Digital Learning Collaboration – The Simon Initiative

An article by Inside Higher Ed has reported that Carnegie Mellon University will be opening the largest database on student learning to the public with the intention of identifying the best practices and standards for using technology in the classroom. A council of higher education leader, education technology experts, and industry representatives will support the initiative in distributing the data and guiding the conversation.

The announcement outlined four major goals for the initiative: sharing rich data globally, helping teachers teach, accelerating innovation and scaling through start-up companies, and improving residential students’ educational experience.

The Science of Learning Center, a member of the initiative, has already accumulated more than 500,000 hours’ worth of student data. Studies that the center has collected are available on an open wiki.

Much of the data is already publicly available so the announcement primary goal is to draw attention to the collection, and extending an invitation to researchers to analyze and contribute their own data. The director of the learning center, Ken Koedinger stated, “We’ve been quietly doing it, and now we want to make the world know that it’s available.”

The council’s inaugural members used the announcement to highlight topics that they hope to discuss in the coming months, one of which was the interest in establishing standards for high-quality online education, mentioned by Hunter Rawlings. He also went on to say “I think the main thing is to try to develop some standards for evaluation online education, and perhaps eventually some metrics for how one measures the value of online pedagogy.”