Gates Goes Open

By Steve Kolowich

Proprietary in his beta phase, Bill Gates 2.0 is all about sharing the wealth. And he is asking his latest crop of higher ed benefactors to do likewise.

Next Generation Learning Challenges, or NGLC — a grant program run by Educause and fueled mostly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — gave the bulk of its first round of “challenge grants” to university-led projects aimed at either increasing access to college degree programs or supplying free, top-flight online learning materials to colleges that could not otherwise afford them.

About half of NGLC’s $10.4-million pie went to seven applicants tagged as “open core courseware” projects, which include institutions involved in lowering barriers to college degrees as well as university-based efforts to develop high-quality course modules for institutions working with underprepared students and scant resources, so as to usher more students through to graduation. NGLC gave each of the “open core courseware” projects $750,000 — three times as much as it gave any other type of project.

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View the program descriptions of the winners:

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