Strategic Plan  home
Theme: Enhance Student Success

Strategy: Apply technology in innovative ways to enhance student success in face-to-face, hybrid and online courses.

Continued adoption of effective learning technologies in face-to-face, blended and online courses will engage students, improve the competitiveness of academic programs and support faculty efforts to employ the best pedagogical methods. As faculty members grow more confident in the utility of learning technologies, their acceptance will broaden and deepen. Faculty should be encouraged to take appropriate risks to restructure courses and adopt new pedagogies enabled by technology. Curricular innovations should be systematically assessed and results communicated to spur wide scale implementation of successful practices.

To meet defined pedagogical objectives, extensive technology deployments must be complemented by faculty support for grassroots adoption of learning technologies. Services and funding mechanisms will require the versatility to support distributed innovation by individual faculty members or departments. Discipline-specific tools need to be integrated into the broader university learning management environment to help students organize their academic lives and provide faculty members with data to support assessment. Solutions should be compatible with a heterogeneous computing environment.

IT's role

Classroom technology will evolve as the role of the classroom changes. Classrooms of the future will be flexible spaces that promote faculty and student engagement and innovation. They will be collaboration spaces, supporting hands-on projects and simulations while enabling students to immerse themselves in interactive content. The accelerated adoption of tablet computers and other mobile devices combined with improved simulations will create new opportunities to design and use online content and learning tools to support learning outside the traditional classroom space.

Case Western Reserve students are comfortable with technology, but not all are necessarily technology savvy. Strategies should anticipate that undergraduates’ familiarity with technology could be limited to communication tools and not include analysis, collaboration, research or content creation. Provisions to include support and student development opportunities will be necessary for students to cultivate the skills to effectively use technology in their academic work and chosen career. Explicit steps should be taken to weave technology usage into programs and activities designed to help students become intellectually curious, ethically sound, and socially effective users of technology.

Objectives

In the next three years, the university will:

  • Use technology in and out of the classroom to promote student engagement, foster successful social interactions and “assist students to become career ready, lifelong learners.”
  • Increase adoption of effective learning technology in face-to-face, blended and completely online programs.
  • Increase the number of partially or fully online programs.
  • Facilitate idea exchange for the effective use of learning technologies among faculty within and across disciplines.
  • Create more digital learning objects and have them readily available for reuse in courses.

Student success at Case Western Reserve University, both in academics and in other student experiences, requires the availability of both great technology and superior services and support. The Student Impact group that contributed to the IT Strategic Plan engaged in extensive conversations with students, faculty, staff and administrators across the university to ensure that we had a comprehensive understanding of the needs of the community. As a result, the IT Strategic Plan includes the creation of innovative learning spaces that will provide students with extensive on-campus and online learning technologies that accommodate an array of learning styles.

– Arnold Hirshon
Initiatives

To realize these objectives, the university should pursue the following initiatives:

  • Collaborate with faculty to identify and implement projects to understand how academic technologies can improve student success. Assess the results of these innovative projects and support broad adoption of successful practices.
    • Support faculty innovation by sustaining small, institutionally supported learning technology “sandboxes” or incubators for experimentation with new learning technologies. Organize incubators around clusters of disciplines with shared or related interests.
    • Seed small innovations at the course level that include helping the innovator assess and share the results. Encourage academic departments to convene more frequent discussions to share goals and experiences using instructional technologies.
  • Deploy technologies and tools (e.g., learning analytics modules, mobile applications, social media) to capture and analyze data to assess learning outcomes, student engagement and student development inside and out of the classroom.
  • Work with faculty and students to create and pilot new classroom designs and to establish new standards for technology enabled learning spaces.
  • Co-design with students a learning experience that is exciting and engaging to help build information literacy, promote lifelong learning and explore the ethical use of technology.
  • Host a national conference on learning technologies in Cleveland to showcase Case Western Reserve technology programs and to promote faculty and student exploration and innovation.
  • Provide faculty incentives to create targeted, re-usable learning objects that are valuable to the curriculum, available to students through lecture capture and potentially relevant to other audiences such as alumni. Assess the potential use and demand for a student e-portfolio solution that can support collaboration, assessment and presentation of creative works.
  • Implement a security awareness training program for all students which permit them to comfortably use information technology without becoming a victim of online risks.