UI set to add online history class

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 29, 2013 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa announced Oct. 24 it will partner with the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities to create an online Iowa history class. UI is providing funds to open the class to students around the state for free.

The class is being developed by Tom Morain, director of Governmental Relations at Graceland University of Lamoni, Iowa, and also the former director of Living History Farms. Officials expect the initial class size will be small, but they hope for an expansion over the next few semesters to be available to all 48,000 college-association students and 31,000 UI students.

“Providing high-quality, accessible higher-education opportunities for the citizens of our state is the University of Iowa’s most important goal,” UI President Sally Mason said in a statement on Oct. 24.
Jon Winet, the director of the UI Digital Studio for Public Arts and Humanities, plans to help create an Iowa history website that will help educators handle larger class sizes.

Eventually, this class will resemble a Massive Open Online Course, similar to the free courses offered to all citizens at MIT. One big difference about this course, however, is that college students may receive three semester hours of credit.

Morain hopes that this course will pave the way for similar courses to come.

“Online learning is the wave of the future,” he said. “It opens up higher education to anyone.”

Mason said she hopes that this won’t be the last big online course created by UI or the college association.

“I am especially proud of the partnership forged by all of groups involved in this effort, and I look forward to more such collaborations in the future,” she said.

— by Jake McCulley

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