The Columns

In Good Company: W&L Joins Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning

— by on March 1st, 2017

“W&L’s creative spirit aligns beautifully with LACOL’s goals for multi-campus investigations into digitally enhanced teaching and learning for our students.”

LACOL

Washington and Lee is one of the newest members of the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL). The consortium, which was founded in 2014, is a partnership of: Amherst College, Bryn Mawr College, Carleton College, Haverford College, Pomona College, Swarthmore College, Vassar College, Washington and Lee University and Williams College. The group is focused on exploring the future of teaching and learning in a networked world to support its partners’ missions as residential liberal arts institutions.

“Being accepted into the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning opens up tremendous opportunities for W&L,” said Provost Marc Conner. “It gives our faculty and students a chance to collaborate with peers at similar institutions to enhance teaching and learning, to share our own imaginative uses of technology, and to learn from our partner colleges’ experiences.”

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to join together in collaboration with so many wonderful colleagues at Washington and Lee,” said LACOL’s director, Elizabeth Evans. “Already, connections are sparking up with faculty, librarians and technologists along several interesting lines of work. W&L’s creative spirit aligns beautifully with LACOL’s goals for multi-campus investigations into digitally enhanced teaching and learning for our students.”

LACOL’s partnership objectives are centered around collaboration, sharing, experimenting and connecting. “One of the things that excites me most,” said Conner, “is that the group is not focused on online learning as a means of providing remedial education, finding cost-savings or developing MOOCs. Rather, it provides a framework for creative collaboration that allows our students and faculty to explore new uses of technology to enhance the liberal arts experience in unique and innovative ways.”

W&L’s Julie Knudson, director of academic technologies, and Paul Youngman ‘87, professor of German, have been involved in initial projects with LACOL partners. “It’s always beneficial to work with people from other schools and to learn how they are meeting similar challenges, to discover research commonalities and to combine resources for mutual benefit,” they said. “We also look forward to working on projects in the field of digital humanities, which is an area of strength for W&L.”