a student’s ability to learn, a student’s
ability to achieve, a student’s ability to explore new intellectual space, and a
student’s ability to take a course that fits into their work and family schedule.
Traditional assumptions about teaching and learning are no longer adequate.
Learning takes place around the clock, and not only in classrooms, laboratories,
and libraries. Regardless of our approach or methodology, as educators we
must take every advantage of both traditional methods and new approaches
that make students an intimate part of the research process and the creative
act, bringing an immediacy and intensity to learning that is often lacking. We
must incorporate new findings on the processes of learning and apply these
to our classrooms. We must take every advantage of the new media tools that
are the product of the technological advances of the past decade. These allow
students to learn individually and through collaboration with others, and to
learn at their own pace, sometimes exceeding the parameters of the course.
Consistent with our focus on the individual is a commitment to enhancing
the undergraduate experience with learning in small groups. In keeping with
experience and pedagogical research, students sometimes learn as much from
one another as they do from their professors. ASU will facilitate mechanisms to
structure education in small clusters of students wherever practical. This does
not mean that there will be no large classes, but it does mean that these classes
will be attended by groups of students who are connected—students who are
learning together. In addition, we need to expand the size and intensity of our
learning environment for our highest-achieving students.
Key elements to expand include student services such as individualized
tutoring, collaborative learning software, writing labs, links to advisors and the
registrar; faculty support such as simple production tools, and online training;
and a gateway to the library, home of ASU’s growing digital resources. The
platform will also enable ASU to create high-quality introductory courses that
will serve large numbers of students online.
Universities that manage large scale enrollments typically supplement
Blackboard (e.g. University of Maryland) or rely on internally created systems
(e.g. University of Phoenix). Other universities are actively exploring more
sophisticated and flexible learning platforms through academic consortia such
as Sakai, led by MIT and the University of Michigan.
ATLAS has
the potential
to enhance a
student’s ability
to learn, a
student’s ability
to achieve, a
student’s ability
to explore new
intellectual
space, and a
student’s ability
to take a course
that fi ts into
their work and
family schedule.
Conclusion
12
Conclusion
Without this investment, ASU would rely on capital-intensive, twentieth-century solutions to meet its
growing enrollment – and would not be building a flexible, stable information architecture for the future.
Great teachers and students have always been the central equation of higher education. However, universities
can now do more than match faculty and students in a classroom or laboratory: they can apply technology
to increase the availability of its faculty and other resources and to enhance the achievement of its students.
This achievement can be measured in learning outcomes, attrition rates, readiness to pursue meaningful
employment, and the perceived value of graduating from a great public institution.
Failure to fund this request will:
• Risk diminished freshman retention, achievement potential, and diminished graduation rates as
enrollment grows beyond the university’s learning and academic support systems;
• Inhibit improvements in technology-delivered education;
• Inhibit improvements in the development of a scalable technology-based learning and academic
support system;
• Cause ASU’s competitiveness to decline, as for-profit and more entrepreneurial institutions develop
sophisticated and scalable resources for higher education; and
• Risk higher investment at a later date, as legacy technology systems and organizational structure
perform with less and less efficiency.
13
Budget Estimate
Application for Technology-Based Learning and Support (ATLAS)
Phase I: Testing and Development $12.5 M
Software
License existing software for platform $2.5 M
and university-wide IT system
Student information system $2.0 M
Equipment
Development $1.0 M
Platform and university-wide IT system $1.0 M
Student information system platform $0.5 M
Maintenance
Software $1.0 M
Equipment $0.8 M
Consultants
Pre-development $0.5 M
Integration into existing systems $0.5 M
Content and course creation $0.7 M
Library development $1.0 M
Student information system implementation $0.7 M
Tools for courseware development $0.3 M
Phase II: Full Production Load $12.5 M
Software
License existing software for platform $2.0 M
and university-wide IT system
Student information system $1.0 M
Equipment
Development $0.5 M
Platform and university-wide IT system $1.0 M
Student information system platform $2.0 M
Maintenance
Software $1.6 M
Equipment $1.0 M
Consultants
Project management $0.5 M
Integration into existing systems $0.5 M
Content and course creation $0.5 M
Library development $1.0 M
Student information system implementation $0.7 M
Tools for courseware development $0.2 M
Ongoing Operations and Maintenance $3.6 M
Software $1.6 M
Hardware $1.0 M
Implementation $1.0 M
Budget
14
Appendix: Technology-Based Platforms
Overview
Technology has changed from a necessary administrative support, to a “mission critical” element of the
modern learning environment, essential to the work of students, faculty, and staff. This shift places new
burdens on the University’s technology infrastructure, not simply in its capacity, but in its design, since it
must now serve the needs of a broad learning community. Any disruption in the infrastructure, particularly
in the learning platform, is a disruption to the learning experience.
