How We Started
The project began with a grant proposal to the Pew Charitable Foundation, which was sponsoring a program called Academic Transformation Through Technology. Although North Shore Community College was a semi-finalist, it ultimately did not receive funding. Nevertheless, through the process of designing the grant proposal, the seed was planted.
The Chair of the Computer Science Department and the Assistant Dean of Academic Technology collaborated in investigating models of curriculum redesign through technology, using the Web site of the Center for Academic Transformation as a primary resource. The Web site describes models of curriculum redesign from colleges and universities around the country. These models emphasize curriculum redesign of multisection courses, integrating technology to emphasize student learning, rethinking how faculty time is spent, and increasing cost-effectiveness through economy of scale.
Fundamentals of Computer Concepts was selected as a course that fit the redesign criteria: It has large enrollments, approximately 400 -500 students each semester; it is required in 27 of 49 programs; the course in its current version devours human, IT, and space resources because half the class sessions are conducted in computerized classrooms, allowing a class-size of only twenty.
The aim of the course redesign is not only to alleviate
the burden on personnel and space, but to create a learner-centered curricular
structure that, at the same time, produces cost-savings.