In August, OpenStax received a $9 million grant to develop personalized interactive textbooks for advance-placement biology and high school physics. Now, the nonprofit publisher based at Rice University is turning its attention to personalized courseware for college students as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Next Generation Courseware Challenge.
OpenStax will use its portion of the $20 million Challenge fund to work on personalized learning technology that can deliver tailored lessons to help students learn at their own pace. It plans to use the new technology in some upcoming textbooks. The goal of the Challenge is to develop personalized digital courseware that will help low-income and disadvantaged student succeed in their college courses.
OpenStax was one of seven finalists named by the Gates Foundation at the Educause 2014 conference. The other finalists are Acrobatiq, Cerego, CogBooks, Lumen Learning, Smart Sparrow, and the Open Learning Initiative at Stanford University.
“Students learn best when education is personalized to their needs and goals,” said Daniel Greenstein, director of postsecondary success at the foundation. “There is a growing body of evidence that courseware, when integrated effectively by faculty in instruction, can personalize learning at unprecedented scale, potentially enabling all students—not just those who are able to attend the most elite, expensive colleges—to get the best and most effective education at a reasonable price.”