Design & Content of the Course

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people having a discussion
Discussion at the 2016 Institute on College Futures seminar.

ICF Online was designed to create a seminar-like experience that actively engages participants.

The course was built in the Smart Author adaptive learning platform developed by Acrobatiq, a company that grew out of the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) and other research efforts in cognitive science, human-computer interaction, and software engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

The presentation of the material is scaffolded and personalized for each learner to build toward mastery of the concepts and content. Topics include:

Read more about the course design in

ICF Online – A Case Study by Acrobatiq

  • An introduction to the economics of higher education
  • Exploration of tuition, discount rates, and financial aid
  • An examination of the liberal arts financial model and endowment management
  • Financial challenges facing liberal arts colleges in the future

“I really like the opportunity to revisit the content and re-read. It helps me digest the information at my own pace and on a deeper level.”

ICF Online participant

Learning Elements of the Course

The online mini-course uses a variety of learning elements to present the materials in an interactive format that provides feedback to course participants.

Video presentations — Faculty and administrators provide introductions and enhance text to reinforce key learning objectives of the course.

Narrative content — Created by economics faculty, deans, and chief financial officers at ACM colleges, the narrative contextualizes the conversation to the liberal arts model.

Activities and questions — Each question or activity in the course is designed to offer expert feedback and guidance, while helping to create an individual learning estimate.

Screencasts — These are guided walkthroughs of the financial model budget template created by the content experts.

Individual dashboard — This is a mechanism enabling the person taking the course to see personalized successes and challenges for individual learning objectives and activities.

Accessibility — The course is compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998, for accessibility.

Explore Free ICF Resources

Want to take a look at more of the Institute on College Futures materials before deciding whether to register for ICF Online? Or, after taking ICF Online, do you want to continue exploring issues raised in the course?

Check out the free ICF Online resource site! The site hosts videos, presentations, and articles from the in-person ICF seminars for ACM college faculty, plus an interactive exploration of college budgeting and online discussion about topics raised by ICF.

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