May 17
The Evolllution

This is the conclusion of a two-part series from Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities on the topic of next generation transcripts, blockchain and changing needs in academic credentialing.

How Next-Generation Credentialing Can Eliminate the Letter of Recommendation
May 10
The Evolllution

This is the first installment of a two-part series from Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities on the topic of next generation transcripts, blockchain and changing needs in academic credentialing. Part One, "How We Can Boost Employment Outcomes by Communicating “Soft Skills” in Next-Gen Transcripts," was written by graduate researcher Lindsay Kelly.

How We Can Boost Employment Outcomes by Communicating “Soft Skills” in Next-Gen Transcripts
May 03
The Chronicle of Higher Education

As education moves online and colleges seek new ways of interacting with students, alumni, local communities, and other constituencies, institutions as diverse as the University of Phoenix, the University of Washington, and the Georgia Institute of Technology are responding with experimental, storefront-sized “microcampuses.” They’re also looking at unexpected models — such as Amazon’s bricks-and-mortar stores — for ideas to improve students’ experience.

Coming Soon to a Storefront By You: A Microcampus for Online Learners
Apr 17
Atlanta, GA

MIT Press has released a comprehensive, new volume of blended learning research by Georgia Tech faculty. Blended Learning in Practice: A Guide for Practitioners and Researchers was collected and edited by a team housed within the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) and spanning a number of departments across the Institute.

The publisher describes this cross-disciplinary volume as, “A guide to both theory and practice of blended learning offering rigorous research, case studies, and methods for the assessment of educational effectiveness.”

The editorial team for the volume is comprised of the College of Computing’s Ashok Goel, the School of Literature, Media, and Communication’s Amanda Madden, the Strada Institute for the Future of Work's Rob Kadel, and Georgia State University’s Lauren Margulieux. Blended Learning in Practice: A Guide for Practitioners and Researchers explores the work of more than two dozen contributors and represents a range of approaches and models of blended learning from faculty in nearly every school across the Institute.

On April 11, C21U hosted a panel discussion and launch celebration for the editors and contributors of the volume. Goel, Kadel, and Margulieux, as well as contributors Joe Bankoff and David Joyner appeared on a panel to share their experiences with blended learning best practices, origins of the book, as well as “behind the scenes” details of the three-and-a-half year production and revision process.

“The origins of the book really lie in discussions within C21U,” said Goel. “This came about soon after the founding of C21U when various faculty would say, ‘We know about blended learning and we want to do it in our classes, but we don’t have the resources to do it right or we don’t know quite how to do it.’”

The editors perceived a need for comprehensive research and guidance for practitioners of blended learning but also for researchers interested in studying the efficacy and methodology of the practice. Blended Learning in Practice: A Guide for Practitioners and Researchers provides guidelines and case studies that include the use of Assassin’s Creed II in a first-year composition course, a blended global issues and leadership laboratory, a knowledge-based AI course blended with a MOOC, and more.

“As we went through the process of compiling and writing this volume, we ended up with 14 chapters from faculty across several colleges at Georgia Tech that tell very rich and detailed stories,” said Kadel. “We’re incredibly grateful for those submissions from faculty. It’s not just a computer science, physical science, or communications blended learning book. It’s a real triumph for us that we can demonstrate not only to the Georgia Tech community but to the broader community that Georgia Tech is able to bring together a number of differing perspectives on a way of teaching and show that there is real cohesion.”

You can watch a recording of the editor and contributor discussion on the C21U Youtube channel. Visit the MIT Press website for more information about Blended Learning in Practice: A Guide for Practitioners and Researchers.

