New Canvas LMS Partnership Accelerates Our Vision for HBCUs in the 21st Century

Key to any HBCU’s success in the 21st century is using technology that effectively supports teaching and learning. The learning management system is an essential component. Ideally it is a facilitator of effective interaction between students and faculty, making the learning experience simpler, more engaging and more effective.

After evaluating a variety of LMS alternatives to support Wiley College’s success with distance learning programs in the future, today we announced a new partnership with LMS provider Instructure to use Canvas as our learning management system (LMS).


In the end it came down to three major drivers: 1) Ease of use. The learning curve for using Canvas effectively is far easier for students and faculty. Having a system people can use is half the battle. 2) Mobile friendliness. Mobile learning is a reality many HBCUs haven’t faced up to yet, but it’s here, and it’s time to embrace it. 3) Integration options. Canvas readily connects to many other campus systems as well as learning tools available through its partner network. That is essential for the heterogeneous technology environments we operate in today.

Actually there is a fourth driver: Willing partnership. Instructure has made a particular effort to work with us and our unique needs as an HBCU. That goes far towards establishing a productive partnership that will benefit the CEDL, Wiley College and our students.

Read more about the partnership in the full announcement here.


The First-ever HBCU-created MOOC: A Product of Our Collaboration

Today we are thrilled to announce, together with Canvas Network and Lumen Learning, the first-ever massively open online course (MOOC) created by an HBCU. Dr. Keith Augustus Burton of CEDL member institution Oakwood University will teach a course entitled, “World Religions: An Occupational Approach.” Anyone in the world may enroll and participate in the course for free. Registration is now open at Canvas Network, and instruction will begin on October 27, 2014.

Most HBCUs have struggled to keep pace with progress and innovation in online education, as evidenced by the fact that only now in 2014 is the first HBCU-created MOOC being offered. Despite the ongoing challenges these institutions face, this MOOC is a representative milestone of what is and can be possible for this important segment of the higher education community.

The mission of the CEDL is to provide an affordable, collaborative path towards building strong, innovative online education courses and programs at HBCUs, with the ultimate goal of equipping member HBCUs to thrive in the 21st century.  In just one year, we have grown from one to five member institutions, and we now offer support for 40 high-enrollment online courses.

CEDL participation is jump-starting and expediting the success of online education programs for each of our members. You can read more about Dr. Burton’s MOOC and the collaboration that brought it together in the full press release, available at this link.

And if what we’re doing strikes a chord with you, let us know. Any HBCU is cordially invited to join.


Member Enrollment Windows for the 2014-2015 Academic Year

The Center for Excellence in Distance Learning at Wiley College has announced member enrollment windows for institutions that want to offer online courses supported through the Center during the 2014-2015 academic year. For institutions hoping to offer courses in Fall 2014, the Center is accepting new members through May 16, 2014.

These windows ensure new members have sufficient time for training, OER-based course design and faculty professional development to offer successful distance learning courses during the upcoming academic term. Upcoming member enrollment windows are as follows:

To offer new OER-based online courses in: The CEDL Member Enrollment Window is:
Fall semester 2014 Now through May 16, 2014
Winter semester 2015 August 1 – September 30, 2014
Spring/summer term 2015 December 1, 2014 – January 31, 2015

Outside of these windows, the Center’s focus will shift to supporting members’ success with the 40+ online courses that will be offered each term. During these periods, faculty members collaborate as subject experts to evaluate, curate and adapt pre-built, OER-based courses to fit defined learning objectives and instructional style. Because all course content is openly-licensed, instructors may also tailor the courses to include custom assessments, culturally-relevant examples, and other elements to improve student learning and engagement. Lumen Learning’s team of leading open education experts provides high quality courseware and support services to help each faculty member and institution use OER effectively to achieve their distance learning goals.

You can view the complete announcement at

Please contact Center director Dr. Kim Long ( with questions about Center membership and the enrollment windows.

Webinar Recording: All About Open Educational Resources (OER)

What’s all the fuss about open educational resources? What are they, where do you find them, and how are instructors using them? This webinar, co-sponsored by Lumen Learning and the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning at Wiley College, addresses these questions and more.

World-renowned open education evangelist Dr. David Wiley presents a primer on open educational resources (OER) and how to use them effectively. Dr. Kim Long of Wiley College and the Center for Excellence, discusses how OER are optimally suited to the needs of minority-serving institutions and the students they educate.

View the recorded webinar. Download our webinar slides.

Webinar: What are open educational resources, and why do they matter?

A lot of people are talking about open educational resources (OER)  and their impact on college affordability. This recent CNN article is a case in point. Through the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning at Wiley College, some Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are also making headway with OER-based courses that eliminate textbook costs for students.

On Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 1-2 pm ET, the Center and our support partner Lumen Learning are co-sponsoring a free webinar for HBCU audiences about open educational resources and how they are making a difference for the students HBCUs serve. We will discuss:

  • What are OER and where to find high quality open content
  • Effective models for using and teaching with OER
  • Why OER are uniquely suited for minority-serving institutions
  • Impacts of OER on educational access and student success
  • Using OER-based online courses to boost tuition revenue

Please join us for this learning opportunity. Presenters include Dr. David Wiley, co-founder of Lumen Learning and one of the world’s foremost authorities on open educational resources, and Dr. Kim Long of Wiley College and the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning. Register here:


Ask a Question, Get an Answer

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So what exactly is the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning? Why was it founded? Who is invited to join the Center? What is the membership fee? What are the benefits of joining?

Answers to these and many other questions about the Center are provided in a new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, available via the link below:

Center for Excellence in Distance Learning: Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

The FAQ is a living document. If you have burning questions that are not answered here, please send a note (see the contact page) or leave a comment, and we will do our best to address it.

Webinar Recording: Introducing the Center for Excellence

Are you struggling, like many HBCUs, to develop effective and affordable online education programs? Through the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning at Wiley College, you can join a new forum for collaboration, sharing and innovation between HBCUs designed to build capacity in distance learning.

Recorded on March 24, 2014, this webinar features Dr. Kim Long, director of the Center for Excellence, discussing Wiley College’s progress building online programs and strengthening students’ success using open educational resources (OER). Dean Hyacinth Burton of Oakwood College and Dr. William Hopper of Florida Memorial University share their experiences working through the Center as a collaborative, affordable and productive path for achieving their institutions’ respective goals for online education. Kim Thanos discusses the innovative partnership between the Center for Excellence and Lumen Learning to provide faculty training, professional development, collaboration and ongoing support for the development of high quality courses using OER.

View recorded webinar. Download webinar slides.