Traditional assumptions about teaching and learning are no longer adequate. Regardless of our approach or
methodology, as educators we must take every advantage of both traditional methods and new approaches
that offer exciting ways of using technology to enhance the teaching and learning process. We must take
every advantage of the new media tools that are products of the technological advances of the past decade.
These allow students to learn individually and through collaboration with others, and to learn at their own
pace, sometimes exceeding the parameters of the course.
Many universities that manage large scale enrollments are actively exploring sophisticated and flexible
technology-based learning platforms that improve the quality of education and reduce the costs of
instruction. Four models emerge as the leading practices that capture how information technology, web-
based materials, and course-management software supplement and/or replace traditional learning processes:
the supplemental model, the replacement model, the emporium model, and the blended model.
Although all of the models discussed here have successfully improved the quality of student learning while
reducing the costs of instruction, the rigidity of each model limits the scope of platform applicability. By
employing all of these various models for the applications most appropriate to the particular discipline and
scale of the situation, ATLAS will successfully synthesize both traditional methods and new technology-
based approaches to learning. The dynamic and accommodating approach of the ATLAS platform will make
students an intimate and active part of the learning process, thus enhancing a student’s ability to learn and
achieve within a customized learning environment that has the flexibility to bridge disciplines and course
structures.
Supplemental Model
Structure
The supplemental model retains the basic structure of the traditional course, maintaining the number
of class meetings. The supplemental model strengthens functionality of the course by either a) adding
technology-based, out-of-class activities, or b) changing what goes on in the class by integrating technology-
based activities with traditional lecture, thus creating an active learning environment within a large lecture
hall setting.
Examples
• Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon University supplemented introductory statistics
lectures with SmartLab, an automated, interactive tutoring system that draws from artificial
intelligence, cognitive psychology and computer science methodologies. SmartLab tracks and assesses
the development of statistical inference skills, providing individualized assistance and a personal tutor
for each student.
Appendix: Technology-Based Platforms
15
Appendix: Technology-Based Platforms
Results: After introducing SmartLab to statistics courses, exams testing the skills and concepts of
statistics significantly increased by 22.8 percent. Students also appreciate the integrated learning
environment that blends traditional lectures with computerized learning activities.
• University of New Mexico: While maintaining the number of lectures for general psychology,
the University of New Mexico provides students with a two-disc CD-ROM that contains quizzes,
interactive activities, and movies supplementing in-class course content. The course requires that
students complete three online mastery quizzes for credit.
Results: Since offering the supplemental CD-ROM, the drop-withdrawal-failure rate for general
psychology courses has decreased from 42 percent in traditional lectures to 18 percent in the course
redesign. Additionally, the percentage of students receiving a C or better has risen from 60 percent
to 76 percent.
• University of Massachusetts-Amherst: The University of Massachusetts-Amherst has integrated
technology with in-class activities as well as adding out-of-class technology-based supplements. The
goal is to create an active learning environment within a large lecture hall setting supplemented by
technology-based out-of-class activities. For the introductory biology courses, UMass created an
interactive class website that equips students with the objectives, key concepts, and supplemental
materials that prepare students before coming to lecture. Once in class, UMass uses ClassTalk—a
commercially available, interactive technology that compiles students’ responses to problem-solving
activities—to foster class interaction and small-group work.
Results: By facilitating a desirable learning environment, the supplemental course redesign increased
attendance from 67 percent in the traditional format to 90 percent, which also correlated significantly
to performance on exams.
• Harper College: Harper College has used a blended learning format to deliver chemistry
instruction effectively. In addition to a discussion board that fosters interaction between students
and instructors, the course redesign also includes an array of audio and video teaching and learning
materials that fit diverse learning styles and create a learning-centered environment.
Results: Grade comparisons show that students in blended chemistry courses receive a much higher
percentage of ‘A’s (40 percent vs. 22 percent) than students in face-to-face chemistry courses.
Replacement Model

Structure
The replacement model reduces in-class meeting by replacing face-to-face time with online (or technology
based) interactive learning activities. In contrast to the supplemental model, the replacement model reduces
the class-meeting time. The replacement model works on the premise that certain learning activities can be
better accomplished online than in a traditional classroom format.
