Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Free College Courses for Prison Inmates Should Include Online Offerings

Efforts to provide Connecticut's prison inmates with college course enrollment opportunities through federally funded sources is commendable. Our state should seek the most efficient and financially responsible process for delivering courses to our prisons. Hopefully, this will include offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). This would involve instruction delivered to individual inmates on computers via the internet. The least expensive devices are laptops with keyboards using the Chrome Operating System (Chromebooks). They should be restricted to instructional use.
Course content may be developed by the various State community colleges and universities. All course offerings are reusable and open to revisions as needed. However, MOOCs should involve more than watching a professor lecturing on a screen; these should be interactive, include short videos, simulations, and even educational games. The idea is to make these offerings interesting and motivating. These MOOC courses may be offered to prisoners in other states. Exams may be provided online and/or in proctored classrooms.