If you are interested in becoming involved with blended learning or blended learning research at Georgia Tech, you can reach out to the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) for more information via

Contributors to Blended Learning in Practice: A Guide for Practitioners and Researchers:
Joe Bankoff, Paula Braun, Mark Braunstein, Marion L. Brittain, Timothy G. Buchman, Rebecca E. Burnett, Aldo A. Ferri, Bonnie Ferri, Andy Frazee, Mohammed M. Ghassemi, Ashok K. Goel, Alyson B. Goodman, Joyelle Harris, Cheryl Hiddleson, David Joyner, Robert S. Kadel, Kenneth J. Knoespel, Joe Le Doux, Amanda G. Madden, Lauren Margulieux, Olga Menagarishvili, Shamim Nemati, Vjollca Sadiraj, Donald Webster

Blended Learning in Practice Panel Discussion
Apr 08
Atlanta, GA

Editor's Note: This story by Susie Ivy appeared first today in the Provost's Office Website. The photo of CEISMC Executive Director Lizanne DeStefano was added for the College of Sciences website.

Effective immediately, the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) will become a unit within the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U). Following a detailed assessment, including interviews with key stakeholders and a K-12 summit event in fall 2017, the organizational adjustment moves CEISMC out of its current structure within the College of Sciences.

“For many years, CEISMC has been leading Georgia Tech’s outreach to K-12 schools across the state and has a successful track record of enhancing the education in STEAM areas by developing innovative curricula, training teachers, and rallying the interest of students and parents,” said Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs and K. Harrison Brown Chair. “The Georgia Tech Commitment to a Lifetime Education described in the report by Georgia Tech’s Commission on Creating the Next in Education calls for closer collaboration and integration of K-12 as part of a future of lifelong education. Discussions and studies indicated that this strategic goal will be better served with CEISMC responding centrally and closely integrated within our education innovation ecosystem.”

The CEISMC mission is to serve as a connection point between Georgia Tech and the K-12 community through education research, outreach and teacher professional development, including management of the Georgia Tech K-12 Connection, an online portal of activities within various schools and units across campus that also supports requests for help from available for teachers, school administrators and district superintendents. Annually, CEISMC programs impact more than 39,000 students, 1,720 teachers, 74 school districts and 200 schools.

C21U functions as the research branch of the Office of the Provost at Georgia Tech, serving as a “living laboratory for fundamental change in higher education.” Now home to the Commission on Creating the Next in Education (CNE) Program Office, the C21U portfolio is expanding to include projects and support the research of teams working to redefine the entire pipeline of learning through development of next generation educational practices and technologies.

This expanded role reflects the vision set forth in the CNE report, further aligns both C21U and CEISMC with the future-oriented vision of the Institute’s Strategic Plan, and reflects the broad objectives outlined in the system-wide Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR). While the missions of CEISMC and C21U will remain distinct in the new structure, the organizational consolidation allows for greater efficiency around general operations support, and enables CEISMC to be more visible and accessible to all colleges, schools, and external partners.

“CEISMC has a rich legacy of impactful partnerships with the public, private, and corporate sectors,” said Lizanne DeStefano, executive director of CEISMC. “Greater coordination of our K-12 efforts as a campus means that Georgia Tech can have on an even greater influence on the how students are supported on their journey to a future in STEM.”  

DeStefano’s role as executive director of CEISMC will remain unchanged, but the move will result in a reporting line change from Interim Dean David Collard of the College of Sciences to Rich DeMillo, executive director of C21U and the CNE Program Office.

“CEISMC’s long-standing mission to prepare the next generation of STEM learners is one of the major tenets of the ‘Georgia Tech Commitment,’” said DeMillo. “CEISMC was a core contributor to the CNE report, where the bold idea of the Commitment was first conceived. Together with C21U and the CNE Program office, we can take deliberate steps towards making the Commitment a reality.”

CEISMC Summer PEAKS - Artbotics, Lizanne DeStefano - Executive Director, Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) CEISMC
Apr 03
George Mason University

Speaking during a candid conversation with about 50 Mason faculty and staff members, Richard A. DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computing professor and director of the school’s Center for 21st Century Universities, chronicled the path his university took in the past five years to expand online education in the form of affordable master’s degree programs in computer science, data analytics and cyber security.

