Like many higher education institutions, Purdue University struggles to provide faculty with the support they need to incorporate sound use of instructional technologies in their courses. Two years ago Provost Tim Sands made a commitment to both instructional technologies and active learning, which included $100,000 funding for Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation (IMPACT). Goals of the IMPACT project include:

  • Develop a network of faculty knowledgeable in teaching and learning best practices and passionate about teaching through faculty learning communities
  • Base course redesign on best practices and sound research
  • Support faculty-led course redesign with campus-wide resources

IMPACT funding has been used primarily to incentivize faculty to participate in the program and complete the redesign and assessment of their courses. Each faculty member receives $10,000, disbursed to them as they meet program milestones.

IMPACT's strength derives from a commitment for support from Teaching & Learning Technologies (ITaP, Purdue's central IT organization), theCenter for Instructional Excellence (CIE), Purdue Extended Campus (PEC), the Libraries, and the Discovery Learning Research Center (DLRC); see figure 1. All told, 21 staff participate as members of the IMPACT support team. The staff's time is contributed by their centrally-funded units, and they spend between 20–60 percent of their work time supporting IMPACT faculty redesign work. Additionally, several staff in the DLRC and CIE have spent the equivalent of one full-time staff member on assessment of the program.

In addition to funding, IMPACT incentivizes faculty to redesign their courses by providing two additional supports: (1) a team consisting of an educational technologist and either a CIE or library staff person and (2) a semester-long series of workshops, 1.5 hours per week, covering all aspects of course redesign.

During these workshops Pat Reid and Frank Dooley, members of the IMPACT management team, identified a need for a systematic model of course design specifically for higher education instructors. While developing the workshops, we identified specific areas critical to course design, which led to the development of "the wheel," an interactive course design model (see figure 2).

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