Have you ever taken an awesome class? I mean a truly amazing class where your ideas are challenged, you enjoy doing homework, and you are constantly talking to the teacher to ask questions and learn the fine details of the subject. A class where the material is above and beyond what you are used to and you compare all other classes to THAT CLASS. Not everyone gets that experience.
In fact, according to the 2015 National Survey of Student Engagement, only about half of first year students and three in five seniors (as traditional age, face to face students) felt that their courses challenged them. And if you were an online student, the numbers were slightly higher for those only taking online courses.
If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of students who has taken online courses in New York, then you know that online courses are more challenging than face to face courses. And, if you’ve taken an Open SUNY course in the last few years in particular, then you know that Open SUNY courses aren’t like all the other online courses offered by other institutions. They’re actually AWARD winning. Yes, that’s right. There are awards for online courses and Open SUNY was recognized for the innovative process they are using to make your courses better.
This fall, the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) awarded the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COTE) with an Effective Practice Award for “The Open SUNY COTE Quality Review (OSCQR) Process and Rubric.” This award recognizes effective techniques, strategies and practices among the OLC community to advance access to and quality of online programs.
And what is OSCQR? Simply put, it is a tool that allows your instructors review the course material, the way it is presented, and how you and your fellow students are supposed to work with the material and each other with the goal of improving the overall quality of the course. The process also assesses the accessibility of materials in the course for those students with disabilities.
As of September, 22 of SUNY’s 64 campuses are using the process to enhance their online courses – which has the potential to impact thousands of Open SUNY students. And even more campuses are expected to begin using the process.
Combined with some of the other resources that Open SUNY courses are using, like virtual field trips and the Monroe Community College Virtual Campus Center, there are sure to be even more truly awesome online courses that you think about for years to come.
Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.