Teaching and Learning

NYU Wagner faculty are publishing new and innovative research on the intersection of technology and public service - including how technology impacts healthcare, transportation, economics, and governance.

Teaching Using Technology

From using Skype and online chat to host office hours to creating five minute videos on difficult core concepts, below are examples of how NYU Wagner is constantly experimenting with emerging technologies and practices to enrich teaching and learning.

Stats 101 meets YouTube

Professor of Health Policy and Medicine Jan Blustein and Clinical Professor Shankar Prasad are flipping the teaching model meaning that students will watch lectures and study videos and readings online before class, and use class time for participatory conversations, demonstrations, and design problems.

One specific technique they use is to boil down critical statistics concepts (such as levels of measurement and hypothesis testing) into 6-10 minute videos or voice-over presentations that students can view on their own time, at their own speed, as many times as they want. Learning core concepts through video outside of class allows class time to be used for valuable problem-solving exercises that put the core concepts into action. This method has helped countless students master the skills they need to succeed at NYU Wagner, and makes this one of the more popular teaching methods at the school.

Shankar Prasad uses video to teach students about percentile proportions.

Using Skype and Livestream to Engage Wide Audiences

Several professors at NYU Wagner have been experimenting with engaging outside audiences in classroom activities through digital technology. In her Digital Innovation Lab course, Adjunct Assistant Professor Yasmin Fodil hosts guest lecturers nation-wide using Skype and broadcasts students’ final presentations in real time using Livestream.

In Digital Innovation Lab, remote guest critics provide feedback on student pitches using a combination of Skype and Livestream.

NYU Digital Studio
NYU Wagner faculty take advantage of the NYU Digital Studio, a collaboration of NYU Libraries and Information Technology Services. The Digital Studio offers a wide range of services in support of research and instruction, including video and audio capture; production and publication; live audio and video capture; and photo, slide and text scanning.

Technology Research



Noveck, Beth Simone
“The Networked State ,”

Harvard University Press



Noveck, Beth Simone and Daniel Goroff
“Information for Impact: Liberating Nonprofit Sector Data,”

Aspen Institute (January 2013)


This report addresses the challenges to obtaining better, more usable data about the nonprofit sector to match the sector’s growingimportance. In 2010, there were 1.5 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States with $1.51 trillion in revenues. Through the Form 990 in its several varieties, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gathers and publishes a large amount of information about tax-exempt organizations. Over time, versions of the Form 990 have evolved that collect information on governance, investments, and other factors not directly related to an organization’s tax calculations or qualifications for tax exemption. Copies of these returns are available one at a time from the filers or from other sources. The IRS creates image files of Form 990 returns and sells compilationsof them to the subscribing public for a fee. Several institutions, particularly GuideStar, the Foundation Center, and the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) at the Urban Institute, use this IRS data to analyze and present information about individual nonprofits and about the sector as a whole.

Like other important data collected by governments, information contained in the 990s could potentially be far more useful if it were not only public but “open” data. Open data are data that are available to all, free of charge, in a standard format, published without proprietary conditions, and available online as a bulk download rather than only through single-entry lookup. Making the Form 990 data truly open in this sense would not only make it easier to use for the organizations that already process it, but would also make it useful to researchers, advocates, entrepreneurs, technologists, and nonprofits that do not have the resources to use the data in its current form. We argue that open 990 data may increase transparency for nonprofit organizations, making it easier for state and federal authorities to detect fraud, spur innovation in the nonprofit sector and, above all, help us to understand the potential value of the 990 data.


(eds.) Cull, Robert, Asli Demirgüç-Kunt and Jonathan Morduch
“Banking The World,”

The MIT Press


About 2.5 billion adults, just over half the world’s adult population, lack bank accounts. If we are to realize the goal of extending banking and other financial services to this vast “unbanked” population, we need to consider not only such product innovations as microfinance and mobile banking but also issues of data accuracy, impact assessment, risk mitigation, technology adaptation, financial literacy, and local context. In Banking the World, experts take up these topics, reporting on new research that will guide both policy makers and scholars in a broader push to extend financial markets.

The contributors consider such topics as the complexity of surveying people about their use of financial services; evidence of the impact of financial services on income; the occasional negative effects of financial services on poor households, including disincentives to work and overindebtedness; and tools for improving access such as nontraditional credit scores, financial incentives for banking, and identification technologies that can dramatically reduce loan default rates.

