68: How New York University Manages Online Program Quality w/ Laura Dicht

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Laura Dicht, Manager of Online Program Quality at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, joined the podcast to talk about a new course quality management position that many institutions need to consider adding to their teams.

You're developing a course and you're not. You're not redeveloping it every single year, but you have to make sure it's maintained and that didn't make sure it's being improved upon. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network. I'm Eric Oleson, AVP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Laura Diict, manager of online program quality at New York Universities Tanndon School of Engineering. Laura, welcome to the show. Glad to be here. Really excited to talk with you today about a new course quality...

...management position that many institutions need to consider adding to their teams. But before we dig into that, Laura, can you give the listeners a little bit better understanding of both Nyu and your rule? They're sure I am the manager of online program quality at the tanned in School of Engineering at Nyu, more specifically nyu tans in online, the fully online unit. It's at the engineering school here. Our unit has existed for a number of years and has gone through a few different iterations and we've recently launched a new fully online cyber security masters programs that were in the process of launching a few new programs, all in the engineering capacity, in addition to a variety of courses that are for on campus students who are taking one off online courses. Laura, many in...

...high read are excited about the scalability potential of online courses, but talk about why it's so important not to treat online courses with a set it and forget it mentality. Absolutely like we as. My background is in instructional design. Before starting my current role I was an instructional designer in our unit and it is very, very important to be forward thinking in these courses, that you can't just make a course once and never make any updates to it, because the content changes over time, it becomes outdated. Technology changes, especially in this field of engineering, which is so important to have the most uptodate to software and up to date. Think the field is just ever evolving, so it's really important to come back and and look at these courses, the course...

...content and the delivery methods and really think about how can we make it better and how can it be improved upon? And it can't just be Oh, I made this course five years ago now, my course is done. Yeah, yeah, Lore you mentioned your background in instructional design prior to this position. Can you help us understand the major role and responsibility differences between your current position as manager of online program quality and what your role was when you were in an instructional designer? So, as an instruction designer I was a much more focused position. I worked with a few different faculty at a time, maybe like three to five faculty at once, to fully develop online courses. So these are faculty who, more oft than not, already taught these courses on campus and they were converting them into an online format, either as part...

...of a fully online program that was being developed or as a supplement, as an alternative and for on camp as overflow. So with that process I worked hand in hand with the Faculty member to talk about their content there, their curriculum there, they're still abus and talk through their teaching methodology and how they envision they would teach online and then we'd develop content that would be offered asynchronously and synchronously. So we did. We have a multimedia studio where faculty would for cord videos and we develop active learning engagements and simulations and anything of that nature to go into these courses. As an instruction designer, when the course launched, I often my work was often pretty much done. Yeah, then...

...it was handed off to the instructor and it was like, okay, you go, you teach the course now. A big part of that, a big problem that I always had was, well, okay, we're do we know that this was successful? How do we know that the the instructure actually did a good job? I know that these like these modules that were built and these and all of this asynchronous content. It was like that. I worked my best on it with the Faculty member. But like, what happens next? How do we make sure this all works? And that's really where my current role comes in, is that I work very closely with the faculty while they are teaching their courses. So in what we've kind of come to talk as the the ongoing maintenance of these courses. So afterwards, our course development team is done teaching a course, I am the one who is the more immediate contact with them as who can support them through through teaching their courses...

...if they have any problems with the LMS while while they are teaching, especially for the first time, because they really might struggle a bit with the first time. And I have conversations with the faculty is to see what's going well, what's not going well, to see, like how we can make this better for the future and especially for like and so faculty who are newly developed courses that I work with, and I faculty who developed courses on their own, like five plus years ago, who I work with, and we we survey the students to see what the student experience is like. We survey we talked to the faculty to see, like how they think it's going and what could be improved, and we kind of try and take all of that information, roll it up and look at that as being like a a kind of a course plan, of a plan for IMP for improvement of like anything, even like little things we could change to just make it that much better for...

