AU-ASU Partnership: e-School Migration (Air University)

Project: Research project

Description

Exhibit D Statement of Objectives
Strategic Imperative. The educational landscape is rapidly evolvingand Air University (AU) must keep pace. In 2015, Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and AU formed the eSchool of Graduate PME (eGPME) and tasked it to transform, modernize, and integrate all non-resident, distance learning (DL) Officer Professional Military Education (OPME) programs, which were previously supported independently by Squadron Officer School (SOS), Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), and Air War College (AWC). While curriculum integration efforts have achieved considerable evolution in the past few years, the eGPME has been hindered from fully achieving the intended transformational vision for its 26,000-person student body due to an unreliable, inflexible, regressive informational and educational technology (IT/ET) environment.
Technology is a critical enabler for producing state-of-the-art educational experiences today, in both resident and non-resident contexts. The transformative potential of education technology is especially important to AUs eGPME student population, who must complete their programs for career advancement, while performing their typical duties. The vast majority of officers and civilian equivalents complete their professional military education online today. Most coursework in distance learning is completed afterhours or on the weekendduring periods that many would consider personal time. Therefore, student time must be respectedprogram redundancies must be reduced, the latest learning science must be painstaking employed by curriculum designers, and educational technology must be reliable and flexible enough to meet student expectations and demands. Presenting unreliable and inflexible educational technology to the distance learning student is akin to locking classroom doors or hampering bookshelf or library access in traditional classroom education settings. When distance learning students allocate their valuable time to complete coursework, access must be assured and courseware must be effectively delivered.
Furthermore, PME learning architects and instructional designers must have broad skillsets and toolkits complete with modern, online learning technologies to support development of engaging learning experiences. For several years, while the eGPME has revamped its instructional offerings according to the transformational vision mentioned above, AU has explored ways to improve its IT/ET environment to support the modernization. However, these attempts to provide a reliable, flexible, and innovative technology environment for eGPME programs have fallen short of expectationsespecially for its online students. Creating a learning environment that delivers student choice/demand-driven pathways with opportunities for first-class student and faculty collaboration/interaction, multi-modal media engagement, comprehensive assessment with adjustable analytic features has proven elusive to traditional Air Force IT/ET mechanisms. Perhaps, there is a better way to realize AUs transformational vision.
With this in mind, AETC and Arizona State University (ASU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide a broad basis for fostering an innovative partnership, collaboration, and exchange of ideas. The MOU, signed in January 2019, supported three main collaborative areas: educational integration, information technology systems integration and support, and knowledge exchange. Under the auspices of the MOU, AU and ASU conducted a feasibility study (4 Feb-30 Apr 19) to assess three areas: technological integration, educational integration, and learning advancement. The study concluded that transitioning eGPME programs to ASUs learning environment is feasible and advantageous.
The feasibility study determined that a partnership with ASU would provide a significant opportunity for far greater innovation across the continuum of online OPME to enhance the student learning experience, to include improved student interface as well as course data analytics and reporting, the potential for 24/7 student support, and the integration of state-of-the-art educational tools and methodologies. Furthermore, this partnership should garner valuable insights and innovations that could assist AU in making informed decisions on ways to improve its own systems and capabilities.
Project Objectives. To further this ongoing partnership, AU and ASU are entering into this Intergovernmental Support Agreement (IGSA) with the following three broad objectives:
1. Educational IntegrationThe eGPME aims to optimize student experience by delivering an engaging and relevant curriculumproviding world-class course content through a variety of modalities, media, and educational methodologies. This includes an improved student interface, course data analytics and reporting, 24/7 student support for technical systems and platforms, as well as the integration of state-of-the-art educational tools and methodologies. eGPME curriculum offerings focus on engaging students in higher-order thinking within the warfighting profession, while optimizing force development principles. These curriculum offerings will change over time; therefore, support flexibility is vitalthis Agreement must permit timely curriculum modifications within established project scope. Moreover, when curriculum modifications are required, ASU must provide specialized educational technology subject matter expertise availability.
2. Technological IntegrationThe eGPMEs unique and highly complex program structure and associated business rules; as well as its complete dependence on the SIS/Learning Management System (LMS) for all courseware and program administration, execution, and assessment; underlines the need for a highly agile and adaptable learning environment. Security concerns must be addressed and risks mitigated. This project must support the current eGPME student body (not to exceed 30,000 students), while also being structured to scale access as required, at an additional cost, if more students are added.
3. Learning AdvancementThis partnership provides a prime opportunity for greater innovation across the continuum of online Officer Professional Military Education to enhance the student learning experience. Moreover, this partnership will generate valuable insights and innovations that will aid each party in making informed decisions to improve the scalable delivery of digital teaching and learning models, thereby increasing student success and reducing barriers to achievement. AU requires access to a wide-range of learning technology tools and this project must support an increased menu of learning tools as methods and methodologies evolve.


Scope of Work
Under this Agreement, the Parties will pursue a heightened level of collaboration to integrate, transition, and sustain the eGPMEs programs within the ASU education technology environment. Throughout the lifecycle of this Agreement, the eGPME will provide curriculum subject-matter expertise (SME) and learning design expertise through a mixture of in-house personnel and other available support SMEs (military, government civilians, and/or contractors). ASU will provide staffing across a range of specialties as needs change to meet the project objectives outlined above.
Throughout the execution of the Project, ASU will deliver the following types of support:
1. Project Management and DevOps Engineering: Consists of oversight, management, and administration support including partnership relations, planning, directing, organizing, and executing project tasks. DevOps engineering provides project IT oversight support for software developers, systems operators, and other specialties.
2. Integration, UX/UI Development, and Analytics: Consists of user interface/user experience development, web development/design, learning technology, instructional design, database analysis, SIS configuration and customization, system-to-systems integration, as well as reporting and analytics functions.
3. Licensing, Setup, Training and Support: Consists of SIS and LMS licensing
StatusActive
Effective start/end date9/16/199/15/24

Funding

  • DOD-USAF: Air Education & Training Command (AETC): $10,589,160.00