Most of our writing here at e-Literate is not directly funded, whether by ads, subscriptions, or sponsorships. We have received grants in the past to produce e-Literate TV videos, but generally not for blogging. We recently received a new grant which includes writing here on the web site as well as video production. It has both stimulated our thinking about what kind of coverage we could be doing on e-Literate and created a circumstance that was not covered by our previous disclosure policy. We’re outlining the scope of our planned coverage here, both because we’re excited to share our plans with you and because we want to update you on how we will handle grant-related disclosure on the blog going forward.
We will be creating four content genres that will likely be ongoing here at e-Literate, whether grant-funded or not:
- Research in Translation: Educational research write-ups tend to be either academic journal articles, which are often hard to find and complex to evaluate for non-experts, or press coverage, which often don’t provide enough information for readers to understand and critically evaluate the scope and significance of the research. Research in Translation pieces will try to strike a middle ground by curating interesting studies, writing them up in less specialized language (or explaining essential specialized language), and providing some explanation of the scope and context of the research, methods, and the nature and strength of the results.
- From Mars to Venus: These will be interviews with ed tech product vendors that model the kinds of discussions educators should have when trying to understand the potential impact of the product or service. The goal is to have illuminating and useful conversation by asking questions that don’t require a lot of specialized knowledge to think of or to evaluate the answers.
- Learning Together: These case studies will examine ways in which college and university systems, consortia, professional associations, or other academic affinity groups are making conscious and coordinated efforts to share what they are learning with each other, test potential improvements to see how transferrable they are, and spread validated improvements beyond the little pockets in which they begin.
- Learning Bytes: These will be short pieces that explain key concepts necessary to understand important concepts relevant to larger issues like the ones covered in the previous three genres of coverage. For example during a Mars to Venus discussion with a vendor, we may be talking about implementation of an adaptive learning tool adapts specifically on the basis of science around getting information into the students’ long-term memory (as opposed to, for example, an adaptive learning product that focuses on identifying gaps students have in their foundational knowledge). We might produce a short Learning Bytes explainer video to accompany the main piece.
We think these categories will be generally useful for our coverage well beyond the scope of the grant and aspire to use them broadly. But we were spurred to think them up as part of the most recent grant we received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The broad mandate of the current grant is to cover ways in which technology-mediated education (or “digital education,” in the parlance of the foundation) are relevant to access-oriented colleges and universities that are working to close any achievement gaps. Much of our grant-funded coverage will address these issues directly, although some pieces will have broader relevance.
Regular readers know we have a policy of always disclosing any relevant financial interests that could be perceived as influencing our coverage. We regularly revisit our disclosure approach as our business evolves to ensure we are maintaining appropriate transparency. And whenever we encounter a new situation that causes us to modify our disclosure policy, we let you know.
For the duration of the grant, any posts in any of the genres described above will have the following text at the bottom:
This post is part of our [name of genre] series, which is funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The findings and conclusions (or views) contained within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Should we receive other grants in the future, funded articles will always include a disclosure statement at the bottom. The specifics of that statement may vary based on the policies of the funder, but we will always disclose when a post is funded as well as who the funder is.