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Online/Hybrid Course Development: Flexibility, Quality and Support

Online/Hybrid Course Development: Flexibility, Quality and Support 2017

Online/Hybrid Course Development: Flexibility, Quality and Support


Ruru Rusmin, Interim Director, E-Learning Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College


As online education expands at CUNY it is imperative to foster a flexible approach to the development of online and hybrid courses while maintaining high standards of quality, so that both faculty and students have a successful experience. To this end, Borough of Manhattan Community College’s E-Learning Center accommodates faculty at all levels, from those who have extensive experience teaching online to those who have none, but expects that they all produce excellent course content and assess their courses with a quality assurance rubric. Experienced faculty are interviewed and receive individual support specific to their needs. Novices participate in a 10-week program to develop a specific course approved by their chair, facilitated by instructional designers using a hybrid course in Blackboard. Faculty are students in the course, which exposes them to commonly used tools like VoiceThread, Collaborate, blogs, and journals, as well as providing a clear understanding of the student perspective. The training course emphasizes instructional design principles including effective course design, content presentation, communication and engagement, alternative methods of assessment and evaluation, and integration of technology resources, while participating faculty develop their specific course plans and content at the same time. Before any course–whether developed by an experienced or novice developer–is opened for registration, it is reviewed by the faculty, the instructional designers, and departmental chair using a campus-created rubric. During the development and implementation phases, faculty are supported by the E-Learning Center’s instructional designers and other staff, as well by other online faculty, particularly in the same department. A more formal faculty mentor aspect during the first semester of implementation is being planned for the program. BMCC has evolved its course development model over the last 15 years, leading to a program that has developed more than 300 courses and trained almost 200 faculty. This presentation will cover specifics of how the E-Learning Center supports varying levels of faculty experience, the 10-week hybrid course modules, the quality assurance rubric, and plans for peer mentorship, and are encouraged to discuss and share their own campus programs for online course development.

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