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SUNY Effective Online Practices Award Program

ELN Project Portal and Global NGO Projects

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Online Program Partnership Practices

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Although interest in high-impact Experiential Learning (EL) continues to grow, current models are unable to accommodate changing challenges and expectations. Towards ensuring that all students have opportunities to engage with the world, and connect their experiences with their academic and career goals, we designed the UB Experiential Learning Network (ELN) Project Portal, a dynamic digital platform that creates and shares high-impact projects; supports engagement through a flexible framework; and displays and showcases outputs through digital badges. Our innovative use of co-curricular badges supports facilitation, incentivization and assessment at scale. Our badges also address issues of access, allowing for direct student engagement, or integration within courses and programs of study, supporting collaboration with faculty and departments. Our portfolio of global NGO projects connect students with community-based organizations for customized engagement and contributions. Students begin by exploring the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and connect with their partners via teleconferencing and social media. Projects culminate in Global Collaboration or Sustainability badges depending on student and project focus. Initial research suggests transformative impacts related to global projects for both students and partners. We are interested in scaling the model to reach more students and NGOs.

Universal Design for Trauma

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Online Course Quality Practices

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Trauma is an epidemic in the United States. Over 60% of men and 50% of women report exposure to at least one lifetime traumatic event (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Traumatic events include domestic and sexual violence, school and mass shootings, community and police violence, suicide, war, accidents and natural disasters. Exposure to trauma can lead to both short and long-term impacts on physical and emotional health, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Previous research has found that trauma exposure can also negatively impact academic and career outcomes (see Norway, Huand and Mossige, 2012; Horsmon 2000 and 2006; Nikischer, 2018). This effective practice, Universal Design for Trauma (UDT), outlines five key steps to designing courses that address trauma content and student trauma history (Nikischer, 2020). UDT is a framework for accessibility, ensuring that online courses are built to successfully engage and support all students.

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The Embedded Librarian Program assigns a librarian to a research-based course to assist students in Blackboard. Working within Blackboard, a librarian collaborates with faculty to provide enhanced library service and assistance to students. Embedded Librarianship requires advanced planning and collaboration between the requesting faculty member and Librarian. As demand for this service increased a Library Repository was created in Blackboard in order to foster collaboration and sharing among embedded librarians. This repository consists of research tools including links to library resources, research guides, pathfinders, tutorials and videos.

Women's Empowerment Draft 2021

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Online Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Practices

Over 25 SUNY institutions joined forces for the Women's Empowerment Draft, which uses the enthusiasm for professional sports to build excitement for Women's History Month. Alfred University's New York State College of Ceramics leads an effort to produce sporty jerseys, trading cards, and mosaics which each school can use as an educational tool kit for Women's History Month. The program is designed to bring together a statewide collaboration completely ON-LINE and using both ZOOM and the power of social media with daily posts.

Promoting diversity and inclusion in an online Spanish course

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Online Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Practices

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In order to respond to a long-standing schism in world languages pedagogy between communication, content, and culture-focused learning experiences, I developed an online fourth-semester Spanish course that puts e-learning tools to the service of an integrative pedagogy, one that recognizes underrepresented groups in the Spanish-speaking world. Informed by the Modern and Classical Language Department at Buffalo State College's Ambassador Model, the approach targets the development of Global Citizenship and Engaged Professionalism.

Autonomous E-Learning

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Online Teaching & Learning Practices

A common theme in educational research centers on the need to reach students "where they are" in terms of their diverse and emergent developmental profiles. In world languages pedagogy, upper-level students often present a variety of motivational and competency needs, which makes a “one-size fits all” approach problematic. Inspired by Buffalo State College's Department of Modern and Classical Language's Ambassador Model, which holistically engages four "exit profiles" (Diplomat, Scholar, Engaged Professional, Global Citizen), I developed an Autonomous Language Learning component to intermediate and upper-level language coursework. Making use of Blackboard Learning's journal and rubric-creation features, the Autonomous Language Learning Component offers students a private, dialogic space with the instructor where they can focus on linguistic and sociocultural explorations of the target language and its cultures. In addition, students are encouraged to integrate their own academic and career interests. The work always focuses on autonomy support, with a focus on autonomy, competency, and relatedness (Ryan & Deci, 2017) within the student's emergent Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1934/2012).

Harnessing the power of the tools of your learning management software provides options for your students. Blackboard’s Adaptive Release allows students to unlock content based upon the successful completion of established criteria set by the instructor. It allows students to accelerate the learning process while ensuring they are mastering content with preset proficiency levels that determine whether students are prepared to move forward.

Employing adaptive release ensures equitable opportunities by removing barriers. It affords students opportunities to manage time, develop self-regulatory skills, schedule management, flexibility, ownership, goals, and allows for future thought processes more effectively. The choice to take advantage of the flexibility that adaptive release offers is with the students. Students can progress through the course as outlined in the syllabus or they can use adaptive release to move more quickly through a module if they master the content. Additionally, if a student chooses to move through a module and start a new module in less than a week, they are not locked into the quicker pace for the semester. Adaptive release provides individualized flexibility while maintaining rigor without regard for academic discipline. We teach in different academic areas, library and physical education, and we successfully implement Adaptive Release.

A peer mentor program expands training options beyond single workshops or training sessions, offering flexible approaches to meet the needs of a diverse faculty. Ongoing professional development programs introduce faculty to new teaching and learning technologies as well as pedagogical approaches for teaching distance education programs. Additionally, Faculty mentorship can provide important individual, customized, and discipline-specific training for faculty who are new to distance education and online teaching.

Course review process at SUNY Canton is a peer-driven effort anchored in a course quality review rubric. New online, hybrid, and flex courses must be approved prior to their delivery and all previously approved courses must be reviewed every three years. A governance committee is charged with the online course review. Courses are evaluated using a governance-approved course quality review rubric. The rubric SUNY Canton uses was adapted from SUNY Online Course Quality Review rubric (OSCQR). The rubric consists of 50 essential and suggested standards. Each standard carries with it a certain amount of points and each course must reach an agreed-upon minimum score.

The push to graduate a more diverse population has taken on new urgency, as the world grapples with social unrest, a digital divide, and educational access issues. More concerning, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) study also found that students lacked Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) skills, making them less desirable to employers (NACE, 2016). Our findings, recently presented at the 12th Annual United Nations Geneva Forum in Dec. 2020, this presentation builds on the successful use of student data as the baseline for developing innovative DEI programming, which uses gamification and curricular innovations.