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Collaboration Initiatives

What is the Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives Program?

… increase distance learning opportunities for Hispanic students …

As part of its objective to increase distance learning opportunities for Hispanic students, HETS created the Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives (OLCI) Program. This program fosters and supports the creation of new joint online academic programs and services that respond to the particular needs of Hispanics.

Through this initiative, faculty from member colleges and universities work together to develop and offer a completely online programs and joint services, guided by a Program Leader, while institutions develop policies to make this collaborative programs come true.

This academic collaboration project allows partner colleges to develop cost-efficient alternatives to help increase their educational offerings. Furthermore, faculty and administrators get the opportunity to network and discuss significant issues regarding institutional policies for inter-institutional curricula.

The Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives Program started in June 2003, with the First Annual HETS Workshop for Institutional Leaders on Collaboration Initiatives. This workshop brought together key leaders from HETS member institutions to examine the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA) model for inter-institutional collaboration, and create a plan to develop joint online programs and student support services.

On December 2003, four out of six projects evaluated received a HETS-LAAP grant for program development. These focus in the areas of Cross-Cultural Health Care, Security Management, Bilingual Journalism, and Online Learning Support for Non-Native English Speakers. The first three will be certificate programs and/or minors, while the last one, Hispanic Online Learning Access (HOLA) Project, will be an online student support service.

Benefits

To find a balance between the growing demands on education and a tight fiscal environment, institutions of higher education are being forced to take on the role of the entrepreneur. Institutions often find that they are not capable of keeping up with the rapid emergence of new fields.

Forging institutional alliances can craft universities into entrepreneurs

Inter-institutional collaboration empowers department heads and faculty to play an active role in the growth and development of their department. A program alliance allows faculty to take an active role in shaping the future.

It has been said that our progress as a culture and a world can be no swifter than that of our institutions of education. Collaboration is the future. Combined with the medium of distance education, it has the power to fundamentally change
the future of education.

Roles

As a leading organization for these academic partnerships, HETS acts as a mediator and as an advisor, providing guidance in defining the vision, leadership roles, problem-solving and negotiation processes, while promoting commitment and communication among the groups. These factors have proven essential for the creation of successful partnerships. HETS also supports the programs’ approval, marketing, and assessment processes.

The results of this support should make the best out of the synergic effect created by the joint efforts of member institutions, which will in turn encourage the development of other quality initiatives for Hispanic learners.

Participating institutions share resposibility for making the project successful, and the lead institution assumes overall management of the project.

Status

The four HETS collaborative initiatives have been completely developed. The three groups working towards the delivery of joint academic programs are in the process of reaching the agreements needed for their program launch phase.

To support this process, on June 2004, HETS convened institutional teams composed of academic deans, finance officers, registrars, and distance education administrators to discuss the main policy agreements that should be in place before launching the three academic programs. Concurrently, the HETS Board of Directors made important decisions regarding pricing, profit distribution, and program start date.

HETS keeps encouraging continuous communication among faculty members and administrators to find solutions to the most impacting policy barriers and establish needed articulation agreements.

The HOLA Project, the only non-curriculum collaborative initiative intended to support online learners, will be available through the Student Placita at the HETS Virtual Plaza.