Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Online Jesuit University

Kakuma Refugee Camp
One of the most remote outposts of Jesuit higher education is tucked away in dusty northwest Kenya, in a “Nowhere” in Swahili.
place whose name means
There, at Kakuma Refugee Camp, a small group of students -- refugees from several neighboring African countries, including Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia -- are enrolled in online courses taught by 28 Jesuit colleges, mostly in the United States.
The courses are part of Jesuit Commons, a project that seeks to bring courses from the order’s universities to refugee camps worldwide. So far, the program has enrolled about 225 students at three camps in a diploma track that will eventually lead to a credential from Regis University, a Jesuit college in Colorado with a well-established online presence; more than 350 students have participated in service learning courses intended to give them knowledge they use while still at the refugee camps.
The program is eyeing a major expansion -- and perhaps, in the coming years, the creation of an online-only Jesuit university that would issue degrees of its own.
The underlying technology is similar to the massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offered by an increasing number of selective colleges in the U.S. and touted for their potential to expand the reach of higher education. The project’s founders hasten to draw a distinction between the massive courses, which they say are being used mostly as a branding opportunity for already prominent universities, and the Jesuit Commons project, which attempts to use similar technology to carry Jesuit education overseas.
Link (here) to Inside Higher Education

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