Friedman, Leonard and Anthony R. Kovner (eds.)
“101 Careers in Healthcare Management,”

Springer Publishing Company


Careers in health administration continue to grow despite an overall downturn in the economy. This is a field that offers tremendous job opportunities across the spectrum of healthcare delivery and payment organizations. 101 Careers in Healthcare Management is the only comprehensive guide to careers in health administration, ranging from entry-level management positions to the most senior executive opportunities. The guide clearly explains the responsibilities and duties of each of these careers and how they differ from other management jobs. It describes the integral role of healthcare administrators in creating and sustaining the systems that allow healthcare clinicians to do their best work.

The book covers educational requirements, opportunities, traditional and nontraditional career pathways, and helps students assess whether they are temperamentally and intellectually suited to a career in healthcare management. Based on the most current data from the U.S. Department of Labor and professional societies in healthcare management, the guide describes careers in 14 different healthcare and related settings. These include long-term care, physician practices, commercial insurance, consulting firms, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, information technology, and biotechnology. Additionally, the book offers numerous interviews with health administrators, from those in entry-level positions to CEOs, to more vividly portray potential careers.

Moss, Mitchell L. and Hugh O'Neil
“Urban Mobility in the 21st Century,”

The Furman Center for Transportationan and


Between 2010 and 2050, the number of people living in the world’s urban areas is expected to grow by 80 percent – from 3.5 billion to 6.3 billion. This growth will pose great challenges for urban mobility – for the networks of transportation facilities and services that maintain the flow of people and commerce into, out of and within the world’s cities.

Addressing the challenge of urban mobility is essential – for maintaining cities’ historic role as the world’s principal sources of innovation and economic growth, for improving the quality of life in urban areas and for mitigating the impact of climate change. It will require creative applications of new technologies, changes in the way transportation services are organized and delivered, and innovations in urban planning and design.

This report examines several aspects of the challenge of urban mobility in the twenty-first century – the growth of the world’s urban population, and changes in the characteristics of that population; emerging patterns of urban mobility; and changes in technology design and connectivity.



Kaufman, Sarah M.
“How Social Media Moves New York: Twitter Use by Transportation Providers in the New York Region,”

October 2012


Social media networks are valuable tools for the public outreach needs of transportation providers: they are free, instantaneous, reach large numbers of people simultaneously, and allow for sideline discussions. When transportation providers are trying to notify large numbers of passengers about delays, drivers about construction work, or bus riders about re-routes, they can “blast” messages through social media channels to reach their intended audience immediately (the audience accesses these networks far more frequently than the websites of their local transportation agencies). The goals of social media in transportation are to inform (alert riders of a situation), motivate (to opt for an alternate route), and engage (amplify the message to their friends and neighbors). Ideally, these actions would occur within minutes of an incident.

This report analyzes the use of social media tools by the New York region’s major transportation providers. It is focused on the effectiveness of their Twitter feeds, which were chosen for their immediacy and simplicity in messaging, and provided a common denominator for comparison between the various transportation providers considered, both public and private. Based on this analysis, recommendations are outlined for improving social media outreach. A subsequent report will propose policies and recommendations for enhanced information and engagement with users.

Noveck, Beth
“Open Data – The Democratic Imperative,”

Crooked Timber


Open Data are the basis for government innovation. This isn’t because open data make government more transparent or accountable. Like Tom Slee, I have serious doubts about whether it does either of those things. In any event, shining a light on the misdeeds of ineffective institutions isn’t as imperative as redesigning how they work.  Instead, open data can provide the raw material to convene informed conversations inside and outside institutions about what’s broken and the empirical foundation for developing solutions together.

The ability of third parties to participate is what makes open data truly transformative. The organization that collects and maintains information is not always in the exclusive position to use it well.  For example, US regulators have compiled hospital infection rates for a long time.  Accessible only to government professionals, they had limited resources to make adequate use of the information.  When HHS made the data publicly available by publishing the data online in a computable format, then Microsoft and Google were able to mash up that information with mapping data to create search engines that allow anyone – from the investigative journalist to the parent of the sick child—to decide which hospital to choose (or whether it is safer to stay home). When data are open—namely legally and technically accessible and capable of being machine processed – those with technical know how can create sophisticated and useful tools, visualizations, models and analysis as well as spot mistakes or mix and mash across datasets to yield insights. As Matt Parker, put it: “By making data open, you enable others to bring fresh perspectives, insights, and additional resources to your data, and that’s when it can become really valuable.”

