HBCUs, Lumen Learning Team Up To Create An Online Education Center


Three Historically Black Colleges and Universities are working together to improve online education at HBCUs through the effective use of open education resources, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Florida Memorial University, Oakwood University and Wiley College announced Tuesday the founding of the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning, which is aimed at helping HBCUs create distance learning programs.

"Distance learning is a great way to encourage collaboration and innovation in online learning within the HBCU community," Dr. Roslyn Artis, president of Florida Memorial University. "Florida Memorial is excited to be partners in this initiative. It will enhance the online courses that we will begin offering on June 23rd."

The center will work with Lumen Learning, an open educational resources support provider.

Through the Center, Lumen Learning provides faculty training and ongoing support to help instructors teach effective courses using OER. This support assists with instructional design, maintaining current and high quality learning content, alignment with learning outcomes, proper licensing and attribution, and ongoing improvements to courses and materials based on student success data. 

Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning, believes pen education resources offer several advantages over commercial textbooks for addressing challenges faced by many HBCU students.

 "Cost has an impact: open education resources are free, so no expensive commercial textbooks are required. Perhaps more importantly, open education resources provide faculty with the freedom to design a course that works for their students," Thanos said in a statement. "With OER, they can excerpt, modify and rearrange course materials to align with learning objectives. They can also add elements that encourage student success, such as study aids, embedded assignments, culturally-relevant examples, and materials that fit different reading levels or learning preferences."

The center, which is be housed at Wiley College in Texas, has created 40 courses using en education resources and has another 30 in development to be released this summer.

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