New UT System online learning platform in development

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Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

The UT System is developing TEx, a new online learning platform, which will benefit students in the System and bring a UT education to potential students around
the world.

The Board of Regents established the UT System Institute for Transformational Learning, known as UTx, in 2012 to make learning more accessible and affordable as well as help increase the number of Texans with a college degree. UTx in collaboration with Salesforce, a cloud computing company, will be in charge of the TEx development.

The program allows for real-time feedback and support services tailored to
students’ needs.

Faculty members in the program will monitor student progress and alert them whenever the professor believes they need assistance.

The team will develop software and digital tools to help students with their studies. They are also working on an online marketplace of courses.

“We are at the forefront of developing the next-generation model of higher education,” Marni Baker Stein, chief innovation officer for UTx said in a news release. “This new partnership will greatly enhance our efforts to deliver alternative and accelerated pathways to high
quality education.”

The initiative will be
implemented at several UT institutions next fall, according to the UTx website.

“I truly believe UTx houses the most disruptive executive thought leaders in higher education,” Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist for Salesforce, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with this innovative team to build a personalized learning platform.”

At UT-Rio Grande Valley last fall, a prototype program was used in a new biomedical sciences degree program. No students in the program were required to buy any textbooks, and all course material was provided through iPads that the students received at the beginning of the semester.

The program allowed students to go through
coursework at their own pace. It also allowed for a hybrid-learning environment, which put students in classrooms, laboratories and clinics in the Rio Grande area.

According to the UTx website, the UTRGV program was created to help fill the needs for Texas’ health
care demands.

TEx will transition from using traditional transcripts to using block chain technology, called ChainScript, to retain all student academic information and achievement.

UTx is also working on targeting students in technology-related fields and preparing high school students in Texas for college. Students studying technology-related fields will help fill the need for cybersecurity, business and engineering. High school students who take college courses in dual credit will be targeted for healthcare and technology fields.

UT System Chancellor William McRaven introduced his vision, called “Quantum Leaps,” for the future of the UT System in 2015. The mission was to increase the talent, size and diversity in the System. UTx will be a step to accomplish this goal,
McRaven said.

“UTx is advancing innovative and sustainable models of education,” McRaven said in a statement. “Our goal is to smooth the road for thousands of students to high-quality learning and a rewarding career.”