Dave Smallen with consortium agreement signers from Davidson, Colgate and Wellesley

Hamilton College, Colgate University, Davidson College and Wellesley College have formed  a new consortium focused on online teaching and learning in the liberal arts. The four liberal arts colleges entered into a memorandum of understanding on May 11, and the consortium was announced in The Chronicle of Higher Education on May 12.

The purpose of the consortium is to promote joint educational and technological research collaboration concerning the exploration of the role of the online learning platform edX, as well as other online platforms and technologies in learning and pedagogy. The four institutions, which are among the first liberal arts colleges to experiment with blended learning via online offerings, will share research and data concerning the educational value and lessons learned from the creation and delivery of these programs, modules and open educational resources.

Patrick D. Reynolds, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty, said, “Along with Colgate, Davidson and Wellesley, we have stepped onto a steep learning curve with our edX experiment, and we are pleased with our progress towards Hamilton’s edX goals of public scholarship, educational outreach and better understanding  of the applications of online educational technology.  As national leaders in pedagogy, we can have a stronger voice in the national conversation on online education as a consortium, sharing our views and developing our position.”

In March 2014, Hamilton and Colgate University jointly announced their partnership as new contributing members in edX. Founded by Harvard University and MIT, edX hosts online offerings in many areas of study, including the arts and humanities, public health, law, math and computer science. Its focus is to create access to the world’s best education globally, improve on-campus education and conduct research to enhance teaching and learning.

In March 2015, Hamilton debuted its first two offerings via edX, Spirituality and Sensuality: Sacred Objects in Religious Life, presented by Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies S. Brent Plate and Incarceration’s Witnesses: American Prison Writing presented by Professor of English and Creative Writing Doran Larson. More than 7,000 students enrolled in the two courses.

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