Connect, Share, and Collaborate: NYU’s Open Education Series

Concurrent Session 8

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

How do we connect thousands of people from across the world at our open education events? Blood, sweat and tears (and streaming video). Creating open education that connects students, faculty, industry experts and the general population is not for the faint of heart, but is unlike any other learning experience.


John Vivolo is the Director of Online Education at the Katz School of Science and Health, Yeshiva University. As director of online education at the Katz School, John Vivolo oversees the school's online education efforts, from day-to-day operations to strategic planning for future programming. For over 15 years, John has dedicated his career to the growth and improvement of online learning. Prior to joining YU, he was the director of an award-winning and top-ranked online learning unit at New York University. He recently published a book on online learning leadership entitled: Managing Online Learning: The Life-Cycle of Successful Programs. He is also an Online Learning Consortium trained instructor and completed the Institute for Engaged/Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) Certificate at Pennsylvania State University. John holds an MA in English from the City University of New York and is pursuing his doctorate in education leadership at Northeastern University.
Marlene Leekang, Executive Director of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s Enterprise Learning and Online Learning units, manages the development of new initiatives and collaborations across the University and with external partners and clients. Leekang is responsible for launching new programs, preparing financial models, and oversight of implementation. In previous roles in the Enterprise Learning and Online Learning units, Leekang oversaw day-to-day operations of online learning and corporate education, was responsible for implementing marketing and recruitment strategies for the school's online students as well as student and faculty services, student management and quality assurance. With over fifteen years of management experience, Leekang has worked as an executive in corporate environments, managing large-scale local and global customer-service teams. Her extensive background has given her the knowhow to execute best practices in serving NYU School of Engineering students, faculty, and Fortune 500 clients. Since joining NYU School of Engineering in 2010, her leadership has contributed to the growth and expansion of Enterpise Learning and NYU-ePoly, resulting in doubling revenue and enrollment in less than four years. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from York College, her Master’s in Psychology from Queens College, and her Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College.
Robert Ubell is Vice Dean, Online Learning, at NYU School of Engineering, where he heads the school’s e-learning unit, NYU Tandon Online, ranked as No. 12 by US News & World Report online graduate engineering programs. It offers online graduate programs worldwide to nearly 12,000 enrollments since the program was launched ten years ago. He also heads the school's executive education division, Enterprise Learning, the unit that offers online professional education courses in partnership with Scientific American. Ubell is recipient of the highest honor given for individual achievement in digital education, the A. Frank Mayadas Leadership Award. The school's online graduate program in Cyber Security was also awarded the Online Learning Consortium prize as the best online program. Earlier, as Dean of Online Learning at Stevens Institute of Technology, he launched WebCampus, winner of numerous awards for quality online education. In his publishing career, Ubell was editor of the National Magazine Award-winning New York Academy of Sciences monthly, The Sciences; American publisher of the premier British science weekly, Nature; and founding publisher of Nature Biotechnology. He is the author or editor of 26 books and nearly 60 scholarly articles, as well as executive editor of the Cambridge Survey of Linguistics, Oxford Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate, and editor of multi-volume American Institute of Physics series, Masters of Modern Physics. His most recent book is Virtual Teamwork (Wiley, 2010). He is now at work on a collection of his essays to be published by Routledge . Ubell, who has participated in numerous corporate and nonprofit boards, including the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council and National Academy of Engineering, recently served on the Board of the Sloan Consortium and is president of the Board of the Parkinson's Unity Walk. He has been the principal investigator of nearly $2 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, Sloan Foundation, IEEE Foundation, and McGraw-Hill, among other sources. Ubell received his undergraduate degree at Brooklyn College and has been a guest lecturer at MIT and Columbia's College of Physicians & Surgeons. He is a Fellow of the Online Learning Consortium and a Member of the Council of the Chongqing (China) International Exchange Association. He is a member of the Online Learning Task Force of the Board of Regents, New York State Department of Education.

Extended Abstract

At one time, the concept of open education was anathema to many in Higher Education. The idea of giving away free education was unthinkable. However, in recent years, the open education revolution has lead to millions learning with an eye toward self-improvement and not just degree programs. Creating free or affordable education allows for universities to expand to a population they might not otherwise afford full degrees. In addition, open education creates marketing opportunities to specific groups as a pipeline for full degree programs. Finally, open education allows for collaboration and connection with the general population, faculty, students and industry experts when the education is targeted toward specific industries.

In 2012, New York University began a lecture series that provided student’s access to top professionals in Cyber Security. The goal was to host bi-annual events that were part lecture, part open discussion, with a live stream and social media. These events would allow for collaboration and awareness on fundamental security concerns. Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, these Cyber Lecture events provided a unique opportunity open to general population, industry experts and the faculty and student population of NYU.

This presentation will focus mainly on the above mentioned Sloan-funded Cyber Lecture Series. However, we will provide other examples of other Open Education events, such as Organizational Behavior and Human Capital Innovation Series. These events provide similar opportunities for students, faculty and industry experts collaborate and learn together.

This presentation’s learning objectives include:

  • Describing NYU’s Open Education Experience, specifically the Sloan Cyber Lecture Series and Organization Behavior Series.

  • Outlining the goals and target audience for NYU’s open education

  • Illustrating data outcomes, including learner demographics and interesting surprises.

  • Analyzing post-event outcomes and discuss with audience members how they can apply to their programs.

  • Formulating plans for future open education programs.

The outline for this presentation will specifically include:

  • History and Origin of Open Education at NYU, specifically the Alfred P. Sloan funded Cyber Lecture Series.

  • Format of Series (including online and in-person attendance)

  • Marketing and branding opportunities

  • Unique presenter targets

  • 3-years of data outcome

    • Stream data (numbers, unique users, audience questions, locations, etc.)

    • In-Person Data (attendees, registered, vendors, locations, companies, etc.)

    • Surprises

  • Post-Events Outcomes

  • Future session for Cyber and other programs

  • Q&A

Learners will be able to discuss their own experience with open education, if any. In addition, samples of the lecture site and other materials will be made available including hand summaries of data from the 3-year program.

It is our ultimate intention that audience members consider hosting similar events or at least consider offering open education lectures, workshops or other similar programs.