What is the COLA Program?

The Colleges’ Online Learning Academy (COLA) program is a summer fellowship that allows graduate students to deeply engage with digital teaching and learning in their work. The fellowship provides opportunities for networking, mentorship, deep dives into teaching subjects of your interest, and opportunities for peer review and reflection on teaching practice. The fellowship is facilitated by MSU’s Enhanced Digital Learning Initiative (EDLI), a team of cross-disciplinary scholars and researchers dedicated to digital teaching & learning, and directed by Caitlin Kirby.

Main Components

The fellowship consists of a series of workshops, creation of deliverables around your own teaching and learning practice, and review of those deliverables from peers and a teaching mentor. See example deliverables from prior fellows here. There are three main tracks in the fellowship that you can explore:

  • Developing your scholarly teaching identity
  • Pedagogical and technological skills in digital teaching and learning
  • Accessibility and inclusion in digital teaching and learning

Through the program, COLA fellows will build their teaching portfolios and can fulfill competency workshop requirements for the MSU Certification in College Teaching Program.

Program Goals

  • Foster deep engagement with teaching practice during a summer semester
  • Accomplish requirements for the Certification in College Teaching Program
  • Develop skillset in a sub-area of digital teaching and learning practice
  • Collaborate with colleagues to evaluate teaching & learning materials
  • Reflect on 21st-century teaching and learning practice


Graduate students at Michigan State University in the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Natural Science, and Broad College of Business are welcome to apply. Graduate students from other colleges can attend the COLA workshops but are not able to receive the fellowship.

Applications for the 2023 program have closed. Applications for 2024 will be available in March 2024.