About the Digital Learning Network (DLN)

Digital learning is a game changer for higher education, but for the people and tools driving the transformation to be effective they need more robust ways to co-create, iterate, and communicate about new approaches to teaching and learning. That’s why we’re excited to launch the beta version of our Digital Learning Network, an evolving community and compendium of resources for people who want to shape technology’s influence on higher ed—together.

This network is a work in progress—a point of departure and not the final product. We welcome and encourage your feedback!

Goals and Objectives

In creating, building, and continuously iterating the Digital Learning Network, we have two primary objectives:

  • Explore digital learning practices and products to improve equity, access and affordability for all students, with an emphasis on first-generation and non-traditional learners
  • Connect higher-ed community members with one another and to sources of information and inspiration; we want to support you in co-creating, refining and disseminating your work.

These objectives are our touchstones. They guide our work, from the research we curate and news we report to the relationships we help foster. In addition, the critical nodes of the Digital Learning Network can be represented by what we define as the “4 P’s.” In order of importance these are:

  • People - fostering relationships between educators, institutional leaders, entrepreneurs, students and researchers
  • Pedagogy - bridging gaps between research and application through analysis and case studies with the understanding that context matters
  • Practices - telling stories about, and with, emerging leaders on campuses that are pushing the boundaries of digital learning
  • Products - providing objective, independent information about tools that support digital learning


While we aim to be problem solvers, we are first listeners and absorbers of the immense change that is occurring within higher ed and digital learning. The news stories, product index, and network-building opportunities are a result of our ongoing user research with the people at the forefront of making digital learning work for all students in higher education. If you’re interested in being a part of our research process, please let us know!

User Research:

Over the past seven months we’ve spent hundreds of hours on the phone, at conferences and scouring research reports and the internet. We’ve spoken with everyone from community college faculty to directors of digital learning at large public universities, to the undersecretary of education and students themselves. Our goal is to not only to engage with seasoned digital learning leaders but also individual faculty experimenting with blended learning for the first time. The breakdown of our interviews is represented below:

These interviews have illuminated how campuses identify instructional challenges and redesign courses to address them. We’ve learned how institutional change unfolds and explored the often painful process of selecting and implementing new technologies. The questions we asked centered around:

  • What problem(s) are you trying to solve?
  • What is your approach to digital learning?
  • What are the biggest barriers to selecting and implementing digital learning products?
  • Were your digital learning initiatives successful? How did you know?

Have any questions about our user research process or want to get involved? Drop us a line at highered@edsurge.com!

About EdSurge

EdSurge helps schools find, select and use the right technology to support all learners. EdSurge HigherEd is a hub for innovators rethinking how higher ed can use technology to meet the needs of modern learners. We focus on publishing high-quality content, developing useful tools, and building communities.

Our Partners

Creating the Digital Learning Network has been a highly collaborative undertaking. In addition to EdSurge, an array of organizations passionate about learning and equity have partnered in this effort to research, analyze, interpret and articulate the transformational changes taking place in higher education.

About Tyton Partners

Tyton Partners is the leading advisory firm to the global knowledge sector. With dedicated practices in investment banking and strategy consulting, the firm has an experienced team of professionals who deliver a unique spectrum of services from M&A and capital markets access to strategy development that helps companies, organizations, institutions and investors navigate the complexities of the education, media, and information markets.

About SRI Education

SRI Education, a division of SRI International, is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. SRI works with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation.

About the Online Learning Consortium (OLC)

OLC 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.

About Mindwires

MindWires Consulting helps schools, educational companies and policy-makers to navigate the new world of digital education.

About Intentional Futures (iF)

Intentional Futures is a modern consultancy that believes the world will improve when more people are able to innovate effectively. By combining strategy, design and focused execution, iF helps courageous leaders turn vision into reality.


EdSurge Digital Learning Network

The beta site of EdSurge Digital Learning Network reflects several months of research, interviews, design, and development partnership coordination led by the EdSurge team. We are very thankful for the faculty, administrators, instructional designers, companies, and other higher ed professionals whose contributions have shaped the resources on this site. Additionally, a number of EdSurgents (as we like to call ourselves) continue to devote tremendous time and energy to EdSurge HigherEd and we are extremely thankful for the great team we have!

Our Team

EdSurge HigherEd
  • Director of EdSurge HigherEd: Allison Dulin Salisbury
  • Project Leaders: Sunny Lee and Seth Greenberg
  • Editor in Chief: Laurie Seidler
  • Writers: Marguerite McNeal, Ray Batra, Andrew Rikard and various Contributors
  • UX/UI Designers and Graphic Support: Aaron Tate, Opus Design
  • Engineers: Agustin Vilaseca, Ceane Lamerez, Andrew Hood, John Paul Ashenfelter
  • Project Advisors: Betsy Corcoran, Tyler McNally, Howard Kao

Courseware in Context (CWIC) Framework

The CWiC Framework owes much to the support and engagement of a diverse group of individuals and organizations. We extend our gratitude to the individuals on our Advisory Committee, who provided input and feedback and supported ideation around the content and form on the CWiC Framework throughout our development process. The members of our Advisory Committee are:

  • Tom Cavanagh, Associate Vice President of Distributed Learning, University of Central Florida
  • Meaghan Duff, Executive Director of the Personalized Learning Consortium, APLU
  • Dale Johnson, Adaptive Program Manager, EdPlus at Arizona State University
  • Kara Monroe, Vice President of Academic Innovation and Support, Ivy Tech Community College
  • Larry Rudman, Vice President of Instructional Design and Research, Kaplan
  • Allison Dulin Salisbury, Director of Higher Education Strategy, EdSurge
  • Karen Vignare, Founder and CEO of KV Consulting, Innovate Learning
  • Eddie Watson, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, UGA

Institutional pilots in the Spring of 2016 informed the content and shape of the CWiC Framework. We appreciate the time and efforts of individuals from the following institutions for their contributions:

  • University of Central Florida
  • Ivy Tech Community College
  • University of Georgia

Also vital to the refinement of the framework was input collected from digital courseware vendors through a survey and interviews.

Thanks also to the Postsecondary Success team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their support of this work.

What's next in digital learning?

Stay on top of new developments with the Digital Learning Network.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Digital Learning Network was supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. EdSurge retains sole editorial control and responsibility for the content on this site. All stories, opinions, beliefs and findings published on this site were generated independently by EdSurge.

Additional Feedback?

Have feedback or questions, let us know at highered@edsurge.com!


Digital Learning is evolving at lightning speed. EdSurge is building a network of digital learning leaders, educators and innovators to connect people at the leading edge of higher ed and to spotlight tools, data and stories that empower them to drive change. Join the network and let us know your thoughts!

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