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UTA Leading National Online Learning Effort

Online learning continues to expand access to higher education, and UT Arlington is at the forefront of the movement.

The University’s Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge (LINK) Lab will lead a $1.6 million national initiative to connect researchers examining the impact of digital learning on higher education.

The new Digital Learning Research Network (dLRN) is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. LINK Lab Executive Director George Siemens will coordinate work between UT Arlington and nine institutions, including Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, and the Smithsonian Institution.

The grant aims to close the gap between digital learning research and its impact on practice and to amplify the breadth of research being conducted. The Digital Learning Research Network will benefit universities transitioning to digital learning as well as learners from groups traditionally under-represented in higher education.

“This research project will address the barriers to digital learning and articulate the conditions needed for all learners to succeed, better their lives, and participate in the global economy,” Dr. Siemens says.

UT Arlington has been a leader in online education for years. Working with Dallas-based Academic Partnerships, the University provides online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, nursing, and public administration. In fall 2014, 17,185 UTA students took at least one class online, and 13,245 had fully online schedules.

The dLRN initiative is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success Strategy, which seeks to increase the number of young adults who complete postsecondary education.