Educational Collaboration for the Win: EduMOOC 2011

How are some schools making rich course offerings available despite shrinking budgets? Find out how educators and students are reaching out and adopting a win-win strategy.

By Polly Peterson

online learning collaborations

Goal Sharing, Knowledge Sharing

We've just completed the seventh week of the eduMOOC! Collaboration was the topic of today's live panel discussion of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on online learning. This eduMOOC has been organized by the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Collaboration, here, is the sharing of resources and ideas as educators work to achieve mutual goals and develop new avenues of distance learning. Educational collaborations happen on many different levels of educational institutions in the U.S. and internationally.

Level Partnership
Department team-taught classes
Degree-program interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary majors
Academic consortium shared courses and resources between schools
Inter-institutional affiliations between member schools and professional associations
Community alliances between schools and public organizations
Industry joint ventures between schools and businesses

Course-sharing has benefits for students who, as a result, have more options geared specifically toward their educational and professional development needs. Such opportunities are especially important as schools tighten budgets and scale back programs in tough economic times. Likewise, faculty are able to fill classes, and part-time continuing education instructors can form teaching partnerships for classes that may otherwise not run due to low enrollment numbers.

Collaborations (Not Only Possible, but Already Happening!)

Web-based Information Science Education (WISE)

Library and Information Science students from any of the WISE consortium schools can enroll in distance education courses offered by any of the participating member schools. This agreement opens up a suite of topics for students to choose from, offered by industry specialists at 15 colleges and universities. The faculty also share best practices, select which courses are offered to their students and honor their best faculty with teaching awards, providing feedback loops that enhance the quality of education among all of the WISE schools.

The Flat Classroom Project

At the middle and high school levels, students around the world have been using Web 2.0 tools to connect with their classmates. The project pairs two classrooms that collaborate via blogs, video sharing, Web conferencing and wikis to learn about digital citizenship and increase cultural awareness.

Open Course Library

The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges will make 42 courses freely available to students and educators through a Creative Commons license in October 2011, with a total of 81 planned courses to be released by 2013. This Open Course Library will be shared via an internal course system with colleges in Washington, as well as through a Web-searchable version hosted by the Saylor Foundation. Students will be able to access digital textbooks at low or no cost. Faculty will be able to use, update and adapt course materials that have been designed and field-tested with the goal of raising course-completion rates.

Explore other ways collaborations are impacting the way we learn in our interview with James Glapa-Grossklag, advisor for the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources.

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