Open Education and MOOCs

3:00pm - 4:00pm EST March 8, 2013

We encourage campus leaders, strategic thinkers, innovators and others from the NITLE Network interested in open education, MOOCs, and the future of liberal education to attend this seminar. Attendance by institutional teams is encouraged; individuals are also welcome to participate. (Times EST)

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) may seem incompatible with the high-touch model of liberal education, yet liberal arts colleges can engage with MOOCs on their own terms. For instance, they may be able to address gaps in their curriculum by creating “wrappers” around MOOCs or by partnering with other colleges to offer shared, immersive online courses. Several liberal arts colleges are developing their own MOOCs to bring attention to their schools, experiment with digital pedagogy, and demonstrate the value of liberal education. We can see MOOCs as the latest phase of the open education movement, as it moves from offering open content to providing learning experiences that help students make sense of that content through exercises, quizzes, and, in some cases, group projects, discussions and learning communities.

Building on NITLE’s 2012 white paper on open education, this seminar will explore the strategic implications of open education for liberal arts colleges. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of models for open education and potential challenges and advantages for liberal arts colleges.

Recommended Reading

Alexander, Bryan, and Lisa Spiro. Open Education in the Liberal Arts. NITLE Working Paper. National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, April 11, 2012.

  • Lisa Spiro, Director of NITLE Labs. Dr. Spiro works with the liberal arts community to explore emerging educational technologies and develop collaborative approaches to integrating learning, scholarship and technology. Her research interests include the digital humanities, user studies, open education, the transformation of libraries, and software evaluation. Previously, she directed the Digital Media Center at Rice University’s Fondren Library, where she oversaw the campus’ central multimedia lab, worked with instructors on integrating technology into the curriculum, and contributed to digital library projects. A 2003 Frye Fellow, Dr. Sprio holds a B.A. in English and history (magna cum laude) from Rice University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia.

Event Hashtag

Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts on twitter via this event’s hashtags: #NITLE and #MOOC.


Please register online by Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Participation in NITLE Shared Academics events is open to all active member institutions of the NITLE Network as a benefit of membership and as space allows. No additional registration fee applies.


For more information about this event, please contact Rebecca Davis at

NITLE Shared AcademicsTM models a new approach to liberal education – made possible through strategic collaboration, driven by shared knowledge, and supported by emerging technologies. Campuses learn how inter-institutional academic exchange works by actively participating in it, building the knowledge and experience to re-architect liberal education.