foundational issues for course redesign and alignment
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Foundational Issues for Course Redesign and Alignment. Marsha Dowell, PhD, Senior Vice Chancellor Warren Carson, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor Deryle Hope, PhD, Associate Director, International Studies Cherie Pressley, Director , Upstate Regional Education Center.

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foundational issues for course redesign and alignment

Foundational Issues for Course Redesign and Alignment

Marsha Dowell, PhD, Senior Vice Chancellor

Warren Carson, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor

Deryle Hope, PhD, Associate Director, International Studies

Cherie Pressley, Director , Upstate Regional Education Center

  • Fall 2004—Freshman Composition
  • Appointment of a Director of Composition
  • Review of Institutional Assessment Data
  • Anecdotal evidence—the degree of success in English 101 and English 102
emerging concerns
Emerging Concerns
  • Why aren’t students performing better?
  • Are we really teaching them what they need?
strategies for course revision
Strategies for Course Revision
  • Course Audit—30 sections of English 101, taught by 15 different instructors, using 15 different course syllabi of varying quality (AP)
  • Development of claims and evidence (AP; NAEP)
  • Formalized conversations and work sessions with English faculty from the largest feeder high schools
strategies continued
Strategies, continued
  • Efforts to align courses (EPIC), thereby helping to remove the disconnect between HS achievement and college success
  • Mandatory professional development retreats each semester for ALL composition faculty
  • Better sense of where HS curriculum ends and where the University curriculum begins
  • A collaborative spirit among HS and University faculty members that focuses on transition to college and student success
  • A shift away from a teaching-focused approach to a more learning-focused approach to writing instruction
outcomes continued
Outcomes, continued
  • A common course syllabus for the English 101-102 sequence
  • A scoring rubric to encourage more consistent grading
  • Greater focus on best practices in writing assessment
  • New placement model
outcomes continued1
Outcomes, continued
  • Reduction in the percentage of DFW grades in English 101-102
  • Pilot dual enrollment courses in English 101-102
What is the Scholars Academy?
  • An accelerated high school option located on the USC Upstate campus
  • Open to rising 9th graders in all Spartanburg school districts
  • Students remain as home high school students but spend half-day at the university
  • Students can earn up 60-70 college credits in 4 years along with a HS diploma
Daily Schedule

8:30 a.m.—12:30 p.m.

3 classes each day MWF, T Th

Honors/AP/Dual Credit (college credit)

12-12:30 p.m. Lunch at USC Upstate

12:30 p.m. Return to home school

Take at least one class there.

Participate in extra-curriculars.

  • Maintain As & Bs in all courses
  • Begin as a ninth grade student
  • Commit to graduate the program
  • Be self-motivated, academically gifted
  • Have parent support
Current Facts
  • Cohort 1: graduated 20 students
  • Cohort 2: 11 rising seniors
  • Cohort 3: 24 rising juniors
  • Cohort 4: 32 rising sophomores
  • Cohort 5: 40 rising freshmen
    • Experience with 127 students in a variety of courses

Fall Algebra II Honors/Geometry Honors English II Honors (yr.-long)US History 105 (dual credit) Freshman Seminar (CP elective yr.-long)Spring Geometry Honors/Precalculus 126 English II HonorsUS History106 (dual credit) Physical Science 101 (dual credit) Freshman Seminar



Precalculus 126/127 (dual credit)

Biology 101 (dual credit)

English III Honors

Sophomore Seminar


Precalculus 127/Calculus 141(dual credit)

World History 101(dual credit)

AP English Language and Composition

Sophomore Seminar


FallEnglish 102 (dual credit) Calculus 141 or AP Calculus (dual credit) Chemistry 111 or Astronomy 111 (dual credit)German 101 (dual credit)University Singers (dual credit)SpringAP English LiteratureCalculus 142 or AP Calculus (dual credit)Biology 102 or Chemistry 106 (dual credit)Foreign Language or Economics (dual credit)University Singers (dual credit

  • Students are generally unprepared
  • Students need interventions:
      • Study sessions with designated Cohort partners and upper class Academy peer coaches
      • Peer tutoring from university students
      • Group help/study sessions provided by professors
      • Extra coaching provided by Academy instructors
      • Math lab/writing lab access
Findings, continued
  • Interventions are most effective after an “awakening”:
      • First failing grade on a test or paper
      • Probationary status or loss of scholarship/ program status
Principles for improving the transition from high school to college
  • Academic
  • Socio - emotional
  • Shift from memorization to understanding
  • Focus on critical thinking
  • Higher standards of acceptable work
  • Students assume responsibility to learn from written texts
  • Develop metacognitive strategies
  • Student engagement
  • Technology
  • On-going research activities
  • Realistic self-awareness of what it takes to be successful in college
  • Set priorities
  • Self-discipline
  • Be intellectually curious
  • Take initiative
  • Persevere and be resilient
  • Need support systems
  • Be flexible and adaptable
  • Overcome fear and doubt
  • Need a sense of accomplishment
  • Need validation and sense of belonging
  • Motivated students who take advantage of interventions improve.
  • Students who understand consequences tend to improve.
  • Certain course parameters facilitate success.
  • Early student success breeds success.
Crescatscientia, vita excolatur

“Let knowledge increase, let life be perfected.”