The Gates Foundation in partership with Educause has launched a Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC) seeking to dramatically improve college readiness and completion in the United States through the use of information technology, especially for the benefit of low-income young adults. The program provides investment capital, builds evidence, and fosters an active community of innovators and adopters in pursuit of this goal. The program emphasizes identifying proven and emerging technology‐enabled solutions, and moving them from “islands of innovation” to greater scale.

BCcampus and some of its BC public post secondary institutional partners is participating in two grant applications to this program.

One application is for The North American Network of Science Labs. Participants in this application include:

The North American Network of Science Labs Online builds on the success of the open educational science courseware and the Remote Web-based Science Laboratory (RWSL) developed in BC by North Island College, College of the Rockies, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Vancouver Island University and Thompson Rivers University through BCcampus Online Program Development Funds. This work will be replicated by the Colorado Community College System and other two and four year institutions from Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. WICHE, a nonprofit organization with 15 member states, will serve as the coordinating partner and fiscal agent. This initiative will reuse the open licensed biology, chemistry and physics courses in BC and permit students to login to the web site of a remotely located science lab and request control of remote instrements through an interface including instrument and camera controls.

The grant application has five primary goals:

  1. Scale the biology, chemistry and physics courses
  2. Evaluate and modify the online courses based on formative evaluations and outcomes based assessments
  3. Form a multi-institution advisory committee to further refine the RWSL courses
  4. Create a template for scaling remote labes to a North American federated network of institutions
  5. Share and disseminate lessons learned and best practices for designing and teaching lab baseed science courses online

The second application is an Open Educational Resources (OER) Playlist Consortium. Participants in this application include:

The OER Playlist Consortium will:

  1. Create an aggregator, with a WYSIWIG interface, that allows subject matter experts (SMEs) to easily collect in one place related OER/digital learning objects called playlists.
  2. Engage subject matter experts in writing/recording transition pieces to give context and coherence to the playlists
  3. Create playlists for high-demand, gatekeeper courses such as Sociology 1 or basic skills classes such as remedial English
  4. House playlists on multiple OER repositories
  5. Utilize playlists in existing courses offered at multiple institutions

These applications are pre-proposals with calls for full proposals expected January 24, 2011. We’re thrilled to see the pioneering work of BC public post secondary institutions and BCcampus being recognized in this way and hope these applications come to fruition.

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