Connectedness Portal & Mobile App Grant Details

My wife has nearly died twice... 

If you have followed my blogs for a while, you likely know the traumatic experience Keena and I faced a decade ago.  Until 2003, we had never heard of Crohn’s Disease before, but we soon knew learned more about it than any topic either of us had ever studied.  Within a few years, Keena had blown through every medical treatment the doctors offered as the disease ravaged her large intestine, eventually succumbing to radical surgery, which proved to be miraculous. 

During our decade long struggle with the disease, we came to see the power behind giving.  My wife (already a soft-hearted soul) and I started to see how one person, one donation, one hour of time, and on and on, could make a difference.  From the volunteers in the hospital helping lift her spirits to the Crohn’s walk we began participating in, philanthropy is important in our world. 

I think Liz Earle, Founder of LiveTwice and ambassador for The Prince's Trust, said it well when she stated, “Giving philanthropically isn’t only about donating money - far from it. We can all give our time, energy, and ideas to a cause in a small or large way and make a genuine difference.”

To that end, the Institute for Inter-Connected Education is proud to announce an opportunity for colleges and universities, showcasing the power of giving.  IICE is happy to announce our first-ever grant opportunity for schools seeking to empower their students, faculty, and staff via better connectedness infrastructure.  This blog is the official announcement for the Connectedness Portal & Mobile App Grant (CPMAG), which will open for applications on Nov 2, 2018 (the final day of Educause).

To help kick things off, Mindful Learning has agreed to sponsor a Grant & Professional Development workshop (Oct 30, 12pm to 5pm, lunch provided).  This free workshop will not only demonstrate practical applications of connectedness across an institution (with a certification from the Institute) but will also provide insights and information about the grant opportunity.  The application materials will be made available on November 2, 2018 but let me “tease” the experience here before everything goes live. 


Essentially, the grant reviewers will be seeking a full implementation plan.  At most institutions this will likely include some change management, some process management, strategic thinking, communication plans, and more.  After all, everyone knows by now the importance of the “people factor” in any implementation.  While this grant will provide an extremely modern, web and mobile based technology solution, without considering people and experiences, the roll out will likely fail.  Obviously, that is the exact opposite of what we hope to achieve!

Augmenting the grant monies (worth approximately $25,000 in year 1 and another $25,000 in year 2) is the Campus (by Ucroo) platform.  It will be very important for the grantee to work closely with the Campus team throughout implementation, but equally important is the idea that this new toolset will afford a school more choices, opportunities, and options than ever before.  As such, workflows and experiences must be considered prior to turning the system on. 


The Connectedness Portal & Mobile App Grant is designed to help a school influence real, bottom line issues such as enrollment or retention.  When dovetailed with a strong “people” implementation, IICE believes this can positively impact student success and quality too.  But all of this will be done through a lens of analytics.

An unfortunate truth that many education companies rely on is that schools rarely measure the efficacy or success of their initiatives.  This means promises of measurable success are often handed out like Tic-Tacs across the education technology space since no one will ever actually validate the claims.  So, we are leveraging this grant to help people establish measurable ROI for the central hub infrastructure, but more so, we are going to help guide and consult toward a significant increase in appropriate metrics.  We believe today’s colleges and universities struggle with at least one of the following things: new (and better) enrollments, increased retention, or improved student success.  This grant aims to bolster one, if not all three of those things.  But measurement will tell the complete story.

Across the Institution

This solution sits squarely in the IICE wheelhouse of connectedness.  Via a true lifecycle platform, the grantee will have access to a toolset with solutions for several departments.  Implementation should consider how and when various departmental groups will begin using the system for gains, efficiencies, communication, collaboration, better access, and more.  (Will an iterative approach be taken?  Or will a series of parallel implementations be better?) 


Likewise, we will encourage our grantee to “lean into” the findings from Apple Technology regarding transformation.  Despite our culture of immediate gains, transformation takes time.  We at IICE often suggest that there is a 5-step process to this: Resistance --> Mockery --> Usefulness --> Habituation --> New Gains, Efficiencies, and Innovations

This grant seeks to help an institution be quite intentional about roll out, implementation, process, and more.  We feel that this attention to people, process, and production will leave a school in the place to profoundly and positively change experiences. 


We hope you will strongly consider applying for the Connectedness Portal & Mobile App Grant.  The grant is open to all and we feel that everyone / anyone who desires a modern, connected experience on their campus should apply.  The application will not be overly tiresome (we at IICE have filled out our share of grant applications…we remember!), but will hopefully start to illustrate the tangible, practical aspects of a solid implementation we are looking for in a grantee.

Come back to this site over the next several weeks as Educause approaches and set your calendars for November 2, 2018 when the grant application packet goes live.

Good luck and good learning.