Transforming introductory psychology: A systematic approach to course redesign


Higher education is faced with the daunting task of serving greater numbers of students and improving student outcomes while facing declining resources. This combination of factors has created an environment predisposed to course transformation/redesign. Facing course redesign can be puzzling, intimidating, and overwhelming. The purpose of the current article is to break down barriers and demystify the process of course redesign. Issues that lead to course redesign, including high DFW (grade of D/F or Withdrawal) rates, poor learning outcomes, course drift, and grade inflation, are explored. A systematic approach to course redesign is presented, including the early stages of garnering support through the process of developing an effective evaluation strategy. The 'whole course' redesign approach used for a large enrolment, general education Introductory Psychology course at a large Midwestern US university is used as a case study to demonstrate the process, issues, and challenges. Specific redesign plans and suggestions for institutions considering the process are discussed. In addition, data are presented regarding the faculty team's satisfaction with the redesign process as well as perceptions of the course from the undergraduate learning assistants.



Document Type




Publication Date


Journal Title

Psychology Learning and Teaching