Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction

Two key challenges for higher education today are the rapid growth of MOOCs and related innovations in online learning and the search for more cost-effective approaches to liberal arts education. This project addresses both challenges.

Over three years (2014–2016), faculty members and administrators from 21 CIC colleges and universities will explore the use of online and hybrid teaching methods as feasible alternatives to traditional upper-level undergraduate courses in the humanities. The goals of the project are: 1) to explore how online humanities instruction can improve student learning outcomes; 2) to determine whether smaller, independent liberal arts institutions can make more effective use of their instructional resources and reduce costs through online humanities instruction; and 3) to provide an opportunity for CIC member institutions to build their capacity for online humanities instruction and share their successes with other liberal arts colleges.

Ithaka S+R, the nation’s leading research and consulting service for academic innovation in the digital environment, will provide advice to participating institutions and evaluate the effectiveness of the project. The Consortium is funded through a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Read the interim project evaluation prepared by Ithaka S+R.

Read an article about the program in the Independent.

 Current Status

Twenty teams were selected to participate in the Consortium in April 2014, including 19 teams of administrators and faculty members from single institutions and one mixed team representing a close collaboration between two colleges. The first courses developed as part of the Consortium wer offered in spring 2015. A catalog of courses to be offered during the 20152016 academic year is now available; registration is limited to students from the participating institutions. An interim evaluation report prepared by Ithaka S+R also is available.

CIC developed guidelines and other resources to help institutions prepare applications for the Consortium. These materials provide a detailed description of the project and its goals:


 Participating Institutions

Augustana University (SD)
Bethune-Cookman University (FL)
Bucknell University (PA)
Concordia College (MN)
Connecticut College (joint project)
Elizabethtown College (PA)
Gordon College (MA)
Grand View University (IA)
Hiram College (OH)
Lesley University (MA)
McDaniel College (MD)
Moravian College (PA)
Otterbein University (OH)
Park University (MO)
Saint Michael's College (VT)
Saint Vincent College (PA)
Susquehanna University (PA)
Sweet Briar College (VA)
Trinity College (CT) (joint project)
University of St. Francis (IL)
Wartburg College (IA)

 Contact Information

Questions regarding the CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction should be directed to Philip M. Katz, CIC director of projects, by email at or by phone at (202) 466-7230.

 Evaluation Report