FSU MCRI Team
Megan E. Bradley, Professor of Psychology
Bill Southerly, Professor of Psychology
Cindy Hay, Adjunct Instructor of Psychology and Instructional Designer
Joseph Hoffman, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
John F. Bowman, Vice Provost
Frostburg State University (FSU) redesigned its General Psychology course using the
Replacement Model. Three weekly 50-minute lectures were replaced by one 75-minute
lecture and an optional 75-minute computer lab. Most graded course work is in an
online format. All online work is based on established principles of learning from
psychological research. Class size was tripled allowing for five or six sections per
year instead of the costly eighteen sections. Advanced undergraduate learning assistants
are strongly used in the course to help the General Psychology students.
During the spring 2008 pilot, four sections of General Psychology were offered: two traditional
sections taught by seasoned adjunct faculty members and two redesigned sections taught by one
full-time and one adjunct faculty member. A comprehensive required final exam of 50
multiple-choice questions was used and instructors were unaware of its content. Results
indicated students in the redesign sections (Mean = 75%) performed significantly better
than students in the traditional sections (Mean = 68%). An optional extra-credit essay
was also given with the final exam. Instructors were again unaware of its content. Results
indicated students in the redesign sections (Mean = 2.845) performed significantly better
than students in the traditional sections (Mean = 1.092). During the fall 2008 full
implementation, the team compared performance on 43 questions out of the original 50
questions from the pilot semester final to both the traditional and redesigned sections
from spring 2008. Students from full redesign (Mean = 77%) performed significantly better
than students from pilot redesign (Mean = 70%), who performed significantly better than
students from traditional sections (Mean = 65%). The effect size was a strong .825.
The average DFW rate for General Psychology was 12.5% during 1998 - 2006. The DFW rate has
been increasing in recent years, reaching a high of 18% the semester prior to the pilot.
The fall 2008 full implementation rate was 12.8%, similar to the rate prior to redesign.
Impact on Cost Savings
The team reduced the number of instructors (full-time and adjunct) needed to teach the
course. The cost-per-student was reduced from $89 to $26, a 71% decrease. In addition,
General Psychology students saved money on a reduced fee for an e-book.
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