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Higher Education

The Office of Educational Technology believes that the technologies available today provide us an opportunity to create a system of higher education that provides excellent education and ensures even greater equity for our students tomorrow.

The Higher Education Challenge

The learning ecosystem of the future:
How might we empower people to design their own learning journeys so they can lead purposeful and economically stable lives?

The Office of Educational Technology seeks bold ideas for how our postsecondary education system could be reimagined to foster equity and encourage learner agency and resilience. We seek specific pilots to move us toward a future in which all learners can achieve economic stability and lead purposeful lives. This Challenge invites participants to articulate a vision and then design pilot projects for a future ecosystem that expands access and draws on a broad postsecondary ecosystem.

Submissions are now closed. 

Reimagining the Role of Technology in Higher Education

Higher Education Supplement to the National Education Technology Plan

Reimagining the Role of Technology in Higher Education is written as a supplement to the National Educational Technology Plan (NETP), building on its principles and examining them in the context of the system of higher education. It sets a vision for use of educational technology to improve instruction, learning, and assessment, and that recognizes the role of technology in accelerating our efforts to address issues of access, affordability, and completion at a systemic level.

The supplement also explores the complex ecosystem of lifelong, lifewide postsecondary learning and the ways that technology can be used to serve the needs of all the students in our system of higher education. The supplement describes specific actions that institutions, instructors, researchers, and policymakers, can collaborate to ensure that the system of higher education continues to innovate and improve to provide all learners with opportunities for personal growth and prosperity.

Higher Education Innovation

Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP)

ED invited eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP experiment. Under this experiment, partnerships of postsecondary institutions, one or more non-traditional education providers, and a quality assurance entity will ensure transparency of student outcomes in learning and employment, and provide tools for ongoing quality improvement. Eligible programs will lead to a degree or certificate, build students’ transferable academic credits, and provide students with the ever-changing skills they need for today’s economy.

These partnerships will allow students—particularly low-income students—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations. The goals of the experiment are to: (1) test new ways of allowing Americans from all backgrounds to access innovative learning and training opportunities that lead to good jobs, but that fall outside the current financial aid system; and (2) strengthen approaches for outcomes-based quality assurance processes that focus on student learning and other outcomes. The experiment aims to promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes.

For more details about the experiment see the EQUIP program Information Page and the Federal Register Notice, which contains official details of the program.

Reimagining Higher Education in the Changing World

Technology is rapidly transforming the way we live, learn, and work. New jobs are emerging as others are lost to automation. People are living longer, yet switching jobs more often. These dramatic shifts call for a reimagining of the way we prepare for work and life—specifically, how we learn new skills and adapt to a changing economic landscape.

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