Redesigning Introductory Spanish: Increased Enrollment, Online Management, Cost Reduction, and Effects on Student Learning


  • Robert F. Sander

    1. Portland State University
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      Robert F. Sanders (PhD, University of Arizona) is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.


Abstract: Redesign of a beginning Spanish program allowed for an enrollment increase of 85%, lowered cost per student by 29%, and provided a 9% pay raise to the course instructors. Class sizes were reduced from 30 students per section to 25 per section and seat time was reduced from 200 minutes per week to 130 per week. In-class instruction was supplemented with automated, online homework exercises and computer-mediated communication (CMC). The online components were distributed through a WebCT course Web site. Implementation occurred over a period of 2 years. This study examines whether the redesigned program was able to maintain student learning outcomes. The resulting student retention rates, successful course completion rates, and scores on the Brigham Young University Web-based Computerized Adaptive Placement Exam (BYU WebCAPE) were comparable to those of prior instruction, but the redesign had questionable effects on proficiency.