The UTEP Edge and Online Student Success
Concurrent Session 3
The Center for Instructional Design (CID) has assisted 20 faculty members with “Edging Out” an online course—from core courses to graduate-level courses. Expanding the reach of this work, CID is building a section in our website called “UTEP Edge Online Resources.” The goal is to provide faculty with examples of real life, high-impact assignments and assessments categorized by subject or discipline. This provides online students with greater access to UTEP and is facilitated by creating a more meaningful sense of belonging to one’s institution (Ostini, et al., 2020; Thistoll & Yates, 2016).
The UTEP Edge and Online Student Success
At UTEP, faculty offer between 700 and 1000 sections of online courses a semester, 600 hybrid courses, and now, 18 hyFlex courses. While many of these courses are offered within a fully online degree program, on-ground students are also able to enroll in online, hybrid, and hyFlex courses to provide flexibility in their schedules and/or better suit their learning styles. More than accessibility and flexibility, online classes provide faculty the opportunity to rethink course alignments, emphasize community building, and foster engagement. One especially effective way for doing this is to integrate purposefully the UTEP Edge into online courses.
Over the last 4 years, the Center for Instructional Design (CID) has assisted 20 faculty in “Edging Out” an online course—from core courses to graduate-level courses. To expand the reach of this work, the CID is building a section in our website called “UTEP Edge Online Resources.” The site will include an overview of the UTEP Edge, the Nine Edge Advantages, and the nine high impact experiences. It will link to the UTEP Edge website for added resources. The focus of our website is to provide faculty with examples of real life, high-impact experience assignments and assessments categorized by subject or discipline:
- Each category will be identifiable with customized images and related Edge icons
- Each assignment example will contain testimonials from faculty who have “Edged out” their courses
- Each assignment example will contain associated student feedback
- Faculty who choose customized consultations from our instructional design team will receive high-end support including customized course banners, student survey/data reports, and the opportunity to mentor fellow faculty in future workshops
The proposed activities and assessments designed in this project can be utilized in all courses at UTEP including those undergoing revision in the ongoing core redesign initiative or electives that heighten the interests of students. Additionally, the goal is to provide online students with greater access to UTEP and is facilitated by creating a more meaningful sense of belonging to one’s institution (Ostini, et al., 2020; Thistoll & Yates, 2016).
Participating student employees will earn an hourly salary, learn to communicate face-to-face and online with CID staff, and be trained how to design and integrate UTEP Edge assessments into courses in collaboration with faculty members. Student work will be evaluated on the effectiveness and usability of the course and the incorporation of Edge Advantages.
This proposal aims to achieve the following:
- Hire, train, and mentor three students in professional office etiquette and CID’s online course development process, including executing Technical Reviews which assure accessibility, transferability, and copyright compliance of online, hybrid, and hyFlex courses at UTEP. Edge experiences to be gained: Critical thinking, Communication, Social Responsibility, and Problem Solving.
- Build, test, and demonstrate a new course site called “UTEP Edge Online Resources.” Edge experiences to be gained: Leadership, Teamwork, Communication, Problem Solving, Global Awareness, Entrepreneurship, and Critical Thinking.
Each student will be mentored by a tenured instructional designer and will have the opportunity to share their individual skills and experiences through reverse mentoring. This approach will provide many opportunities for high-impact Edge experiences and allow students to enhance their social and cultural capital while pursuing an undergraduate degree.
Two main objectives are met as a result of this website resource:
- Advancement of high-impact Edge experiences: As students collaborate with faculty members to redesign courses integrated with UTEP Edge, assets like communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving are enhanced through experiential learning.
- Provide on-demand UTEP Edge pedagogical resource: Faculty members will have the opportunity to implement real life, high-impact experience assignments and assessments categorized by subject or discipline. Implementing the UTEP Edge has increases community and belonging, thereby making every student feel like a Miner.