The redesign of general psychology psy 101j at the university of southern maine
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The Redesign of General Psychology (PSY 101J) at The University of Southern Maine. John Broida Associate Professor NCAT Redesign Scholar. Intro to Psychology had problems.

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The Redesign of General Psychology (PSY 101J) at The University of Southern Maine

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The Redesign of General Psychology (PSY 101J) at The University of Southern Maine

John Broida

Associate Professor

NCAT Redesign Scholar

Intro to Psychology had problems.

  • Taught primarily on the Portland campus of a 3 campus institution (also Gorham and Lewiston/Auburn, and some off campus sites)

  • 1200 students per year on a 10,000 student campus

    • 14-16 sections (size ranges from 100 - 30)

  • Most were taking the course to fulfill a general education requirement

    • 6 other majors require the course

    • Students must take 2 social science courses to graduate

  • Taught as lecture course, with 3 exams

  • 25% of students dropped/failed/withdrew (DFW)

As psychologists we knew

  • Quizzing helps students learn

    • In class quizzes take time and effort

      • Grading, recording grades

      • Students argue for points – reduces time to lecture

    • We hoped to use the web to quiz students before class

      • Preliminary data suggested that students would read if quizzed

      • We could get them to prepare for classes if we quizzed

  • Repetition helps students learn

    • We wanted them to take more than one quiz, learn from their mistakes

Developed web-based quizzes as part of the C2R (Colleagues Committed to Redesign)

  • Used what is now called the supplemental model

  • We saved money by having everyone use common materials (though we used different exams)

    • One of us created the quizzes we all used.

    • Used the test bank from the publisher

    • Others found materials that we put into WebCT.

    • We had hoped to increase class size, but that has not happened yet – it will in the spring

  • We now have the publishers create the quizzes – no longer use a common text – in Blackboard.

Effect was immediately obvious on our now fully implemented design

  • Had to recreate our lectures

    • We stopped enabling our students not to read

  • Students spent more time studying

    • A few quit the course immediately – too much work – but enrollment did not drop appreciably

    • Students liked the quizzes, they provide important feedback before exams

  • DFW rate dropped by 8%, grades went up 10%

Difficulties associated with redesign

  • We had to change course management systems 3 times.

  • We had to create our own quizzes each time the publisher came out with a new edition or we changed books.

    • Publishers now create them for us

  • We wanted to use different books.

  • Attendance dropped in some sections

    • Those where the quizzes were the basis of exams

    • Thank goodness for classroom response systems

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