Kaufman, Sarah M.
“Augmented Reality and Urban Exploration,”

July 2012



Augmented Reality is beginning to shift the landscape of urban exploration, making the experience ever-more informative, from language translation applications to cultural enrichment tools. It will lead people to be more informed, advertised to, and assisted on every urban excursion, removing the traditional happenstance from urban exploration. It is unclear whether Augmented Reality (AR) will truly enhance experiences, lead to over-saturation of information and advertising, or a combination of the two. This paper will discuss the current and near-future uses of AR for city dwellers and the projected implications of ubiquitous information.

Roger Kropf, PhD, and Guy Scalzi, MBA
“IT Governance in Hospitals and Health Systems ,”



Without a governance structure, IT at many hospitals and healthcare systems is a haphazard endeavor that typically results in late, over-budget projects and, ultimately, disparate systems. IT Governance in Hospitals and Health Systems offers a practical “how to” in creating an information technology governance process that ensures the IT projects supporting a hospital or health systems’ strategy are completed on-time and on-budget. The authors define and describe IT governance as it is currently practiced in leading healthcare organizations, providing step-by-step guidance of the process so readers can replicate these best practices at their own hospital or health system. The book provides an overview of what IT governance is and why it is important to a healthcare organization. In addition, the book examines keys to IT governance success, as well as common mistakes to avoid; governance processes, workflows and project management; and the important roles that staff, a board of directors and committees play. Special features in the book include case studies from hospitals and health systems that have successfully developed an effective IT governance structure for their organization. 2012.

Cahill, Sean
“ Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention: Moving toward implementation,”

Fenway Institute


Initial results from clinical prevention trials of pre-exposure chemoprophylaxis (PrEP) indicate that PrEP could be a key part of the
“game changer” needed to more effectively fight HIV. PrEP entails that
at risk HIV-uninfected people take antiretroviral medications to prevent
HIV transmission through unprotected sex or sharing needles. Oral PrEP
uses antiretroviral medications that are currently available for treatment.
A related experimental technology involves topical microbicides, a term
that can refer to any anti-infective agent, but in the current usage refers
to topical gels that contain anti-retroviral medications that are applied
vaginally or rectally to prevent HIV transmission. Future approaches to
the use of antiretrovirals for prevention include the use of intravaginal
rings or injectable medication. Some oral PrEP and topical microbicide trials have shown promise, while others have not. The use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention has shown efficacy with men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexuals. Biomedical
prevention interventions such as PrEP have great potential, especially if coupled with expanded testing, diagnosis, and linkage to earlier initiation of treatment and care (TLC+). Modeling demonstrates the most effective deployment of PrEP to slow the spread of HIV will be in combination with scaled-up treatment. PrEP must be accompanied by sustained care and behavioral interventions to ensure adherence, minimize risk compensation (people increasing risk because of anticipated protection), and monitor side effects and drug toxicities. Because many people who are at greatest risk to acquire HIV do not access regular clinical care, alternative implementation arrangements will be necessary. National monitoring systems are critical to preventing the spread of drug-resistant HIV. Some have raised concerns about PrEP related to potential side effects, risk compensation (the idea that people will stop using condoms if PrEP becomes available), drug resistance, and cost. However, reviews of five major clinical trials involving about 6,000 participants by the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research shows no greater risk of side effects, no risk compensation, and no clinically significant development of drug resistance in participants.

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Dokko, G., Nigam, A. & Rosenkopf, L.
“Keeping Steady as She Goes:A Negotiated Order Perspective on Technological Evolution,”

Organization Studies 33(6-7):681-703.[2011 JCR impact factor 2.328]


A central idea in the theory of technology cycles is that social and political mechanisms are most important during the selection of a dominant design, and that eras of incremental change are socially uninteresting periods in which innovation is driven by technological momentum and elaboration of the dominant design. In this essay, we overturn the ontological assumption that social order is inherently stable, drawing on Anselm Strauss’s concept of negotiated order to analyze the persistence of a dominant design as a social accomplishment: an outcome of ongoing processes that reinforce or challenge a socially negotiated order. Thus, we shift focus from battles over standards to periods of normal innovation. We extend the technology cycles model to explain social dynamics in periods of incremental change, and to make predictions specifying how contextual conditions in standards-setting organizations affect social interaction, leading to reinforcement or challenge to a socio-technical order.