The Northeastern University College of Professional Studies, Shoreline Community College, and CogBooks Ltd. have formed a new partnership on an adaptive learning pilot that will tailor course material for individual students.
The Adaptive Learning Market Acceleration Program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will guide and inform the approach to online classes at Northeastern and Shoreline using technology developed by CogBooks, an adaptive learning platform, according to a statement.
Adaptive learning technologies promise to transform online education by making the student the center of the learning experience. Course content in the new teaching method is modified by software to adapt to an individual student's pace and learning, to fit his or her demonstrated needs.
Currently, the Northeastern and Shoreline teams are working on bringing adaptive learning to four courses from Shoreline's catalog, which are slated to begin January 2014. The pilot program is designed to support students in their studies, improving learning outcomes, with both Northeastern and Shoreline teams analyzing the results with the goal to implement successful elements of the project on a wider scale.
"As one of the first universities to employ online learning in our programs since 1998, Northeastern University College of Professional Studies knows not only what makes online programs successful – for both students and the faculty who teach them – but has a vested interest in the future of online learning," said John LaBrie, dean of the college and vice president for professional education.
Students will be able to earn Shoreline credits that can be transferred into programs at Northeastern either for online classes or at Northeastern's Seattle campus, a graduate-program campus in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.
The Seattle campus is headed by Tayloe Washburn, who also sits on the board of Shoreline.
The College of Professional Studies offers over 60 programs online in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Shoreline's Virtual College offers more than 25 degrees and certificates, including the foundational two-year Associate in Arts degree, completely online.
Kevin Bell, project lead and executive director of curriculum development and deployment at the Northeastern University College of Professional Studies, said: "We are excited to collaborate on such an innovative learning technology that will enhance the learning environment leveraging the best of emerging technologies wedded to solid pedagogy and design. We reviewed a number of the adaptive learning providers and the Cogbooks platform really impressed with its potential to personalize and support learners."
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the charitable foundations supporting online education by providing funds to various institutions interested in improving the medium. The Foundation recently gave a $97,200 grant to the University of Texas at Arlington to host a conference where educators will discuss the effectiveness of new trends in online learning.
Researchers from across the U.S., Canada and Australia will talk about their research on how massive open online courses (MOOCs) can personalize learning and change the dynamics of traditional forms of education. UT Arlington was selected to host the MOOCs initiative because of its strong presence in online learning.