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Indiana University To Pilot Innovative Partnership Model To Deliver College-Level Courses To High School Students
Updated January 26, 2016 3:57 AM | Filed under: Education
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(BLOOMINGTON) - Indiana University, long a leader in providing dual credit educational opportunities for Indiana high school students, has created an innovative pilot program to help ensure that students continue to receive high-quality college-level course offerings well into the future.

Beginning with the 2016-17 academic year, IU's Office of Pre-College Programs and the College of Arts and Sciences will pilot an alternative model for delivering dual-credit courses that combines the deep content knowledge of IU faculty members with the instructional expertise of high school teachers around the state. Under this model -- to be first piloted in political science, mathematics and public speaking courses -- IU faculty members would assume greater responsibility for developing the instructional materials used in the course and work in partnership with high school teachers to deliver content to students seeking both high school and college credit for the given course.

IU believes the partnership model could play a critical role in helping high schools across the state adhere to higher standards for instructors teaching college-level courses mandated by the Higher Learning Commission, which provides accreditation for degree-granting higher education institutions in Indiana and 18 other states. The new standards, which would require instructors to have completed at least 18 graduate credit hours in the specific discipline they wish to teach for college credit, are set to take effect in July 2017.

"Partnership is the key," said John Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs. "Both high school teachers and university faculty members have unique skills and knowledge to bring to the delivery of outstanding dual-credit courses."

Under the university's plan, IU faculty members would act as lead instructors for dual-credit courses. They would be responsible for creating core course materials and delivering them to the students using a variety of distance-learning tools, including online instruction, videos, podcasts and more. To ensure consistency across all high schools offering a given dual-credit course, IU faculty members also would provide regular training for high school instructors to discuss the development of common lessons, assignments and course assessments.

The high school teacher would lead the in-person instruction by organizing specific class sessions using the core materials provided by IU. Additionally, high school instructors would be encouraged to create lectures and other learning activities to complement the core materials.

"This pilot program allows high school instructors to take advantage of the expertise of IU faculty members to supplement their own deep knowledge of classroom teaching methods -- all to the benefit of their students," said Michael Beam, director of pre-college programs for IU. "We believe this model will increase the quality and consistency of our dual-credit course offerings while allowing our valued high school instructors to continue to help teach these courses."

It is estimated that 75 percent of high school instructors teaching dual-credit courses in Indiana do not meet the minimum requirements to continue to teach these courses under the Higher Learning Commission's revised standards. IU, which provides dual-credit courses to about 14,000 high school students a year, views this partnership model as a way for many of these instructors to continue their critical role in teaching these courses while they attain the necessary educational credentials, as well as a possible long-term solution for some instructors.

"IU is fortunate to work with many talented high school teachers who deliver high-quality college-level content to their students, and we are committed to strengthening our partnership with them during this time of transition," Beam said.

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