The University of North Carolina’s Learning Technology Commons has been recognized as part of the 2017 “Bright Ideas in Government” initiative, awarded by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Learning Technology Commons was created by the University in January 2016 to allow greater input from the 20,000 faculty members across UNC’s 17 campuses to curate digital learning products available and build a community of educators who share learning outcomes and user experiences with those products. Faculty and staff can access the commons to identify which tools are appropriate for their needs, which expedites the purchasing cycle for classrooms and departments.
"The UNC Learning Technology Commons is part of movement for evidence-based decision making in education that puts student learning outcomes at the center,” said Matthew Rascoff, vice president for technology-based learning and innovation. “We are gratified that this project was recognized by the Innovations in Government Program as a 'Bright Idea' and hope this honor helps focus the education community on efficacy and outcomes.”
The Ash Center recognizes programs from all levels of government – school districts, county, city, state, federal agencies, tribal nations, and public-private partnerships -- that represent the next horizon in government work to improve services, solve problems, and work on behalf of citizens.
“These programs demonstrate that there are no prerequisites for doing the good work of governing,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center. “Small towns and massive cities, huge federal agencies and local school districts, large budgets or no budgets at all — what makes government work best is the drive to do better, and this group proves that drive can be found anywhere.”
The Commons is part of the fifth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program. For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching, have sufficient operational resources, and must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.
The UNC Learning Technology Commons makes it easier for ed tech companies to work with UNC. Providers can expect at least four benefits: increased visibility among UNC faculty, staff and students; published inclusion in the Commons; an accelerated purchasing process among UNC campuses; and valuable learning from faculty users who offer feedback on the products.
Written by Phillip Ramati