FOUR UPCOMING EVENTS
Gaede Institute Conversation on "MOOCing the Liberal Arts?": A recent report from the "eLearning Caucus" of the U.S. Congress described the aggressive efforts to "educate lawmakers" on the progress of online learning and to undercut the long-held Carnegie unit (or seat time in class) as the prime measuring stick for academic credit. The Sloan Consortium now reports that over 30% of American collegians complete at least one course online, a three-fold increase in the last decade. According to Sloan, more than two out of three academic officers see online learning as essential to the future of their institutions, even though large numbers of those academics admit that they perceive online learning as inferior. In the midst of all of the debate, the Gaede Institute is devoting its annual conversation (February 13-15) to exploring the relationship between technology and learning in the liberal arts. Speakers will range from George Siemens, founder of the Society of Learning Analytics and an architect of some MOOCs, to Alexander Astin, the assessment specialist who questions the new emphasis on technology. And we will hear student perspectives on the digital revolution.
Westmont Forum: The Provost's Office and the Student Life Office, with assistance from the Westmont College Student Association, have developed a new forum to foster conversation about some controversial issues. At a time when much of public discussion is notable for polarization and acrimony, the "Westmont Forum" will seek to create hospitable space and contexts for civil discussion among those who disagree about key issues. Over the past few months, a group of students and faculty have helped develop some protocols that are designed to enable us to address the controversial themes in timely, respectful, and informative ways. Recently, we polled students to identify some of the contested issues that most intrigued them, and we have chosen the top two—healthcare and women's roles in the church—for discussion this spring. The heathcare discussion will take place on February 19, at 7:30, in Founders.
Spring Focus Week. Sponsored by the Office of Campus Life, the Focus Week (February 3-7) explores the theme "Beyond Colorblind." Against the notion that we all live in a cultural melting pot that reduces differences, the Focus Week will emphasize that we all have distinct stories to tell of finding our ways in a multi-ethnic world. Chapel speakers, films, panels and times of prayer are being sponsored by numerous student and college groups. Click here for a glimpse at the full schedule.
Westmont Downtown: This year's speaker for the President's Breakfast is Muhammad Yunus. the Bangladeshi scholar who won the Nobel Prize for his work in promoting microfinance in poor regions of the world. In anticipation of the event, Rick Ifland will offer the Westmont Downtown lecture on "The Future of Microfinance and the Role of Muhammad Yunus." The lecture takes place in Santa Barbara at the University Club at 5:30 on February 13.