Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Professor Burks Oakley is named director of national learning consortium

Dr. Burks Oakley II, visiting research professor for the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named director of the New Century Learning Consortium (NCLC).

The consortium, which was established in 2007 and is funded by grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, includes UIS, University of Southern Maine, Southern Oregon University, Cal State University at Eastbay, Oakland University, Louisiana Tech University and Chicago State University.

“I am looking forward to working with the outstanding and talented individuals at NCLC universities who are dedicated to improving the quality of online education throughout the United States,” Oakley noted.

The consortium is focused on promoting collaborations and synergies among member institutions. Among the key programs of the consortium is the faculty development inter-institutional Certificate in Emerging Technologies and Practices in Online Teaching.

In October 2009, the consortium received a grant from the Sloan Foundation to expand NCLC membership to a total of 14 universities. The grant also supports the delivery of regional workshops at member universities to promote best practices in online learning across the country.

“In these times of decreasing state support for higher education, those of us in public universities need to work together to develop cost-effective practices, such as the collaborations we envision for NCLC – including online course sharing and collaborative faculty and staff development,” Oakley said.

“The grant from the Sloan Foundation will enable us to advance online and blended learning throughout the NCLC using the ‘UIS model’ of integrating these programs into the mainstream of each institution’s course and program offerings,” he added.

Oakley is a professor emeritus in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was the founding director of the University of Illinois Online initiative, a program designed to facilitate the development and delivery of University of Illinois courses, degrees and public service resources over the Internet. From 1997 until 2007, he served as an associate vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois. His areas of interest include distance education and educational technologies, and he has earned a national reputation as a practitioner and promoter of Internet-based asynchronous learning environments.

Oakley received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.

For more information, contact Burks Oakley at oakley@uis.edu or the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at 217/206-7317.

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