Google Teams Up With Colleges to Offer New Choices
When you’re one of the little guys, sometimes things require a little teamwork. While large universities with huge endowments are usually able to attract enough students to fill their quotas, Jeff Abernathy, president of Alma College, reveals just how challenging it is for small colleges to compete.
“For the elite,” he writes in Forbes, “missing an enrollment goal for a single year hardly matters; for many of the rest of us, missing the target by 50 students would be a crisis.”
So in an attempt to pool resources and give students more choices, Alma has teamed up with two other small Michigan liberal arts schools—Albion and Calvin—to offer joint courses. Their unlikely partner? Google.
In January, the trio of schools began offering a course open to students. Using Google technology (called “Courseshare”), a class is held by a faculty member, while students on other campuses participate via monitors. It’s created a sense of community between students in all three schools, and given them class choices they might not otherwise have.
As Abernathy says, “If we are to thrive, small liberal arts colleges must find ways to cooperate and expand our vision of the future. Academic consortia to date have been thinking small. It’s time to dream big.”