Beyond the Residential Experience: Connecting Young Leaders in Africa and Latin America to Online Training

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This session will review a pilot project where 118 emerging leaders from Latin America and Africa were provided a project management MOOC through the Presidential Precinct at the University of Virginia.  This session will include details of the pilot project and lessons learned.


Director of Online Learning Programs at U.Va. She is responsible for managing production for U.Va.'s partnership with Coursera. Her passion project is an outreach program with Africa that has provided over 24,000 scholarships and reached learners in every country on the continent. Before U.Va., she was successfully delivering enterprise technology projects for various companies including Walt Disney, Hewlett-Packard, eBay and Intuit. She joined U.Va. in 2011.

Extended Abstract

As part of its mission to provide education, collaboration, and networking opportunities for emerging global leaders, The Presidential Precinct conducted its first online training program in collaboration with the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Through this pilot effort, scholarships were provided to 118 alumni of the US State Department Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) to participate in the Darden Massive Online Open Learning (MOOC) certificate course, “Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management,” which was delivered through Coursera. Over 45 countries were represented with 79% of the alumni group starting the course and 54% completing it.  Two synchronous events were held where a total of 34 participants attended.  Support was provided by the Presidential Precinct, University of Virginia and Coursera.

“Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management” is an introductory course on the key concepts of planning and executing projects. Learners identify factors that lead to project success, and learn how to plan, analyze, and manage projects. They are exposed to state-of-the-art methodologies and introduced to the challenges involved in various types of projects.

According to Neal Piper, Executive Director of the Presidential Precinct, “This initiative enabled us to advance our mission of providing both a physical and virtual destination for critical thinking about the world’s most pressing challenges. Offering online training for program alumni enabled these young leaders to continue to engage with top faculty and experts from these world class institutions, as well as to enrich course discussions with global perspectives.”

This session will review this project and discuss lessons learned from this pilot.  Attendees will be asked to participate in poll questions.  Learner stories will be shared and audience will be prompted to discuss similar experiences with learners.