In response to an increased usage of both the course management system Blackboard and the subsequent development of courses in online modalities, the Office of Educational Technology (EdTech) has developed the “Are You Ready?” course. The course, which resides in Blackboard, is designed to better prepare students in both how online learning works, and what to expect in an online learning environment.
The ability to use Blackboard tools is evaluated within a Blackboard course. Students get a feel for what an online course is like while taking the course.
EdTech staff provide assistance to students with difficulties completing the course on a walk-in basis.
The course was designed by instructional designers who have developed and taught online courses and have had years of experience providing support to both faculty and students.
The content is presented to assist students with different learning styles.
The course presents creative use of media. It employs the design skills of the EdTech staff as well as their pedagogical and instructional design knowledge and experience.
Students learn where to get on-campus support.
It is both an evaluator and a course. Preparedness evaluators from other universities that were examined were mainly short questionnaires about the student’s comfort level using a computer.
Who benefits from the use of the project/application?
Students, faculty, support offices, and the Institution. Support offices such as EdTech, IT, Academic Computer Center benefit from this project because of a streamlined way to provide orientation and assistance to students at any time; reducing the amount of time devoted to in-person support. Hostos and CUNY also benefit because it encourages more students explore their readiness to take their education online, as well as more faculty interested to teach online.
The pilot course was highly well received by faculty with over 500 student participants in the initial course. While the enforcement of completion rested on individual instructors, or a student’s own initiative, the course saw over 300 of students successfully complete the course with little intervention from EdTech.
The course, designed to help transition students into an online learning
environment, uses a combination of text, video, and quizzes to provide three levels of comprehension while utilizing question pools and randomization on quizzes to ensure that students are actively engaged when taking a quiz.
In the second deployment EdTech added measurement tools to evaluate student preparedness for online learning before they take the course, and post survey measurement to help evaluate and further improve the “Are You Ready?” course (http://commons.hostos.cuny.edu/online/students/am-i-ready/)
The initial results and the design methodology have been presented at several conferences, including the CUNY IT Conference, HETS Best Practices Showcase, among others. Thanks to its engaging and innovative approach, other CUNY colleges (Bronx Community College, Queensborough Community College, and Lehman College) have shown interest in piloting this course at their campuses on Spring 2017.
EdTech is proud to share with the college community that this project has been awarded the “2016 Outstanding Project Serving CUNY Students, Faculty and/or Staff” presented at the CUNY IT Conference at John Jay on December 1st, 2016.