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Digital Education Incubator and College of Communication Co-Develop COM Beyond Lifelong Learning Portal

The Digital Education Incubator (Incubator) is pleased to announce that it is co-developing and funding an important strategic digital infrastructure initiative at Boston University College of Communication (COM) called “COM Beyond.” COM Beyond will be a new learning platform intended to extend COM’s educational mission beyond traditional college degree seekers to lifelong learners from their teen years throughout their adult lives.

The College of Communication currently offers numerous campus-based workshops for students before and after their college years including Data + Narrative, Making Social Media Matter, From Geek to Plain Speak – how to tell your science story, NECIR Pre-College Summer Journalism Institute and the Academy of Media Production summer program for high school students.  The COM Beyond platform will provide a digital home and searchable site for these existing workshops as well as a dynamic platform for the development of new online workshops and future on campus professional workshops.

During the 18-month term of the grant, COM, with the support of the Incubator will:

  • Develop and launch a website that enables and enhances skill based communication workshops for life-long learners whether offered online or on campus
  • Source and select a best in class Learning Management System (LMS) for the platform
  • Source and select a user friendly flexible online payment system for the platform
  • Customize and populate a customer relationship management system (CRM)
  • Develop and launch two new online non-credit bearing workshops, one for high school journalism teachers and another for journalists based outside the United States.

Project co-leaders, Burt Glass, professor and executive director of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, and Kim Relick, the director of strategic initiatives & creative production for the College of Communication, have confirmed that the project is on a fast track to develop and launch the COM Beyond platform and its first two online courses by summer 2018.

“COM has a long history of offering skill building communication workshops to high school students and professionals” said Thomas Fiedler, dean of Boston University’s College of Communication. “COM Beyond will enable us to centralize and extend the reach of our workshops as well as increase our offerings to better serve lifelong learners.  Many universities offer programs promising to teach communication skills, but no other university-based program mirrors our vision for COM Beyond, which is to provide a communication-learning hub where pre- and post-college students can find skill building workshops taught in the classroom or online.”

Said Romy Ruukel, Director of the Digital Education Incubator, “COM Beyond represents a solution to a challenge facing many schools and colleges – how to expand impact beyond traditional four-year and graduate programs to embrace diverse lifelong learning populations – from alumni to educational partners to professionals seeking to remain current in their fields. Lifelong learning is one of our key focus areas and we are eager to support BU leadership with development in this area.”

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