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:: See the Development Lead Application:: Preview the Contributing Member Application:: Preview the Network Member Applicaiton
APLU, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) of Carnegie-Mellon University have partnered to undertake course development (“courseware design”) using information technology and learning sciences. Six introductory college courses widely taken at both community colleges and universities will be the foci of cognitive courseware designs starting in calendar year 2012. This website now accepts applications for participation in one or more subject areas at either of two levels of involvement. Applications for “development lead institution partnerships” closed September 30, 2011.
This initiative is a rare opportunity for faculty to work with colleagues from other colleges and universities and with national leaders in instructional design, learning science, and instructional technology. Participants will learn about educational innovations that are proving to have significant positive impacts on learning outcomes in a growing number of disciplines and colleges and universities. Faculty participating in this initiative will help shape the future of learning with new instructional materials and technologies, and they also will have the opportunity to collaborate with peers in a learning community focused on helping more students succeed.
The project is focused on gateway courses that are key to many college degrees and that can be taught in a blended (or hybrid) manner. In each of the subject areas, the project teams will articulate a set of concepts and learning outcomes that a student in the course is expected to achieve. A goal is to attempt to reach consensus on a significant portion of the learning outcomes that constitute the core of that subject at the introductory level. This will entail conversation among a large community of faculty who teach the subject at universities and community colleges. The OLI team and the lead partnership faculty will then develop web-based learning experiences for students to support them to achieve the learning outcomes. These learning experiences can involve intelligent tutoring systems, virtual labs, simulations, and frequent opportunities for assessment and feedback. Following learning science precepts, the courseware design intends to make learning easier, faster, and more enjoyable for a potentially heterogeneous audience of students.
Continuous improvement and renewal and long-term usefulness and sustainability of the courseware developed are a major goal. The basic courseware developed will itself be made open access to individual students. Support and institutional use of learning meta-courseware will eventually involve modest fees to defray the costs of course evolution, renewal, and platform migration over time. This project is not-for-profit and for public educational benefit. With the advantages of information technology and with large scale adoptions, the materials are intended to be low cost to all users.
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Universities and community colleges can participate in this project at any one of three levels of involvement: Development Lead, Contributing Member, Improvement Network Member. As of October 2011, the project Steering Committee identified tentative development lead partnerships for six coursewares design projects.
For each of the subject areas, the project team will be composed of a subject matter expert (SME) faculty member at the lead university, a SME faculty member in the same field from the lead partner community college, SME faculty from other institutions, learning scientists, usability specialists and software engineers. The team will be led by an OLI course designer/project manager. Lead partnerships for a subject area are formed by an APLU university and an AACC community college, each with energetic faculty prepared to re-examine and re-imagine the introductory learning experience in the field. Together they must have a large number of students who will be anticipated to take the course annually once it is developed, and a faculty in the subject of a size, experience, and stature to contribute to curricular innovation. The team will be in dialog with faculty interested in that subject area from other institutions participating in the overall project, other Lead institutions for other subject areas, and Contributing, and Improvement Network member institutions in their subject areas.
Lead partnership faculty will ultimately be asked to elucidate for OLI designers the commonly accepted core concepts for the introductory course and the learning outcomes generally expected. (The project will seek endorsement of course content by disciplinary associations when appropriate.) Grant funding will be sought to provide reasonable release time for Lead participant faculty, estimated to be one full-time equivalent over the course of 6 months, and to support staff and cover overhead. Lead institution faculty must be open to innovations in teaching and learning and must have the support of their administration at all levels, at both the university and the community college. Course components and content generated and included in the courseware will be given institutional as well as author acknowledgment in the courseware. Development Lead institutions will be compensated from usage fees or grants for continuing efforts in leading renewal and evolution of the courseware over time.
:: Click here to see the current list of Development Lead partnerships and Contributing Members.
Any public two-year, four-year, or advanced degree institution can apply to be a contributing member for a subject area. The contributing members will participate in on-line discussions to define and circumscribe the concepts and content to be covered, and they will be expected to critique materials proposed for inclusion. They must have a significant number of students who will be anticipated to take the course annually once it is developed, and a faculty in the subject of a size and experience to contribute to curricular innovation. Course components and content offered by a contributing institution and accepted for inclusion will be given institutional as well as author acknowledgment in the courseware. Contributing members will be sites for the first uses of fully prepared coursewares (beta-test sites), and their suggestions for improvement will be given full consideration.
:: Click here for more information on being a contributing member, and to preview the application.:: Click here to see the current list of Development Leads partnerships and Contributing Members
Any public two-year, four-year, or advanced degree institution can apply to be a Network member for a subject area. The Network members will be kept informed of the progress of the courseware design project. They must have at least one course offered annually whose instructors will commit to using the courseware once it is developed. Network members will be test sites for the fully prepared courseware (gamma-test sites) and may offer suggestions for further improvement. Interested faculty will be maintained in the network of that subject area to help sustain the vitality of the courseware.
:: Click here for more information on being an improvement network member, and to preview the application.
The initiative can only succeed with robust faculty participation in the development and adaptation of the learning environments. Faculty can participate at different levels of involvement, depending on whether their campus is a Lead Development site, Contributing Member, or Network Member in a given subject area.
Selected faculty subject matter experts from lead partner colleges will be lead team members on the course development/adaptation team, which consists of learning scientists, assessment specialists, technical experts and a course design manager. This team will work to define the learning outcomes and develop the course content (expository text, learning activities, and assessments).
Faculty on the lead development team will participate in initial planning meetings beginning in 2012, and will work with learning scientists, assessment specialists, technical experts and a coursewares design manager to define learning outcomes and develop learning activities and assessments in 2012 and continuing during the 2012-13 academic year. These faculty will also use and evaluate course materials with their students beginning in Fall 2013 and will participate in revisions of course materials during the 2013-14 academic year.
Faculty will review and endorse learning outcomes, contribute some learning activities and/or assessment items, review and give input to the courseware design prior to implementation and use and evaluate the course with their students.
Faculty who participate as contributing members can participate in an initial planning workshop in 2012 and will review and suggest learning outcomes, contribute some learning activities and/or assessment items, and review and give input to the courseware design during the 2012-13 academic year. These faculty will also use and evaluate course materials with their students beginning in Fall 2013.
Faculty will use OLI course materials to support their teaching and participate in evaluation through in-person and/or web-based workshops and communities of practice with faculty from institutions across the state that are using and evaluating the courseware. Feedback and evaluations will be used to guide courseware development teams.
Faculty who participate as network members may participate in an initial planning workshop and will collect baseline data in Fall 2012 or Spring 2013. They will use and evaluate course materials with their students beginning Fall 2013 and will participate in a web-based community of practice in Fall 2013 with faculty from across the country who are using the new OLI course materials and framework.
Statements of interest in undertaking cognitive coursewares design in any large introductory course were solicited and received from APLU institutions. Based on the responses received and after considering national needs and trends, the project Steering Committee identified ten subject areas for further consideration. As of October 10, 2011, based on applications for Development Lead and for Contribunting Members received the Steering Committee selected the following six design projects to undertake:
Other subject areas will be candidates for inclusion in the project in a follow-on phase. Please email CourseWares@aplu.org to express interest in course wares development for another subject area in a next phase.
If your institution would like to be a Contributing Member, or Improvement Network Member please fill out the appropriate application.
As a separate but similar project, APLU may receive support to coordinate development of introductory courses in energy literacy. If your institution would like to join the network of faculty from over 20 universities to work on such a project, please send your name and institutional address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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