You can’t read about higher education these days without coming across multiple references to MOOCs — Massive Open Online Courses, the Times Dispatch reports. More people are probably writing and talking about MOOCs than actual students are completing online courses, but either way you count it, MOOC mania is widespread. On my campus, however, we might not have MOOCs, but we do have MIICs — Massively Intensive Innovative Courses. Allow me to explain. A few years ago, at the conclusion of a long, drawn-out discussion about calendar and curriculum, the faculty at Washington and Lee adopted a plan to revitalize the short term at the end of our regular academic year. For many years, W&L had a six-week spring term with students taking either two courses on campus or one six-credit course off campus. It was a January term with good weather. It worked, but not perfectly. … The idea behind the new intensive and innovative spring term is to break free from the bonds of regular classroom learning and to overcome the tendency of students to spread themselves thin across a variety of academic activities. For four weeks in the spring, our undergraduates study one, and only one, subject.

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