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Grants Support Research into Blended, Distance Learning

Six universities have received grants under an expanded program aimed at researching teaching practices involving the use of technology, including flipped classrooms and blended learning.

The six universities--four from the United States, one from Australia, and one from New Zealand--each received $10,000 under the the Echo360 Blended Learning Grants Program, including one grant that went to the University of Tennessee at Martin, which was awarded through a brand new peer voting process conducted over a three-week period through Facebook.

Echo360 is best known for its lecture capture, interactive, and online learning tools, collectively known as the Echo360 Active Learning Platform. Echo360's tools are in use in some 6,000 classrooms in 500 institutions around the world, serving about 1 million students, according to the company.

According to Echo360, "We recognized that peer review is highly regarded in higher education research. That's why we created the new Community Award Research Grant which gives members of the blended learning technology user community a voice in selecting the topics they'd most like to see studied."

UTM's winning proposal for the inaugural Community Award Research Grant focused on the use of lecture capture in a flipped classroom model and was entitled "Harnessing Echo360 Lecture Capture to Enhance the Benefits of Blended Learning in an Inverted Classroom Model: Self-Efficacy and Achievement--the "Proof in the Teaching/Learning Pudding."

In addition to the Community award, a second new category was created for this year's program, the Newcomer's Grant Award, which is given to an institution that has been using Echo360 lecture capture for less than two years. New Zealand's University of Canterbury took the inaugural $10,000 prize for a proposal entitled "Lecturer Adoption of EchoSystem through a Solution Focused Community of Practice."

The remaining grant recipients included:

"As part of our mission to support educators, we are thrilled to be able to expand Echo360's Grants Program and look forward to sharing the insights from these innovative projects," said Fred Singer, CEO of Echo360, in a prepared statement. "These valuable insights will better enable us to advance active learning by delivering next-generation products that help improve student learning outcomes and assist universities with new teaching methods."

To date, the Echo360 Blended Learning Grants Program has awarded more than $200,000 for the study of blended and distance learning.

Additional information about the grants. as well as PDFs of the proposals submitted by the individual winners, can be found on Echo360's site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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