Online Learning Consortium Launches the ‘OLC Digital Learning Innovation Prize’

Annual prize competition will recognize exemplar higher education faculty and institutions for advancing and adopting next-generation digital courseware with a strong pedagogical focus and sustained impact on student success among underserved student groups.

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (Oct. 16, 2015) — The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of online learning worldwide, today announced it is launching the OLC Digital Learning Innovation Prize, an annual prize competition to recognize exemplar higher education faculty-led teams and institutions for advancing student success, particularly among underserved student groups, through adoption of digital courseware. Digital courseware refers to adaptive digital learning tools, including software that supports student learning such as games, apps and personalized content.

The OLC Digital Learning Innovation Prize, which is accompanied by a meaningful monetary reward, is supported by a $2.5 million grant OLC has received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the purpose of fostering effective practices in digital learning targeted at improving outcomes for underserved students.

“Access to quality online learning is at the heart of OLC’s mission,” said Kathleen S. Ives, D.M., CEO and executive director, Online Learning Consortium. “We are thrilled to be able to leverage our experience to recognize and reward faculty and institutions that are improving student success, particularly among underserved students.”

The new prize competition, with its distinct focus on digital courseware, will complement the annual OLC Awards, which offer recognition of excellence in online teaching and learning across a range of categories, such as leadership, faculty development, research and overall excellence.

The inaugural OLC Digital Learning Innovation Prize competition will open in January 2016, with a call for applicants in two prize categories:

  • The OLC Digital Learning Innovation Prize: Faculty-Led Team, a $10,000 prize, to be awarded to up to 10 faculty teams per year that have excelled in advancing and adopting next-generation digital courseware with a strong pedagogical focus and a sustained impact on student success in gateway courses
  • The OLC Digital Learning Innovation Prize: Institution, a $100,000 prize, to be awarded to up to three institutions per year that have showcased sustained innovation in the adoption and application of next-generation digital courseware on a broader scale that has resulted in improved student success in gateway courses among underserved student groups.

Winners of the OLC Digital Learning Innovation Prize will be announced annually at the International Online Learning Consortium Conference each fall, beginning in 2016.

Detailed information regarding the prize competition, including judging, requirements, submission guidelines and resources for preparing applications will be available on the OLC website in December.

Representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will join OLC on stage today, at the 21st Annual International Online Learning Conference (OLC2015), in Orlando, for a special session titled, “Showcasing Excellence And Innovation: Announcing A Faculty & Institutional Prize Competition For 2016.” During this session, representatives from the Gates Foundation and OLC will unveil more details about the OLC prize competition. Individuals who are unable to attend the session in person, may join virtually. To arrange access to this streamed session, visit http://olc.onlinelearningconsortium.org/conference/2015/aln/virtual-attendance.

About Online Learning Consortium

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), formerly The Sloan Consortium, is the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of online learning worldwide. The member-sustained organization offers an extensive set of resources for professional development and institutional advancement of online learning, including, original research, leading-edge instruction, best-practice publications, community-driven conferences and expert guidance. OLC members include educators, administrators, trainers and other online learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies and corporate enterprises. Visit http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/ for more information.

See our Gates Grant webpage for more details on the prize competition. 

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Media Contact:

Eileen Pacheco

508.888.7478

eileen.pacheco@onlinelearning-c.org