November 2007, Volume 8, Number 11
Member Spotlight: College of Southern Nevada
Development of Online Degree Programs Using a
Collaborative Approach With Industry Experts as SMEs
College of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) used a creative and unique collaborative approach to the development of an online casino management degree program. The Office of eLearning and the Division of Workforce and Economic Development at CSN, SunGard Higher Education, and gaming industry experts worked collaboratively to complete the development of the degree program. The initiative’s start coincided with the beginning of the 2007 spring semester when the vice president of academic affairs committed the college to developing casino management as a completely online program by the beginning of the fall 2007 semester.
CSN’s major challenge in this endeavor was that only one full-time CSN faculty member was involved in the project, but four gaming courses were scheduled for development. With assistance from the director of special projects for the Division of Workforce and Economic Development, three professionals were recruited from the MGM Mirage, one of the world’s leading and most respected hotel and gaming companies, to complete development of three of the four gaming courses. The director of eLearning and director of special projects met with each individual to explain the process and answer any questions. What evolved was the senior vice president for casino operations at MGM Grand, the vice president and general counsel for the Bellagio, and the vice president for slots operations for Mandalay Bay developing the three gaming courses with support from an instructional designer from SunGard Higher Education.
The course-development work was done remotely with the instructional designer from SunGard Higher Education living in the eastern United States and the three subject matter experts residing in Las Vegas. The initial meeting between the instructional designer and the subject-matter expert was via telephone call. All remaining correspondence was completed by email or interaction within the course management system. CSN is excited about the completed courses in part because the content is current with industry standards. In fact, the subject matter experts have already volunteered to work on developing more courses if necessary or to serve on a program advisory committee.
A final benefit to this process is that the casino management degree program is part of the course catalog for the League’s Project SAIL. Project SAIL (Specialty Asynchronous Industry Learning) is a national network promoting access, exchange, and dissemination of specialized industry-driven programs anywhere and anytime for community college students. As a result, any League college would have access via memorandum of understanding to these quality online gaming courses developed by subject matter experts from the Las Vegas gaming industry.
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