Letter to the Editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article titled “Big Data, Big Obstacles.” by Conley et al. Unizin board members, Brad Wheeler and James Hilton, wrote a letter to the editor arguing big data could mean big opportunities.

Big Data’s “triple threat of privatization, amateurization, and Balkanization,” rightly identified by Conley et al. (“Big Data. Big Obstacles”), is already underway in Digital Education and will impede the core mission of the Academy.  Digital textbooks, adaptive software tutors, and learning management systems are locking away a veritable gold mine of data about learners.  If this trend follows others, colleges and universities will soon add data about our students to the growing list of things that we produce yet then have to buy back.

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Enter 2015, from the CEO

Over two years ago, Brad Wheeler, Indiana University Professor and Chief Information Officer, wrote to his colleagues about the future of digital learning in higher education and how universities can pave a path toward scaling learning and teaching beyond a single institution. In his closing remarks, he posited a potential path forward where universities can ”sew together a set of content, distribution and analytics capabilities via strong contracts with a range of potential players.”

Fast forward fifteen months, when I received an email asking if I would meet with James Hilton, Dean of Libraries and Vice Provost for Digital Educational Initiatives at University of Michigan, and Brad about “a new venture”. Immediately, I knew that this venture was going to be something very profound and I was not disappointed.

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Unizin Grows To Ten With Three New Founding Members

Unizin Membership Expands to Include University of Iowa, Ohio State, and Penn State

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Dec. 18, 2014—Unizin is proud to welcome the University of Iowa, The Ohio State University and The Pennsylvania State University as founding members. Unizin is a university-owned and directed consortium that provides standards-based Digital Education infrastructure for its members.

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Unizin Welcomes Three New Founding Members

Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Minnesota Join Unizin

EMERYVILLE, Calif. – Unizin, a university-owned and directed consortium that provides standards-based Digital Education infrastructure for its members, announced today that Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Minnesota are now members of Unizin. “That three more world-class institutions joined Unizin further validates our strategy and gives us the momentum to have greater impact on teaching and learning,” said Amin Qazi, Chief Executive Officer of Unizin. “The participation of these institutions will greatly extend our reach and strengthen the services Unizin provides to its members.”

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Unizin Pilots Open Content Repositories

University Consortium Partners with Blackboard and Instructure to Pilot Course Content Services

EMERYVILLE, Calif. – Unizin, a university-owned and directed consortium that provides standards-based Digital Education infrastructure for its members, announced that it is working with Blackboard and Instructure to connect their content platforms with the Unizin Content Relay. “These connections to the Unizin Content Relay are the first realization of Unizin’s strategy of leveraging loosely coupled systems”, said Unizin’s CEO Amin Qazi. “Institutions and their faculty will be empowered to work with content from multiple platforms, and this moves us significantly closer to that vision.” Both products provide standards-based content storing, sharing, and discovery services that will connect with the Unizin Content Relay including forthcoming connections for Open Educational Resources.

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Canvas to Replace Blackboard

Canvas beats Blackboard in 5 out of 6 criteria in assessment, presents opportunity for improved resource sharing

Move over, Blackboard — there’s a new learning management system in town.

Oregon State University chose to replace its online learning tool Blackboard with Canvas, a “next-generation” learning management system. This decision follows three years of assessment, including open evaluation from staff and students in Spring 2014. Canvas will replace Blackboard in stages over the coming year.

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University systems sharing content, data

Indiana University, Colorado State University, University of Florida and University of Michigan team up
Four major university systems will share online courses, analytics and learning-management software through a cloud-based digital education platform called Unizin, portions of which launched in July.

Developed by Indiana University, Colorado State University, the University of Florida and the University of Michigan, Unizin will house everything from homework videos to flipped classroom content to distance learning courses—plus all the data that’s generated.

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Higher Education Consortium Unizin announces CEO Hire Amin Qazi

Unizin Board of Directors selects Qazi to lead consortium for advanced digital education

EMERYVILLE, Calif.—July 22, 2014—The Unizin consortium announced today that its Board of Directors has selected Amin Qazi to serve as the company’s founding chief executive officer and a member of the Board of Directors effective immediately. Mr. Qazi brings over a decade of relevant experience to his new role having previously filled executive roles at both universities and as a management consultant.

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Enter Unizin

The technology that supports teaching and learning is increasingly more like plumbing (the basic infrastructure that both enables and constrains) than like a shiny, eye-catching plumbing  fixture. More important, this infrastructure is as critical to the future of residential and online education as bricks and mortar have been to our past. We ignore this technology, this infrastructure, at our own peril. Enter Unizin.

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4 Universities Partner to Launch Unizin, a New Online Platform

Unizin, the latest in a gathering force of online education platforms, aims to help universities share their content and analytics while maintaining rights.

On June 11 Unizin — a nonprofit academic consortium founded by Colorado State University, the University of Florida, Indiana University and the University of Michigan — announced its online presence with a lengthy blog post from co-chairs Brad Wheeler and James L. Hilton.

Unizin offers universities a chance to have skin in the game of online content management.

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