This morning’s New York Times reports on a new agreement between Middlebury College and K12 Inc., a technology-based education company, to create and market innovative, high-quality online foreign language programs for pre-college students. On July 1, 2010, the Monterey Institute will become a graduate school of Middlebury College, whose renowned foreign language programs were one of a number of complementary areas of expertise when the two institutions agreed to establish a formal affiliation in 2005.
Building on Middlebury’s long history of leadership in language teaching and K12’s expertise in online education, the new company will create and distribute online language learning courses. It will also expand the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy, a language immersion summer program for middle and high school students established by Middlebury and the Monterey Institute. The new joint venture between Middlebury and K12 will be called Middlebury Interactive Languages.
“The partnership between Middlebury and K12 will expand access to high-quality language learning at a critical juncture,” said Ronald D. Liebowitz, president of Middlebury College. “At a time when foreign language opportunities for primary and secondary school students in this country are declining, the need and demand for high-quality language learning is growing exponentially. Learning foreign languages and cultures has never been more important to our nation’s global competitiveness.”
Language faculty from Middlebury and its Language Schools will work with K12 to develop and manage the academic content of the Web-based language courses, which K12 will offer through its online education programs. The first courses, beginner French and Spanish for high school students, are expected to be available in late summer 2010.