Digital Chem 1A Project

This research project analyzed economic and pedagogical questions related to the use of on-line lecture and laboratory material in a large introductory chemistry course at UC Berkeley. We undertook a quasi-experimental two-year study to determine if the utilization of online teaching materials results in significant restructuring of staff time in laboratories and lectures, if teaching facilities can be used by more students, and if the technology enhancements affect student performance and/or attitudes. What emerged is a rich, yet complicated, profile of the effects that technology enhancements have on the individuals and organizations involved in implementation and testing.

Project Final Report

Costs, Culture, and Complexity: A Two-year Analysis of Technology Enhancements in a Large Lecture Course at UC Berkeley. Diane Harley, Jonathan Henke, Shannon Lawrence, Flora McMartin, Michael Maher, Marytza Gawlik, and Parisa Muller. CSHE 3.03. March 2003

Other Publications

"Rethinking Space and Time: The Role of Internet Technology in a Large Lecture Course." Diane Harley, Jonathan Henke, and Michael W. Maher. Innovate, Vol. 1, No. 1, October/November 2004.

"An Analysis of Technology Enhancements in a Large Lecture Course." Diane Harley, Michael Maher, Jonathan Henke, and Shannon Lawrence. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 3., 2003

Costs, Culture, and Complexity: An Analysis of Technology Enhancements in a Large Lecture Course at UC Berkeley

The Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), in partnership with the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center (BMRC) and the College of Chemistry, was awarded a two-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation'sCost Effective Uses of Technology in Teaching program initiative for the years 2000-2001 and 2001-2002.

The project brought together a diverse and distinguished team of researchers from Economics, Chemistry, Computer Science, and the Graduate School of Education.

The evaluation team addressed specific questions related to the use of online lecture and laboratory material, and their potential to free up teaching staff time and/or serve more students off-site. The primary goals were to determine:

  • if the utilization of on-line teaching materials results in significant restructuring of staff time,
  • if more students can be accommodated with a reuse of lecture and laboratory space, and
  • if the technology enhancements affect student performance and attitudes.

Principal Investigator: Diane Harley, Ph.D.

Frederick Balderston | Chris Curran | Bernard Gifford | | Diane Harley | I. Michael Heyman |Mark Kubinec | | Flora McMartin | Alex Pines | Lawrence Rowe


Professor Frederick Balderston, (Ph.D., Economics, Princeton University) has been at the Haas School of Business, University of California since 1953. His interests are in strategic planning and management, financial management and regulation, and strategic management of higher education institutions. In addition to his appointment on the Haas faculty, he has served as: Executive Director of the Bernard Osher Foundation; Associate Dean, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley; Vice President, Planning and Analysis, University of California (systemwide); and Chairman, California State Committee on Public Education. Publications include Tuition and Financial Aid in Higher Education: The Case of California, Economics of Education Review, Special Issue in Memory of Charles S. Benson, 1996. Managing Today's University: Strategies for Viability, Change and Excellence, 2nd edition. Spring 1995, Jossey-Bass. Cost-effectiveness Methodologies for University Decisions, chapter 5 in Gerald L. Schmaedick, Editor, Cost-Effectiveness in the Non-Profit Sector, 1993.


Professor Chris Curran (MSc.Econ., Trinity College, Dublin: Ph.D., Erasmus University, Rotterdam) is founding Director of the National Distance Education Centre (1982-99). The Centre is the nucleus of a co-operative network of universities, which works closely with Government agencies, professional institutions and industry, in the development of a national programme to provide access to university education for many thousands of adult students in Ireland. He is responsible for developing a national program embracing diploma, degree and post graduate courses, and a continuing education program to meet the professional development needs of engineers, managers and accountants. His research has focussed on the economics and cost effectiveness of distance and technology-based education, as part of which he has undertaken commissions/consultancies for the EU, UNESCO and the World Bank/HEDCO. A substantive research programme at the Centre has included projects undertaken for a range of EU programmes including: DELTA, COMETT, EURO-FORM, ADAPT, TEMPUS, PHARE and SOCRATES. Recent publications include: Curran C and Fox S. (2000) Telematics and Open and Distance Learning, Weinheim: Deutscher Studien Verlag. Curran C (1999) "Social Costs and Benefits of Distance Education," Ortner G (Ed) Socio-Economics of Virtual Universities.


Professor Bernard R. Gifford (Ph.D., University of Rochester, Biophysics), Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley; Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Policy, Organization, Measurement, and Evaluation. Bernard Gifford has a long history of scholarship and service in the field of education. His current research interests include theories of distributed learning and how they inform the design of computer-mediated instructional materials; the impact of networking and communications technologies on the nature of instructional work; the behavior of organizations during periods of rapid technological change; and the changing political economy of U.S. higher education. His numerous books include Policy Perspectives on Educational Testing (1993) and Employment Testing: Linking Policy and Practice (with L. Wing, 1993). He is completing his latest book, on bureaucratic, policy, and technological barriers to effective use of technology-mediated instruction in universities. Recent publications include "Ready for Learning: A Mandate for American Higher Education," from Academic Systems (with R. Shore, 1999); and "The Probability Inquiry Environment: A Collaborative, Inquiry-based Simulation Environment," (with P. Vahey and N. Enyedy, 1999). He currently heads Berkeley's InterActiveMedia Study Group, which conducts research on the role of learner-controlled, dynamically interactive inscriptions in fostering effective learning in math. As dean of Berkeley's Graduate School of Education from 1983-89 he launched the school's expanded commitment to research and collaboration.


