OPE: Office of Postsecondary Education
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Lessons Learned from FIPSE Projects IV - May 2000
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1.   Macalester College and Mounds View Public Schools: A Computer-based, Articulated Geography Curriculum K-14

GeoLinks evolved out of a need for an outcomes-based, K-14 curriculum in geography that could be offered via electronic technology. Its creation coincided with three major developments in geographic education: the National Geography Standards, the Minnesota High School Graduation Standards, and new entrance requirements for the Minnesota State System of Colleges and Universities. The curriculum conforms to national and state geography standards, and was embraced by classroom teachers because it allows them greater flexibility in designing classwork that matches the standards.

2.   Mary Baldwin College: Development of a Series of Liberal Arts Courses to Strengthen College Performance of High School GED Students

Believing that academic rather than motivational factors needed to be addressed to help GED holders in a women's prison to succeed, project staff created three courses that concentrated on specific academic skills and content, and demanded more reading and writing than many college courses. In developing the courses, it was assumed that students would have no experience in critical reading of and writing about book-length texts, little knowledge of world literature and history, algebra, geometry, and probability, little preparation for testing other than multiple choice, and no experience with classroom discussion or interdisciplinary thinking.

3.   Western Washington University: Law and Diversity Program

The Law and Diversity Program recruits minority and non-traditional students who have either not considered entering the legal profession or who need to improve their skills in order to gain admission to law school. The program provides an academically demanding environment where the students' perspectives are valued and their needs for various kinds of support are met.

4.   Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE): Balancing Quality and Access

To enable students to take full advantage of the flood of advances in distance education, this project sought to address the barriers imposed by interstate policies, and especially the need for standards with which to judge the quality of distance education programs.

5.   California State University, Fresno: Assessment of Academic Literacy Skills-Preparing Minority and Limited English Proficient Students for Postsecondary Education

The language of lectures and textbooks is radically different from that spoken on a daily basis by most students and their families, and this difference is often at the root of serious academic difficulties. The goal of this project was to develop an assessment of students' academic language proficiency and a curriculum to improve their academic language skills.


6.   American Association for Higher Education: Forum on Faculty Roles and Rewards

The forum created a national conversation around fresh formulations of such problems as the definition of scholarship, the integration of teaching, research and service, and the impending wave of faculty retirements nationwide.

7.   Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: A Training Program for Small College Faculty in DNA Manipulation and Human Genetics

The projected need for professionals with a general knowledge of DNA science and the increasing number of students who study molecular genetics in high school are pressing for the introduction of this topic in basic college biology courses. This project offered faculty hands-on experience in molecular genetics through a series of laboratories designed for large numbers of learners.

8.   Seton Hall University: Assessing the Teaching and Learning Outcomes of the Katz/Henry Faculty Development Model

According to prior evaluations of Katz/Henry programs, faculty felt that they had made significant improvements in their teaching, but these self-reports could not be verified. Higher education's increasing concern with quality of instruction and its concomitant requirements for faculty development, combined with decreasing financial resources at most institutions, prompted this project to determine whether there was in fact a link between this approach to faculty development and student learning.

9.   Southwest Texas State University: Interactive Video Listening Comprehension in Foreign Language Instruction

Many foreign language faculty lack both the expertise to write computer programs and the time in which to learn how to do so. Authoring systems, by eliminating the need to program the computer, allow faculty to develop multimedia lessons which focus on listening comprehension and match their-and their students'-specific requirements.

10.   Tufts University: Detailed Evaluation of a Novel Approach to Curricular Software

From 1987 to 1990, with FIPSE funding, the Curricular Software Studio at Tufts developed ConStatS, a software package to help introductory statistics students to assume an active, experimental style of learning. Although, during the original project, formative evaluation showed that students felt comfortable using ConStatS, its creators wanted to find out whether the software made a difference in learning, how students used it, and which portions of it worked with what type of students. They also wanted to provide an example of good software evaluation, a model that would focus on comprehension and retention rather than on student attitudes and speed of learning.

11.   West Virginia University: Development of a Computer System to Evaluate and Interpret Published Drug Studies

Faced with the need to equip students to analyze drug literature, project faculty reasoned that it made sense to use computer assisted instruction (CAI), because the computer allows for numerous examples and levels of explanation that students can access and review as needed. Faculty also believed that CAI would promote active learning in a curriculum that students had hitherto mastered mostly by listening to lectures and memorizing facts.


12.   Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons: Electronic Basic Medical Science Core Curriculum

This project developed a new strategy for teaching the basic sciences that deliberately reduces the volume of core material and engages students in learning through electronic means. The project's creators restructured the basic medical science curriculum into two levels of knowledge. Level I comprises a manageable core of basic materials for learning fundamental principles, while Level 2 contains a menu of advanced readings for critical analysis.

