Professor To Develop Online Courses on African Literature

The courses are part of a UC-wide initiative to get more classes available online so students can graduate on time

Professor Anthonia Kalu received two awards from the UC Office of the President to develop, design and teach two online courses on African literature. UCR FILE

UC Riverside Professor Anthonia Kalu has received two awards from the UC Office of the President to develop, design and teach two online courses,  called “Introduction to African Literature” and “Women in African Literature.”

The Innovative Learning Technology Initiative is a UC system-wide initiative that offers high quality online courses that satisfy degree requirements and help UC students graduate on time. Kalu, who joined the faculty in July, 2015, has a strong record of program and curriculum building and has taught online classes before.

Kalu, who teaches in both the Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, and the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, said she wants African literatures (oral and written) to become part of ongoing research and initiatives in the Digital Humanities.

She said the idea started after a March workshop titled, “Rethinking the Classroom with Digital Strategies: An Interactive Panel Discussion” co-hosted by Computing and Communications and the UCR Library.

She spoke to Sheryl Hathaway, a senior instructional design analyst with UCR Computing & Communications, about the possibility of teaching African literatures online, using the Rienner Anthology of African Literature, edited by Kalu in 2007.

“From the beginning, Dr. Hathaway was excited about the idea of having African literature online and she put together a team to look at possibilities,” Kalu said. The team included computer specialists and copyright experts from the UCR Libraries.The project is funded for a three-year period, and each course has been funded for $110,000.

The courses will involve not only lectures, but also video interviews conducted by Professor Kalu with African authors and storytellers. They are expected to be ready for enrollment in Fall, 2017.

“We are proud of Professor Kalu’s pioneering achievement, and we wish her all success in implementing these exciting courses,” said Tom Scanlon, chair of the Department of Comparative Literature.

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