Welcome To WISCWorld Institute for Social Change (WISC) is an online school for developing and sharing ideas, skills, vision, and strategy within and across progressive constituencies.
The next Session begins January 1 and runs for 8 weeks. Enrollments are now open though it is fine to wait until December to enroll - when there are likely to be additional courses available.
WISC is a partnership project. Diverse partner organizations plus its faculty constitute its hosts.
The Current Partners are listed on the Partners Page with additional description, and on almost all WISC pages, including this one, on the right hand side. There are more coming.
The role/responsibility of partners is first to host courses they feel inspired to - they can solicit prospective faculty/courses and/or they may be solicited by hopeful faculty with course ideas - and second to promote the school's existence and its merits to their constituencies.
The current faculty are are listed with their courses on the Current Curriculum Page. Each faculty member has his or her own system page. In any given session, likely not all will simultaneously teach. We list them here, as well: Michael Albert, Bridget Anderson, Patrick Bond, Paul Chappell, Avi Chomsky, John Clarke, Eva Golinger, Rory Fanning, Andrej Grubacic, Bruno Jantti, Kathy Kelly, Harpreet Paul, Justin Podur, Jack Rasmus, Jerome Roos, David Swanson, Paul Street, Tom Vouloumanos. More are coming.
Faculty are responsible for their own courses which means they prepare them and participate and welcome the participation of their students. Faculty can teach specific courses up to four times a year, and can teach as many courses as they desire simultaneously.
You can see the actual courses offered by the above faculty, and enroll, many places on site, as well as on the Curriculum Page.
The Particulars of a Session of Courses
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.
Enrollments for the next session (July/August) will begin in early June. When you finish reading this "splash page" and move on to the actual school site, you will be in position to establish an account and enroll in a course or courses, if you so choose.
The backbone software of WISC is called Moodle and is used by thousands of online education projects. Though it isn't essential to do so, if you are interested you can learn much more about it at the main Moodle Site.
The structure of WISC is as follows:
- All courses are sponsored by a WISC partner organization or, in rare cases, by WISC itself.
- To teach a WISC course a prospective faculty person must seek and receive sponsorship from a partner.
- Once a course is adopted for WISC, Faculty determine all its content.
- Enrollees take courses, including engaging as much or as little as they choose in course discussions, assignments, etc.
- Enrollees pay a sliding scale for either full fee enrollment, low income enrollment, or observer status - which enables viewing but not participating.
- Revenues from each course go 50% to course faculty, 25% to partner sponsor, and 25% to WISC for maintaining the whole operation.
The goals of WISC are evidenced by its features. Thus, in no particular order, WISC seeks:
- to convey information, vision, and strategy for activists seeking to create a better world.
- to spread material benefits among activist organizations and to facilitate feelings of mutual aid
- to facilitate ties among diverse constituencies as well as the organizations they associate with
- and to facilitate the spontaneous sharing of lessons, activities, and even program
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 it is intended for 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 attends a high school or college. Each person's participation is undertaken in context of all kinds of other responsibilities and on whatever schedule the person finds most congenial. People should not be hounded to do more, or other, than they set out for themselves.
School Policy is that once a faculty person gives a course hosted by a certain partner organization, if the course is given repeatedly, that organization should not okay a highly overlapping course by another faculty person for at least a year. After that, the choice to offer another similar course, or not, will depend on students' reactions to past instances of the course.
Your Next Step Into WISC
Once you create an account and especially once you enroll in a course, the site creates a personal home page for you. Having enrolled, each time you return you typically won't want to access everything, but instead will want to access mainly your course or courses and to do so with a particular bias toward seeing what is new since your last visit. For that purpose, bookmarking your site created home page may prove optimal. It is really a matter of taste. For now, however, the first step is to see the information below to determine if the project interests you.
And, indeed, participant hosts, faculty, and on-going students welcome you and hope you will benefit from and contribute to this ambitious project.
Here is your gateway link for your next step into the World Institute for Social Change...