Going Adaptive: Lessons in Implementation from Rio Salado College

When an institution has been designing and delivering online learning in one way for years, introducing new courseware can be a challenge. If ever there was an institution up to that challenge, however, it’s Rio Salado College.

A two-year institution based in Tempe, Arizona, Rio Salado serves more than 54,000 students with online courses. While the school was accredited as a community college in 1979, Rio added distance learning in the 1980s, and, in addition to multiple satellite campuses, it offers a range of online and hybrid learning programs.

Rio Salado’s willingness to experiment with different forms of online education has earned it a reputation as a leader in educational innovation. Many of the school’s latest activities include adaptive learning. In October of 2012, Rio Salado was awarded a $970,000 Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) Initiative Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve degree completion and implement personalized learning.

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