The iThink project, in coordination with UTech and a corporate partner, provided resources for the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) to launch Case Western Reserve’s first online degree program in January 2013. The first degree being offered is a Master of Science in Social Administration. UTech staff provided MSASS instructors training and coaching on technology tools for online learning, including Adobe Connect and Second Life, in order to best serve the program’s students who were enrolled from around the country. According to Assistant Professor Zoe Wood, "None of this could have been possible without the hard work and commitment of an UTech staff member who provided untold hours of work in building the sites, training us, and training and supporting the students. UTech has been an amazing partner in our educational endeavor and has made this a wonderful experience for us all." To learn more about the program, visit socialworkdegree.case.edu.
In spring 2013, people around the world were able to take free online classes from two of Case Western Reserve’s most prominent professors, Dr. Richard Boyatzis and Dr. Michael Scharf - one a renowned scholar of emotional intelligence in leadership and the other an acclaimed expert in international law. The courses, “Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence” and “Introduction to International Criminal Law,” created global interest with a combined enrollment of 120,224 students from more than 188 countries. Students included those still in high school to those holding a graduate degree.
In spring 2013, the National Center for Regenerative Medicine launched RENEW, an acronym made from letters of the Global Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Education Network, an online educational course, funded in part by a grant from the National Institute of Health and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The online seminar used the Adobe Connect meeting platform offered by UTech to connect stem cell and regenerative medicine centers, researchers and students to promote premium educational and research opportunities worldwide.
RENEW took place weekly throughout the spring semester and will continue in fall 2013. Each session featured a 30- to 60-minute lecture by prestigious faculty, including Dr. Stanton L. Gerson and Dr. Robert Miller, and a corresponding question-and-answer period. Local lecturers recorded their presentations in the MediaVision studios at the Cedar Avenue Service Center, and, after brief editing, the high-quality videos were posted to Adobe Connect for use in the online classroom. Lecturers external to the university also submitted their videos to MediaVision staff, who organized the videos in Adobe Connect, where they were paired with the required readings for the course. Topics included fundamental stem cell biology, stem cell isolation, “dry lab” technology and specific preclinical applications, as well as common issues in the field.
Dr. Gerson, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, says, “In our first year, we created an outstanding platform for stem cell training. We now are expanding into a MOOC to provide experiential learning in lab program and cell culture efforts.”
Student Evanglia Bellas, Ph.D. post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, says, “The key to the RENEW program was the ability to bring together trainees and professors from all over the country without having to leave their office. The recorded lectures were clear, high-quality video, which made it simple to understand and follow. Adobe Connect then made it easy to discuss the lectures as a group over video chat. All in all, it was an effective way to bring people together who otherwise would not be able to engage in such classroom discussions without expensive flights and travel arrangements.”
These extraordinary educational opportunities were created in collaboration with UTech; iThink Distributed Learning Group, an initiative of the Provost’s office that aims to expand the university’s global footprint through generating and supporting creative and innovative distributed learning opportunities; and Coursera, a company that provides a platform for online offerings for higher education institutions. UTech worked with both professors to shoot and edit the videos in the MediaVision studios. To produce 11.35 hours of finished video took 368.5 hours of production time.
The new MOOCs follow the January launch of the university’s first online degree program. “The range of potential initiatives is immense,” says Lev Gonick, the university’s vice president for Information Technology Services and chief information officer.
“Our university has a long and proud history of leadership in education and technology,” Case Western Reserve Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III says. “These online academic offerings represent new ways for us to advance learning, not only for those who take the courses, but those who teach them, as well.”
The success of the first MOOC program has generated interest with faculty and programs across campus. A call for proposals was issued this summer with a great response, and more MOOCs are planned for fiscal year 2014. For more information or to enroll, visit coursera.org/casewestern.
