What is the CIN?

The College Innovation Network (CIN) connects member educational organizations with a universe of EdTech innovations designed to advance student academic, career, and life outcomes. CIN functions are facilitated by WGU Labs, and funding for the initial piloting phase comes from the Charles Koch Foundation. 

What kinds of institutions are eligible to become members of CIN?

College Innovation Network will recruit post-secondary education providers with a broad access admission policy, which can include both traditional and non-traditional institutions such as 4-year colleges and universities; community colleges; HBCUs; career schools, technical schools, or vocational / trade schools; or for-profit organizations.

We envision 6 to 10 founding members, with an open-door policy toward like-minded institutions. Institutions joining early will guide Network priorities and success measures. All members will participate in real-world pilot testing and open sharing/collaboration.  

What does my organization gain by participating? 

The CIN aims to support member institutions’ goals of improving success by gaining access to innovative EdTech tools, and ensuring efficacy at all stages of the implementation. Specifically, CIN members will have access to the following benefits, at no cost to their institutions: 

  • innovative EdTech solutions, tailored to their institution’s specific needs
  • support from WGU Labs during the customization, selection, and evaluation of promising EdTech solutions
  • a network of mutually committed institutions, with whom collaboration and best-practices can be harbored

How much does it cost to become a member?

All costs associated with CIN membership and piloting EdTech innovations will be covered for founding members thanks to generous funding from the Charles Koch Foundation.

What does my organization commit to doing if we join?

CIN members are expected to:

  • participate in the needs assessment process
  • attend an annual convening*
  • assist in the evaluation of the pilot 
  • assist in sharing the insights from the project

*Travel costs for up to 2 member representatives will be covered by the CIN.

How do we identify an EdTech need on our campus?

An in-depth assessment includes a conversation with your school’s administrators; a review of existing publicly available data and reports related to extent EdTech solutions; input from current students through survey sampling and/or focus groups

WGU Labs will oversee the coordination of the needs assessment effort on your campus. We ask that you also have a dedicated person who can coordinate with WGU Labs to access the required information and data in order to effectively conduct the needs assessment.

How will the EdTech solutions be chosen?

We expect innovation to originate from both inside and outside the Network including companies, nonprofits, and individuals such as researchers and faculty. 

WGU Labs’s unique combination of capabilities supports innovators along the path from idea to scaling venture. We offer:

  • problem and solution discovery
  • product design and development 
  • business development and growth services

How are the EdTech products sourced and validated?

Using a data-driven, research-backed approach, WGU labs will collaborate with member organizations to source and/or create technology-based solutions that specifically target and address your students’ unique learning needs. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Identify critical student needs
  2. Match those needs with potential solutions
  3. Design and implement solutions
  4. Test rigorously in real-world situations, centered on students and faculty to confirm product efficacy
  5. Highlight effective products for the Network

What does the evaluation phase consist of?

This depends on the specific EdTech solution being evaluated and your organization’s capacity to access and share relevant data. Essentially, however, we will work with your team to implement an existing EdTech product into your existing processes; integrate some metrics to determine impact; and access data related to the specific outcomes we expect to be impacted by the EdTech solution.

How long is the pilot phase? What is the first-year plan?

There will be two initial piloting phases as part of this collaboration. The first will be early in the 2020 academic year, and the second will be early in the 2021 academic year. Each of these piloting phases will vary based on the specific EdTech solution being tested, and the relevant data that is required to effectively gauge impact. The specifics will be decided on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with your organization’s input and capacity.

Who at my organization will be involved?

Members institutions will designate a faculty or staff member to liaison with the CIN. This person will support the implementation and evaluation of the pilot project and coordinate all other activities to take place at the member institution. CIN will in turn communicate and collaborate as needed with the liaison to ensure that the liaison can fulfill this role.

What is CIN’s plan to protect and secure student data?

To commit to an effective evaluation process, WGU Labs may need to obtain access to individual-level, de-identified data for historical analyses and intervention evaluation purposes. Because academic record data are confidential and subject to legal privacy protections, each institution will take steps to ensure data sharing is legal and secure. It will be the responsibility of the Partner Institution to provide WGU Labs with proper legal permissions to access these data, and it will be the responsibility of the WGU Labs to use reasonable business efforts to keep such data secure and private. Both WGU Labs and Partner Institution will jointly own the data.

See Data Access and Security Document for the details.