Fundamentals of Biology
Salisbury University MCRI Team
Ronald L. Gutberlet, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Mark Frana, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences
Mark Holland, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences
Robert Tardiff, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics and Associate Provost
Clement Counts, Ph.D., Lecturer in Biological Sciences
Betty Lou Smith, Ph.D., Lecturer in Biological Sciences
Wanda Kelly, B.S., Lecturer in Biological Sciences
Melissa Thomas, Senior Instructional Designer
The redesign of Fundamentals of Biology at Salisbury University employs the Replacement
Model developed by The National Center for Academic Transformation. Three weekly 50-minute
lectures were replaced by one 50-minute lecture and two hours of guided online work.
Students complete weekly learning modules prior to discussion of material in class and
also meet weekly for two hours of lab and small group discussion.
Students in the redesigned course outperformed students in the traditional course on
common exam questions. The average percentage correct for the traditional students
was 74% whereas for the redesigned students, the average was 82%. Surveys and end-of-course
evaluations suggested that students spent more time reading the textbook and doing
additional coursework (online learning modules) under the redesigned course format.
On end-of-course evaluations from traditional sections, students often commented
that they did not use the textbook very much or at all. Student engagement was
greatly improved in the redesigned course. Students showed greater interest in
class, asked good questions, made thoughtful comments, and according to surveys found
the course material both interesting and relevant to their lives.
Impact on Cost Savings
Cost reduction was greater than originally planned. By reducing class time to one hour
per week instead of the 1.5 hours projected and by increasing enrollment in lecture
sections to 120 students instead of the 96 projected, the team has reduced the number
of lecture sections from 12 to eight annually rather than 10 as originally planned.
One full-time faculty member and three lecturers each teach one section each term.
The cost-per-student has decreased from $329 in the traditional to $155 in the
redesign, a 53% decrease. Since the course serves approximately 1,000 students
per year, a savings of $174 per student is substantial.
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