The need for shared online courses was documented in a 2010-2011 interest survey and report that was distributed to major Swedish Programs nationally. Survey results show a strong interest in distance learning options as well as strong support for a pilot project (Ovesdotter Alm, Leonhardt-Lupa 2011).
This pilot project has received support from the Association of Swedish Teachers and Researchers in America (ASTRA) and is extremely grateful for the first-round financing received from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Swedish Institute (SI), a Swedish public agency that promotes interest in Sweden around the world. SI establishes partnerships and exchanges with other countries, in the areas of culture, education, science and business.
We would also like to thank the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation for providing second-round financing.
It is only with the support of these organizations that we are able to offer distance learning courses that are housed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee but shared between multiple universities in the United States.
The project aims to increase the prestige of, and interest in, Swedish language and culture studies by creating a sustainable platform for long-term growth of high-level academic courses. By pooling diminishing financial resources, the platform gives participating institutions an opportunity to strengthen their academic programs. The courses will be subject to a multi-step evaluation process, the results of which will provide data for establishing best educational practices in online language learning.