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Arts on view
Online learning to expand
Skidmore’s nontraditional, nonresidential University Without Walls has received $460,000 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to develop three new distance-learning programs. The interdisciplinary baccalaureate programs—“American History and Culture,” “Human Nature and Behavior,” and “Communication and the Arts”—will be taught entirely over the Internet.
The new initiative “will help Skidmore extend and deepen the quality of its liberal arts options for students anywhere in the world,” says Cornel Reinhart, UWW’s director. A part of Skidmore’s special programs division, UWW has about 220 students, mostly adult learners completing their degrees through coursework, experiential credit, and independent study. Reinhart hopes to enroll an additional fifty UWW students during the three-year grant period. Reinhart adds, “The Sloan Foundation has recently supported quality Internet educational programming at leading research universities, and Skidmore is privileged to be the foundation’s liberal arts college of choice for this kind of award.” The three-year grant will help Skidmore faculty develop thirty new Internet courses, support new staff, and pay for Web-site development, technical support, and other needs.
In announcing the grant, Jamienne S. Studley, Skidmore’s president, said, “We believe the keys to success in distance learning are careful, consistent academic advising and continuous, critical dialogue between teacher and student. Both are hallmarks of the University Without Walls.” She added, “This timely grant will enable Skidmore to enhance its leadership in individualized learning while incorporating new tools and insights.”
Recent technological advancements at Skidmore will also help: the college acquired the Blackboard course-management software, for faculty in both campus-based and distance-learning courses, and the WebMail system for sending and receving e-mail from any location with Internet access. —AW, SR