Southeast to Benefit From NGLC Grant for Blended Learning Implementation

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 8, 2011 — Southeast Missouri State University is the lead institution in a consortium of six Missouri universities that will benefit from a $250,000 Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) competition grant awarded to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the University of Central Florida (UCF).

The grant will fund the AASCU/UCF proposal, “Expanding Blended Learning Through Tools and Campus Programs”ᾰan initiative designed to expand adoption of blended learning to 20 participating AASCU member institutions, including Southeast Missouri State, through the development of a “Blended Learning Toolkit.” 

Based on proven best practices that have been successfully implemented by the University of Central Florida, the toolkit will include strategies for blended course design and delivery; open educational resource blended course models in composition and algebra; assessment and data collection protocols; and “train the trainer” materials and workshops.  In addition to distributing the toolkit and course materials to its members, AASCU will use its networks and conferences to work with the 20 collaborating institutions on blended learning implementation.

Dr. Ron Rosati, provost at Southeast Missouri State University, said, “We are looking at a way of collaboratively working together to develop the best educational models for our students.”

Under the initiative, Rosati says six universities in Missouri, including Southeast, will work together to develop models – or common sets of information — for teaching Algebra and English, which will be made available online to the partnering universities. Faculty at the partnering Missouri universities – Southeast, Harris-Stowe State University, Lincoln University of Missouri, Missouri Southern State University, Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis — will be able to use that information and then adapt it in developing Algebra and English curricula at their respective institution.

“Research says this is the best model for student learning,” Rosati said. “We are going to put our best minds together and come up with the best set of information for our students.”

Rosati says Southeast will begin building the model for its English classes this fall.

“The idea is that this model will be applied in other disciplines in the future,” he said.

George Mehaffy, AASCU’s vice president for academic leadership and change, said AASCU is  pleased to join with the University of Central Florida, an AASCU member, in the leadership of this pioneering project on course re-design.

“We are particularly excited about the participation of 20 of our AASCU campuses in this initiative.  Ten of the campuses will be individual participants, while an additional 10 have created multi-institutional partnerships in three states.”

Mehaffy noted that this course re-design project grows out of AASCU’s Red Balloon Project, which is an effort to re-imagine undergraduate education. 

“At a time of enormous challenge in higher education, this project is one more way that AASCU institutions are working to ensure that more Americans have both access and success in higher education,” said Mehaffy.  

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the NGLC seeks to improve college completion by supporting the sustainable adoption-at-scale of successful technology-enabled products, projects or service-based solutions in various challenge areas related to improving student learning, engagement and success. Of the 600 proposals submitted during the initial call, 50 were invited to submit full proposals and 29 were selected for funding. The project will officially launch April 8 and will be completed in a one-year period. 

All NGLC grants are managed by EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association dedicated to advancing higher education through the promotion of the intelligent use of information technology. For more information about the Next Generation Learning partnership, visit http://nextgenlearning.org/the-program/partners.

Collaborating institutions are as follows: Columbus State University (Ga.); Fayetteville State University (N.C.); Grambling State University (La.); Harris-Stowe State University (Mo.); Indiana University Kokomo; Lincoln University of Missouri; Missouri Southern State University; Missouri State University; Northwestern State University of Louisiana; St. Cloud State University (Minn.); Southeast Missouri State University; Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; The College at Brockport, State University of New York; Thomas Edison State College (N.J.); Troy University (Ala.); and the University of Maine at Fort Kent; University of Missouri-St. Louis; University of North Alabama; University of South Alabama; and Winona State University (Minn.).

AASCU is a Washington-based higher education association of nearly 420 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.