Harnessing the power of digital learning
Established in 1964, York Technical College provides a range of higher education courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Committed to providing students with the very best learning experience, York Technical College has invested heavily in enhancing its courses with digital capabilities.
“Higher Education has gone through a tremendous amount of digital transformation in recent years,” explains Dr. Elizabeth Pearsall, Associate Dean at York Technical College. “Throughout that time, we’ve seen how online courses and resources—whether that’s asynchronous online learning or digital content to support in-class learning—can be incredibly useful for faculty and students. We’ve also learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. For instance, there’s a huge difference between just delivering the same material online that you’d teach in the classroom and developing truly digital learning experiences.”
The Institute for Learning Excellence at York Technical College launched an initiative to help faculty redesign existing online courses and resources to deliver more engaging online classes. One of the top priorities of the project was to help faculty understand the full potential of the college’s online learning tools and develop the skills to use them with confidence.
Helping instructors become digital champions
To ensure that every faculty member has access to the skills and training they need to become online learning innovators, experts at the Institute for Learning Excellence used D2L Brightspace to develop digital training courses that faculty can take asynchronously. These training courses range from short, on-demand courses, such as how to use D2L HTML templates or how to create Intelligent Agents to 8-week asynchronous courses that dive into advanced pedagogical and andragogical topics.
As well as providing instruction on how to use D2L Brightspace and manage online lessons, the college’s faculty training courses also help faculty learn how to use Brightspace Creator+.
“Creator+ is a real game-changer for creating great resources,” comments Dr. Pearsall. “In the past, building a full set of online content for multiple undergraduate courses was a daunting task. Now, by encouraging our faculty to use D2L HTML templates and Creator+, we’ve reduced a lot of the stress involved in resource creation, while also equipping them with an even wider array of digital learning features.”
Helping students get excited about learning
By providing online training, York Technical College has given its faculty members greater control over their online course content. This has also helped to reduce workloads at the Institute for Learning Excellence.
“As a team of four people, we simply don’t have the personnel to update all courses ourselves,” explains Dr. Pearsall.
By teaching all our faculty how to use D2L Brightspace and Creator+ tools effectively, we can empower faculty to create interactive learning elements and distribute course redesign workload more evenly .Dr. Elizabeth Pearsall, Associate Dean, York Technical College
She continues: “By putting course design back into the hands of the subject matter experts, we can dedicate more time to helping faculty evaluate and improve the interactivity of their courses; thus, enabling us to provide a more enjoyable and engaging experience for students throughout the college.”
After completing the course redesign initiative, York Technical College plans to focus on Insights Dashboards and the Student Success System to help it monitor student performance.
“One of the unexpected benefits of this project was seeing just how many different tools, techniques, and resources are available in D2L Brightspace,” concludes Dr. Pearsall. “In the coming months, the Insights Dashboard and Student Success System will help us identify students who might be struggling, so we can offer targeted support. With D2L supporting our online learning journey, we have the tools and support we need to keep our students on the path to academic success.”