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Eileen Liscik O'Brien, PhD, RN  University of Maryland Baltimore County
Redesigned Course
Introductory Psychology: 4 credit course over 15 week semester.

University of Maryland Baltimore County, MCRI Team
Eileen O'Brien, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Psychology
Karen Freiberg, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Psychology
Linda Baker, PhD, Professor and Chair, Psychology
Laura Stapleton, PhD, Associate Professor and Evaluator, Psychology
Jack Prostko, PhD, Faculty Development Director
Andrea Spratt, Student Learning and Resource Development Director
Bob Armstrong, Blackboard Administrator
Linda Jones, Graduate Teaching Assistant
Danielle Viens-Payne, Undergraduate Student

The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) redesigned its 4-credit Introductory Psychology course using the Replacement Model. This course is the largest course in the department averaging an annual enrollment of 1000 students a year. The traditional course was taught in lecture format with 7 sections per year, each section requiring 4 hours of classroom time each week. The plan for the redesign reduced the course to 5 sections a year, split the course into 3 credit hours of lecture and 1 credit hour of online labs that required each student to directly interact with content and respond to questions after completing interactive online labs. Along with the increase of class size, decrease in class time, and creation of online student learning activities, the classroom pedagogy was altered to allow for classroom "clickers" and weekly small groups (two to four students) to discuss and answer questions about critical content. Peer Mentors, undergraduates who had successfully completed the introductory course with a grade of an A and had special tutoring training through UMBC's Learning Resources Center, served as facilitators during these weekly session. Two Graduate Teaching Assistants provided technological support to students having difficulties with online work or technology interface issues, and each TA provided weekly review sessions outside of class time.

Improved Learning
Historically the failure rate for this course was as high as 15%. The failure rate for this course dramatically dropped in the redesign sections to 2%. In subsequent semesters we experienced an increase to 8%. Upon further examination of course grading, many of the failures in the subsequent semesters were students who did not complete online work or who did not withdraw from the course, but stopped attending class. Overall satisfaction in the course was higher for the redesign with the online flexible lab schedule highlighted as a great improvement. The grade distribution across redesign semesters demonstrated a modest increase in A's and B's using the multi-method grading rubric for the redesign. In the redesign sections, 30% of the students would have had a lower grade under the traditional grading rubric. While not relinquishing the in-class exams, allowing students to self-pace and test their learning online assisted many in improving their grades in PSYC100. Benefits for students include greater coverage of content, flexibility and autonomy in choosing their own schedule for completing required labs, exposure to an IT rich course environment, less time in class, and access to peer assistance during and after class.

Impact on Cost Savings
This redesign has decreased the number of sections required each semester. We have moved from 7 sections per year to 5 sections, which allow for reassignment of two faculty each semester to teach other courses, frees up classroom space for the university to teach other courses on campus, and decreases the need for a graduate teaching assistants from 2 grad students to 1 grad student. The creation of the undergraduate Peer Mentor leverages existing resources on campus (Learning Resource Center) and provides less expensive, but well qualified support to students on a weekly basis. It was the intent of this redesign to maintain full-time faculty in this gateway course, therefore we decreased the need for adjunct faculty each year. This design also frees up faculty time for scholarly activities and offering additional courses, which can lead to more departmental course offerings each semester.