What is CIN?

The College Innovation Network (CIN) is a grant-funded initiative that connects educational institutions with technology solutions to promote student belonging, engagement, and equity. We support institutions by  identifying areas of need, supporting the implementation of effective education technology for students, and evaluating impact through research. Our goal is to have a meaningful impact on higher education at large by working collaboratively with our member institutions to ensure that each member gets the support they need to meet their institution’s student experience goals from enrollment through graduation – and beyond.

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

CIN recruits post-secondary education providers with a broad access admission policy and/or those serving primarily underserved or underrepresented students, which can include both traditional and non-traditional institutions such as 4-year colleges and universities, community colleges, HBCUs, career schools, technical schools, and vocational / trade schools. 

What does my organization gain by participating? 

CIN engages with our member institutions across three primary engagement pathways to ensure that each member gets the support they need to meet their institution’s student experience goals from enrollment through graduation – and beyond. Here’s what to expect when you joining CIN:

  • EdTech Cycle of Support: Our EdTech Cycle of Support is our core service offering to institutions in which we help institutions identify their student needs, implement an EdTech solution(s) to address those needs, and rigorously evaluate the impact of those solutions on student outcomes identified by the institution.
  • EdTech Survey Series: Our EdTech Survey Series is an annual network-wide survey study that leverages the diversity of our member institutions to generate knowledge and actionable insights about student and faculty experiences with EdTech, learning, and teaching.
  • Community of Practice: Our Community of Practice is a manifestation of the CIN members’ dedication to learning from like-minded peers. CIN hosts regular network events throughout the year, including an annual on-site convening, to fulfill our vision of collaborative innovation in higher education.

Learn more about these offerings by downloading this resource.

What does my organization commit to if we join?

By joining CIN, Members are asked to:

  • participate in the EdTech Cycle of Support and the EdTech Survey Series 
  • attend and participate in Network events, including our bi-monthly virtual Partnership in Practice calls and our annual in-person convening
  • assist in extracting and sharing insights from CIN research

How do we identify an EdTech need on our campus?

CIN conducts a personalized assessment with each member institution to identify high-level gaps in belonging and engagement across the student lifecycle as well as potential solutions to help address them moving forward. We utilize both publicly available data and direct data sources (i.e. surveys, qualitative interviews, and/or focus groups) to help institutions develop an understanding of technological gaps and needs across key student touchpoints. 

WGU Labs oversees the coordination of the assessment efforts, and asks that member institutions identify a point person who can provide the required information and data in order to effectively conduct the assessment.  

How are the EdTech solutions sourced and validated? 

CIN recruits EdTech vendors who offer solutions that clearly address belonging, engagement, and equity at some stage in the student lifecycle. EdTech vendors undergo a rigorous vetting process to ensure that their solutions will effectively and impactfully meet the diverse needs of the students and faculty they’re meant to serve. As a show of their shared commitment to innovation, we ask EdTech vendors to agree to an open data sharing policy with CIN and the partner institution, in addition to offering preferential discounts to member institutions. 

What does the evaluation phase consist of?

While this depends on the specific EdTech solution being evaluated and a member institution’s capacity to access and share relevant data, we will work with your team to implement an EdTech solution into your existing processes, integrate metrics to determine impact, and access data related to the specific outcomes we expect to be impacted by the EdTech solution. 

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 solution and coordinate all other activities to take place at the Member institution. In turn, CIN will 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 Member institution to provide WGU Labs with proper legal permissions to access these data, and it will be the responsibility of WGU Labs to use reasonable efforts to keep such data secure and private. Both WGU Labs and the Member Institution will jointly own the data.


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