Developing an Asynchronous Course Model at a Large, Urban University

Anthony G. Picciano


In Spring 1997, Hunter College offered the first asynchronous learning course in the City University of New York (CUNY), the largest urban university system in the United States enrolling 200,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. This graduate course, entitled Administration and Supervision of the Public Schools - The Principalship, was offered in the
Division of Programs in Education. Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this course was intended to serve as a model for other courses at Hunter College and CUNY.
While many colleges have begun to offer asynchronous learning courses, the model presented here may be of special interest since it takes into consideration several variables of importance in large urban environments. First, all of the students in this course were adult, part-time students who delicately balance studies, careers, and families in their daily lives. In this respect, they
represented a typical urban commuter population that would benefit from the convenience of asynchronous learning. Second, all of the students were commuter students who participated in the course via equipment located in their homes and offices. As a result, the model had to accept a wide variety of on-line services as the means of participation. Third, these students did not possess extensive technical skills and in terms of expertise could be classified as new to intermediate. This required that the model employ simple software interfaces that would minimize student frustration due to technical difficulties. Lastly, all of these students already had earned masters degrees and were teachers in the New York City metropolitan area. As experienced teachers, they are attuned to pedagogy and could provide valuable insight into an evaluation of the instructional components of the model.
The purpose of this paper is to share the results of student evaluation of the instructional components of an asynchronous model that might be beneficial to others who are considering using this technology in similar environments.


Asynchronous Learning,Computer-Mediated Learning,Computer-Mediated Instruction,Computer-Mediated Communications,Distance Learning,Education Administration

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