Online learning at Hostos has been expanding during the last decade and all the development, instructional design, mentoring, and support is provided by the Office of Educational Technology (EdTech)
The Office of Educational Technology (EdTech) develops, implements, supports, and promotes innovative integration of technology into teaching and learning by empowering faculty, serving students, and creating a supportive environment for all types of learners.
EdTech’s strategic pathway includes:
- Assisting faculty in the integration of technology in their pedagogical models;
- Forging partnerships in the research and development of educational technologies;
- Supporting students in the acquisition of technology skills;
- Exploring new and emerging educational technologies;
- Building partnerships across disciplines and departments to create innovative initiatives.
Accomplishment of these aims is made possible through the collaboration of the Educational Technology Leadership Council (ETLC) and Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) with support from the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA).
The EdTech Leadership Council, co-chaired by the Director and the Faculty Liaison to EdTech, serves as an advisory body to the Office of Educational Technology and the Office of Academic Affairs in matters that relate to educational technology. The membership consists of a faculty representative from each of the academic departments, including the Library and Counseling.
In December 2009, responding to the Chancellor’s call for the expansion of hybrid (partly online, partly in-class) instruction at CUNY, the central Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) issued a request for proposals (RFP) to create and implement significant numbers of hybrid courses for Fall 2010 and beyond. As part of this initiative, OAA invited team leaders and other representatives from participating CUNY campuses to facilitate the sharing of resources and development of best practices.
The Hybrid Initiative at Hostos Community College began in 2010. For the first two cohorts (Fall 2010 and Spring 2011), participants were compensated for reaching three milestones: 1) completing a series of workshops 2) gaining approval for their Hybrid Course from the EdTech Leadership Council (ETLC), and 3) teaching the course in the Hybrid mode.
The next two cohorts (Fall 2011 and Spring 2012) followed a one-on-one, mentor-mentee model. Mentors and mentees were then compensated when: 1) the mentee’s course was approved by the ETLC and 2) the mentee successfully taught the hybrid course. Mentors and mentees also participated in a series of workshops offering facilitated discussion and hands-on training led and organized by EdTech.
Cohorts that followed in Fall 2012 and afterwards continued to operate in the mentoring model with a few modifications. Each mentor was paired with two (or more) mentees. Additionally, faculty could “share” a hybrid course they developed with other faculty teaching the same course, and mentor them in adapting the course.
The Hostos Asynchronous Initiative began in Fall 2013 to encourage faculty to develop and teach asynchronous (fully online) courses using Blackboard, and is modeled on the successful Hybrid Initiative. New participating faculty are paired with a mentor, forming a development team. The initiative has two phases and it typically starts in the Fall semester during an academic year. In the first phase, faculty work closely with their mentor and EdTech specialists to develop their asynchronous course, and also attend scheduled workshops. Once the course is developed, it goes through a review process in order to get approved. The review and approval process conducted by the ETLC uses established guidelines based on national standards to validate the readiness and minimum requirements for the course to be classified as asynchronous. The second phase is the teaching phase, where the faculty member makes the asynchronous course available to students for the first time, and works closely with his/her mentor to make appropriate adjustments as needed.
New participants in these initiatives are no longer financially compensated for their involvement; however, faculty continue to receive quality mentoring, training and the appropriate resources throughout the process of developing a hybrid or asynchronous course or while teaching online.
In the spring of 2018 many significant steps were taken to improve all facets of online course development and delivery. With the addition of an Online Learning Coordinator to oversee development and the contributions of instructional designers, Blackboard experts and programmers, a comprehensive process developed. This includes:
- Blackboard Training courses for Faculty (the Roadmap for Teaching Innovation) and Students (Are you Ready?)
- Guidelines for both the development and evaluation of courses. (Reviewed and approved by the ETLC Committee)
- Faculty workshops, mentoring, and one-on-one consultation throughout the course development process
- A Course Evaluation System, developed here at Hostos and maintained by in-house computer programmers, for the approval of submitted courses and certification for online teaching at Hostos.
- Extended EdTech office hours during evenings and weekends to facilitate more faculty training.