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    Paul Martin

    I am currently an Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Canadian Studies Program at the University of Vermont. As of June 1, I'll be moving to MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta to become their Faculty Development Coordinator.

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    Creating teaching consortia using online learning

    Friday, April 29th, 2011 | Paul Martin

    What I’d like to discuss is how departments and academic programs at multiple universities might collaborate via the use of online or hybrid courses to a) fill gaps in their curricula that cannot be addressed locally and/or b) to create new teaching and research consortia that could jointly offer sets of courses or even new academic programs. Such consortia could draw upon particular areas of expertise from faculty members across institutions, enhancing scholarly collaboration and allowing institutions to respond more effectively to growing fields and to the interests of students.

    My interests in this topic are more than theoretical.  Several colleagues and I are in the early stages of creating a set of online courses that will be offered for credit by what I hope will become a new consortium of universities throughout the northeastern USA.  I’m as much interested in the model this might help to build for other fields, as it is for the field I’m focusing on: hockey studies.

    Having seen great success with an online course I developed at UVM on hockey in Canadian literature, my colleagues (all from other institutions) are planning to expand this to draw on courses offered at other universities on topics such as the connection between hockey and history, hockey and politics, and other more predictable areas of study such as sports psychology or management.

    We envision that students from the participating institutions might take this suite of courses either as online courses offered at their home institutions and taught by faculty from other consortia institutions or as courses offered online by the home institution of the faculty member and accepted for transfer credit at the student’s institution. The devil of course, is in the details, and determining how we will successfully persuade our home institutions to collaborate in such a way is by far the biggest challenge that lies ahead.

    I’d love to get some feedback on this broader idea of consortia that might help to build learning communities out of like-minded scholars and students working at a number of different universities. Any advice or ideas about how to facilitate such inter-university collaboration will be especially welcome.