OPENING GATES' CHECKBOOK: What does the Gates Foundation believe will improve outcomes for low-income post-secondary students? It's willing to spend $20 million to find out. Announced today are seven finalists for the Next Generation Courseware Challenge, nearly all of whom feature some combination of the words "adaptive" and "open" on their homepages:
- Acrobatiq: Developer of science-based adaptive courses and data for personalized learning
- Cerego: Neuroscience-based learning platform that helps students retain information
- CogBooks: Adaptive web-based learning platform
- Rice University OpenStax: Provider of free digital textbooks
- Lumen Learning: Helps post-secondary and K-12 schools adopt open educational resources
- SmartSparrow: Allows instructors to create their own online adaptive courses
- Stanford University's Open Learning Initiative: Provider of 20 online courses from "American English Speech" to "STEM Readiness"
Fifty-one applications were received for the $20 million challenge; the field was cut to 17 organizations in July. These seven finalists will split the pot (exact amount still to be determined) to support a 36-month research period where they will put their tools to the test.