Digital Innovation & Learning

We support and promote the effective use of technology and design in teaching, research, and administrative efforts and initiatives.

Instructional Design: Basics

I hear the words Synchronous and Asynchronous used frequently, can you clarify their definitions?

Absolutely! Synchronous refers to an activity that happens in real-time. This could mean both online or offline. Students can contribute to a Google Document at the same time which would make it a synchronous activity. Students could also participate in an online class session via a video conferencing tool (Zoom) which is also a synchronous activity. Asynchronous activities do not happen in real-time (at the same time). An example of an asynchronous activity is asking students to independently watch an interview and respond to reflection questions in the course site module.

I teach a pretty successful In-Person course, can’t I just replicate it online?

Sort of. As we all experienced when "going remote" during the Covid-19 pandemic, when transferring a course from in-person to online, a bit more instructional coordination is required in order to engage the course and deliver content. Courses that don't rethink their instructional approach run the risk of falling flat (they tend to be a bit boring, and lack collaborative dialogue and feedback which is essential to learning). We have to think more thoroughly about the student and the student experience when we design courses online. Will students be learning while commuting home on the bus? Will they be completing the coursework late at night after the kids are in bed? What structure do they need in order to be most successful in this course? Those are the questions and concepts we tackle in the course design process.

When creating media for my course, who should be the “talent” or “talking head” on screen?

Anyone! We highly recommend it be a combination of you and your colleagues and peers in the industry or field of study. In the past, we’ve filmed on location or in-house using NYU studio space. We encourage you to think about who (an expert, a researcher, someone in the industry, etc.) would speak to a topic or issue best and utilize that expertise and first-person perspective.

I would like to use a guest-lecturer for filming purposes, how do I compensate this individual?

Guest lecturers are compensated by the department. Any production costs associated with the filming are compensated by Academic Technology.

Can you recommend any popular instructional activities?

Sure thing! We have a long list of instructional activities and instructional strategies that could be incorporated into your course! Your Academic Technology partner will suggest possible activities as you work on your design architecture together. If you’re open to new ideas and feedback, we can really implement some unique experiences for your students.




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