Course redesigns show improved student learningMay 11, 2011
Survey results from Miami University's TOP 25 Project show both faculty and students believe the redesigned versions of courses have improved student learning and engagement.
In order to engage students as more active participants, the TOP 25 Project was launched in 2006 to redesign courses with the largest enrollments. The TOP 25 Project team regularly assesses progress and has just released the results from a faculty survey (fall ’09 and spring ’10) and a student survey (from fall ’07 through spring ’10). Three rounds of classes have been revised and the fourth round is in progress.
Despite the perceived increased workload, faculty attitudes are positive with the majority, 90 percent, reporting that they enjoy teaching the redesigned courses and are comfortable teaching them.
Both faculty and students perceive that the course redesigns are encouraging the intended type of learning environment with a more learner-centered focus.
Overall, students surveyed in both redesigned and traditional courses are equally satisfied with their learning and with their courses; and students in both redesigned and traditional courses reported very positive relationships with faculty.
Cecilia Shore, director of the Center for Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and University Assessment, said that faculty members “have invested a great deal of effort in re-envisioning their courses, creating new materials and implementing the redesigns. Those investments are reaping rewards by raising the level of students’ engagement and inquiry and thereby promoting the skills that are important for 21st century citizens.”
Both surveys gather data on the following four key characteristics.
TOP 25 courses
- are student-centered and use active and inquiry-driven approaches to learning;
- use methods to engage students in their learning and with other learners;
- use specific approaches that result in improved student critical thinking or problem-solving skills; and
- reduce the amount of class time spent on low-level memory or descriptive material by incorporating innovative approaches to facilitate students learning this material outside of class.