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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Hewlett Foundation Grant Improves Online Learning


Robert Cummings, Director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric

Robert Cummings, director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric and associate professor of English at the University of Mississippi, received a grant of $140,000  from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to help improve the visibility of Open Educational Resources (OER), free and openly licensed online learning materials. Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are one type of OER aimed at large-scale participation.

“The main purpose of the project is to improve the awareness of Open Educational Resources by improving the quality of OER pages on Wikipedia,” Cummings said.

Through OER, Cummings and researchers Pete Forsyth, Sara Frank Bristow and Alexis Hart, are working to create a better way to reach students through the Internet and teach subjects not available locally. Along with bridging the geographic gap, the project plans to cut the financial burden that often accompanies education.

The two phase project will run for about 18 months. It is currently in its second phase: gathering participants to promote OER awareness.