DeMillo Speaks at George Mason University
Feb 19
The Evolllution

Since a best-of-breed ecosystem delivers the ideal experience to students, faculty and staff alike, Matt Lisle (C21U) and Yakut Gazi (GTPE) explain why it’s critical for technology providers to build integrations and interoperability into their tools.

Interoperability - The Evolllution
Feb 11
Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech’s Strategic Plan advisory process will soon be reconstituted to support the Commission on Creating the Next in Education (CNE) Program Office, now housed in the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U). The new role is a result of an organizational change that took place during Fall 2018. In the new structure, faculty and student representatives from the Strategic Plan Advisory Group (SPAG) will advise the CNE Program Office to ensure Institute initiatives and communities are deliberately aligned with the Strategic Plan.

“The Strategic Plan Advisory Group has monitored progress in implementation of Georgia Tech’s Strategic Plan since 2010. At the moment, our foremost and most important strategic initiative is articulated by the report of the Commission on Creating the Next in Education (CNE): Deliberate Innovation, Lifetime Education,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Rafael L. Bras. “As an internal advisory component of the CNE program office, this new version of SPAG will continue its role in monitoring and guiding us in this important effort.”

The change will allow for optimized coordination and execution of strategic initiatives identified in the 2018 CNE report. Prior to the launch of CNE initiatives, SPAG was responsible for campus alignment with the Strategic Plan. Beginning in Spring 2019, the Strategic Plan advisory process, as guided by SPAG, will pivot to consult on the CNE Program Office’s efforts to seek out faculty, staff, and student engagement in Institute-wide projects and initiatives that will define Georgia Tech as a leading research institution, propelled by “progress and service.”

“Campus engagement is a critical factor in the success of strategic initiatives at Georgia Tech,” said David Frost, chair of SPAG and a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “In the years since SPAG was established, our organization has played a critical role in engaging the Georgia Tech community in institutionalizing this plan. Going forward, we are excited about seeing that same enthusiasm and level of engagement accomplished by the CNE Program Office as it works to partner with faculty, staff, and students to advance an innovative education vision for the Institute”.

Since the publication of the CNE report, Institute leadership’s focus has shifted to implementation of many of the ideas and projects outlined in the report. The creation and growth of the CNE Program Office will advance initiatives in focus areas such as flexible learning experiences, new tools for modern advising practices, and early achievement.

“We need to foster a campus culture that encourages educational innovation and provides pathways to pilot such ideas,” said Rich DeMillo, executive director of C21U and the CNE Program Office. “The CNE report describes a new approach for taking deliberate, targeted actions at the organizational, team, and individual levels to create a culture of innovation. SPAG’s guidance will become a critical arm of this deliberate approach."

The Georgia Institute of Technology's report, “Deliberate Innovation, Lifetime Education,” follows the work of the Commission on Creating the Next in Education (CNE), an Institute-wide effort of more than 50 faculty, staff, and students. The Commission outlines recommendations on alternative educational models that reduce costs, improve the effectiveness of current methodologies, and increase opportunities and accessibility to serve the needs of the next generation and beyond. If you would like to find out more about the Commission, read the full report, or become involved, please email

Georgia Tech campanile
Feb 06
Inside Higher Ed

A centuries-old challenge for teachers has been how to adapt learning materials and presentations to meet the varied backgrounds and abilities of students. Emerging technologies, Ray Schroeder writes, can help meet students where they are and customize learning for them.

Dec 07
Atlanta, GA

From Nov. 29-30, Georgia Tech was host to a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded summit focused on the development of affordable, sustainable, and scalable educational environments, or Scalable Advanced Learning Ecosystems (SALE). The SALE Summit took place at the Global Learning Center and was co-sponsored by the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) and Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE).

