Columbia’s Center for Veteran Transition and Integration has launched a massive open online course geared toward helping veterans across the nation transition to college life.
The free online course, which is open to anyone, is adapted from University Studies, a General Studies course required for first-semester students—many of whom are veterans—and intended to smooth the transition of nontraditional students to college life.
“[GS veterans] told us that it helped them transition from active military service to the rigors of the college classroom,” Curriculum Designer R.J. Jenkins said in a May interview. “We knew we could benefit an even larger population by making the curriculum more widely accessible.”.
There are currently 450 participants enrolled in the course, including active duty servicemembers, student veterans planning on attending college or enrolled in college, and higher education professionals.
The six-part course provides an introduction to the format and expectations of a college class as well as focusing on study skills, reading and writing strategies, and time management and test preparation techniques.
Jenkins, who is the lead instructor for the MOOC, redesigned University Studies in 2013. Last year, in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning, he adapted the course for student veterans by focusing on areas that veterans reported as being most beneficial.
“They’re magicians over [at the Center for Teaching and Learning], and they’re brilliant, and they always have the experience of the learner top of mind,” Jenkins said. “That’s the key to online learning—putting yourself in the place of learners who are accessing your course through their computer screens, and then constantly thinking of ways to engage them, challenge them, and make them feel like part of a community.”
The online course comes as part of CTL’s emphasis on expanding online resources for student veterans.
“There’s a lot of different technologies that exist out there that help facilitate the delivery of information in a number of different ways,” GS Vice Dean Curtis Rodgers said. “It’s really about identifying what information and learnings we want to get out there and what’s the best platform for doing it.”