• Red Balloon Project

    Overview

    The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is launching its Red Balloon Project. It is focused on helping member institutions re-imagine undergraduate education.

    View the video below of AASCU VP George Mehaffy describing the Red Balloon Project.
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    View video of Introduction to the Red Balloon Project on larger screen.


    Executive Summary

    The Red Balloon Project is a national initiative to re-imagine and then to redesign undergraduate education for the 21st century. Public colleges and universities are facing a complex set of challenges: transformational changes in technology, reductions in funding, shifting student demographics, growth of the private sector in higher education, demands for greater accountability, and more. The Red Balloon Project will help institutions restructure to respond to the rapidly changing circumstances of the new century.

    Created by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and its member colleges and universities, the project is creating a national dialogue, a repository of resources, and a collection of demonstration project to foster innovation among public colleges and universities.

    The initiative is named the Red Balloon Project in honor of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which sponsored a contest to find 10 red weather balloons randomly placed throughout the United States. The purpose of the contest was to explore the way that the Internet can use social networking tools to achieve an outcome. The contest winner, a team from MIT, found all 10 balloons in 8 hours and 52 minutes. For more information about the contest and its outcome, visit this website.

    The Red Balloon contest serves as a metaphor for the newly-networked world. This new way of generating, aggregating and disseminating information has profound implications for higher education. It challenges long-held practices of teaching and learning, institutional organization and structure, and the very notion of expertise. The Red Balloon contest also serves as an analogy for how a community of higher education institutions and their national association can work together to promote and support change in higher education.

    Project Goals

    The goal of the Red Balloon Project is to collaboratively create models of undergraduate education that:

    1. Created by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and its member colleges and universities, the project is creating a national dialogue, a repository of resources, and a collection of demonstration project to foster innovation among public colleges and universities.

    2. Utilize educational technologies to better engage students in authentic learning experiences more aligned with the ways that knowledge is being generated, aggregated and disseminated in an age of networked knowledge.

    3. Provide students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they will need to become successful participants in careers, engaged citizens in a democracy, and thoughtful leaders in the global society of the 21st century.