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UIS online collaborative project is among IBHE “effective practices”

April 19, 2006

SPRINGFIELD – “Achieving Diversity through Online Inter-Institutional Collaboration,” an online teaching partnership between the University of Illinois at Springfield, Chicago State University, and Northeastern Illinois University, is one of the “effective practices” chosen by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to be highlighted on its website at www.ibhe.org in April.

Under this collaborative program, member institutions offer joint courses that allow students in separate classes to share discussions or work on projects together using online learning tools. Students enroll at and receive grades from their own institution. Faculty teaching the courses work together to share expertise and to promote meaningful exchanges among the students. The goal of the project is to provide access to a broader diversity of views and perspectives than would ordinarily be possible in traditional classes at any one campus.

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IBHE
UIS Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning

For example, UIS is a down-state university with a high percentage of white students; CSU is an urban university with a high percentage of African American students. In one instance, students in the “Internet in American Life” class at UIS and the “Web and Society” class at CSU participated in a weekly combined online discussion forum that addressed case studies and research questions related to the impact of the Internet on American society. Students from a third institution, Columbia University Teachers College in New York, also joined in for a synchronous online session with audio exchanges. Additional joint undertakings have occurred among classes in English, African American Studies, and Education.

Students who have participated in these classes say that the experience has enhanced their understanding and learning. Faculty say it has led to improvements in their teaching methods. Both groups express an interest in continuing and expanding the partnership.

Each year, Illinois’ higher education institutions and agencies are asked to submit “effective practices” to the IBHE as a component of the institutional performance report. Recognizing that many innovative strategies can be shared through this process, the IBHE website highlights effective practices from four unique entities each month.

For more information about the UIS/Northeastern/CSU partnership, contact Ray Schroeder, director of the UIS Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning, at 217/206-7531.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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