Program Overview

Background Information on the Transforming Course Design Initiative

Several CSU campuses have initiated course redesign projects, and others are being planned or in progress. Examples of the goals, structure and timeline for these projects are available on the CSU Transforming Course Design website. There is a growing body of success stories of comprehensive course redesign, to improve student learning while simultaneously addressing the issue of instructional costs, in most cases with the support of academic technologies. Examples of improved student learning include reducing unsuccessful course grades and course repeats. Examples of addressing instructional costs include reducing student and faculty time needed to achieve desired learning outcomes. The most successful projects have addressed instructional challenges in high impact courses by maximizing student engagement, emphasizing active learning and using technology to enable increased amounts of high-quality contact between faculty and students. These exemplars display a high level of commitment from administrators and departments, an effective level of academic technology infrastructure, faculty development support, and appropriate assessment of outcomes.

Goals: The focus of the Transforming Course Design initiative is to support CSU campus efforts in this area, to optimize the impact of those efforts, and to insure that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. Within this overall goal to facilitate the design and implementation of CSU campus projects in transforming course design, the initiative has the following subgoals:

  • Leverage existing campus and system wide programs for improving student learning, facilitating graduation, and supporting outcomes assessment, faculty development and academic technologies.
  • Enhance communication and information exchange across our CSU campuses, and with internal & external experts and initiatives.
  • Support capability development and coordination in the knowledge domains which are critical to successful campus course redesign initiatives.
  • Foster collaborations across CSU campuses to share resources and effort, including scholarly communities to engage faculty with their discipline colleagues.
  • Identify aspects of our policies, structure and facilities which may have impacts on the success of these transformation initiatives. 

Activities: In addition to support for campus projects related to the initiative, the Transforming Course Design team will be engaged in the following activities in the next few months: 

  • Developing a plan for system wide programs that serve the needs of campuses at various stages of readiness in planning and implementation of related projects.
  • Initiating a “CSU community of practice” in Transforming Course Design, through the establishment of an inventory of existing and planned projects, processes and resources on CSU campuses; developing further contacts amongst related CSU campus initiatives; and supporting CSU campus projects through the provision of advice and training, and liaison with internal and external expertise.
  • Enhancing the existing CSU Academic Transformation website and developing other web-based resources and facilities to support campus and systemwide course design projects. The websites will provide campuses with information, guidelines and tools for understanding the strategies for transforming course design, implementing exemplary practices in transforming course design, and scaling course design approaches. 

Categories for Proposals in Support of the Transforming Course Design initiative

While we expect proposals to support either Demonstration, Capability Development or Collaboration as described below, we will also welcome proposals which cross these categories or address the CSU Transforming Course Design goals in Other ways see category 4 below?. In all categories, the intent of this RFP is to support efforts with broad impacts beyond a specific course design instance, either within a campus or across multiple CSU campuses. Supported projects will contribute to enhanced campus readiness, capability and partnerships to achieve  the goals of individual campus projects in transforming course design – e.g., improved student learning, student success, facilitating graduation. 


1. Demonstration: Demonstration projects are intended to enable campuses to support initial course design projects which address both student success and instructional costs. For example, requests could include time from the CSU Transforming Course Design team or other experts to advise on campus projects and supplement campus capabilities, or financial support to match campus funds to allow Demonstration project participants to learn from other CSU campus projects or through external workshops and conferences. A request could also focus on scaling up a promising initial campus project to become a compelling demonstration of transforming course design.


2. Capability Development: Capability Development projects are intended to extend initial and ongoing campus projects by augmenting the knowledge and processes available for the campus. For example, requests could include support for training or resources to establish campus processes or to upgrade capabilities in assessment, faculty development or academic technology, in order to meet clearly defined needs arising from campus projects related to the CSU Transforming Course Design initiative.


3. Collaboration: Collaboration projects are intended to support shared developments across CSU campuses. For example, requests could include financial support to augment existing campus projects in order to provide resources of value across the CSU, and support for inter-campus collaboration to extend the impacts of individual campus efforts.


4. Other: Proposals which fall outside these categories are also welcome, provided they address the goals of the CSU Transforming Course Design initiative as outlined on the attached Background Information page. For example, requests could include:

  • collection and dissemination of exemplary policy resources to address intellectual property and copyright issues,
  • approaches to extend existing methods in cost-effective ways to upper level or smaller enrolment courses; 
  • integration of transforming course design projects with other initiatives in accessibility, information literacy, etc.;
  • model projects to engage campus Academic Senates, student groups, etc. with CSU Transforming Course Design efforts.

Campus Projects

Channel Islands Cal Poly Pomona
ChicoIntegrating Technology in the 1st-Year Seminar - Promoting Student Success in Undergraduate Scholarship using Information Literacy and New Media Technology Across Disciplines Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Dominguez Hills Promoting Student Success in Undergraduate Scholarship using Information Literacy and New Media Technology Across Disciplines  SacramentoImproving Academic Success - Using Adjuncts for Gatekeeper General Education Courses
East Bay San Bernardino
FullertonDeveloping an Effective Process for Transforming Courses (In collaboration with San Marcos) San Diego StateA Formative Evaluation Framework to Facilitate Development of Blended, Hybrid, and Distance Education Coursesfor General Education and Professional Education"
Long BeachSAGE Designs for Learning: Linking GE Assessment Outcomes to Transforming Course Design [advisory role for SFSU] San Francisco State Calculus in the New Millennium
Los Angeles San Marcos
Monterey BayRedesign of CST 101 [Tech Tools] StanislausImproving Campus Community & Learning for Transfer Students: The Summit Program
Northridge MathBridging the Gap: Improving Passing Rates in Math 103 – Mathematical Methods for Business Sonoma State Supporting and Transforming Academic Milestones: Pachyderm-Enhanced Demonstrations and Education

Collaborative Projects

Virtual Professional Development for Master Teachers
CSU Northridge + CSUDH, CSULA

Distributed Synchronous Language Learning
CSU Monterey Bay + CSUS, CSULB

Collaboration, Consolidation and Transformation of "High Enrollment, Low Success" Courses in History
Fresno State + Humboldt, Chico, SDSU