Gates Foundation Announces $9 Million in Grants to Support Breakthrough Learning Models in Postsecondary Education

Among other grants listed in the most recent announcment of proposals funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is this one:

$450,000 to the League for Innovation in the Community College to develop and pilot a national consortium of leading online two- and four-year colleges that will help increase seat capacity in the community college system and support more low-income young adults in attaining a postsecondary credential—in less time and at lower cost—without leaving their home community. This consortium, entitled Learning First, will initially include Coastline Community College (CA), the University of Massachusetts Online, Pennsylvania State World Campus, and the University of Illinois-Springfield.

It is interesting in that is involves a community college joining a consortium of out of state universities.  Could this be the an answer to very pressing two questions: 1) how to bring down higher education costs, and 2) how to make money with “massively open online courses” (MOOCs).

Gates foundation funding announcement.

League for Innovation: Learning First

The League for Innovation in the Community College was recently awarded $450,000 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support and pilot a national consortium of leading community colleges and online universities to provide opportunities to earn postsecondary degrees to underserved and low-income adults without leaving their own community.  The League’s announcement provides this brief description:

Learning First is a collaborative effort involving the University of Massachusetts Online (UMassOnline), Pennsylvania State University (Penn State World Campus), the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS), and Coastline Community College. Learning First participants will form a consortium to increase Coastline Community College’s capacity to serve students following a unique 1-2-1 partner articulation and concurrent enrollment model. This model will decrease the amount of time and cost required for students to earn a bachelor’s degree. Learning First’s priority will be low-income young adults seeking opportunities to earn associate and bachelor’s degrees from respected public institutions of higher education through online learning options. With its demonstrated successes, Learning First could stand as a model for serving tens of thousands of students at community colleges across California—and across the country—offering more successful college degree completion pathways, cost-effective online educational articulation options, and meeting the nation’s need for stronger workforce development.

More information on this initiative is available in the League for Innovation’s announcement.

Inside Higher ED: Making It Count

How to take a MOOC and get college credit ifographic

Paul Fain has an interesting article over at Inside Higher ED about a pathway to credit for students who participate in massively open online courses (MOOCs).  MOOCs are typically not credit-bearing, but this article discusses how that might all change over time.  Included is a discussion of prior learning assessment, how that often works, and its application to MOOCs.

The full article is here.

An Inside Higher Ed article on prior learning assessment is available here.