This blog was established by the Digital Learning Lab to leverage Black America’s efforts to close the Digital Divide. Its original focus was HBCUs, specifically: their use of Internet technology in their teaching, research, & community service. The blog’s scope has recently been extended to two related areas: (1) the efforts of grass roots coding groups to enhance the computational thinking skills of Black Americans, and (2) the efforts of Black entrepreneurs to launch software startups.
"The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, or Gig.U, is a broad-based group of over 30 leading research universities from across the United States. Drawing on America’s rich history of community-led innovation in research and entrepreneurship, Gig.U seeks to accelerate the deployment of ultra high-speed networks to leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities. Improvements to these networks drive economic growth and stimulate a new generation of innovations addressing critical needs, such as health care and education." (This description is from Gig.U's home page)
Today, May 12, 2012, was Commencement Day at Howard University, my long-time employer ... and at A&T, Winston-Salem, Tuskegee, Virginia Union, and Claflin to name a few other HBCUs. So I got to thinking, "What would I say to the happy young graduates if I were asked to give the commencement address at one of these institutions? "
Academia's good news last week was the announcement by Harvard University and M.I.T. that they were forming a partnership called edX that will offer online courses. Each partner will invest $30 million in this venture. (Click here for a video of their press conference.)
Keepers of the Dream
is my fourth attempt to address this question, and each version has
been more pessimistic than the last as to the likelihood that the
non-HBCUs in the integrated mainstream of U.S. higher education will
close the persistent academic achievement gaps -- in retention rates,
graduation rates, GPAs, participation in STEM fields, etc -- between
their black and non-black students. (For example, see The Education Trust's May 2012 report "Replenishing Opportunity in America") The persistence of these gaps
becomes ever more ominous as the percentage of black students enrolled
in non-HBCUs rises to 90 percent and beyond.