As of Fall 2016, the NextGen program has been officially retired, though the model, methods, and lessons learned from NextGen still live on in the CLEAR Course Design Institute.
History & Mission
In 2004, on a quest to make learning better in large enrollment undergraduate courses, the UNT Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Course Redesign embarked upon a bold journey to transform the student learning experience with the tagline – “making bigger classes better.” The journey began as the Blended Learning Project with a group of faculty who showed a strong desire to transform the learning experience in their courses by designing, applying, and assessing innovative instructional techniques.
The program achieved national recognition for its engagement of faculty in transforming the student learning experience. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) cited NextGen's outcomes-based approach to measuring learning outcomes as an exemplary model for other universities to follow. Due to this success, NextGen expanded to include a range of undergraduate courses across size, medium, and discipline. In total, UNT created more than 400 NextGen sections to meet the needs of over 30,000 students in a variety of disciplines. Regardless of these changes, the primary mission of the NextGen Course Redesign Program remained true to its beginnings:
To improve student learning in order to meet UNT's bold goal to provide the best undergraduate educational experience in Texas by providing faculty development and training in course design based on the NextGen model of course redesign.
The NextGen Model
All NextGen courses are built on a foundation of student learning outcomes that align with valid, reliable, and high-quality assessment and engaging instruction designed to enable student achievement of learning outcomes. In order to achieve this, NextGen Faculty Fellows followed a three-step process:
- Identify course goals and student learning outcomes according to the NextGen Three-Level Model.
- Create assessments for determining student achievement of these outcomes.
- Design learning experiences that enable students to succeed at these assessments.
This process is known as backward design and serves as the method for the NextGen Cycle of Redesign.
Student learning outcomes are the foundation and starting point for NextGen courses. The NextGen outcome model is based on the work of assessment specialist, Dr. Ron Carriveau. Dr. Carriveau’s work identifies a three-level model for course outcomes that enables instructors to narrow their broad course goals into tangible, achievable student learning outcomes.
Dr. Carriveau continues his work in outcome based learning via campus-wide training on outcome-based assessment, including two-hour workshops on various assessment topics.