Hiram College was recently selected as one of 20 private colleges from across the country to develop online, upper-division courses in the humanities, as part of a new consortium.
The Council of Independent Colleges awarded Hiram College $20,000 to participate in the Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction. This will allow Vivien Sandlund, professor of history and Paul Gaffney, associate professor of English, to develop two massive open online courses (courses available for free over the Internet). They will also attend regional and national workshops with other consortium members.
“Our selection to participate in this consortium puts us in a real leadership role for technology among the small, private colleges,” said President Thomas V. Chema.
The consortium aims to address two key challenges facing higher education: the rapid growth of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and a more cost-effective approach to a liberal arts education. Over the next three years (2014-2016), faculty members and administrators from the 20 selected private institutions will investigate the use of MOOCs and other approaches to online learning. Each school will look for alternatives to the traditional approach to upper-level coursework in the humanities.
There are three specific goals for the project:
- To explore how online humanities coursework can improve student learning outcomes.
- To determine whether smaller, independent liberal arts institutions can make more effective use of their resources and reduce costs by offering online coursework.
- To provide an opportunity for CIC member institutions to grow their online humanities coursework offerings and share their successes with other liberal arts institutions.
The funding for the consortium was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of nonprofit independent colleges and universities that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership; advance institutional excellence; and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. It is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve the quality of education, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility.
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