Making Smart Decisions about Digital Learning with the CWiC Framework

Concurrent Session 2
OLC Session

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Brief Abstract

Explore the new interactive CWiC Framework, a tool developed to enable institutions to better evaluate digital courseware products and digital learning implementations.


Gates joined Tyton Partners as a partner in 2011 in the strategy consulting practice. Gates is an experienced general manager and strategy consultant with a successful track record for bridging the gap between innovative strategy and practical execution. Prior to joining Tyton Partners, Gates was an executive with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, working in strategy, product management, and finance during a period of dramatic change in the educational publishing and technology industry. Prior to joining Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Gates spent seven years as a strategy consultant with the Parthenon Group. He advised clients on issues of revenue growth, profit improvement, and opportunities for mergers and acquisitions in the information, education, publishing, and technology industries. Gates began his career as an investment consultant with Cambridge Associates where he evaluated global private equity and venture capital funds on behalf of foundations, endowments and other institutions. From 2010 to 2014, Gates served on the start-up team of Edify, a US-based nonprofit that provides microloans, curriculum, and training to Christian schools in Africa and Latin America. Gates holds a BA in Government from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth.
Karl Rectanus is an educator, entrepreneur and advisor. As cofounder and CEO of Lea(R)n, an education innovation firm empowering educators and their organization to manage, measure and improve tech-enabled instruction (and their budgets) through its research-backed LearnPlatform, his team has rapidly improved instructional and budget decisions while being named a Kaplan Techstars company, 2014 Technology Company of the Year in Education, SxSWedu LAUNCHedu, 2016 EdTech Digest District Data Tool of the Year and grant winner from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, AT&T and others. In under two years, over 10,000 educators and their schools, districts, states and institutions trust the LearnPlatform so they can focus on learning. Originally an educator and school administrator in the US and abroad, Karl leveraged his domain expertise to build products, teams and sales at eCivis – a SaaS company transforming local government, education and non-profit grants management – leading to 70%+ annual growth for 7 years. In 2008, he became founding leader of NC STEM Community Collaborative, which rapidly became a national leader and North Carolina’s public-private partnership for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; there he worked with communities, leaders, businesses and internationally recognized foundations in every sector to improve access, policy and impact of STEM education for all kids. His efforts, expertise and humor have garnered respect across an extensive network in education, policy, foundation and entrepreneurial communities, where he is a frequent adviser and public speaker. As a consultant, board member and adviser, he has helped lead the creation and growth of many large- and small-scale innovations across public and private sectors, including STEMx (the national network of STEM states), GetElected (online learning for citizens to start, run and win campaigns), Futures for Kids, and the Hire Standards, NC coalition. Karl serves as senior adviser to the NC Chamber Foundation’s education and entrepreneurship efforts. He has led multiple peer-reviewed research efforts and results-focused initiatives to scale education innovations that work. Karl has lived, worked and studied in more than 12 countries (4 continents), and was an NC Teaching Fellow and James M Johnston Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, with graduate work at UCLA’s Anderson Business School and CalTech Executive Extension. Karl, his wife and three daughters now live in Raleigh, NC.
Emma Zone has been leading and teaching for nearly 20 years. Emma specialties include faculty experience and classroom engagement strategy, faculty operations and development, instructional quality processes, co-curricular support, and faculty-student engagement. Emma has experience driving cross-functional collaboration to impact student success. In addition, Emma has experience leading and supporting large scale courseware and digital tool implementations, and she shares in the national conversation on leveraging innovative technology in large, complex educational organizations. Emma has teaching experience spanning the secondary, community college, and university levels. She has been long-committed to discovering, applying, and supporting innovation in the classroom to impact meaningful change for students and faculty. Emma earned her BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, MA in English from DePaul University. She also holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. Emma's professional interests include student success initiatives, faculty engagement and development, scaling and supporting educational technology solutions, and leadership development. When she is not tweeting, writing, or presenting about teaching and learning, edtech, and higher ed, you will find Emma shuttling her kids to their various activities or taking her rescued lab mix on long walks.

Extended Abstract

The Courseware in Context (CWiC) Framework was released in 2016 to help postsecondary decision-makers to navigate a key element of the digital learning landscape - courseware - by offering tools to evaluate products and implementations. In Spring 2017, an interactive version of the framework will be released on the Lea(R)n platform, enabling information sharing with vendors, data collection and analysis potential to optimize and extend the impact of the CWiC Framework to support smart digital learning decisions.  

  • Build familiarity with the CWiC Framework and how it can be applied at your institution 
  • Learn about the interactive features available in the CWiC Framework on the Lea(R)n platform