13.   Clemson University: Cooperative Chemistry Laboratories

To explore the relationship between faculty incentives and student learning, seven departments--sociology, chemistry, social work, nursing, management, modern languages and special education--formulated and carried out plans to establish learning goals, assist students in reaching them, and assess the result of their efforts. Faculty whose students made significant learning gains obtained support for professional development activities such as travel or equipment purchases.

14.   Clemson University: Revitalization of Nonstandard Calculus

Instead of focusing on the simple mastery of algebraic technique, this new approach to teaching business calculus seeks to impart conceptual understanding and the ability to interpret the mathematics in real-life situations.

15.   Diablo Valley College: A Team-Taught Interdisciplinary Approach to Physics and Calculus Education

The project sprang from the collaboration of a mathematician and a physicist who noted excessive failure rates among students in the engineering calculus and physics sequences. The project's creators wanted not only to raise the success rates without decreasing content or expectations but also to increase the number of students, especially underrepresented minorities and women, who transfer to four-year institutions and complete their degrees in science and engineering.

16.   University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Dental School: Curricular Revision for Community-Oriented Dental Education (CODE)

CODE aims to train dentists who can respond to the needs of the community as well as to those of individual patients. It seeks to produce practitioners who are technically competent in all aspects of general dentistry and to do so in a more time- and cost-efficient manner than the traditional curriculum.

17.   Sinte Gleska University: Training in Culturally Appropriate Interventions for Native Americans

General ignorance about Indian culture, the reluctance of non-Indian providers to live in the isolated regions where most reservations are found, and the scarcity of Native American human services professionals have long made effective delivery of these services to Native Americans a rarity. The human services faculty at Sinte Gleska University developed a curriculum to train their students to provide much-needed high quality, culturally sensitive human services to Indian communities.

18.   Tufts University: Developing and Evaluating a Curriculum for Exploratory Learning in Ancient Greek Culture (Perseus)

Perseus, a digital library on Greek culture created in 1993 at Tufts, spans the years 800 to 300 BCE, and includes not only Greek texts but English translations, works of art, archaeological artifacts, maps, site plans, and other related materials. This project studied the impact of a second, more refined version of Perseus in six institutions as well as within the wider community of users, and produced a set of classroom-tested curricular materials.

19.   University of Virginia: Core Knowledge Foundation

The Core Knowledge Foundation, Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas), Hawthorne Elementary School (also in San Antonio), and five other elementary schools formed the Alliance for Content-Based Materials and Pedagogy. The alliance focused on the implementation of a content-rich core curriculum, the collaborative development of lessons to support it, the formation of a cadre of teachers-as-teacher trainers, and the national dissemination of its materials and results.

20.   The City University of New York: Preparing Doctoral Students for Careers in Urban Colleges and Universities

The majority of existing faculty preparation programs focus exclusively on the teaching component of academic careers, and are oriented toward the needs and characteristics of a generic undergraduate population. By contrast, the purpose of this project was not only to prepare graduate students to teach but to teach urban undergraduates. The project aimed to provide instruction tailored to teaching in specific disciplines and to give graduate students a sense not only of what teaching would be like but of what it would be like to compete for a faculty position, for research dollars and for tenure and promotion.

21.   Cleveland State University: Technology-Enhanced Accent Modification for International Teaching Assistants

Because the more ways the learner can sense a feature, the more easily he or she will learn and use it, this project developed multisensory computer instruction and feedback so that international teaching assistants can see as well as hear their speech. Learners are also able to retrieve, display, and play model utterances of speech features.


22.   California State University, Los Angeles: Learning English for Academic Purposes

A partnership between faculty and supplemental instruction staff to teach academic language skills and improve performance of high-risk language-minority students in general education courses, this project integrates instruction in content and in academic literacy. The project addresses the needs of international students who have studied English in their countries, recent immigrants who have been exposed to English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction in high school, and English-dominant bilingual students with poor academic literacy.

23.   College of William and Mary: Freshman/Sophomore Advising and Curricular Coherence

This advising system was created to meet the need for greater intellectual coherence in undergraduates' academic programs. Its design draws on the experience of successful advising models elsewhere and on findings of the state-mandated student-outcome assessment project.


24.   University of Connecticut: EuroTech-An International Program in Engineering

The demand for professionals with cross-cultural and foreign language abilities as well as overseas work experience is urgent and concrete. EuroTech was formed to answer this need by providing practical study in German, linked with academic training in engineering and industrial experience.

25.   University of Maryland: International Negotiation Seminars

This cross-disciplinary course combines lectures with small-group seminars and emphasizes collaborative decision-making, cross-cultural experience, and introduction to technology via synchronous and asynchronous electronic communication with students in other universities in Europe and the United States.