This summit brought academic and industry leaders from across the globe together in the hope of laying the foundation for the next generation of learning ecosystems. Topics such as data analytics, learning design, artificial intelligence, growth and future business models for higher education, and the changing role of university faculty were addressed by keynote speakers and discussed in breakout groups. SALE Summit speakers included:

  • Chris Dede of Harvard University

  • Karen Vignare of the Association for Public and Land-grant Universities

  • Stephanie Norby and Brian Mandell of the Smithsonian Science Education Center

  • Gisele LaRose of WebStudy Foundation

  • Cary Brown of IMS Global

  • Provost Rafael Bras of Georgia Tech

  • Rob Kadel, Rich DeMillo, and Lindsay Kelly of C21U, Georgia Tech

  • Yakut Gazi and Nelson Baker of GTPE, Georgia Tech

  • Ashok Goel of the College of Computing, Georgia Tech

Participants were challenged to consider many of the most taxing issues facing higher education today and to work together to begin the planning stages for a new roadmap for education. This roadmap will look to the future of education in the next five to ten years and will outline ways that educators, industry leaders, government officials, and technologists can redesign the future of learning and education.

In his plenary presentation, Nelson Baker, dean of professional education at Georgia Tech, said, “Education is more than a collection of courses. What else might be missing from that collection?”

Summit attendees explored innovative pedagogical and technology-driven educational solutions such as Ashok Goel's work with automated, intelligent tutoring systems and the Smithsonian’s Science for Global Goals curriculum, presented by Stephanie Norby and Brian Mandell. Social and economic issues surrounding curriculum design were also discussed. Recognizing that low-income and minority students often fall behind in introductory courses, risking their chances of completing a degree, Karen Vignare, of the Association for Public and Land-grant Universities, gave an eye-opening plenary on using adaptive courseware to assist these students.

“How do we achieve 1x1 tutoring at scale and bring down the cost, so that we can still bring education to the students of the future who really need it?” asked Rob Kadel in his plenary remarks.

This question and many others will be addressed in a white paper produced as an outcome of the SALE Summit.

If you would like to learn more about the SALE Summit, you can explore the summit page on the C21U website. To find out more about how can you get involved in the work of C21U or GTPE, please visit or

This summit was funded by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) - grant #1824854.

SALE Summit - Dr. Bras
Nov 27
International Journal on Innovations in Online Education

Postsecondary education is now largely a requirement for entry into the middle class, but costs are causing traditional college and university programs to be increasingly out of reach for many. The Georgia Institute of Technology has had success with scalable online programs that provide quality education at a fraction of the cost of on-campus programs. However, there have been challenges in bringing these programs to fruition with a consistent student experience. Building on lessons learned, this paper proposes Scalable Advanced Learning Ecosystems that combine personalized learning, intelligent tutoring, learning analytics, and other innovative educational improvements to address student and instructional needs in a holistic fashion.

Nov 26
Inside Higher Ed

Georgia tech is considering creating brick-and-mortar "storefronts" for prospective and current students to sample its course offerings, listen to lectures and network.

The effort is part of Georgia Tech's plans to make its online degrees and professional education certificates more appealing to the nontraditional students of tomorrow, who the institution predicts will expect "flexible learning experiences." Read the full story via Inside Higher Ed.

Georgia Tech is Imagining an Apple Store for Online Degrees
Nov 16
The Washington Post

Americans expect a lot from their colleges and universities. They want higher education to prepare students for jobs and as citizens in a democratic society. At the same time, they expect universities to produce research that makes our lives better and drives economic development in their towns, regions and states. A new op-ed in The Washington Post from Jeff Selingo explores these tensions.

Nov 08
Georgia Tech News Center

One of the challenges colleges face is how to best prepare students for the career pathways that exist today and will be created in the future.  

To meet students’ needs colleges must look at how and where they operate, as well as who they serve and who is left out. 

These were just a few of the topics discussed Thursday during a media roundtable discussion Georgia Tech organized in New York City with peers in higher education, corporate leaders and foundations looking into this issue.

