UMass Boston Staffer to Explore Online Education Capabilities in Haiti

Colleen Locke | July 22, 2014
Fulbright winner Alexandrine Policar will be conducting research in Haiti starting in October.

Fulbright winner Alexandrine Policar will be conducting research in Haiti starting in October.
Image by: Harry Brett

Policar to Use ‘Glocalized’ Approach to Promote Learning, Maximize Social Wealth, and Disseminate Information

Alexandrine Policar, an application administrator in the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Information Technology Services Division and an adjunct faculty member in the College of Management, has received a Fulbright award to work with the State University of Haiti to research and develop an online education program.

Policar, a native of Haiti, wants to use technology to decentralize education, create opportunities for students outside the capital of Port-au-Prince, and help the university modernize its curriculum. She got the idea for the project after visiting home following the 2010 earthquake.

“I was 300 miles away from the capital and I was able to conduct online meetings and also teach online courses. I thought, ‘What if I try to use that platform to provide education to those who are living in rural areas and can’t afford to live in Port-au-Prince?’ So that’s how the idea came about,” Policar said.

Policar will conduct her research in two phases. Starting in October, she’ll spend four months in Haiti conducting a survey and doing questionnaires. She’ll return in July 2015 to do four months of data analysis, conduct additional interviews, and run a focus group on the face-to-face curriculum she’ll be adapting. She also plans to teach in the agronomy and veterinary medicine program.

At the end of her time in Haiti, Policar hopes to be able to provide the university with a plan for developing an online education program to be delivered through the College of Advancing and Professional Studies, as well as approaches to consider the needs of local residents.

“The State University of Haiti is excited and as someone who is Haitian born, to be learning and teaching in Haiti is very exciting,” Policar said.

After Policar develops the framework, she wants to be part of the implementation team, which she would be doing after the grant is over.

Policar has worked at UMass Boston for nearly 15 years. She teaches courses in management science and management systems.

About UMass Boston
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 16,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

Tags: it , management , online education

Comment on this story

Comments (6)

Posted by Frantz | October 09, 2014 - 3:45 p.m.

I am an instructional designer as well as an educator, and I am interested in helping this online project/idea.

Posted by Martha Kelly | August 12, 2014 - 10:58 a.m.

Congratulations, Alex! This is a great reward to your hard work and perseverance.

Posted by Nancy Ramsdell | July 29, 2014 - 2:39 p.m.


Posted by Sendy Lamour | July 28, 2014 - 10:54 p.m.

Waww, inspirational !!!  C’ est quelque chose que tous les haitiens at UMB doivent considerer.

Posted by Claudy Jeune | July 25, 2014 - 10:20 a.m.

My congratulations, Alexandrine. I cherish the idea of online education in Haiti, but I can’t stop thinking about the implementation. I believe it is possible, but the concerns lie between the development of the database system if you were considering a drastic change in how the country teaches its students and the availability of Internet connection, reliable computer, and inclusion of the mass—those who are not likely to attend a university like UEH.

Posted by Jihane | July 23, 2014 - 1:25 p.m.

I’m interested in learning more about this. Good luck with everything.