Jason Scorza Receives 2004 Sloan-C Award
Excellence in Online Teaching
2004 Sloan-C Awards
The Sloan Consortium
A Consortium of Institutions and Organizations committed to Quality Online Education www.sloan-c.org
Online learning has greatly progressed since 1992 when the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation began giving grants to institution for online learning initiatives. “The field of online education continues to show vigor and strength. Every year we see advances in the important matters of quality, scale and breadth within this still fledgling community” says Frank Mavadas, President of Sloan-C. “The individuals and institutions honored this year are recognized for showing “exceptional leadership in advancing online education along these dimensions.”
For creative work and energetic leadership in the development and implementation of online learning in the areas of philosophy and global education
Jason Scorza, Fairleigh Dickinson University
2004 Sloan-C Award for Excellence in Online Teaching
Dr. Scorza brings his pedagogical strengths to the online venue with stellar results. He was the lead developer and program coordinator for The Global challenge, first flagship online course at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU). This first course in FDU’s first-in-the-nation requirement that all undergraduates students take one online course per year of study, The Global challenge is a model of collaborative development of interdisciplinary material, and it has been recognized by diverse students and faculty audiences as such. Dr. Scorza then turned his talents to a second flagship course for his arts and sciences college, The Life of the Mind, which is an inquiry-based multidisciplinary philosophy course.
The Global Challenge is an interdisciplinary course examining topics such as global conflict, the environment, and population and health within their ethical, social and scientific contexts. The course is taken by all FDU freshmen and nearly 100 sections are offered every year to students on two campuses and in a variety of off-campus partnership programs, including the United States National Guard Education Bureau. The course introduces students to the goals and methods of global education and to a variety of critical global issues, including free trade, terrorism, sustainable development, and the HIV-AIDS pandemic. The Global Challenge is an interdisciplinary course, with units on the scientific method, moral reasoning, the environment, economics, health and population concerns, and conflict issues. At the same time, the global Challenge is a course that calls upon students to examine issues from multiple perspectives. These requirements put a particular strain on instructors who are usually grounded in a single discipline and a single national perspective. Answering the call is a network of faculty and practitioners from around the world who partner with Global Challenge instructors, offering their expertise on a variety of global issues as well as authentic alternative perspectives. So far, Prof. Scorza has partnered with a Hungarian environmental scientist, a British security expert, a Chilean political scientist, and a United nations peacekeeper from Jamaica, who join his online discussions as experts and as provocateurs. See the structure of The Global Challenge at http://alpha.fdu.edu/edtech/GC/gcstructure.html . The Life of the Mind is an introductory philosophy course emphasizing the importance of critical thinking, moral reasoning, and cross-cultural understanding for citizenship, professional life, and scholarship across academic disciplines. The Life of the Mind experiments with a number of different ways of illuminating philosophical texts. See, for example, the interactive Plato’s Cave at http://alpha.fdu.edu/edtech/plato.htm .
Dr. Scorza works at the highest levels in several key areas, including engaging students, scholarship, critical inquiry, learning outcomes assessment, navigating administrative processes, using and improving pedagogical tools, and team-building. Online teaching evaluations reveal an exceptional level of rapport with learners, as well as unusually high scores for class discussion and increased knowledge compared with the college means. He has made unparalleled contributions to the maturation of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s mission to educate students as world citizens who can prosper in a domain of technology-mediated work and global information resources.
Note: Fairleigh Dickinson University thanks the Sloan Consortium for allowing us to share their program notes from the 2004 Awards. The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C), an association of more than 900 institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning, presented its 2004 awards at the 10th Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning: the Power of Online Learning, from Innovation to the Mainstream, in Orlando, Florida, November 12, 2004. Visit www.sloan-c.org/aboutus/awards.asp