Boy, I’d love to see UMaine Augusta be a part of this initiative! The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other nonprofit education groups are pledging $20 million specifically for post secondary online classes, especially those geared toward community colleges. UMA isn’t technically a community college (I think those are 2-year, associates degree schools), but it does serve a wide community of commuting and distance learners.
The grant money is to be used for developing online courses and tools that can be shared across networks of colleges. I wonder if UMA’a new collaboration with the Center for Distance Learning at UAF qualifies?
Pipe dream, maybe. But I think it’s significant that Gates is putting so much money toward web-based learning. He recognizes online education as a crucial piece of future success for colleges and for students. “Innovation is your only hope,” he says, “And the only new game in town is technology.”