A Team Approach to Redesign of a Large-Enrollment, High-Failure-Rate Course in a Blended, Active and Adaptive Format
Concurrent Session 3
This presentation will demonstrate how a team of math instructors, instructional designers and instructional technologists completely redesigned college algebra as a blended, active, doubly adaptive course. This collaborative effort also informed redesign of the fully online version of the course leading to significant improvements in student success in both formats.
Our goals for this session are to share a successful team approach to course redesign and to share strategies that faculty, instructional designers and technologists, and administrators could apply at their institutions. A team of seven instructors, two instructional technologists, an instructional designer and a blended learning specialist collaborated to completely redesign college algebra as a blended, active and doubly adaptive course at Oregon State University in 2017. This collaborative effort also informed redesign of the fully online version of the course leading to significant improvements in student success in both formats.
How did this redesign project come about? The Mathematical Association of America’s “Common Vision” report notes that only half of college algebra students nationally pass the course with grade of C or higher, and that math courses are the biggest barrier to college students completing their degrees (Saxe et al., 2015). An Association of Public & Land Grant Universities “Accelerating the Adoption of Adaptive Courseware” grant focusing on redesign of large-enrollment, high-failure-rate courses provided a unique opportunity for this team to redesign college algebra as a blended course using ALEKS adaptive courseware as a centerpiece.
The redesign took place in just over three months, beginning with an all-day retreat in December 2016, which was followed by multiple working meetings each week from January through March 2017, The first offering of the redesigned course was in spring term starting in early April. In our presentation we will describe our strategies for managing the redesign team, building trust, creating buy-in, dividing tasks, and maintaining project momentum. We will also discuss the important role of numerous faculty guests that came to team meetings to introduce the group to their successful use of tools and innovative pedagogical techniques.
In this session you will learn how we transformed a traditional lecture-based course into a fully blended course. The team used a backward design approach that began with a major reshuffling of course learning outcomes and weekly learning objectives to structure the content of college algebra around the “big ideas” of college algebra rather than a traditional textbook sequence of topics. This presentation will spur audience reflection on this approach to course redesign as compared to more traditional approaches that frequently use an adopted textbook as the starting point.
We will explain our blended learning mix map to illustrate how the new course was designed to thoroughly interweave online and face-to-face learning activity. This approach ensures that students perceive the deep connections between active in-class learning and their out-of-class work, primarily in ALEKS. We will explain how the course is “doubly adaptive” in that the instructors customize class sessions based on learning analytics from ALEKS and--in real time--on student input via responseware throughout class.
In this presentation we will share successes and roadblocks our redesign team encountered in the process of redesigning College Algebra and implementing active learning and adaptive courseware. We will provide our audience with examples of successful team-building strategies used to strengthen and sustain a team of math faculty and support staff. We will explain how the redesign was collaboratively supported by personnel from the Dept. of Mathematics, Division of Undergraduate Studies, Academic Technology, Ecampus and the Center for Teaching and Learning. We will provide examples of how the instructional faculty and support staff worked together to overcome differences and challenges to create the “Best College Algebra Class Ever!”
The presentation will also describe:
student and faculty reactions to the redesign
improvements in student success following the redesign
how the redesigned course can benefit diverse learners
how math faculty continue to refine the course design
the training of new instructors graduate teaching assistants and undergraduate learning assistants each term to sustain the new course
how the blended redesign has informed the subsequent redesign of fully online version of college algebra and blended versions of two other math courses.
The presenters will encourage discussion of blended redesign and engage the audience through interaction via BYOD responseware. This will also show how an audience response system can be used to adapt classroom instruction to the particular needs of learners.
We will provide handouts that outline the course design process and team structure. The presentation slides, handouts and web links to videos about the redesign process will be posted on the conference website.
Saxe, K., & Braddy, L. (2015). A common vision for undergraduate mathematical sciences programs in 2025. Mathematical Association of America.