curriculum and instructional design for online and distance learning environments

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A presentation on the curriculum development process at SUNY Empire State College, a leader in adult centered distance and online learning.The presentation focuses on how these processes achieve the following goals: Promote deep learning through visual and multimedia approaches; Enhance collaborative learning – teams, group presentations, debates, students as facilitators; Integrate Case studies across the disciplines; Integrate library research and library based activities into every course; Integrate optimal technology tools for multiple pedagogical uses; Integrate work-based learning and connection with social problems; Build community beyond courses. Web Presentation for the University of Oulu, Finland, April 24, 2007


  • 1. Center for Distance Learning Curriculum & Instructional Design for online and distance learning environments Presentation for the University of Oulu, Finland April 24, 2007 Nicola Martinez, Director
  • 2. About The College
    • A university college of the State University of New York
    • 35 Locations around New York State
    • Some Annual CDL Statistics :
    • 100,000 Credits;
    • 20,000 + Course Enrollments
    • 70% NYS Residents
    • 30% Out-of-state; all states represented;
    • small portion international
    • 30% Fulltime students
    • 50% Students use financial aid or loans
    The Center for Distance Learning (CDL) serves students around the world, including military students
  • 3. Center For Distance Learning
    • Offers online courses
    • in five, 15-week semesters per year
    • Historically leading enroller in SUNY Learning Network
    • Partners with eArmyU, Navy, labor unions,
    • and public & private organizations
    • Offers degree programs in eleven areas of study:
    • The Arts, Humanities & Cultural Studies
    • Business, Community and Human Services,
    • Educational Studies,
    • History, Human Development,
    • Labor Studies,
    • Science-Math-Technology,
    • Social Theory-Structure-Change
  • 4. Leader In Educational Technology
    • SUNYs leader in the design and delivery of online courses
    • Largest provider of distance learning in New York state
    • Rich array of library and study skills materials available via the Internet
    • Connection with faculty and other students throughout the colleges online worldwide network
  • 5. Core Competencies
    • Success with adult learners seeking degrees
    • Growth is carefully balanced with models for FT/PT faculty balance, design staff and student supports
    • Course completion rates 90%, high student satisfaction
    • Mentoring/personalization in all aspects
    • Comprehensive student services
    • Quality assurance through benchmarking with competitors
  • 6. Our curricular and instructional design goals :
    • Promote deep learning through visual and multimedia approaches.
    • Enhance collaborative learning teams, group presentations, debates, students as facilitators.
    • Integrate Case studies across the disciplines to promote learning transfer.
    • Integrate library research and library based activities into every course.
    • Integrate optimal technology tools for multiple pedagogical uses.
    • Integrate work-based learning and connection with social problems.
    • Build community beyond courses
    Visual Approach to Mathematics
  • 7. Curriculum and Instructional Design Group
    • Advises area coordinators on curriculum development
    • Shepherds developers through the development cycle
    • Provides pedagogical, assessment, and instructional development training as needed
    • Designs course development processes
    • Facilitates team development sessions
    • Aligns support for course developers
    • Assures academic excellence and design quality of courses
    • Oversees program evaluation and improvements.
  • 8. Best Practices
    • CDL uses a best-practice based approach, as online learning is relatively new; best practices are the result of ongoing research, discovery, and experimentation.
    • Full time CDL faculty and staff attend national and international conferences to learn about emerging practices, newest research and technologies, and to share our practices with external audiences.
    • CDL faculty members and instructional designers contribute their best practice ideas so that innovations and improvements may be shared across the center and college.
    • As a general rule, a new practice is piloted in one course and tested in a few more before implemented on a larger scale.
    Virtual Research Cruise Marine Biology
  • 9. Course Development Teams
    • CDL courses are designed by teams made up of different configurations of faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and various educational technology specialists, as follows:
    • An area coordinator (faculty supervisor)
    • A coordinator of instructional design & curriculum development who serves as project manager for the course development
    • One or more faculty course developers (content expert/s who develops course content & assessment activities)
    • One or more instructional designers; a multimedia developer; an instructional technologist; a librarian; support staff
  • 10. Course Approval Process
    • Course Concept Presented to All Faculty
      • Discussion/feedback from Area Coordinators
    • Course Proposal Presented to Curricular Teams
      • Open to Discussion/feedback
      • from Area Coordinators and Course Development Teams
    • Course Proposal Review/Approval by Curriculum Committee
      • With public feedback
    • Once Approved , course enters development cycle
      • And is assigned a team
    • Once Completed , Course Review/Rating by Instructional Design Team
      • using the course evaluation checklist
    Coursetrak Screenshot
  • 11. Theory based design
    • Adult centered learning
    • Active, deep, and authentic learning
    • Visual pedagogies
    • Media-rich and librarian researched content/resources.
    • Student interaction and collaborative learning
    • With emphasis on opportunities for teaching, social and cognitive presence
    For large-scale development of pedagogically and academically sound courses, instructional designers work with course developers to ensure : Studying with Scientists Virtual Research Cruise
  • 12. Coursetrak
  • 13. Course Resource Needs Analysis Records the resources, support, and services needed for a course in development or revision.
  • 14. Library Resources
    • Librarians recommend electronic resources from:
    • subscription research databases and online services
    • the public Internet for use as supplemental readings and related course materials (.edu; .gov; and .org)
    Sample Library Request Arts Management Course
  • 15. Tier 3 Rating System Not Acceptable (recommend postpone or cancel) Tier 1
    • Acceptable
    • Some criteria met, revisions needed
    Tier 2 Exemplary Course Tier 3 Rating Tier
  • 16. Online Course Evaluation Checklist
    • http://
  • 17. Meaningful Math, Relevant Science
    • We have received a $1.25 m Charitable Leadership foundation grant to create and utilize real-life, interactive, problem-based curriculum with case studies and laboratory experiences in 16 online mathematics and science courses with the potential for high enrollment by adult students.
    • We are now addressing the science and math literacy challenge through the creation of an engaging, rich and varied online curriculum that will be available to the colleges 17,000 students and, indeed, throughout the entire State University of New York via the SUNY Learning Network.
    • Through the engagement of selected high school teachers as teaching fellows in curriculum development teams, the project may also have a trickle down effect of improving secondary school instruction, especially through the use of instructional technology.
    Research Vessel used in Virtual Research Cruise with Aquarium Scientists
  • 18. The following slides illustrate some of our distance learning methodologies applied to the design of instruction, including:
      • Visual Pedagogy
      • Collaborative Learning

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