Louisiana Tech is one of seven charter members of the New Century Learning Consortium – a group whose mission is to assist universities in implementing high quality, large-scale online and blended learning programs.

Representatives from six universities from across the nation attended the first meeting of the New Century Learning Consortium on July 21-23 at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Founded by Ray Schroeder, Director of UIS’ Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL), and Burks Oakley, Founding Director of the University of Illinois Online, the Consortium is being funded with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

“This is an exciting initiative that brings together state universities spread across the U.S.,” said Schroeder. “Our organizational meeting enabled us to formalize our relationships and begin collaborations in the development of online and blended learning initiatives that will span the country.”

Schroeder said the recent rise in gas prices has significantly increased student demand for the delivery of classes in online and blended learning formats.

“The leaders of these institutions who gathered at UIS are committed to responding to student needs in reducing the commuting expenses required for degree and certificate programs,” he said.

Consortium activities include developing a clearinghouse of online classes where there is excess capacity; shared IT expertise to support building infrastructure capacity; and peer support at the upper administration, dean, and faculty member levels.

The institutions taking part in the Consortium are dedicated to developing vigorous online and blended learning initiatives to expand and stabilize student enrollments. They are California State University Easy Bay, Hayward; Southern Oregon University, Ashland; Chicago State University; Oakland University, Rochester Hills, Michigan; University of Southern Maine, Portland; and Louisiana Tech University, Ruston.

Written by Dave Guerin