St Hilda’s Learning Institute: World-Class Curriculum for All
With more than 100 courses and collections freely available to the education community via our iTunes U site, St Hilda’s is one of the world’s leading K-12 course providers. As the founding Head of the St Hilda’s Learning Institute, I began the task of establishing this program at the beginning of the 2013 academic year. In a remarkably short space of time, St Hilda’s staff have gained a worldwide reputation for the quality of the online courses they produce.
Where did the idea to share our curriculum come from?
Leading Ivy League institutions have for a number of years made their curriculum freely available online to the worldwide educational community. Harvard, Yale, MIT and Stanford are among the leaders in this field. The Khan Academy is also a vast online resource for mathematics. The founder of this academy, Salman Khan, was the inspiration for the St Hilda’s Learning Institute. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Blackboard World 2012 conference in New Orleans to present on our iPad program. Here, I also heard Salman speak, and briefly met and spoke with him. His idea was simple and bold in equal measure. To give every child in the world the opportunity to improve their educational outcomes – especially in the field of mathematics. His passion for this quest was inspiring. I returned to St Hilda’s determined to do something similar.
If you are interested in Salman Khan’s story, here is a link to his famous TED talk.
What is the Learning Institute and what is its purpose?
Many people ask us, why are you giving away these courses? What is the business plan? The answer is quite simple; it is contained within our School Motto, Non Nobis Solum (not for ourselves alone). Just as Harvard believes there is enormous value in coming to study on their campus, they also believe others would benefit from having access to their courses. They have found that this free outside access also helps those studying on their campus, and those that are about to enter. This is also our experience. We write our courses specifically for the St Hilda’s girls; we then share these with the world via iTunes U. Our girls are able to use these courses, which include teacher video explanations, teacher created iBooks and links to other institutions, to further enhance their understanding outside of class. Many of them tell us how access to iTunes U helps them prepare well for those sometimes stressful assessment tasks. Our staff write courses with a St Hilda’s focus for a global audience. We have between 2000 and 5000 daily visits to our site, and 75 per cent of these are from overseas.
A link to the St Hilda’s Learning institute is below, or just search for St Hilda’s School on the iTunes Store.
Reaching out to our Boarding Community
Another initiative that has evolved out of iTunes U is a program we call StHildas@Home. The aim is to connect with our younger boarders in the year before they come to live on the beautiful St Hilda’s campus. Once parents make a commitment for their daughter to attend in Years 6 or 7, we have a dedicated Junior School staff member available who will help walk them through specifically written iTunes U courses so that they are familiar with the style and tone of work they can expect. It also allows for a connection to begin to be established before they arrive. We have been very pleased with the response to this unique offering.
Satisfaction from enrolments and positive comments
iTunes U allows those that enrol in courses to give ratings and comments about their experiences. We have several courses now with over 10,000 students enrolled worldwide. Our largest course has close to 50,000 enrolments. It is rewarding that so many are interested in what we do. Many of our courses have been Number 1 on the iTunes U charts, and we have had positive comments from around the world. This affirmation has been very satisfying for the teaching staff involved. It is always a pleasing moment to see your course rated above Harvard or Stanford!
We hold one email with particular affection, the true meaning of Non Nobis Solum is certainly captured below!
Hello, I live in Houston Tx, and found some of your schools’ courses via iTunes U. We have a 14yo high functioning autistic son who we homeschool and tailor his curriculum to his abilities. I am constantly searching for ways to increase his learning and found the work of St. Hilda’s in iTunes U to be especially helpful. We have just begun with Simon Lee’s Earth Science course and am looking at several of the other courses you make available.
I just wanted to say Thank You and kudos to you and your team for making these courses available on iTunes for all, including kids like Peyton, to learn from. It means to alot to me. I know this takes special effort and special people with vision to pull this off. Please pass along to all who this concerns. And keep up the good work. Best Regards, Mark
The St Hilda’s Learning Institute is about sharing our love for education with the world.