The Gates Foundation grant will enable APLU to gauge the feasibility of bringing together public institutions, both universities and community colleges, in a cooperative venture promoting the acquisition or creation and adoption of course wares. The focus is “interactive learning online” systems, as they are sometimes called, which include those that gain a sense of a student’s state of knowledge and personalize the learning experience accordingly.
“MOOCs are an exciting innovation. They hold great promise, but are not without challenges– and we are still discovering their full potential,” said Dan Greenstein, Director, Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We believe having diverse options for faculty and students that meet a wide array of learning needs and styles can enhance student engagement, improve educational outcomes, and increase college completion rates. We are eager to learn from and share the data that will be generated from these investments in MOOCs.”
This grant proposal has two strands to test comparatively rapidly whether such a concept is workable and likely to flourish: an administrative strand and a faculty strand. In the administrative strand, APLU will reach out initially to APLU universities and community colleges to explore the readiness of institutions to join a stand-alone membership consortium focused on these issues and test notions of its essential functions.
Through a faculty strand, APLU hopes to demonstrate that grass-roots cooperation and pre-disposition toward adoption of course wares can be stimulated within the framework of a collaborative consortium, especially through facilitation of faculty discussions leading meaningful descriptions of what their students most need.
This project builds on previous APLU efforts, notably the Cognitive Course Wares Initiative, to reach across institutional boundaries and foster mutually beneficial collaborations.
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