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THE POWER OF COLLABORATION. By working together, Unizin members are improving the costs and benefits of the essential digital services that support learning.

Unizin Consortium wins 2017 Campus Technology Impact Award

Industry magazine recognizes IU, other research institutions for efforts to improve the digital learning experience

The Unizin Consortium, a group of research institutions dedicated to enhancing learner success with digital technology—and co-founded by Indiana University—has won the 2017 Campus Technology Impact Award in the category of IT infrastructure and systems.

Campus Technology is a higher education technology magazine. The Impact Awards “honor exemplary colleges and universities that are making an extraordinary impact with technology on campus, doing important work in the service of teaching, learning, administration and operations,” according to the website. The Impact Awards are the successor to Campus Technology’s annual Innovators Awards.

Founded in 2014 by Indiana University, the University of Michigan, the University of Florida, and Colorado State University, Unizin has grown to 25 institutions working to influence the digital learning landscape by focusing on content, learning environment platforms, and data.

Unizin is about tipping the table in favor of students and faculty by collectively owning . . . the essential infrastructure and data that enables digital learning on our campuses and beyond.

Brad Wheeler, Unizin board chair, Indiana University CIO, IU Kelley School of Business professor

By working together, Unizin members are improving the costs and benefits of the essential digital services that support learning. Rather than campuses leading and lagging each other and each having to again create a service or execute a contract, Unizin members are accelerating best practice in digital course content, educational tools, and big data analytics across the membership. 

“In today’s higher education landscape, students and faculty want an ecosystem that brings together tools for collaboration, better mobile experiences, visual‑ and media‑based discussions, real‑time classroom annotation and more,” said Amin Qazi, Unizin chief executive officer. “By providing a common infrastructure based on open standards, Unizin tools and services help universities engage, educate and inspire all students.”

For example, Unizin and the Big Ten Academic Alliance are collaborating on an initiative called Content Camp, which supports faculty from across institutions in authoring free, open assessment banks that support the adoption of open educational resources in large courses.

“By developing a collection of high-quality, peer-reviewed assessment items, Content Camp removes a significant obstacle instructors encounter when switching to open educational resources,” explained Liv Gjestvang, Unizin board member and associate vice president at The Ohio State University. “Content Camp is a great example of collaboration among Unizin institutions. It’s a project that brings faculty from across our institutions together to create more affordable, high-quality learning opportunities for students.”

“Decades ago, universities slowly lost control of the research journals, and U.S. universities now collectively pay over $1 billion a year to rent the right to read our own scholarship. Unizin was founded to help ensure that does not happen again in our core mission of education,” said Brad Wheeler, Unizin board chair, Indiana University chief information officer, and professor in the IU Kelley School of Business. “Unizin is about tipping the table in favor of students and faculty by collectively owning—buying, developing and connecting—the essential infrastructure and data that enables digital learning on our campuses and beyond.” 

The 2017 Impact Award winners will be featured in Campus Technology’s October issue, with in-depth profiles following over the next few months. Read the full list of awardees: https://campustechnology.com/impact.