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About LINC

Investing in Education through Collaborative Distance Learning

The Learning International Networks Consortium (LINC) is an MIT-managed international initiative that began in 2001 and is operated by a growing team of MIT faculty, student and staff volunteers. LINC’s premise is simple and compelling:

With today’s computer and telecommunications technologies, every young person can have a quality education regardless of his or her place of birth.

Until recently, the assets of a country lay buried underground, such as oil, gas, gold, silver and diamonds. Today, the key assets of a country lie ‘buried between the ears of its citizens!’ Educating the mind – that is the key to a better tomorrow for all.

LINC is an international community of individuals and organizations that focuses on higher education in emerging countries and the role that technology can play in expanding educational reach. It is a collaboration of educators from around the world whose purpose is to share best practices and to learn from each other’s mistakes, in order to move forward with successful distance learning projects in tertiary education in their home countries.

LINC is a hybrid, a professional society whose participants include scholars, practitioners, students, corporate executives, government officials and foundation professionals. Their goal in collaborating through LINC is to help build on-the-ground expertise and virtual distance learning communities in each of the respective countries seeking such assistance. Their focus is not on the narrow engineering aspects of technology but on pedagogical issues, educational content, financial planning, political constraints and organizational issues. Technology fits into this in a natural way – as defining what can and cannot be done in various regions.

The hybrid part of LINC arises because LINC also supports various programmatic initiatives. In that sense, LINC is a ‘professional society with an entrepreneurial attitude,’ one that applies new and modestly priced distance-learning initiatives in various countries and regions around the globe.

To help disseminate state-of-the-art learning and best practices, LINC regularly holds international symposia. The first three were held at MIT in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The fourth will be held in Amman, Jordan, in October 2007. The LINC symposia are most useful as forums of sharing ‘lessons learned,’ as all participants teach and learn from each other, assuring that the proverbial wheel is not reinvented many times.

LINC proceedings are available on this website.

LINC is funded by foundations, corporations, individuals, and by MIT. It has had the enthusiastic support of MIT’s President, Provost and Chancellor.