Examples
• Penn State University: At Penn State University, the traditional course delivery model for
Introductory Statistics did not serve student needs and was not cost effective. The university reduced
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Appendix: Technology-Based Platforms
the number of weekly lectures from three to one, replacing two of the traditional lectures with
computer-mediated interactive workshops. With a variety of online learning materials as well as
computerized testing, the redesigned statistics course replaced class meetings with online activities
while maintaining the lecture format in the remaining class meetings.
Results: Faculty and teaching assistants utilize these computer-mediated workshops to provide
interactive and substantive feedback to students. The redesigned course provides a more interactive
model of student learning and reduces costs, particularly in terms of TA support typically required in
large, traditional lecture sections. Consequently, the replacement course model provided an overall
30 percent reduction in cost-per-student, from approximately $176 to $123. Annually, this means a
savings of more than $115,000.
• Brigham Young University: Brigham Young University redesigned the Freshman Composition
course to reduce the amount of time students spend in the classroom from three hours to one hour
per week, allowing the faculty to spend more time in one-on-one student consultations. A series
of interactive multimedia lessons and additional peer-to-peer sessions replace the time students
previously spent in the campus classroom.
Results: The redesign leveraged online multimedia modules to teach students key concepts about
reading and writing. Additionally, the university met its cost effectiveness goals as an answer to
enrollment growth. The redesigned course shows an overall faculty time savings of 25 percent when
compared to the traditional course.
• University of Tennessee-Knoxville: The University of Tennessee-Knoxville redesigned its
introductory Spanish course by shifting many instructional activities to a technology-based learning
environment while using class time to focus on activities that require face-to-face interaction. UTK’s
online activites include grammer, vocabulary, and listening activities.
Results: Reducing the number of class meetings enhanced the potential for collaborative learning
with peers and instructors. Because of more opportunities for oral communication, student grades
and language competency increased. Institutionally, the course redesign increased the number of
students who can be served with the same personnel resources.
• University of Southern Maine: For the Introductory Psychology course at the University of
Southern Maine, the faculty-to-student ratio prohibited a desirable learning environment in which
students could receive frequent feedback; faculty were primarily devoted to serving these large
introductory course sections and spent less time on developing and revising upper-level course
materials. Online resources and a variety of interactive computer activities were implemented to
replace lecture time.
Results: Online computer lectures replaced class-meeting time and improved learning opportunities
through more direct interaction and redeployment of key resources. The course redesign also
provided an institutional solution to deal effectively with enrollment. As a result, lecture time was
reduced by 50 percent while course sections increased in size from 75 to 125. Per-student costs
were reduced from $113 per student in the traditional model to $58 per student in the redesigned
replacement model.
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Appendix: Technology-Based Platform-
Emporium Model
Structure
The emporium model eliminates all class meetings and replaces them with a learning resource center
featuring online materials and on-demand personalized assistance. Because of the learning resource center,
the emporium model requires a significant commitment of space and equipment. The emporium is staffed
by faculty and trained peer tutors who assist students with the modularized online tutorials and quizzes.
Consequently, by combining multiple sections of a course into one large course structure, the emporium
model illustrates how information technology can address enrollment growth while overcoming financial
constraints and improving student learning.
Examples
• Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech’s Math Emporium is a learning laboratory adjacent to campus that
houses a web-based resource system (interactive tutorials, computation examples, an electronic
text book, and online quizzes) for over 7,000 students in a dozen mathematics classes. The Math
Emporium operates entirely online, with personal support by a staff of peer tutors and faculty
available 24/7. Located in a 58,000-square foot space a twenty minute walk from campus, Virginia
Tech’s Math Emporium holds nearly 550 iMac systems.
The Math Emporium environment accommodates several different learning styles. With break-
out areas for one-on-one instruction and a presentation area where groups of students can work
together, students have the opportunity to customize their learning environment by choosing to work
individually, in groups of up to eight students, or one-on-one with one of the dozens of tutors and
faculty in the emporium.
Students study course concepts, complete practice problems, and take assigned tests at a self-paced
rate in a collaborative learning environment through the use of locally developed software and course
materials. Built-in assessment programs allow faculty members to monitor each student’s progress
and to intervene as problems arise. The Math Emporium is a technology-based solution to the problem
of teaching more students with fewer faculty and less money.

Results: Virginia Tech’s Math Emporium exemplifies the potential for information technology to
address enrollment growth while overcoming financial constraints and improving student learning.
