Along with its tenth anniversary celebration, the Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System (HETS) offered the first workshop on inter-institutional collaboration initiatives to develop online academic programs, according to Dr. Nitza Hernández López, Consortium Executive Director. This workshop took place, concurrently with the HETS Board of Directors meeting, at the Herbert H. Lehman College, in New York City, on June 17 and 18.
The Collaboration Initiatives Workshop brought together 31 academic leaders of post secondary education institutions from the United States, Puerto Rico, and Colombia, HETS Consortium members who are interested in collaborating with other member institutions to develop joint online academic programs. Leading the workshop were Dr. Sue Maes y Ms. Dawn Anderson, from the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA), an inter-institutional collaboration consortium under the umbrella of the Kansas State University. With GPIDEA’s aid, HETS has been able to create an action plan to develop and implement, in a collaborative manner, academic and student support services programs among the member institutions that are partners in the Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnerships (LAAP) project.
During the workshop, participants from various institutions had a chance to learn about GPIDEA’s inter-institutional collaboration model. Later, participants met in smaller groups to explore collaboration opportunities in the fields of communication, nursing, business administration, criminal justice, Latin American studies and student support resources.
For the upcoming 2003-2004 academic year and beginning in July, HETS will publish a Call for Proposals. Through their proposals, many member institutions will present innovative projects for the joint creation of bachelor’s and associate degrees, certification and other professional development programs. HETS will distribute a total of $75,000 among those projects with the most potential. Once the online programs are developed, students who are interested will be able to enroll in courses at various institutions to complete their program. The online programs that are developed jointly will have to offer administrative solutions to the institutional barriers that currently do not allow interested students to enroll in online courses at other institutions. The online programs and resources will be accessible through the Virtual Plaza portal (www.virtualplaza.org).