Accessible, Affordable and Applicable: The Future of Higher Education - Pres. Peterson
Oct 23

A new report, “The Future(s) of Public Higher Education,” released today by Deloitte’s Center for Higher Education Excellence and Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities lays out five new models to address the new realities of and demands on public higher education institutions and improve the student experience.  

“Today’s demands on public higher education institutions are very different from those dating back many decades, when the basic model of these institutions was formed,” said Cole Clark, managing director, Deloitte Services LP, who leads client and community outreach and relationships for its higher education practice. “Higher education is now firmly planted in a new era, and requires a new master plan: how it is organized and funded, its mission, and whom it serves.”

“The rapid pace of change in higher education, due in large part to shifting learner demographics, mandates a new educational model for public universities,” said Rich DeMillo, executive director, Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities. “This report outlines critical examples of ways that public universities might revitalize their approach and meet the demands of learners with a wide variety of needs.”

The report describes five approaches that could serve as models for public higher education, including:

The Entrepreneurial University: A state university system differentiates its offerings at the institution level while coordinating at the system level to align educational investments with student — and state economic — needs. Individual institutions would specialize in areas such as undergraduate education, vocational training, or research, while degree programs and curricula would be centrally influenced through the definition of clear goals by the state and system.

Example: Western Governors University (WGU) is a nonprofit university established to expand access to quality higher education to adult students with some college and no degree. WGU is the nation’s first accredited competency-based education (CBE) university, providing CBE online and at scale.

The Sharing University: Campuses would link student and administrative services to realize efficiencies of scale and/or capitalize on the expertise of institutions. Repetitive activities would be either automated or outsourced to a single institution within the system, enabling the other campuses to focus resources on more strategic activities. Examples of shared activities: career services, international recruitment, academic advising, legal affairs, and information security.

Example: The University System of Georgia has started the OneUSG initiative to develop and put in place streamlined policies, procedures and technologies.

The Experiential University: Institutions would integrate work experiences into the curriculum, with students toggling between long stretches in the classroom and the work world related to their area of study. Employers would have a chance to evaluate students for potential fit before committing to hiring them for a full-time position. Work experiences would be closely tied to the state’s economic development priorities and its emerging job market.

Examples: University of Cincinnati and Georgia Tech are operating a cooperative model, in which students are working one-third to almost half of the time a student spends in school.

The Subscription University: This platform focuses on continual learning throughout a student’s lifetime. Under this model, students would start higher education earlier by taking dual-enrollment or early college courses while still in the K–12 system. Thereafter, they could access university courses throughout their lives to gain and update their knowledge and skills as needed, paying lower tuition fees up front and then an annual subscription fee during their lifetime.

Example: Idaho’s State Board of Education makes policy for K-20 public education, continually working toward an education system without barriers within the governance or committee structure.

The Partnership University: The annual budgeting cycle would be extended across several years, making it easier for institutions to plan and make strategic investments. It would guarantee a certain level of funding from the state over multiple years in exchange for agreements from colleges for tuition limits, cost savings, increased collaboration and consolidation, and private fundraising. Businesses and other employers would also provide insights on curriculum, financial assistance for equipment, and other essential resources. 

Example: Maryland’s Effectiveness and Efficiency Initiative saved $94 million at its 11-campus system and froze tuition for three years.

“Adopting elements of one or more of these models would require input and collaboration across a diverse set of stakeholders as well as strong leadership,” said Jeffrey J. Selingo, a visiting scholar at Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities and one of the authors of the report. “Developing a master plan that is forward looking and self-aware of a system’s challenges is a big lift but can be done and is needed to position our public higher education institutions for the future.”

