As the premier open-access public online learning institution in the nation, UMUC is working with a growing number of students who are either priced out of the market or not well served by current traditional educational institutions.
The Center for Innovation in Learning and Student Success (CILSS) is a laboratory for continuous improvements to the university's instruction of curriculum, learning models, and student support to
- Identify promising innovations for underserved populations in adult higher education
- Drive adoption of next-generation transformational online learning
- Develop new educational models based on learning science, cutting-edge technology, and improved instructional methods
- Help more UMUC adult students succeed by increasing retention and graduating more students in shorter time frames (thus reducing their costs)
Research and development arm of UMUC
Leveraging technology and pedagogy in innovative ways is key to the center's work. CILSS serves as the research and development arm for the university, promoting innovative ideas and breakthroughs in learning. The center monitors research and developments in areas related to supporting student success, such as adaptive learning, social computing, gaming and virtual models, mobile and ubiquitous computing, open education, learning analytics, and semantic and natural language technologies.
Particular areas of focus include
- New models for diagnostics that assess students' skills and readiness for college
- Program designs that emphasize learning by doing
- Adaptive learning course designs
- Methods for competency-based education
Collaboration is key
Faculty, administrators, and staff serve as collaborators and research designers on demonstration projects. As new technologies or instructional methods are found to boost learning outcomes, attention will shift to broad and rapid implementation. While the center is clearly focused on improving the educational outcomes for students, it is also addressing cost issues so that higher education becomes more affordable.