Digital Learning

Online Learning Consortium to Expand Digital Courseware Initiatives

The Online Learning Consortium's work to spread adoption of next-generation digital courseware solutions in higher education just got a $2.5 million boost from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will "support OLC's efforts to foster effective practices in post-secondary digital learning," with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes in general courses — particularly for disadvantaged and underserved students, according to a press release. OLC defines digital courseware as "adaptive digital learning tools, including software that supports student learning such as games, apps and personalized content."

"There is a need to provide a new lens into the classroom and new insights on the dynamics impacting the use of innovative learning solutions in addressing the barriers to student success," said Kathleen Ives, CEO and executive director for the Online Learning Consortium. "Through several focused initiatives, OLC is committed to helping increase awareness and adoption of innovative learning courseware by higher education faculty and institutions, with a focus on improving student success at colleges and universities across the country."

In particular, the grant will fund a new OLC prize competition to "recognize and reward exemplar institutions and faculty for effective use of digital courseware," as well as an expansion of the OLC Quality Scorecard.

The soon-to-be-launched prize competition will aim to "drive institutions and faculty to freshly evaluate next-generation courseware and understand its benefits and how it can be used to promote student success." It will also promote the sharing of best practices, to help more institutions adopt digital learning solutions.

The OLC Quality Scorecard suite will be expanded to include a digital courseware ancillary scorecard, which will include "the steps needed to identify, measure and quantify elements that define quality, with a focus on attributes which result in a positive impact on student success, especially for students from minority, first-generation, low-income or other disadvantaged backgrounds."

For more information on these initiatives, visit the OLC site.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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