...the next course. Off Rank. Yeah, let's take a little bit deeper into one specific example. You just gave. Can you kind of walk US through post launched? You're brought in. What does that Quality Review Process look like? What are you looking for in order to be able to provide this regular feedback and continuous improvement in your role? Mm Yeah, I look at a lot of different things. I have a rubric which I've adapted which looks at a lot of different elements of the course. It looks at the overview of the course. Is the Faculty of providing enough like welcome and Orientation Information for the course? Does it have opportunities for Engagement and interaction? Is All the course content well accessible? What like accessible? Is it set up in a clear linear fashion so students have a have a clear idea of what they have to do from week to week, what their obligations are? Does it have a clear, like assessment plan that ties into the learning objective? So...

I look at all of that stuff in a rubric for our courses and I also talk to the faculty about these issues, about these areas, because sometimes I need like sometimes they don't do everything within the LMS. It's good to get there. I want to know what they're doing outside of the LMS, how they are engaging with their students how they're handling all these different situations, and I also talked to our course development team, are instructional designers and educational technologists, to get their take on what what was successful in these course development and what could be improved for future offerings. So it's really like taking a very holistic look at all at like the overarching big picture of the course. Yeah, love it, love it, Laura. What has the faculty response been to your role so far? Are they rightfully seeing you as a support resource design to help them improve, or do they ever see your review work...

...as as intrusive to their course? For the most part, I am deaf. I'm seen as a support resource. It is helpful because there are a fair number of faculty who I worked with as an instruction designer, so they've known me for a few years now. So this is so my role as being a supportive, like person in this process is not new. But for a lot of faculty they really like just having someone who that they could just be like. I have a question about this. What do I do? And it just having me as being, like, a very responsive person who will pick up the phone or reply to their emails. Is I think very beneficial. No Faculty that I've encountered yet has really been standoffish, but we're but it is a lot of like meeting them where they are like. I'm not going to suggest that a faculty completely redo everything they're do doing. It's...

...like it's kind of being like this is your teaching style, that's great, let's think of what like ways that we could maybe tweak it to make it that much better, not not like, Oh, you're doing everything wrong, here's how here, listen to me, I know how what to do. That's just not the case. They're the instructors, there the subject matter experts and these are their courses. Or when it comes to best practice online pedagogy, we're still in the early years. What is there? One of the biggest things that institution should be careful not to overlook when it comes to online instructural design. Right now, I gotta say, like it's Buzzwordy, but accessibility is like you can't skip it these days. It can't be an afterthought. It can't be that we like, oh, we'll worry about that when we need to worry about that. You have to think about how you are going to make this course accessible for a variety of different types of learners. Right from the design phase you have to make sure that, like, the...

...color contrast is right, that there are closed copy captions and transcripts all tests, make sure it's screen reader accessible, because we really have a like. Online education has really like leveled the playing field for like so they can be included from like, no matter they're distance like. We have to make sure that we are really making these courses as accessible and as user friendly for all of our students who are out there. Finally, Laura, any next steps advice for other institutions listening to this and are thinking about considering to staff a manager of online program quality position at their institution? Yeah, I think it's definitely a very important position and I think it's it's very useful because a lot of instructional design positions are they're not thinking of the longevity of these courses, that you're developing a course and you're not you're not redeveloping it every single year,...

...but you have to make sure it's maintained at that didn't make sure it's being improved upon. So I think it's really it's really an important role and it's it is set distinct from the instructional design and course development teams. So I and I think it is a good skill set and it's one that I think a lot of emerging, like a lot of instructional designers have that, like that idea of like looking, being forward focused and how they are developing these courses and it's it's yeah, it's a good position. Support it. You've got and be excited about it, I'm sure a lot of our listeners as well. Laura, thank you so much for your time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you if they have any follow up questions? Yeah, they could feel free to reach out to me via email. My email is my name, Laura Dot dipt at nyu Dot ed you. You can also find me on Linkedin. Awesome. Thanks against so much...

...for joining us today, Laura. Yeah, thanks for having me. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook. With fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges, downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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