Building an Online Course with NYU's Global Learning and Innovation Team

By Madeline Friedman | May 7, 2015

From a click and play animation whereby students click on each process of the body to understand what happens to toxins once they enter our body. Global Environmental Course: Lesson 4 Toxicology and Human Disease

From a click and play animation whereby students click on each process of the body to understand what happens to toxins once they enter our body. Global Environmental Course: Lesson 4 Toxicology and Human Disease

The instructional technologists in NYU IT’s Global Learning and Innovation (GLI) team consult with faculty to help them determine the best ways to integrate innovative pedagogy and state-of-the-art media into courses. They engage collaboratively in the design, development, and implementation of course design with faculty.

NYU’s Global Institute of Public Health (GIPH) recently teamed up with the GLI team to create course materials for an 100 percent online Advanced Certificate in Public Health. The course is a 15-credit program designed to enhance knowledge and training in core public health concepts aimed toward public health practitioners working in governmental health departments, as well as health related professionals working in community and non-governmental agencies and health care facilities.

All courses in the certificate have been fully designed within NYU Classes, the University’s online learning management system. Students who log on to NYU Classes navigate through weekly lessons comprised of various media formats such as text, images, videos, animations, and interactive modules,  as well as various student engagement activities such as in-line knowledge check questions, forums, quizzes and other assignments.

“The faculty teaching the course is able to offer students the course content utilizing different modalities of learning that enhances the students’ experience,” Joyce O’Connor, Director of the Advanced Certificate in Public Health said. “Students are very positive about the quality and flexibility of the course. They like that they can go back to previous lessons and review material. Faculty are also very positive, and have incorporated some of the components of the online course into their traditional course, i.e. discussion forums, video, and interactive case studies.”

The Process

The professor of each course offered through the online certificate works closely with the GLI team to craft their online lessons. “The process is very interesting,” Instructional Technologist Marina Thomatos said. “From my own teaching experience , I can say that most  professors go into teaching because we are specialists in a specific field. We know our material. Very few professors go through training in things like how to measure learning.”

Learning assessment is one of the key things that the GLI team focuses on when it collaborates on a course creation or redesign with faculty. “It’s what faculty have found to be most challenging and at the same time most rewarding,” Thomatos said. “We go through each lesson and ask, what are you trying to teach? How can we assess that students are actually learning this? Then we go through and analyze what they learned.”

Professor Jack Caravanos is an Environmental Health professor who worked with the GLI team to create the Global Environmental Health course for the Advanced Certificate in Global Public Health.

“It was a real collaborative effort and a real learning experience where you really had a team of people to help you figure out how to get the points across,” Caravanos, whose course integrated short animated videos with recorded lectures, said. “It’s a lot of work for a new professor and they have to be into it. You can’t twist people’s arms to do it. In many ways I feel I learned more teaching this course than the students will. I learned about assessment, measuring performance, and monitoring activities.”

Some Benefits to Incorporating Technology into Teaching at NYU

  • Building lessons in NYU Classes allows faculty to develop a strong and coherent narrative to the course, complete with embedded forums, questions, multimedia content, assignments, and more.
  • Video and animation allows instructors to succinctly narrate a visual message
  • Forums allow students or small groups of students to think deeply about questions and craft intelligent responses. They also allow faculty to respond with meaningful feedback.
  • The Meeting Tool allows instructors to connect in real time with their students, and allows students to connect in real time with their peers for group work.

For more information on how the Global Learning and Innovation Team can help you, your department, or your school reimagine your course with innovative pedagogy, technology, and media email