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APLU Announces Awards for Seven Public Research Universities to Accelerate Use of Adaptive Courseware to Improve Undergraduate Education

July 14, 2016

Washington, DC – As public research universities seek to promote completion while containing costs, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today announced that seven of its member institutions have been selected as participants in a three-year project that seeks to personalize learning and improve undergraduate education through adoption of high-quality adaptive courseware. APLU’s Personalized Learning Consortium (PLC) is overseeing the grants, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to the cohort of seven public institutions.

Arizona State University, Colorado State University, Georgia State University, Northern Arizona University, Oregon State University, Portland State University, and the University of Mississippi will each receive $515,000 as part of the Adaptive Courseware Grant program to adopt, implement, and scale use of adaptive courseware in high-enrollment, blended learning courses in multiple departments and programs to improve student success. APLU intends to use its national network to scale the most promising findings and practices of the seven grantees to help its more than 200 public research university members across the country better meet the general education needs of today’s undergraduate students. 

“Public research universities are being asked to educate more students and effectively prepare them for the workforce and society at the same time they continue to face reduced state and local funding,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “The seven public research institutions leading this effort are well-positioned to adopt and scale use of innovative learning technologies that can improve the delivery of public higher education as we know it.  We are eager to assist and foster their development of what will certainly be promising approaches to faculty engagement with adaptive courseware and improving learning outcomes for all students.”  

PLC Executive Director Meaghan Duff added, “We believe personalizing learning – accelerating the student learning process by tailoring the instructional environment to address the needs and skills of individual learners – with adaptive courseware can lead to better student learning outcomes within programs and increased degree attainment across higher education.  Faculty and pedagogical experts must play a central role in the adoption and delivery of digital courseware for adaptive technologies to take hold and to truly personalize learning for college and university students. We’re very excited about the potential impact these seven institutions will find over the course of the grant that could help reshape the way general education courses are delivered.”

APLU’s PLC conducted a competitive application process for public universities interested in the Adaptive Courseware Grant program. A panel comprised of six digital learning experts from across the country then conducted a rigorous review of the universities’ grant proposals.  All seven of the participating institutions are members of APLU. These public research universities have demonstrated experience with and capacity to support adaptive courseware use at institution-level scale. They also share a commitment to fundamental transformation of general education, closing attainment gaps among students facing the greatest challenges to access and success, and engaging faculty in teaching and learning redesign across multiple disciplines and departments. Enrolling more than 200,000 students annually, 35 percent of whom receive Pell grants, the seven institutions have the leadership engagement and organizational capacity for effecting substantial improvement in six-year graduation rates. The seven universities will be supported by APLU and PLC networks, which will capture and promote promising practices for personalizing learning with adaptive courseware.

Representatives from each of the seven institutions will travel to Washington, DC for a launch meeting at the end of July and institutions will begin adaptive courseware evaluation and adoption efforts immediately thereafter. 

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