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APLU Awarded $4.6 Million to Advance Personalized Learning and Proactive Advising at Public Universities

November 16, 2015

Indianapolis, IN – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today announced at its 128th Annual Meeting that it received a $4.6 million grant to support a cohort of public universities as they scale implementation of adaptive courseware across their campuses to improve student learning outcomes and accelerate degree completion. The award to APLU comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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“Finding ways to decrease costs while delivering high quality education to an expanded and more diverse student body demands that higher education institutions embrace new models for understanding and improving student performance” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “When fully realized at a public university, personalized learning encompasses an institution-wide commitment to student success and degree completion, flexible technologies to inform classroom instruction and prompt advising interventions, and accessible tools that help educators know and advise students.”

APLU’s Personalized Learning Consortium (PLC) is managing the initiative. It will develop a program to accelerate adoption of adaptive courseware that meets quality standards, manage a competitive process to select and support public universities committed to transforming their education and business models, coordinate engagement with adaptive learning technology providers, and use its national network to promote the most promising findings and practices of the participating institutions. A request for proposals from universities will be announced in January 2016.

“This investment will help public universities personalize learning for students in ways that promote completion while containing the potentially significant costs of developing and delivering instructional content through adaptive platforms,” noted PLC Executive Director Meaghan Duff.  “In addition to encouraging broad use of adaptive courseware, the program will create a model for cross-institution faculty collaboration on teaching and learning in discipline-specific communities of practice.”

As part of the award, APLU will also develop online educational tools to promote awareness and understanding of integrated planning and advising for student success (iPASS) among university leaders in academic affairs, student affairs, and information technology. Integrated approaches to student success necessitate shared ownership for educational progress among students, faculty, and staff, and encompass technologies and services that help students formulate and advance toward educational goals. Meaghan Duff observed that “PLC work on this project will amplify the impact of successful iPASS implementations at APLU institutions and create momentum for proactive advising initiatives at other colleges and universities.”

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