Award-winning online course sets students up for success
Despite its advantages in flexibility and accessibility, online education occasionally gets downplayed and characterized as impersonal and focused on individual, rather than collaborative approaches to learning. But, what if that weren’t the case? What if there were a class that motivated online students to engage with each other and was specially designed to help them succeed? A team of City University of Seattle faculty and staff created a course with that goal in mind.
“The way this course was designed emphasizes interaction between students and faculty,” said Dr. Jan Lüdert, an assistant professor and associate program director of the Master of Education in Adult Education at City University of Seattle. “A lot of thought went into how the course is delivered, and its design principles help students succeed. Anyone with learning difficulties will find this course easier to navigate.”
Dr. Lüdert and colleagues from the university’s e-Learning department and library teamed up to redesign “Adult Learning Theory,” an introductory course in CityU’s adult education program.
“This class on adult learning theory puts adult learning theory into practice,” Dr. Lüdert said. “We have a lot of adult learners who’ve had a break from studying, and this course layers on skills that are important for them to succeed moving forward, and helps students build confidence.”
The team built the course in reverse – starting with what students should know at the end of the class – and then added on learning outcomes, assessments and finally course content. They then taught the class, gathered student feedback, and optimized the class even further in light of the responses they received.
“This class was the best one I have had during my entire tenure at CityU,” said an anonymous student on an End of Course Evaluation.
Class receives an Exemplary Course Award
On behalf of his team of colleagues – Whitney Boswell, Mary Mara and Dr. Pressley Rankin – Dr. Lüdert submitted the course for review through the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program. The class was reviewed by higher education professionals, and was one of ten selected to receive an Exemplary Course Award this spring.
“I take great pride in quality instruction, and it’s great to see CityU recognized,” Dr. Lüdert said. “We achieved it because of the collaboration between e-Learning, the library and faculty. It is a testament to the effort we put in, and I feel honored that we’ve received this [distinction].”
The redesign of the course was supported by a National University System Innovation Grant, and lessons learned through the course’s development are being shared with other faculty and staff.
“We redesigned another course last quarter,” Dr. Lüdert said. “What I want to see is all courses in the adult education program in that format, and then all School of Applied Leadership courses in that format, etc.”
CityU is committed to delivering high quality, relevant education to its students and helping them succeed. This award helps validate those efforts.