Open SUNY will power the nation’s leading online teaching and learning experiences for faculty and students. Faculty are central to providing the distinctive SUNY experience to all our online students. Our mission is to ensure that online faculty have all the support necessary to realize their vision of an engaging and effective online teaching and learning environment and that they are enabled in providing a rich, dynamic, and stimulating online environment in which to teach and learn. In support of this mission, Open SUNY has collaborated to develop an Open SUNY-powered course production process that includes a team approach to online course development/improvement; a suite of tools, services, enhancements; and effective online practices that can be delivered to, or adopted by, campuses in support of their faculty.
Open SUNY Course Development and Refresh Model
Open SUNY is developing a course development and enhancement model that builds on current practices to offer more comprehensive faculty supports through instructional design, multimedia support, and librarian support. Instructional design and technical assistance will continue to be offered to faculty through the course delivery period, and a final informal learning review will conclude the concerted course development/enhancement cycle.
High-production value online course development or enhancement is a resource-intensive part of an online course redesign cycle, and we recognize that it is critical to support faculty with resources that can develop a deep understanding of the instructor’s working style and course objectives. Thus, the Open SUNY+ Course Development and Enhancement Model envisions a team approach in which faculty, instructional designers, multimedia developers, and librarians come together to work on a course. This high-end online course design model will entail a 4 month-long team production process that will be piloted with the first wave of Open SUNY+ degree programs, the resources required to implement this model being provided jointly by the participating campuses and system administration.
Expert Online Instructional Designers & Exemplar Faculty
SUNY is distinguished by its extensive and long-standing SUNY-wide community of expert online instructional designers and exemplar online faculty. Open SUNY recognizes the importance of these roles on the Course Supports team. Online instructional designers are experts in online instructional design and online teaching and learning. They are also experts in learning management systems, instructional technologies, and other tools and can inform and influence the quality of online course design with research-based effective practices and learner-centered approaches. Their role is to ensure effective and engaging online content presentation, to turn theory into practice for enhancing interaction and student collaboration, and to determine the best ways to provide authentic, engaging, and efficient online feedback and evaluation. In addition, they and/or exemplar online faculty can function as coaches and mentors in the professional development of new and experienced online faculty. By sharing what they know, exemplar online faculty and expert online instructional designers enable the entire system to benefit from their experiences, expertise, and best practices.
Instructional Multimedia Developer
Multimedia content, when incorporated thoughtfully and deliberately to support and enhance student engagement and learning, can significantly improve the online student experience. However, developing high-quality multimedia content is time-consuming and requires specialized skills. To eliminate this barrier and to provide our online faculty with opportunities to enhance their online courses, Open SUNY has identified the need for multimedia specialists equipped with necessary skills, expertise, and tools. This role will be filled both by new staff and by existing instructional multimedia development expertise across SUNY. This effort will be coupled with a clear set of research-based effective practices in the use of multimedia to enhance online teaching & learning.
Faculty developing or enhancing their online teaching environments face challenges related to curating and incorporating existing high-quality open educational materials (OERs) or other content; navigating copyrights and licenses for online content; and determining whether, or how, to author OERs. To assist online faculty in navigating these challenges, Open SUNY has identified the need for librarians to play a role on the course support team. A group of leading librarians from across the system are working to define the role and their supports and will develop and pilot this with a limited set of degree programs. Once piloted, the role may be offered by libraries across the system to support faculty on their campuses.
Open SUNY aims to showcase the best SUNY has to offer in online education, and the online course supports model and process will be critical enablers. In addition to being piloted in a select group of Open SUNY+ programs, the model and process will be available for use by any campuses interested in adopting this approach.