Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction

About the Consortia

Over the past several years, many approaches to online learning have been introduced with the promise of expanding access to higher education, improving the effectiveness of teaching and learning, and reducing the cost of a college education. Much of the popular discussion about online instruction has focused on teaching large introductory classes at universities and for-profit institutions. The use of online instruction at CIC member colleges and universities, however, offers potential solutions to an entirely different problem—how to keep upper-level courses that are essential for liberal arts majors strong and viable.
The Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction has three goals: 1) to explore how online humanities instruction can improve student learning outcomes; 2) to determine how smaller, independent liberal arts institutions can make more effective use of their instructional resources and whether they can reduce costs through online humanities instruction and institutional collaboration; 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. The Consortium is funded through two generous grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Ithaka S+R, a leading research and consulting service for academic innovation in the digital environment, provides advice to participating institutions and serves as the project evaluator.

Consortium II (2016–2018)

Teams of faculty members and administrators from 21 institutions were selected for participation in the second Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction in 2016. Each institution is represented by a four-member team including a senior academic administrator, two full-time faculty members in the humanities, and the registrar.

The initial round of online courses developed for this Consortium were offered during the spring 2017 semester. Consortium courses were revised and opened for enrollment by students from the other participating institutions during the 2017–2018 academic year. A catalog of those courses is available.

Participants met for a final workshop in Washington, D.C., in July 2018. Afinal evaluation report on the project prepared by Ithaka S+R is now available. This technical report includes findings of general interest to other institutions that offer (or plan to offer) online courses for undergraduates in the liberal arts. A culminating report on the entire Consortium project will be available to CIC members soon.

Participating Institutions

Bloomfield College (NJ)
Carlow University (PA)
Carroll College (MT)
Carroll University (WI)
Claflin University (SC)
Clarke University (IA)
Concordia University Texas
Gettysburg College (PA)
Lasell College (MA)
Mount Mary University (WI)
Northwestern College (IA)
Randolph-Macon College (VA)
Rosemont College (PA)
Shenandoah University (VA)
Siena College (NY)
Simpson College (IA)
St. Edwardʼs University (TX)
St. Olaf College (MN)
Ursuline College (OH)
Walsh University (OH)
Wesleyan College (GA)

Consortium I (2014–2016)

Twenty teams of faculty members and administrators were selected to participate in Consortium I in April 2014, including 19 teams from single CIC member colleges and universities and one team representing a close collaboration between two institutions. The first cycle of courses developed as part of Consortium I was offered in spring 2015. Revised courses were offered a second time during the 2015–2016 academic year, with registration open to students from all Consortium I institutions. Many of the participating institutions will continue to share a selected catalog of courses into 2019.


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.