While sustaining the quality of education offered in traditional courses, the Math Emporium
significantly reduces costs and shifts university resources. A study of learning effectiveness concluded
that test and grade results have been essentially the same as just before the redesign, except that
retention and completion rates have clearly increased. The freedom to work at convenient times and
for as long as needed probably makes the greatest contribution to student satisfaction.
Virginia Tech’s cost effectiveness goals were also met. By replacing 40-student sections with one
large course structure in the Math Emporium, Virginia Tech reduced the labor requirement for the
instructor to half-time. Time for tenure-track faculty was reduced to zero (a 100 percent decline). As
a result, the per-student costs in the redesigned emporium model dropped from $91 to $21, with an
annual cost savings of $140,000.
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Appendix: Technology-Based Platforms
• University of Alabama: Based on the success of Virginia Tech’s Math Emporium, the University
of Alabama created an emporium-style learning environment to reduce costs while retaining the
individual focus of small sections. The Math Technology Learning Center is the University of Alabama’s
240-seat learning resource computer center for teaching introductory mathematics courses. The
Math Technology Center offers a self-paced, computer-based active learning environment. Based on
commercial software, the web-based interactive tutorials, exercises, and quizzes eliminate lectures
and combine multiple sections into one large course structure.
Results: The University of Alabama combined 44 intermediate algebra sections of approximately 35
students each into one 1,500-student section. Student surveys indicate an overwhelming appreciation
and satisfaction with the emporium-style learning environment.
• University of Idaho: The University of Idaho’s Polya Mathematics Center offers students a wide
range of mathematical software/courseware and is staffed over 80 hours per week by instructors and
teaching assistants. The study and consultation room provides space for individual and group study
with the readily available assistance of instructors and teaching assistants. The Polya Center contains
72 computers with modularized online tutorials and interactive navigation.
Results: The University of Idaho shifted two pre-calculus courses, previously organized into 60
sections of 40 students each, into its Polya Center. The center’s web-based support system for students
and counselors includes a screening process that enables instructors to track progress and determine
the students’ risk of failure. By identifying at-risk students, the center allows for a case-management
counseling approach for both new and current students, which results in a higher retention rate.
Blended Model
Structure
The blended model incorporates and customizes elements from supplemental, replacement, and emporium
models. The blended model is based on the premise that learning success is achieved by customizing the
learning environment for each discipline, course, and student.
Examples
• Ohio State University: Ohio State University is redesigning its introductory statistics course to
offer students an assortment of interchangeable, technology-based paths that match their learning
styles and abilities. OSU’s blended model includes lectures (reduced by more than half), individual
and group discovery laboratories, live and remote reviews, small group study sessions, videos,
training modules, oral and written presentations, active large group problem solving, homework
assignments (TA graded or self-graded), and individual and group projects. Other course innovations
include creating a “statistics help desk” using a tech support model, which will improve responses to
students. OSU will also modularize course content, allowing students to earn variable credit based
on successful module completion.
Results: OSU has eliminated one-fourth of course repetitions, thereby opening slots for an additional
150 students per year. OSU’s redesign reduced the cost-per-student from $190 to $132, a 31 percent
reduction for an annual savings of $194,000.
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Appendix: Technology-Based Platforms
The blended model also resulted in improved retention rates. The percentage of students who
withdraw reduced from 11 percent to 8 percent and the percentage failing the course reduced from
7 percent to 3 percent.
• Florida Gulf Coast University: Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has redesigned its required
fine arts course into a single section using a common syllabus, textbook, set of assignments, and
interactive course web-site. The redesigned course includes six modules with options of live lectures,
taped lectures, commercially-produced videos, and/or web-based learning activities. Thus, FGCU
meets the varying needs of students with different learning styles by providing student-centered
options that strike a balance between traditional class structures and self-guided, technological
learning environments.
Results: The course redesign consolidated 25 sections of 30 students into a single section, thus
meeting the cost effectiveness goals of the course redesign. Additionally, the option to match learning
environments with learning styles resulted in a reduction of D and F grades from 45 percent in the
traditional course to 11 percent in the redesigned course.
Summary of Technology Models
Retains Course
Retains Course
Structure
Structure
Reduces Class
Reduces Class
Meeting Time
Meeting Time
Includes Learning
Includes Learning
Resource Center
Resource Center
Supplemental Model
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Replacement Model
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Emporium Model
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Blended Model
￿ ￿
ATLAS
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