Thursday, July 17, 2008

UIS hosts New Century Learning Consortium July 21-23

Representatives from six universities from throughout the nation will attend the first meeting of the New Century Learning Consortium on July 21-23 at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The Consortium is designed to assist the universities in implementing high quality, large-scale online and blended learning programs.

Founded by Ray Schroeder, Director of UIS' Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL), and Burks Oakley, Founding Director of the University of Illinois Online, the Consortium is being funded with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

"This is an exciting initiative that brings together state universities spread across the U.S.," said Schroeder. "Our organizational meeting will enable us to formalize our relationships and begin collaborations in the development of online and blended learning initiatives that will span the country."

Schroeder said the recent rise in gas prices has significantly increased student demand for the delivery of classes in online and blended learning formats. "The leaders of these institutions who will gather at UIS are committed to responding to student needs in reducing the commuting expenses required for degree and certificate programs," he said.

Consortium activities include developing a clearinghouse of online classes where there is excess capacity; shared IT expertise to support building infrastructure capacity; and peer support at the upper administration, dean, and faculty member levels.

The institutions taking part in the Consortium are dedicated to developing vigorous online and blended learning initiatives to expand and stabilize student enrollments. They are California State University Easy Bay, Hayward; Southern Oregon University, Ashland; Chicago State University; Oakland University, Rochester Hills, Michigan; University of Southern Maine, Portland; and Louisiana Tech University, Ruston.

UIS was recognized with the prestigious 2007 award for excellence in institution-wide online teaching and learning from the Sloan Consortium, the premiere national organization dedicated to advancing quality in online education.

For more information about the Consortium, contact Ray Schroeder at 206-7531.

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