UNCF Partners with e-Literate’s ALDA Series to Transform Educational Technology

In a trailblazing move to stay ahead of technological trends, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is proud to announce its participation in the AI Learning Design Assistant (ALDA) Design/Build Workshop series, spearheaded by e-Literate. This innovative initiative brings together a diverse coalition of colleges and universities embarking on a journey to co-design a cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) application that promises to revolutionize educational technology.

Bridging the Gap with ALDA

The ALDA series aims to address a significant gap in learning design. Despite decades of evolution, many tools must be anchored in outdated practices, such as word processing and manual note-taking. Meanwhile, the rapid evolution of job skills demands more innovative approaches. Through six intensive monthly workshops, ALDA provides a hands-on environment for institutions to collaboratively design, test and refine AI-driven solutions, transcending traditional methods of curriculum development.

A Collaborative Effort

UNCF is including faculty and staff representatives from five of its member historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in this initiative, ensuring that the benefits of this pioneering effort are equitably distributed. Bethune-Cookman University, Johnson C. Smith University, Miles College, Shaw University and Florida Memorial University join a prestigious group of other participating colleges and universities, including Dallas College, Southern New Hampshire University, University of Central Florida, and University of Maryland Global Campus, collectively serving over half a million students annually.

The Power of Partnership

The generous support of Equity Champion Sponsors, D2L and VitalSource powers this initiative. Their scholarships staff and faculty enable cost-free participation for these mission-driven institutions, ensuring that financial barriers do not impede progress. Supporting sponsors such as Carnegie Mellon University’s Simon Initiative and Engageli further bolster the resources necessary for fostering robust collaboration and innovation.

Voices of Impact

“UNCF is excited to announce our partnership with the ALDA series and involve HBCUs in efforts to co-design a groundbreaking AI application that will revolutionize educational technology,” said Dr. Shawna Acker-Ball, vice president of scholarships and programs at UNCF. “We believe that by harnessing the potential of AI and involving HBCUs in the creative process building the ALDA tool/software, we can launch a transformative tool for faculty members in the development of curricula that will empower every student, regardless of their background or circumstances, to unlock their full potential, and reshape the landscape of educational technology.”

Echoing this enthusiasm, MJ Bishop, vice president for integrative learning design at the University of Maryland Global Campus, said, “UMGC’s Integrative Learning Design team is thrilled to be part of the ALDA cohort and to have the opportunity to pioneer advancements in the use of generative AI in instructional design with such an esteemed group of partner institutions and sponsors. We are excited to co-design and refine innovative AI-driven solutions that will enhance our learning design capabilities and significantly impact the educational experiences of our students.”

Michael Feldstein, CEO of e-Literate, also expressed his excitement. “I am absolutely thrilled with the quality, diversity and commitment of the participating organizations. Artificial intelligence is one of the defining changes of our time, with wide-ranging implications for education. We all need to work together and get our hands dirty if we’re going to figure out how best to harness it for our students.”

Looking Ahead

With the this new tech now being put into everyday usage, UNCF will share insights and developments from each ALDA workshop, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to leveraging technology to improve students’ lives. This partnership underscores dedication to keeping pace with technological advancements and ensuring that these innovations are inclusive and equitable, providing all students with the tools they need to thrive in an ever-changing world.