Even if you’re not an Internet2 member, keep reading—our new NET+ offering that we announced last week at BbWorld is advantageous for everyone in the higher ed community. OER development, analytics benchmarking, and broader adoption of open standards are just a few of the long tail inherent benefits.

The solution and services offer provides access to our teaching, learning and collaboration solutions, as well as robust analytic and learning outcomes tools, a cloud-based, cross-institutional content repository that supports most LMSs, and helpdesk and adoption services.

This offer, while available to Internet2 members, benefits our entire community. We worked with tech leaders from leading institutions such as Cornell, VCU, UMBC, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to develop the offer. Throughout the process of defining this solution, these leaders consistently pushed for benefits to the broader community, particularly to foster greater collaboration among institutions. We discussed things like OER development and open standards. They repeatedly emphasized new opportunities provided by broad adoption of common analytics frameworks —for understanding institutional effectiveness, defining best practices, and benchmarking among institutions. We included all of this.

There are two very unique aspects to our solution that warrant a call out. First, Blackboard will donate a portion of the proceeds from the offer to the Internet2 community to develop materials that help promote the sharing of quality OER course resources. All of higher edu will benefit from this community OER development, since these resources will be IMS-compliant and freely available for reuse and remix under Creative Commons licenses.

Second, xpLor, our cross-institutional, cross-LMS content sharing and discovery platform that is already being used by nearly 500 institutions all over the world, will be available for free to all Internet2 members. Collaboration and interoperability across our industry is something that is very important to us – just as it is to academic leaders. xpLor is a powerful, proven tool that empowers faculty to create or import any type of content, which can also be tagged, rated, and aligned to competencies and standards for easy searching and organizing. These are the types of solutions that are really going to drive a collaborative educational experience across institutions.

Students and faculty need access to environments that empower them to work collaboratively and generate the best learning outcomes. Institutions are expanding their online educational ecosystems, and they need proven ways to measure, benchmark, analyze, and share the results of these efforts. We are committed to strong partnerships with communities leading the way and I’m excited about our current and future work with Internet2.

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