World Institute for Social Change (WISC) is an online school for developing and sharing ideas, skills, vision, and strategy within and across progressive constituencies. WISC is a partnership project. Diverse partner organizations, plus its faculty constitute its hosts.
Partners can sponsor courses and are expected to promote WISC to their constituencies however they choose.
The revenues from each WISC course go half to the faculty, a quarter to WISC itself, and a quarter to the sponsoring Partner organization. This structure aims to disperse the direct material benefits not only to those teaching but, also throughout the progressive community by way of revenues for partners whose outlay in time is very modest.
WISC offers courses four times a year in eight week sessions after each of which there is a month off for entering new enrollments, adding new courses, and refining features. The sessions are in April/May, July/August, October/November, and January/February.
The backbone software of WISC is Moodle. The structure of WISC is:
- Courses are sponsored by a WISC partner. That is, to teach a WISC course one must get sponsorship from a partner.
- Faculty determine course content.
- Enrollees take courses, engaging as much or little as they choose in course discussions, assignments, etc.
- Enrollees pay a sliding scale for full fee enrollment, low income enrollment, or observer status.
- Revenues go 50% to course faculty, 25% to partner course sponsor, and 25% to WISC for maintaining the whole operation.
WISC General PolicesStudent participation is entirely at the discretion of students. If faculty says some task or action is required - it means the faculty person feels serious participation and completion of the course demands that activity - but, of course, whether to do it or not is up to each student, with no negative repercussions.
Materials presented by faculty are only for use in the course and should not be posted or otherwise displayed elsewhere, unless by the faculty. What makes sense in the course and is intended for it, is not necessarily sensible, or intended, for elsewhere.
Exchanges in forums and commenting, etc., should always be civil and respectful. Students who, in the view of the faculty, persistently violate this norm can be removed from further participation. They will retain access to materials for the duration of the course, but not be able to post, etc.
While students can stop participating at any time, there is no withdrawal with refund.
Students and faculty alike should understand that both faculty and students are not in School, the way someone is in, say, high school or college. Their participation is undertaken in context of all kinds of other responsibilities and on whatever schedule they find most congenial. People should not be hounded to do more, or other, than they set out for themselves.
Finally, regarding courses - when a faculty person creates, prepares, and teaches a course, it is typically with the expectation of teaching it again, perhaps as often as four times a year. Suppose Ms. Z is teaching a course on topic Z'. Someone else asks ZSchool to teach a course that is interchangeable. ZSchool saying yes to that request undercuts the work undertaken by Ms. Z on topic Z'. Instead of teaching it again - and each subsequent time is much less work than the first time - with the school audience choosing it if interested in topic Z' - now the audience that is interested in Z' is choosing it or another overlapping course. School Policy is once a faculty person gives a course, ZSchool will not okay a highly overlapping course by another faculty person for at least a year. After that, the choice to offer another, or not, will depend on students reactions to past instances of the course.