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UAlbany Experts in Information Literacy and Nonprofit Management and Leadership Win SUNY Innovative Instruction Awards

2014 Innovative Instruction Technology grant winners Trudi Jacobson (left) of University Libraries and Yvonne Harrison of the Department of Public Administration & Policy.

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 30, 2014) — State University of New York Distinguished Librarian Trudi Jacobson and Yvonne Harrison of UAlbany’s Rockefeller College have been named 2014 award winners in SUNY’s Innovative Instruction Technology Grants (IITG) program for projects that will use and expand massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Jacobson’s project promotes student metaliteracy, while Harrison’s increases access to management and leadership training for the nonprofit sector.

Jacobson, head of Information Literacy for UAlbany’s University Libraries, is co-principal investigator with Tom Mackey of Empire State College on Designing Innovative Online Learning: Integrating a Coursera MOOC with Open SUNY Badging. The project expands on an earlier initiative to promote student metaliteracy, a critical knowledge set for informed students, employees, and citizens that supports the acquisition, production, and sharing of knowledge in collaborative, online environments.

Jacobson’s team, which includes Jenna Hecker and Kelsey O’Brien from UAlbany and Michele Forte, Kathleen Stone and Amy L. McQuigge from Empire State College, will also experiment with badge-based competencies — credentials of acquired skills authenticated for current or potential employers through digital technologies. SUNY’s partnership with the educational technology company Coursera – a MOOC course platform – will allow the project’s class to be available to students worldwide.

In addition to the IITG grant, the project is supported by UAlbany’s Office of Online Teaching and Learning (OTL). Associate Provost for Online Learning Peter Shea said, “Trudi Jacobson’s work on this MOOC is a prime example of OTL’s mission to promote exploration of new forms of technology-mediated teaching and learning. We seek to push boundaries to create new forms of access and rich opportunities for our students.”

OTL has also lent support to Harrison’s project, Increasing Access to Nonprofit Management and Leadership Education, designed to prepare students for management level careers in the nonprofit sector, and increase access to management and leadership education for those already in that sector.

The project also aims to increase enrollment in the University’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, a five-course program jointly sponsored by the School of Social Welfare and the Department of Public Administration & Policy, ranked 18th nationally in Nonprofit Management by U.S. News & World Report.

The IITG funding will create a MOOC on the subject of the governance of nonprofit organizations, integrating a specially written Open Textbook on the subject with an existing online UAlbany sponsored research project. Harrison’s co-PI on the IITG project is Vic Murray of the University of Victoria’s School of Public Administration.

“We believe that the integration of open education and research is one way to address gaps in nonprofit board and organizational capacity,” said Harrison, a faculty member of the Department of Public Administration & Policy. In addition to the two co-PI’s, key members of the project team are Chi-Hua Tseng and Alena Rodick of Empire State College and Shou-Bang Jian, a doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction at UAlbany.

The UAlbany projects were among 21 funded in this year’s SUNY-wide competition out of 63 total entries. A goal of IITG-funded projects is to create collaborations of two or more SUNY campuses and/or with local organizations and businesses, sharing outcomes openly across campuses, so that SUNY colleagues may replicate and build upon innovations.

Since its inception in 2012, the IITG program has funded more than 106 campus-based projects for more than $2.25 million dollars.

More can be learned about UAlbany online teaching and learning on the OTL website.

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