InfobITS Logo ITS - Fall 2005
In This Issue QuickbITS Archives IT Directory Publishing Info
Course Redesign Project Announces Round Two Workshops
to previous article to next article
by Hae Okimoto
"Learning How to Redesign" Workshop

When: Friday, November 18, 2005
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Japanese Cultural Center
(Lunch is provided and some travel assistance for neighbor island participants are available.)
Register Now
Please contact Hae Okimoto, UH Director of Academic Technology Services

In Fall 2004, Information Technology Services and the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs initiated a new, multi-year, university-wide initiative focused on the redesign of large enrollment courses using information technology to achieve quality enhancements as well as cost savings. The Hawaii Course Redesign Project, is modeled after the Program in Course Redesign, managed by the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT).

CAT'S first redesign projects focused on large enrollment, introductory courses. As an initial target, these courses have the potential of generating large cost savings and having significant impact on student success. CAT selected 30 institutions from hundreds of applicants in a national competition to participate. Each institution redesigned one large enrollment course to increase quality while simultaneously reducing instructional costs through the use of technology. These 30 institutions represent research universities, comprehensive universities, private colleges, and community colleges in all regions of the United States.

The findings of the PCR show:

  • 25 of the 30 redesigns improved learning; the remaining five redesigns resulted learning outcomes equivalent to traditional formats;
  • All 30 projects reduced the cost of instruction - by 40% on average, with a range of 20% to 77%; and,
  • Of the 24 projects that measured retention, 18 resulted in reductions in drop-failure-withdrawal (DFW) rates.

Other outcomes achieved included improved student attitudes toward the subject matter and increased student satisfaction with the mode of instruction.

Using CAT's methodology, the Hawaii Course Redesign project selected three projects for funding:

  1. Windward Community College, Introductory Psychology (P.I. Michael Tom),
  2. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Tools for the Information Age (P.I.s David Nickles and Michael-Brian Ogawa), and
  3. UH-System, Ethnobotany (P.I. Will McClatchey).

PSY 100

Windward Community College (WCC) redesigned Introductory Psychology (PSY 100) which enrolls 25% of their students and is typically the third highest enrolled course. The primary goal of this redesign is to improve learning outcomes by actively engaging students with course content in a variety of in-class and out-of-class activities, by providing students with frequent feedback on their mastery of course content, and by making individualized assistance readily available to students. The program hopes to also reduce costs with an annual savings of $14,220.

ICS 101

The Department of Information and Computer Science at UH Manoa redesigned Tools for the Information Age. A required course for many majors, enrolling 600 students each semester. Unique to this project is the use of iPod-based, technology-enhanced redesign which will allow the department to improve the quality of the course. First, high quality media-enriched presentations used in all sections will eliminate course drift and inconsistent learning experiences for students. Second, the passive lecture environment will be replaced by media-enriched presentations (delivered via iPods and the Web) that require active student engagement and increase students' opportunity to progress at their own pace. Third, students will interact directly with iPod and Web-based content, freeing the instructor and teaching assistants to help students when they need it. The department estimates a reduction in the cost-per-student from $125 to $94, a 25% savings, while doubling the number of students from 1024 to 2048. The cash savings will be used for similar academic enhancements in other redesign projects as well as for hardware and software upgrades.

Botony 105

Introductory Ethnobotany is currently taught at several UH campuses and is taken by a wide range of students. Currently enrollment in the course is limited because of faculty time constraints and, in some cases, classroom size. About 300 students take the course each fall and another 100 students take the course each spring and summer. While instructors think that the course is best taught using hands-on learning and face-to-face interactions with students, most of their time is spent delivering lectures to cover course material with low interaction. In some cases, this is due to the large size of the class.

This project is a collaboration among faculty at Kapiolani, Leeward, Maui and Windward community colleges and Manoa. The primary goal in the redesign is how to serve more students and spend more quality time with each student without increasing the workload of the instructors. Secondary goals include 1) standardizing key course content across the campuses and instructors to improve consistency and quality, 2) improving the curriculum resources available to each instructor, and 3) increasing the number of sections offered to allow more students to take the course. The redesign is expected to achieve cost savings by increasing the number of students in most of the courses and reducing the time commitment needed by instructors. The cost-per-student as a weighted average for all five institutions is expected to drop from $128 in the traditional course to $65 in the redesign.

For More information on the Hawaii Course Redesign project, visit:

to previous article to next article

Information Technology Services
Maintained by:
ITS Guide to Services
© 2005 University of Hawai'i
Last Updated: October 2005