The Role of Instructional Technology at UCSC

Education is a core component of our mission at UCSC. Newer instructional technologies offer the potential to improve student learning in a variety of ways. For UCSC, the primary purpose of increased use of instructional technology is to improve student learning. Hybrid and online courses can cater to a wider range of student learning modalities. Both formats offer the possibility of more active learning exercises, which are well-established in the literature for improving student success. A flipped class lets the instructor spend more time directly interacting with the students. Online instructional technologies are tools for helping achieve teaching excellence.

While faculty will continue to expand pedagogical approaches by creatively using instructional technologies in the classroom, the campus is making a concerted effort beginning in 2014-15 to provide greater support to faculty interested in the development of fully online and hybrid courses. These efforts include the following:

  1. The hire of an instructional designer to provide direct assistance to faculty developing online and hybrid courses. (Update: Aaron Zachmeier, azachmei@ucsc.edu, was hired in October 2014.)
  2. Two competitive requests for proposals released in Fall 2014:
    • UCSC Online Courses Open to Cross-Campus Enrollment; (Update: One course was funded in Fall 2014, and the RFP was re-released in Winter 2015.)
    • UCSC Massive Open Online Course to be offered through the campus partnership with Coursera.

Opening UCSC’s fully online courses to students from other UC campuses, and vice versa, provides new opportunities for faculty collaboration and many benefits to UC students. Offering online courses through Coursera provides the campus with an unprecedented opportunity to enhance UCSC’s reputation, attract new students, improve teaching and student learning, and research online teaching and learning. Courses developed as MOOCs for Coursera will be designed to complement existing face-to-face credit bearing courses, for example, by using the learning modules developed for the MOOC in the face-to-face version of the course.

Faculty interested in developing hybrid versions of existing UCSC courses should contact instructional designer Aaron Zachmeier at azachmei@ucsc.edu for more information.