The most compelling reason for course redesign is that research and experience are showing that student-centered classes improve student engagement and learning. This has been borne out in studies of flipped and hybrid courses nationally, most recently by a major meta-analysis of hundreds of studies in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (pdf). Active learning made a large difference in both learning and success rates in a wide range of courses varying in field and class size, when compared with traditional lecturing.
At KU, faculty members such as Susan Williams in engineering have demonstrated the powerful improvement in student success when students are accountable for preparation before class and class time is devoted to active learning of the most challenging material and concepts. The C21 Consortium, which is sponsored by CTE, helps faculty members redesign large classes. C21 consists of a group of individuals from across campus who are working to redesign their courses to include more student-centered teaching.
A shift to a more student-centered approach to course design involves many changes in instructional strategies and goals. The intent is to promote a range of higher order-learning outcomes. Redesigned courses also decrease the use of multiple-choice exams and other types of objective evaluation and increase emphasis on these elements:
- Open-ended problems and assignments.
- Collaborative projects and collaborative learning.
- Writing assignments, papers and projects.
- Service learning.
- Portfolios to demonstrate student learning.
This model also increases emphasis on a clear demonstration of how each course leads to the next and contributes to a particular major or to general education goals.
KU's Course Redesign Toolkit provides additional information about course redesign. Learn more about Course Transformation Funding opportunities for faculty here. Participants in CTE's Best Practices Institute often work on course redesign and, ultimately, display their work in the CTE Portfolio Gallery. Many notable examples of effective course transformations at KU and six partner universities are available through the TRESTLE project, an NSF-funded, multi-institutional course transformation effort led by KU.