3. Bridging educational gaps with Study Hall

Presented by Wayne Anderson and Sean Hobson

EdPlus Chief Design Officer Sean Hobson and Wayne Anderson, director of strategic design and development, took the stage next to share about one of the university’s most recent initiatives. 

Study Hall is a collaboration between ASU, Crash Course and YouTube to offer accessible educational content for millions of viewers and learners for transferable college credits. The project focuses on three main areas: a series on “how to college,” a series on fields of study and majors called Fast Guides, and a first-of-its-kind pathway from curiosity on YouTube to college credit.

“By leveraging the technology and access on YouTube, we're pushing new bounds in our learning architecture, ultimately bridging the gap between informal and formal education and making enriched and scalable experiences for our learners,” Hobson said.

ASU faculty worked closely with the Crash Course team, led by Hank and John Green, to develop the Study Hall series, which has garnered over 3.4 million views. The seven-week courses include subjects such as English composition, college math, U.S. history and human communication. This innovative method is meeting learners where they are and providing new ways to engage with the university experience, thus expanding the university's mission to democratize learning online.

4. Empowering ‘100 Million Learners’ around the world

Presented by Laura Polk

The Francis and Dionne Najafi 100 Million Learners Global Initiative, led by the Thunderbird School of Global Management, aims to offer online, global education in 40 languages at no cost to the learner. With the aim of being the boldest and most ambitious global education initiative in higher education history, this program was designed to provide world-class education to individuals who might not have access to traditional learning resources. 

The program offers three pathways to help advance the learner’s personal and professional development — a foundational entrepreneurship boot camp course (for learners at any level of education) and intermediate and advanced pathways for learners at the high school, undergraduate or graduate levels. In order to reduce language barriers, the program's content has been translated into 20 languages, prioritized based on the number of native speakers and greatest areas of educational need. 

Future plans include adding another 20 unique languages in order to reach all learners — no matter where they live — across the globe. Participants who satisfactorily complete the intermediate or advanced programs can apply for academic credit, which can be used toward degrees at ASU and universities around the world. 

“Our focus is on delivering transformative learning experiences that not only cater to the unique needs of our learners but also continually adapt and evolve in this ever-changing educational landscape,” said Laura Polk, executive director of digital initiatives and learning experience at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. “Through this commitment, we're reshaping the boundaries of global education, ensuring that every learner, regardless of their location or native language, has access to an empowering educational journey.”

5. Bridging the AI knowledge gap with Simpli-fAI

Presented by Mickey Mancenido

The Simpl-fAI project aims to make artificial intelligence more accessible and understandable to a broader audience. Mickey Mancenido, an AI researcher and assistant professor at the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, highlighted the need for simplifying AI education.

Mancenido, who is also a graduate of Enterprise Technology’s T4 Leadership Academy, proposes using social media as a tool for AI education, using short, engaging informational videos and leveraging social media’s popularity among younger generations to dispel misconceptions surrounding the new generative technology. At Empower, he emphasized the importance of a well-informed society in our increasingly technology-driven world, highlighting the Simpl-fAI project's commitment to bridging the gap between AI and the general public.

“One approach we can take as educators is to use social media as a platform to educate learners and the broader public on artificial intelligence technologies,” Mancenido said. “We can simplify AI concepts and counteract the fear and sensationalism that often surround them.”

Read more about the annual Empower event here.

Kevin Pirehpour

Editorial Specialist, Enterprise Technology