Digital Learning Innovation Award
Online Learning Consortium (OLC) hosts an annual award showcasing the exemplary use of digital courseware to improve student success, especially among minority, first-generation and other underrepresented student groups. With a focused lens on increasing the number of undergraduate students who complete foundation or gateway courses, the award will recognize projects that inspire innovation, increase access, support implementation, improve outcomes, enable accessibility, and promote sustainability in the use of digital courseware.
While funding initiatives have informed the emerging use of digital courseware in post-secondary education, faculty projects or institutional implementations can motivate other institutions through successes and barriers. More institutions need to add their own experiences with digital courseware initiatives to continue advancing the field. For that reason, only projects that are at a stage of implementation with measurable success and lessons learned should apply for this award.
To accelerate the successful implementation of digital courseware that results in increased student success, OLC has two categories of awards:
● Institutional Award – $100,000 (up to three awarded);
● Faculty-led Team Award – $10,000 (up to 10 awarded).
Recommendations and lessons learned related to the following dimensions will be included in the growing body of knowledge related to digital courseware: innovation, access, implementation, outcomes, accessibility and sustainability. OLC is dedicated to sharing these recommendations in a series of public forums including webinars, white papers, and conference presentations. Communities of practice may evolve to further engagement and sharing. In addition to expanding the current digital courseware body of knowledge, an auxiliary OLC quality scorecard focused on the implementation/integration of digital courseware in colleges and universities will be created; a direct alignment with OLC’s mission to support quality online education.
Exemplary Digital Courseware Projects
Novel projects that inspire innovation have overcome or removed a barrier that makes adopting change models or academic transformation difficult. Those barriers may be at the classroom level or across an institution. Overcoming these barriers will have resulted in pedagogical or structural innovation that will benefit other institutions.
Effective projects will have increased access to learning content for underrepresented or underserved student populations through digital courseware. Examples of increased access include low cost options of required content for students or immediate access to course content upon course enrollment. Access can also be experienced through intuitive design or user interface or mobile design.
Consciously accessible projects evidence access for all learners through Universal Design and Section 508 compliance. Projects with intentionally individualized adaptability and accessibility in the digital courseware as defined by WC3. Accessibility is determined by the flexibility of the learning environment with respect to content presentation, learner control methods of course structure or access mode, and learner supports. Accessibility for all includes the availability of adequate alternative-but-equivalent content and activities. Accessibility in the project can be addressed through the courseware standards and the institutional procedures during implementation through instructional design teams and individual instructors.
Successful projects can be generalized and replicated or otherwise inspire other institutions seeking to increase student success through a digital courseware initiative. The project can be articulated through a comprehensive timeline. Successful implementation depicts the project team as a comprehensive partnership across academic and support units with clear institutional leadership. The project addresses faculty development, student support, and vendor partnerships.
Exceptional projects evidence quality and accountability. A quality project is situated in the learning sciences as indicated by the barriers addressed and the identified solution criteria. Accountability is evidenced in the details of impact, specifically student success measures. Projects that address the application of data in their development or the use of digital courseware analytics to drive implementation and substantiate accountability.
Sustainable projects have a clearly articulated plan for advancing or expanding the current initiative. A projected timeline evidences continued advancement of the core impact in a period that indicates institutional adoption. The plan addresses furthered faculty development and student support.