Workshop on Forging Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives

The HETS_LAAP workshop on online learning collaboration initiatives brought together key leaders of HETS member institutions to examine the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA) model for inter-institutional collaboration, and create an action plan to develop online programs and student support services. The workshop took place during June 17th and 18th, 2003 concurrently with the HETS Board Meeting, at Lehman College (CUNY). A total of 29 academic and distance education leaders, from 15 HETS member institutions, attended the workshop.

In the morning of June 17th, various research findings were presented to HETS Board Members and key leaders from member institutions to support the launching of the Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives project[1]. The audience also had the opportunity to learn about the inter-institutional collaboration program model designed and implemented by GPIDEA, and the possible ways of making this model work for HETS member institutions.

During the afternoon, Dr. Sue Maes and Dawn Anderson, senior GPIDEA project staff members, facilitated the workshop. In this session, the facilitators discussed with participants the expected outcomes of the activity and made an approach to identify institutional interests and discover potential partners. Afterwards, participants divided in subgroups to further discuss their interests and ideas.

The facilitators guided the participants through a day and a half process of building curriculum initiatives. HETS online survey responses, the analysis of the existing online offering, and participants’ expertise provided the basis for the discussion and exploration of academic areas for collaboration. The groups selected six major potential areas of collaboration to develop online academic programs or certificates.

* Educational Computing – Online certificate that will be integrating learning computing and media. Institutions interested in collaborating are QCC, IAUPR, USH, LC, and HCC.
* Cross-cultural Nursing – Twelve bilingual online modules certification program focused on cultural awareness and sensitivity among nursing professionals. Institutions interested in collaborating are HCC, LC, USH, IAUPR, CSUB, UTPA, BMCC, MDC, and UTB.
* Criminal Justice (Security Management): Bilingual online certificate program, vocational certificate or continuing education program focused on private security ethics, legal aspects, risk and fraud management, and security related technologies. Institutions interested in collaborating are JCC, IAUPR, and HCC.
* Latin American and Caribbean Studies – Associate degree online program in Spanish focused on history, art and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean. Institutions interested in collaborating are HCC, QCC and IAUPR.
* Business Entrepreneurship – Two-years associate degree bilingual online program integrating mentoring and internship experiences to help students develop a business plan. Institutions interested in collaborating are QCC, BMCC, HCC, IAUPR, and AGMUS.
Student Support Learning Tools – Online support service to help students succeed through their online learning experience focusing on development of Internet and information literacy skills. Support program would include a freshman modular support service with a mentoring component from senior students. Institutions interested in collaborating are MDC, JCC, IAUPR, PUPR, HCC, and UTB.

Workshop participants identified the key elements of the proposed curricula and services, as well as the strengths of each institutional player. Each group made decisions regarding the academic level of the program proposed, number of credits, courses, special components, language, target audience, and the need for the program.

After the group sessions, board members and workshop participants reconvened in a plenary session for the discussion of the workshop outcomes. Leaders of each of the workshop subgroups reported their preliminary idea proposals to board members and workshop attendees.

Pre-proposals will be further developed into full proposals to compete for the LAAP funding available for the creation of academic online programs. As pointed out in the workshop, this fall, HETS will be distributing $75,000 among the selected projects with the greatest potential to start working on these online learning collaboration initiatives.


If you wish to contact any of the members involved with the Preliminary Proposals suggested at the HETS workshop in NY, please write to Wilmarie Latorre at or call our HETS office at 787-766-1912 ext 2221.

[1] Potential areas for collaboration had been already identified during the month of May, through an analysis of the existing online offerings at member institutions and three online surveys administered to institutional leaders that allowed to assess potential opportunities for online learning collaboration initiatives. These online surveys were conducted with the assistance of GPIDEA.