COTE’s New to Online Learning (N2OL) Model
Over the past 20 years, Open SUNY COTE (formerly the SUNY Learning Network’s Education Services) has helped a generation of SUNY instructors develop their first online courses. Over 5,000 faculty have participated in workshops, and countless more have worked with instructional designers trained in the SLN model of online course design.
Recently, COTE has redeveloped much of its traditional “New Faculty Training” as part of a cyclical review and refresh process. This sort of process is essential for all courses, and encourages reflection on what is working, what are opportunities for improvement, and what topics should be added to or removed from the curriculum.
The result of this effort has been the creation of the New to Online Learning (N2OL) training series. These workshops have many of the same learning objectives as SLN’s traditional course development model, but are structured in a way that gives a more flexible and interactive experience to the workshop participant.
- More options on how the workshops are delivered. The N2OL course is currently available as a fully online, facilitated experience; a self-paced course; or a blended course incorporating two online modules and two days of face-to-face work. All the N2OL materials are licensed Creative Commons, so instructional designers may also choose to reuse the materials on their own campuses at no cost.
- Authentic experience as an online student. For many faculty, the experience of taking a fully online class can be eye-opening. There is great value in seeing firsthand the positives of online discussions and community, while at the same time dealing with the frustrations of technical difficulties and asynchronous communication. The N2OL fully online and blended courses have extensive online components that give participants a more complete picture of all that is involved with taking an online course.
- More hands-on experience. The blended approach allows participants to spend more of their face-to-face time actually working on the development of the new course. It includes increased opportunities for participants to work in their course shells and get individualized help as needed.
- Increased focus on pedagogy. The N2OL course features an extensive module dealing with the mechanics of building an online course in Blackboard Learn. This frees up other time for focusing on the pedagogy of good course design. By focusing more on pedagogy and learning theories during the planning and initial development of an online course, faculty are able to create a sound foundation and an extensible design that will accommodate any technologies they choose to include.
- Introduction of new topics. N2OL includes new information about several newer areas of emphasis in online learning, specifically open education resources (OER) and web accessibility for students with disabilities. The increased focus on these two issues will help remove barriers for students and should improve academic performance.
N2OL has been successfully piloted in several different modalities and has received lots of good feedback about what is working, and what still needs to be tweaked. Feel free to to request a copy of the N2OL course or schedule a workshop on your campus.
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