ORIAS Online World History Cohort

ORIAS Online World History Cohort

Background image: Map of Ming-era China
Image credit:
The Composite Map of the Ming Empire (Da Ming Hunyi Tu) reflects the political situation in AD 1389 but was likely painted much later. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Da-ming-hun-yi-tu.jpg

What is the Online WH Cohort?

UC Berkeley's Office of Resources for International and Area Studies (ORIAS) is seeking a team of eight California community college instructors who will work together over a period of two years to construct and teach two exemplary online courses covering the full sweep of World History. The cohort offers an opportunity for meaningful intellectual discussion,  encouragement of your creativity and passion, and an intentional exploration of online pedagogy. Each member of the cohort will be credited with authorship of materials and the courses themselves will be made publicly available for use by interested instructors everywhere.

Who Should Apply?

ORIAS is seeking a diverse cohort of instructors whose knowledge, academic backgrounds, and teaching practices complement one another.

Individual Requirements

Participants must have experience teaching at the community college level and a high likelihood of ongoing employment as a community college instructor in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Participants need experience teaching World History or Area Studies. Alternatively, participants should have an academic background with a focus outside of the United States.

Participants must be available to attend all five in-person meetings at UC Berkeley. Limited funding will be available to defray travel and/or lodging costs for participants whose distance from Berkeley makes a same-day trip infeasible.

Composition of the Cohort

Ideally, the cohort will include instructors who:

  • teach at colleges that already offer courses through the OEI course exchange.
  • have different academic specializations, including (but not limited to) History, Gender Studies, Disability Studies, Queer Studies, Critical Race Studies, Archaeology and other social sciences, regional specializations, and etc.
  • already have experience teaching online.
  • who have already participated in the course articulation process or gotten a course accepted to the OEI Online Exchange.

Part-time instructors are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Process

If you would like to join the cohort, please complete the online application by Friday, November 30.

See the link to apply at the bottom of this page.

Invitations to participate in the cohort will be sent Friday, December 14, 2018. The first one-day meeting of the cohort will be held between January 12 - 19, 2019. More information about your availability will be solicited on the application.

Before you begin the application:

Have on hand a copy of your CV

Locate the World History course outline(s) of record for the institution(s) where you currently work. You will be asked to either share a link to each outline, or to upload a PDF of the outline.

Compose answers to the following questions so that you can copy/paste them into the application form.

  1. Why are you interested in joining the ORIAS Online WH Cohort? (3000-character limit)
  2. Which of your teaching experiences will most aid you in working with the cohort on this project, and why? Please discuss examples from 2 - 3 specific courses that you consider most relevant in this context. (3000-character limit)
  3. Is there information about your academic background that you would like to emphasize or explain? (2000-character limit)


Contact Shane Carter, ORIAS program coordinator, at orias@berkeley.edu.

Why Participate?

The Online World History Cohort involves a significant time commitment, but there are notable benefits to participation.


Each participant will receive a stipend for participation of $1500, split into two payments. The first $1000 will be paid at the end of Part I of the process (8/2019). The remaining $500, to be paid in Spring of 2020 concurrent with the Final Debrief Meeting (see below).

Intellectual Discussion with Peers

This project will provide an opportunity for creative, intellectual conversation with teaching peers. ORIAS will provide an organizational framework for conversations and work; participants are encouraged to bring their expertise and curiosity to the process.

Pedagogical Challenge

Even if you have reservations about online teaching, working collectively to create an online course is an interesting intellectual exercise that will yield improvements in both online and classroom teaching. Ideally the cohort will include people with and without online teaching experience, and people whose attitudes toward online teaching differ.

Shared Resource Construction

Each participant will walk away with the materials to offer a fully-formed online course, ready to use, in a fraction of the time and labor it would take to create it on your own.

Certificate in Online Course Design Fundamentals

Each member of the cohort will need a familiarity with the Canvass platform and an understanding of best practices for online teaching. ORIAS will fund participation in the Online Course Design Fundamentals  certificate program for instructors with minimal experience using Canvass. Participants who have experience using Canvass may instead complete one or two shorter courses to extend their knowledge of specific aspects of online teaching.

Professional Accomplishment

Each participant will be able to add participation in the cohort and a certificate in Online Fundamentals to their CV.

Increased Class Enrollment

Faculty who work at one of the 56 colleges currently in/joining the OEI Course Exchange will be able to open this course to students from all of the participating colleges, increasing enrollment opportunities.

Part I: Course Construction

1/2019 - 8/2019

The course-construction process will involve five main components. The responsibilities of the cohort are outlined below. Because time is such a valuable resource for instructors, each component includes an estimation of the time commitment associated with that part of the project.

In-person Discussion
4 day-long working meetings

All participants of the cohort will be expected to attend four full-day working meetings in Berkeley between January and August of 2019. Each of these meetings will give the cohort a chance to discuss meaningful elements of the course and to discuss work-in-progress. Exact meeting dates are TBD based on availability of cohort members.

  • Meeting #1: between January 12 - 19, 2019
  • Meeting #2: March 23 or 24, 2019
  • Meeting #3: June 8 or 9, 2019
  • Meeting #4: August 3 or 4, 2019

ORIAS Check-Ins
periodic, minimal time commitment

To make in-person meetings as productive as possible, ORIAS will periodically request information (e.g. course outlines or administrative information) to organize and share with the group in advance of in-person meetings. Participants will be asked to supply information in a timely way and preview it before meetings, as necessary.

Online Course Design programs
4 to 12 weeks, ~10 hours per week

This commitment will depend on each participant's current online teaching experience and desire to acquire professional development certifications. In short, each member of the cohort is expected to become competent to design materials that meet the OEI Online Course Design Standards.

ORIAS will cover the costs of professional development programs via Online Network of Educators, as needed.

Creation of Course Modules
~15 hours per module

World History, from the evolution of humans to the present, will be addressed over 34 modules, each module comprising one week of construction. The cohort may choose to organize content in such a way that the course can be implemented either as a single one-semester course or as two one-semester courses.

Each member of the team will create 4 course modules. Cohort members may arrange to specialize in certain types of technical work across modules, but each participant will have primary responsibility for 4 modules. The disposition of the remaining 2 modules will be discussed by the group.

Review of Modules
~10 hours

Each member of the cohort will be responsible for reviewing and commenting on 4 modules created by their peers. They will also consider reviewers' comments on their own modules and incorporate suggestions as appropriate.

Part II: Course Implementation

9/2019 - 8/2020+

The second part of the process will be more sporadic and will depend upon the individual circumstances of the cohort members. The goals and responsibilities for implementation are outlined below.

Make the courses freely available to educators via Canvass

This will be a natural outcome of the course construction. Though the courses will be freely available to other educators, every module of the will credit both the primary author and the cohort as a whole. 

Offer the course(s) through the Online Education Initiative (OEI) Course Exchange

At least one (and ideally more) participants in the cohort will need to teach the courses online at a participating institution as a prerequisite of application to the Exchange. During the ensuing application process, members of the cohort will make minor changes (as needed) to get the courses approved and added to the Exchange.

Pursue IGETC Transferability

Many community colleges already have World History courses-of-record that have been approved for IGETC transferability to CSU and UC. Participants at schools without such an agreement already in place will be asked to outline the path to articulation at their school and share back information to ORIAS, at which point a joint decision will be made about pursuing articulation at each institution.

Final Survey and In-Person Debrief Meeting
Spring, 2020

Members of the cohort will be asked to complete an end-of-program survey and to attend one final half-day meeting to debrief their experiences teaching the courses.