Southeast Among 13 Missouri Public Four-Year Universities to Receive Grant for Course Redesign

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 8, 2011 — Southeast Missouri State University, along with 12 other public four-year universities in Missouri, have been awarded a $250,000 Next Generation Learning Challenges grant to fund a project titled “The Missouri Learning Commons: Redesigning Gateway Courses at Scale.”

The funds will be used to redesign courses using technology to improve student learning and promote collaboration among Missouri’s universities. The 13 Missouri higher education institutions applied for the grant as part of a joint effort, under the umbrella of the Missouri Department of Higher Education, which is serving as the lead organization on the grant. Twenty-nine grant awards were made from 600 applications. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon launched the course redesign initiative for higher education in August. In turn, Southeast launched its own Course Redesign Initiative last fall. This process, which follows the National Center for Academic Transformation model of Course Redesign, focuses on increasing active learning and student learning outcomes with the help of current and new technologies. Course Redesign is also the newest AQIP Action Project at Southeast with five courses currently undergoing the Course Redesign process.

The grant will allow for 13 high-enrollment undergraduate courses to be redesigned using innovative and technology-based learning tools to improve student learning, persistence and program completion, and reduce instructional costs. Each of the 13 universities will redesign one course common to all institutions following the National Center for Academic Transformation’s practices. The partnering universities will eventually share their redesigned course materials with the 21 public two-year colleges in Missouri.

Next Generation Learning Challenges is a multi-year, collaborative initiative focused on identifying and accelerating the growth of effective education technology that can help improve college readiness and completion in the United States, especially among low-income individuals. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation helped design the Next Generation Learning Challenges, and fund the initiative. EDUCAUSE, an organization dedicated to advancing higher education through the use of technology, leads the Next Generation Learning Challenges.

Nixon has said the grant money will be supplemented by an additional $240,000 from Missouri’s public universities, $100,000 from the state, and $15,000 from the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

In addition to Southeast, the other 12 public four-year institutions are: Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis; Lincoln University in Jefferson City; Missouri Southern State University in Joplin; Missouri State University in Springfield; the four campuses of the University of Missouri System; Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph; Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville; Truman State University in Kirksville; and University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.