The City University of New York is engaged in several major University-wide academic technology initiatives. They all are collaborations across campuses using the latest means and tools to improve instruction and access.
- Formally launched in December 2009, already with over 3500 members and over 400 working groups, the CUNY Academic Commons is a cross-campus resource site for academic technology. Combining blogs, discussion forums, wikis, and social networking software within a single sign-on, the Commons allows faculty to work together across campuses and disciplines, creating a virtual hub for uses of academic technology across CUNY.
- The Hybrid Initiative calls for and supports a significant ramping up of hybrid courses (courses wherein 33 – 67% of instruction occurs online). The goal is to improve learning outcomes while conserving classroom space. In 2010, nine campuses’ proposals were awarded funding for their own hybrid instruction plans, while all participated in a University-wide institute bringing campus teams together to share strategies and models. In 2011, the proposals of six more campuses were accepted, bringing the total of participating campuses to 15. In 2012, proposals from eight campuses in the first phase to do more dissemination and classroom conservation earned them further funding.
- To pilot the possibility of online core courses in areas of high enrollment, there was a proof-of-concept pilot of an online first-year composition course at six campuses. The course was offered in campus-based variants (and in multiple sections) by faculty from various campuses in the fall 2010 term. That work will soon result in a composition course offered University-wide as part of the shared general education curriculum.
- In response to rising textbook costs, as well as new federal and state laws, CUNY is exploring the use of eBooks (electronic versions of printed books readable on a personal computer or hand-held device and often offering features unavailable in print books). It supported a variety of trials testing the educational role, use patterns, and cost savings of eBooks for courses offered in the Fall 2010 semester. Survey and use results showed a high degree of ambivalence about eBook use and the need for further study.
For more information on any of these initiatives, contact the University Director of Academic Technology.