Dr. Diane Harley (Ph.D., Anthropology, UC Berkeley), Executive Director of the BMRC. Diane has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and experience in teaching and research in the biological and social sciences. Over the last decade, she has developed multimedia public education programs, which included managing partnerships with the California and Florida Departments of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty Museum, ABC News, and various universities, publishers, and software developers. Most recently she has been involved in the development of a variety of instructional technology programs on the UC Berkeley campus including the Interactive University Project and the Humanities and Technology Project, which provides resources and training to faculty and graduate students interested in integrating basic web applications into their teaching and research. In addition to development work at the BMRC, she directs a number of research programs concerned with the impact of educational technologies on the future of universities.


Professor I. Michael Heyman (J.D. Yale Law School), Boalt School of Law. After serving as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution for the last six years and returning to the UC Berkeley campus, I. Michael Heyman has recently accepted the position of Interim Director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), a campus research unit. Professor Heyman returned to his faculty position in the Boalt School of Law in January, having served as the head of the Smithsonian from 1994 to 1999, and previous to that as Counselor to the Secretary in the U.S. Department of the Interior. Heyman served for ten years (1980 to 1990) as the Chancellor of the Berkeley campus; he was the Vice Chancellor from 1974 to 1980 and has been a member of the faculty since 1959. Before coming to Berkeley, Heyman was the Chief Law Clark for then Chief Justice Earl Warren, also a graduate of Boalt. During his tenure at Berkeley, Professor Heyman has published numerous articles and taught in the areas of civil rights, affirmative action, constitutional law, real property, planning, metropolitan government, and environmental law.


Dr. Mark Kubinec (Ph.D., Chemistry, UC Berkeley), currently holds a lectureship in the Chemistry Department created specifically for developing effective teaching technologies in Chemistry 1A that may be extended to other courses in the College of Chemistry. Mark will also serve as a Chemistry 1A lecturer throughout the course of this experiment. Mark completed his Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching.


Dr. Flora McMartin (Ph.D., Education, UC Berkeley), is the Director of Evaluation for the NEEDS project (a national digital library for engineering education) and www.smete.org (a prototype digital library for science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education). She is also the Director of Assessment for the General Electric Faculty Fellows Program at UC Berkeley, a project designed to better integrate the curriculum of gateway courses in chemistry, mathematics and physics with the engineering curriculum. She has a doctorate in Education and Assessment from UC Berkeley, and extensive experience in integrating assessment of student learning with faculty development and making organizational change. During 1999/2000 she was a Fellow with the National Institute for Science Education College Level-1 team Institute on Learning Technology. In her previous positions, she directed the Assessment program of the Synthesis Coalition, served as the Assessment Coordinator for the University of San Francisco (USF), taught in the USF School of Education, and evaluated innovative education projects funded by UC Berkeley Office of Educational Development. Her research interests include evaluating the impact of assessment as a means for developing collaborative faculty workgroups, and organizational change related to institutionalization of innovative academic departments and programs.


Professor Alexander Pines (Ph.D., Chemical Physics, M.I.T), College of Chemistry, is currently the Glenn T. Seaborg Professor of Chemistry at the University of California and Faculty Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Among his many Honorary Professorships and Lectureships, Pines has been Joliot-Curie Professor at the Ecole Superieure de Physique et Chemie in Paris, Hinshelwood Professor at Oxford University, Centenary Lecturer of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Roberts Lecturer at Caltech, Lord Lecturer at M.I.T. , and Loeb Lecturer at Harvard University. He is Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Paris. Pines' research has been mainly in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI.) His concepts and techniques are widely used in chemistry, materials science, and biomedicine. Professor Pines is widely recognized as an extremely effective and innovative instructor and has won acclaim throughout the University of California system for his efforts in Chemistry 1A.


Professor Lawrence A. Rowe (Ph.D., Computer Science, UC Irvine), Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Director of the BMRC, has been on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley since 1976. Professor Rowe's current research interests are multimedia applications and databases, video conferencing, hypermedia courseware, and video compression. He heads the research group that produces the regularly scheduled Berkeley Multimedia and Graphics Seminar broadcast world-wide on the Internet. His group also developed the Berkeley Internet Broadcast System (BIBS), Berkeley MPEG1 video tools (i.e., software decoder, parallel encoder, and utilities), the Berkeley Continuous Media Toolkit, algorithms to compute special effects on compressed images, and the Berkeley Distributed Video-on-Demand System. Professor Rowe is an ACM Fellow and has published over ninety papers on multimedia systems and applications, programming systems, and database systems. He is currently Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia. Professor Rowe was a co-founder of Ingres Corporation. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for nCast Corporation and Siemens Technology-to-Business Corporation and the Technical Advisory Boards of Fast Forward Networks Inc. and Inktomi Corporation.