This week’s episode explores how foundations and companies are helping groups of historically black colleges and universities strengthen their online learning capacity.

Like a lot of undergraduate-focused, smaller institutions, historically black colleges and universities typically went online selectively, sporadically – or not at all. But that’s beginning to change, thanks to significant multi-college collaborations and help from funders increasingly recognizing the value and importance of these under-resourced institutions.

This week’s episode of The Key examines several major initiatives in which major philanthropies, corporations and nonprofit organizations are helping groups of HBCUs strengthen their ability to reach and serve students by improving their digital infrastructures, training their faculty and launching a joint platform for virtual courses.

Featured on today’s episode is Ed Smith-Lewis, vice president for strategic partnerships and institutional programs at the United Negro College Fund, which is at the fulcrum of these efforts. He discusses how HBCUs have historically approached online and digital education, why those institutions are drawing so much attention (and funding) now, and the opportunities and challenges of getting numerous colleges to collaborate rather than compete.

This episode is sponsored by Pearson Inclusive Access. Hosted by Inside Higher Ed Editor Doug Lederman.

Episode Transcript

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