Carole Kantor, associate director for the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, says, “The RENEW course on stem cell biology is providing a comprehensive and accessible body of information to the trainees in the Rutgers-based, NIH-funded postdoctoral training program “Translational Research for Regenerative Medicine.” With its high-quality content and its advanced production values, the course is helping our geographically distributed training community to experience a common curriculum that will enhance the members’ research training in regenerative medicine and contribute to their future scientific interactions.”
Tonae Bolton, RENEW program coordinator and program manager for education and community outreach in the National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve, says, “The leadership provided by ITS was awesome. I was so anxious and, at times, felt as though I couldn’t pull the project off in such a short period of time, but with the guidance, patience and support of the entire ITS team, we pulled it off, and RENEW was a huge academic success. This team goes above and beyond in every aspect. It was refreshing to work with what I consider a real dream team, and I extend my heartfelt thanks to each member of this team for a job well done.”
Mariesa Malinowski, executive director of the National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve, concludes, “I was amazed by the availability to create, capture and produce professional quality media and educational material right in our own backyard! I recommend using Case Western Reserve ITS on campus whenever possible, as each experience has exceeded my expectations. It was a pleasure to work with a team of professionals who were always open to my many unreasonable requests. The ITS team continuously met deadlines, and every video produced for the National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve has always been of the highest quality. A million thanks for exceptional work!”
ITS leveraged online resources to make required training more convenient for university staff and faculty members by making two Case Western Reserve Administrative Professional Series (CAPS) classes available online: Financial Journals and Financial Cashiering. With the availability of these popular courses, interested staff members could take classes at their convenience rather than attend scheduled sessions on campus. Offering the courses online also freed instructor time each month. Two in-person instructors taught three hours per month for Financial Journals and Financial Cashiering. The courses now are taught in the classroom quarterly, which saves 48 hours per year of classroom instruction time.
The first online course, Purchasing at CWRU from A to Z, was launched at the end of fiscal year 2012. During fiscal year 2012 when the course only was offered in the classroom on a monthly basis, 157 faculty and staff completed it. In fiscal year 2013, only 17 faculty and staff completed the quarterly in-classroom Purchasing at CWRU from A to Z course, while 201 completed it online.
The interactive, online training curriculum environment of Adobe Connect offers the ideal setting to host the expanding catalog of digital, professional development courses. The CAPS program can be accessed via case.edu/its/caps.
ITS staff worked with the School of Nursing to integrate online learning technology into many of their courses and professional programs. The programs used Adobe Connect, Blackboard Learn and Second Life software programs to integrate role play and distance-student interactions.
The I-LEAD program worked with four Case Western Reserve professional schools (School of Medicine, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, School of Dental Medicine and Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences), 45 faculty and 450 students to teach an interprofessional curriculum that integrates several models and learning experiences to prepare collaborative practice-ready healthcare providers. The program utilized Blackboard Learn to teach the interprofessional teams through simulated and actual practice experience in small groups.
The School of Nursing received a grant from the National League of Nursing after results from a study demonstrated that technology tools can be used to manage role-play simulations for standardized patient interviews. ITS staff worked with faculty, students and alumni to create an environment for the interviews using Adobe Connect, a laptop and a USB webcam. A real-time, two-way mirror system was set up using Blackboard Learn so that instructors were able to view the simulations. They were recorded so that faculty and students were able to discuss and review the interviews later.
The School of Nursing created an online segment for the Family Systems Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing program. ITS helped faculty adjust to using technology and distance learning by hosting a Technology Tools and Best Practices for Online Learning Workshop. ITS staff developed role-play environments in Second Life for office visits and patient evaluations so that students could use the classroom skills they learned in a “real” environment. In addition, online classrooms in Adobe Connect were used for student interaction and breakout sessions for group learning and discussion.
Second Life continues to be a tool used in the medical fields for practice and research. ITS staff assisted with using Second Life for pilot training in a project to develop a free and effective tool to train clinicians on performing Subjective Global Assessment (SGA), which is a clinical tool used to assess protein energy wasting.