Online Course: "Key Concepts in Technology"

Martin Irvine (CCT) · Round 2

I think we now have broad-based university will and interest to have a successful for-credit online course component in the mix of what we do in academic programs at GU.

Martin Irvine

This project received an ITEL grant to develop a fully online 3-credit graduate-level course on “Key Concepts in Technology” to be offered through the Communication, Culture, and Technology Program (CCT) in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In addition to current qualified Georgetown University students, the course was designed to be offered to qualified students from other universities and to qualified working professionals interested in beginning a graduate degree program. The course project also facilitates new growth opportunities by providing a scalable and extensible model for-credit online courses offered by Main Campus and Graduate School academic units. By implementing a for-credit, online-only course as part of the CCT Program’s curriculum, Principal Investigator Martin Irvine collaborated across academic, administrative, and IT units on the Main Campus to enable the alignment of administrative and technical systems with the instructional mission of the course and the CCT Program. For students outside GU, the project facilitated major policy and technical systems redesign to support the whole student process from application for admission as a non-degree student through the Graduate School to enrollment and identity in GU systems. The course also required extensive instructional re-design that employed weekly unit introductory videos (co-produced with CNDLS and Gellardin staff) and online learning modules on the Blackboard platform. (See the public website for the course:

The first iteration of the course ran in Fall 2014 as a pilot with CCT students This process allowed Irvine to collect feedback and continue development for future iterations. Now that the course has been developed, from video production to using the online platform, Irvine is able to test the extensibility and scalability of an online-only for-credit graduate course as part of the ordinary curriculum of a Main Campus academic program. Initial feedback from students confirms one impact of for-credit online courses for GU students: working graduate students find it very convenient and cost-saving for them while the outcome for the Main Campus can be to offer online courses as part of the course mix in any degree program. Two other outcomes require follow-up: (1) the impact on university overhead and enrollment limitations: offering for-credit courses online as part of ordinary degree programs can allow academic units to serve more students than can feasibly be brought to on-campus programs at a single time; and (2) the new revenue potential: academic units can extend their missions with for-credit online courses open on a per-course basis to qualified non-GU students.

In the News

The Prospect Issue 4: "Faculty Voice: Martin Irvine" (page 16)