STRATEGIES FOR ONLINE LEARNING IN A GLOBAL NETWORK UNIVERSITY
New York University (NYU) is a Global Network University (GNU), with its academic centers and degree-granting portal campuses comprising fourteen locations worldwide. Students and faculty are able to move between campuses within the network, and NYU strives to give them a seamless experience, no matter which location they are at globally.
One of the ways in which we are able to offer this seamless experience is through online courses. We propose to design creative models and strategies that the faculty are able to use to develop their courses by selecting a content discipline and categories that suit their needs. The model will guide the faculty through the steps necessary for creating successful online learning content: a needs assessment, an examination of how technology can enhance the content and format of the course, support in implementing the technology, and an evaluation of the course.
The needs assessment phase will guide the faculty through the process of developing an online course. Teaching a course online requires different considerations than teaching a traditional face-to-face course. The teaching may happen synchronously or asynchronously. The types of interactions and assignments given to the students will need to be determined if they will work in an online environment and if the available technology will be able to support them. Additionally, the pedagogy will need to incorporate the new media and online learning tools in an effective way.
The content and format of the course will need to be adapted to the online environment. Tasks that traditionally are done in person - lectures, office hours, etc - will now need to be accomplished online. Assignments, feedback, and discussions will also need to be adapted and conducted online.
In order to support the faculty in implementing these new course formats, a series of content analysis must be conducted to identify flexible learning models and strategies. Models will need to be designed for the faculty to use as templates, providing them with the opportunity to choose which technology tools will support their course content and format. Technology fused tasks will need to be developed to support assessments, tasks, and class assignments. A determination as to whether enterprise level technologies offered by the university are sufficient for these tasks or if an independent solution is required will need to be made. Backup plans in the case of technology malfunctions will need to be identified. By providing faculty with instructional design consultations, we can identify and plan for these needs together.
Lastly, an evaluation will need to be done at the conclusion of the course. This will help the faculty member determine if the use of technology in the course was successful, engaged the students, and fit the objectives of the course. Issues such as student comfort level and the reliability of the technology can be identified this way as well. The results of the evaluation will allow the faculty member to adjust the course for the future and change or add new technologies as necessary.
As the GNU continues to expand, and we strive to offer students the courses they need independent of location, the need to create and support online courses will also grow. By developing a service model to support these types of classes and models for the faculty to use to create these courses, we are able to serve this growing demand.