Faculty from Lehman College and City University of New York Win 2016 OLC Digital Learning Innovation Award

Lehman College and CUNY have won the 2016 Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Digital Learning Innovation Award (DLIAward), in the Faculty-led team category for advancing undergraduate student success through the adoption of digital courseware. The Lehman College-led team was one of three institutions and five faculty-led teams selected from among 106 submissions in this first year of the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) DLIAward competition.

The CUNY team’s project, titled “A Resource Intensive Course Design – An Effective Flipped Pedagogy in Chemistry,” is driven by three overarching goals: increase the success of students in gateway science courses, particularly students from communities underrepresented in science; reduce the out-of-pocket costs of students; and find truly effective pedagogical practices that can be implemented in resource-limited public institutions like CUNY.The project focused on students from communities underrepresented in the sciences.

The flipped design for General Chemistry 1 and 2 combines out-of-class video instruction with in-class active learning exercises. Students do not purchase a textbook, all materials are imbedded in the platform, including an openstax e-textbook. This reduces student costs by 50 percent or more from $300 to between $100 and $150.

In the past two years this resource-intensive course has been offered to over 3,000 students at two CUNY institutions: Lehman College and Hunter College. At both institutions, passing rates in General Chemistry exceed 75% and the average student performance on a national chemistry test meets or exceeds the national average. “The real key to any education reform is student success, and when I flip and do active learning in the classroom, my students do better,” says Professor Donna McGregor, an assistant professor of chemistry at Lehman College and one of the course designers.

A flipped classroom is a blended learning experience that reverses the traditional learning environment. Students are able to access online content , view online lectures, and podcasts and to collaborate with each other.

The winning team is composed of CUNY faculty from Lehman College: Donna McGregor, Pamela Mills, and Gustavo Lopez; Hunter College: Nadya Kobko, Gabriela Smeureanu, C. Michael Drain; the Graduate Center: Matthew K. Gold and Boone B. Gorges; and CUNY Central: Lisa Brundage and George Otte.

“The mission of the OLC DLIAwards is to discover student-centered active learning solutions that advance the world of digital learning for all students,” said Kathleen Ives, D.M., CEO and executive director of the Online Learning Consortium. “The awarded projects in this first year of competition truly support this mission and serve as valuable models that other institutions can emulate as they embark on their own digital courseware initiatives.”

Former U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha J. Kanter, Ed.D. presented the DLIAwards to honorees on November 17 in Orlando.

“We are honored to have Pam Mills, Donna McGregor and Gustavo Lopez on our faculty, says Dr. Harriet Fayne, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs “This exemplary project represents the best of what we are at Lehman: innovative, collaborative, student focused and intentional.”


Media Contact: Yeara Milton/ 718-960-7963/ yeara.milton@lehman.cuny.edu