In the research for the report, several common elements were identified to enable change at the system level, including:

  • Effective leadership:  Strong and visionary leadership from the state governor, state legislators, university system leadership, boards, and institutional leaders will be required to drive change. An effective leader will help to design the blueprint for the state’s higher educational system and animate the university community to help build and embrace the vision.
  • A new focus for the university system office: The university system office would need to transition their focus from reporting and compliance to helping to define and measure success by establishing common data structures across the system, providing tools to monitor progress and support decisions, and conducting active communication between the central office and institutionsThis additional level of responsibility will demand a concomitant level of authority and funding allocation.
  • An institutional culture that puts students at the center: When the needs of the student are at the forefront, decisions about where to invest and focus can be made more clearly, supporting areas that meet student demand. This line of thinking can help to direct investments needed to hire faculty, expand degree/credential offerings, and invest in new technology.
  • New financial models and incentives: As universities innovate, evolve, and collaborate more frequently within and across a system, the operational changes can affect the current funding model. Analysis would need to be done to rethink how to allocate revenues and costs across the system, and create clear incentives to develop new programs designed to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s economic realities.
  • Clear and frequent communication: Change in higher education is fraught with perilMany change initiatives fail to take hold due to lack of stakeholder and leadership buy-inFrequent and clear communication – painting a picture of the change imperative but also the vision of the improved future state – is a prerequisite to successfully implementing the difficult change outlined in the report.

The report also includes an analysis of 565 state institutions’ publicly available strategic plans using text analytics with top focus areas, including: research, enrollment, facilities/building and programs and offerings. Additionally, a brief history of the current public higher education models and an overview of current challenges facing institutions are also included.

Full report is available here.

Cover - Deloitte and Georgia Tech Center for 21st Century Universities Reveal Five New Models for Effective, Affordable Education
Oct 23
Deloitte Insights

How can U.S. state universities meet growing demands for relevance even as they face a funding squeeze? A new report from Georgia Tech's Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) and Deloitte’s Center for Higher Education Excellence outlines five innovative ways that stakeholders can collaborate to deliver an effective yet affordable educational experience.

Oct 18

Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) and the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that signifies the beginning of research and educational resource collaboration between the two universities.

This collaboration will remain in effect for the next five years and will open the door to the sharing of data, teaching and assessment resources, as well as the exchange of personnel between Georgia Tech and Tokyo Tech.

“We are excited to work with our colleagues at Tokyo Tech’s CITL to further our work in reimagining higher education,” said Steve Harmon, director of education innovation for C21U and associate dean of research in Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE). “We believe that it is important to bring a global perspective to bear when looking at the forces shaping colleges and universities today and in the future, and in determining how to respond to them. The innovative work going on at both Georgia and Tokyo Tech provides a real opportunity to go beyond what we are each capable of individually, and to enable real progress in creating the technological university for the 21st century.”

Just as C21U provides a “living laboratory” for educational technology research, design and implementation at Georgia Tech, CITL provides Tokyo Tech learners with transformative education by leveraging technology to “continuously improve the quality of education methods and capabilities” at one of Japan’s top-tier engineering and science universities. This fitting partnerships will provide both Georgia Tech and Tokyo Tech with the opportunity to collaborate on timely projects in the areas of educational learning environment and course development, new methodology for learner data analysis and quality assurance, and other innovative online learning research projects.

“The Center for 21st Century Universities is taking a leading role in envisioning the future of higher education in the world,” said Jun-ichi Imura, director of CITL. “We are thrilled to establish this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and to collaborate with C21U as we work together to promote innovations in STEM higher education.”

You can learn more about Tokyo Tech’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL), on their website. Find out more about C21U’s role in education innovation research and global ed tech collaborations such as these by visiting the C21U website.

CITL-Tokyo Tech
Oct 14

A new master’s degree offering from MOOC platform EdX and seven partner universities allows online learners to earn a post-baccalaureate diploma at a fraction of the cost of a traditional program.

Oct 12
Inside Higher Ed

The U.S. Department of Education at a convening here yesterday awarded recognition to 10 educational technology projects aiming to expand access to education and pipelines to the work force.

Sep 06
Georgia Tech

A Georgia Tech-led discussion in Washington, D.C., looked at how colleges can meet students’ needs throughout their entire lives.