UWM offers free, online summer class about City of Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is offering a free, online summer class focused on the City of Milwaukee as a way for high school students and others to try out online learning.

The class, Milwaukee: Past, Present, Future, will run July 6-31 and be broken into four, weeklong modules:

  • Week 1: Great City by a Great Lake: Natural and Built Environments
  • Week 2: Made in Milwaukee: Manufacturing, Industry and Labor in the Cream City
  • Week 3: Milwaukee Fights for Freedom: From Turner Hall to the 16th Street Bridge
  • Week 4: The City as Museum: Art, Culture and Community in Milwaukee

National surveys have shown many students became dissatisfied with their learning experiences after schools moved quickly to online instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“UWM has long been a leader in online learning. We want to show students and their families how engaging and academically challenging online instruction can be when teachers have time to plan and prepare,” said Provost Johannes Britz, UWM’s top academic officer. “We also wanted to give alumni and others in our community a chance to learn more about the city we love. This class does both.”

Each unit in Milwaukee: Past, Present, Future will include short video lectures, interesting readings and optional assignments designed to inspire participants’ creativity. For example, participants may be asked to write a poem or draw a map. They also will contribute to group discussions and have an opportunity to interact with professors one-on-one during virtual “office hours.”

One college credit was available at no cost to the first 100 students who elected to enroll in the class for credit. While the initial 100 spots have been filled, the university is looking at ways to expand the course and encourage students to join the wait list when they register. Eligible credit earners must be admitted and enroll at UWM in Fall 2020. All others are welcome to take the course for personal enrichment.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, UW-Milwaukee was already home to Wisconsin’s largest online education program with over 850 online classes and more than 40 fully online degrees and certificates. It has been rated Wisconsin’s best online college by TheBestSchools.org and ranked among the nation’s 50 best online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Since March, UWM has invested more than $450,000 in hardware and software for remote instruction and faculty training. This summer, UWM’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is providing faculty and instructional staff with additional training in online and blended instruction, covering topics such as supporting students, building community and delivering content. Moving forward, new hires will receive training in online and blended course instruction when they arrive at UWM.

The center also is providing training to academic departments to help them conduct peer reviews of online and blended classes. Faculty, instructional staff and graduate teaching assistants will be expected to acquire skills in this area on an ongoing basis.

“While we look forward to being able greet our students in person, we know that we must be prepared for whatever health guidance exists in the fall, and at UWM, that means ensuring that both online and in-person teaching are of the highest quality,” Britz said.

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