26.   University of Michigan: The Michigan Business Assistance Corps

The Michigan Business Assistance Corps was created to assist emerging democracies in Eastern Europe to move toward privatization and to provide masters of business administration students with an international experience. The corps arranged summer internships for the students, who served as consultants to private and public enterprises in Poland and Russia.

27.   San Diego State University: The MEXUS Program

MEXUS is a binational undergraduate international business curriculum which integrates business, foreign languages, and regional and cultural studies. Through a consortial arrangement with universities on both sides of the border, it allows Mexican and U.S. students to satisfy degree requirements for the B.A. in international business as well as the licenciatura en negocios internacionales simultaneously. Students from both countries live and study in Mexico and in the United States a minimum of two years each and complete an internship at the end of the second year in the host country.

28.   Wright State University: Project Chile

Based on intensive preparation leading to an international internship, Project Chile was intended to give students technical import/export skills, fluency in Spanish, an acquaintance with Chilean culture, and professional work experience.


29.   University of California, Riverside: Learning at Many Levels-Teacher Preparation at Professional Development Schools

This project sought to create professional development schools to prepare future teachers in the most realistic context possible and to integrate the subject-matter, pedagogical, and experiential aspects of their training. The project's creators also wanted to provide professional development opportunities for experienced teachers, and to encourage research related to educational practice on the part of teachers and university faculty.

30.   Prescott College: Center for Indian Bilingual Teacher Education

The center serves adult Indians, living on rural Indian nations, who have already accumulated some community college credits. It offers a B.A. degree with Arizona state credentials in secondary, elementary, or special education, and endorsements in ESL and in bilingual education.

31.   Vanderbilt University: Improving Undergraduate Teacher Education with Technology and Case-based Instruction

Faculty developed, tested and disseminated 16 videodisc-based cases enhanced by Hypercard and microcomputer technology, to be used in developmental and reading methods courses. They adapted the case-based procedures used in medicine, law and business, which have been found useful for problem-solving and preparing students to know and act simultaneously. The resulting videodiscs portray several units of instruction and present teacher and student interviews, numerous classroom scenes, procedural activities, and learning in various grouping arrangements.


32.   Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education: Funding for Results

The state of Missouri redesigned its academic funding policies to emphasize results in specific areas with quantifiable goals. Based on previous planning priorities, Funding for Results recognizes institutions for their achievement of quality goals and for their design and implementation of faculty-driven teaching and learning improvement projects.

33.   Prairie View A&M University: Developing Effective Performance Indicators for Different Learning Environments

The purpose of this project was to develop and disseminate a model for the regular and public assessment of the degree to which a university and its agencies are achieving the state's goals and fulfilling priorities. The project also formulated a list of valid, explicit, quantifiable performance indicators suitable for the longitudinal analysis of achievement and productivity.


Disseminating Proven Reforms an Overview

34. Anne Arundel Community College Cluster: Supplemental Instruction with Mentoring Support

Four community colleges adapted a supplemental instruction model which combines peer-led study groups, faculty mentoring, and faculty development. Participating students outperformed nonparticipants at all project institutions.

35. The City College of New York PASS Cluster: A Summer Bridge Program for Underprepared Students in Science

PASS consists of a preparatory science course with a special counseling component. This combination addresses underprepared students' lack of problem-solving skills and their failure to become integrated into the academic and social life of the college. The adapting institutions modified the City College model to fit local circumstances. Some stayed with the summer program; some integrated similar efforts into academic-year programs; and some combined summer and academic-year activities. However, all retained the combined problem-solving and counseling focus.

36.   Dickinson College Cluster: Workshop Physics

Physics departments at six diverse institutions strove to adapt, with varying degrees of success, Dickinson's well-known action-based approach to introductory physics.

37.   University of Missouri School of Law Cluster: Integrating Dispute Resolution Into Law School Courses

To counteract the dissatisfaction with the expense, delay, emotional trauma and other inadequacies of traditional litigation, the mentor institution helped six universities to integrate dispute resolution into their law school courses. To achieve this, substantial reservations on the part of the faculty had to be overcome.

38.   Moravian College Cluster: Integration of Precalculus Topics into the First Course in Calculus

This project replaced the traditional precalculus-calculus sequence with one in which precalculus concepts are introduced as they are needed to understand calculus topics. Faculty readily adopted this approach, which, although it required them to reorganize their courses, did not demand a change in teaching style.

39. Stanford University Cluster: Building an Extended Community of Service Learners

Because service learning is not a single structure and set of procedures but rather a commitment to certain principles and a range of still-developing pedagogies, each adapting institution used the mentor's expertise as a general guide for its own distinct model.



Last Modified: 09/10/2007