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Multi-campus teams identify ways to enhance learning outcomes

The two multi-campus teams in Transforming Course Design - Developmental Math and General Chemistry, are identifying a variety of approaches to improving learning outcomes for students.  One method identified to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of instruction is to enhance current placement tests with additional diagnostic content. For example, one campus is concerned about students who are placed in a developmental course in which the first several weeks covers material they already know: if they disengage from the course during this time, they may not re-engage when the content becomes vital to them. Some CSU institutions already use standard disciplinary tests or software such as ALEKS for enhanced placement information.

The teams are also using research on specific content issues known to be challenging for students, to determine if alternate methods would better support student learning. For example, the General Chemistry team is studying the use of pre-lab computer tutorials to optimize student time in laboratories, and examining research on student understanding of troublesome topics such as Atomic Structure. For Developmental Mathematics, the team is considering research about student misconceptions of fundamental concepts in Algebra and what is known about how to best debug them.