National Louis University Earns 2017 OLC Digital Learning Innovation Award

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NLU was selected from among 60 digital courseware initiatives in the Online Learning Consortium’s annual #DLIAward competition.

National Louis University announced today it has earned the 2017 OLC Digital Learning Innovation Award (#DLIAward), for its Pathways at NLU initiative. The Pathways program advances undergraduate student success through the adoption of digital courseware. National Louis was one of three institutions and 10 faculty-led teams selected from among 60 submissions in year two of the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) DLIAward competition.

Pathways at NLU offers a rigorous, professionally-focused, four-year bachelor’s degree program for $10,000 per year, reducible to zero with federal and state financial grants for students with need. Pathways uses personalized instruction, success coaches and other tools to nurture first-generation, low-income students through college and to career readiness. Undergirding the program is curriculum grounded in adaptive learning software, which serves as an online textbook and enables faculty to tailor instruction for students who arrive with varying levels of prior academic achievement. The platform continuously adapts content to each student, thus personalizing the learning experience and supporting learning mastery.

Applications for Pathways at NLU have surged 1,500 percent since its Fall 2015 launch. Even more encouraging are Pathways’ retention rate (75% of students continued from Year 1 to Year 2, surpassing local and national benchmarks) and rising enrollment (85 students in 2015-16, 390 in 2016-17, and nearly 800 in 2017-18).

“We are thrilled that Pathways at NLU, which we believe is the first in the nation to assemble all of its high-tech and high-touch innovations into one program to empower underserved youth in college and careers, has received this selective and prestigious award from the Online Learning Consortium,” said Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., NLU president.

“The mission of the OLC DLIAwards is to discover student-centered active learning solutions that advance the world of digital learning for all students,” said Kathleen Ives, D.M., CEO and executive director of the Online Learning Consortium. “The awarded projects in this year’s competition truly support this mission and serve as valuable models that other institutions can emulate as they embark on their own digital courseware initiatives.”

The 2017 DLIAwards were presented to honorees on Nov. 16, by Stacey VanderHeiden Güney, Director of the Digital Learning Solution Network, during the OLC Accelerate conference, in Orlando.

The Online Learning Consortium determined the award winners by two rounds of review, first by a review team of institutional-level and higher education organization-level reviewers, who narrowed the field of submissions for final review by a national panel of judges.

Details about each of the 2017 OLC DLIAward honorees can be found online at

About the Digital Learning Innovation Awards
The Online Learning Consortium’s Digital Learning Innovation Award competition recognizes exemplary faculty-led teams and institutions for advancing student success through the adoption of digital courseware. The award program is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success Program. More information about the DLIAwards is available at

About National Louis University
Founded in 1886, National Louis is a nonprofit, non-denominational University offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields of education, management, human services, counseling, public policy, and others concerned with human and community development. From its inception, National Louis has provided educational access to adult, immigrant and minority populations – a mission it sustains today. National Louis is well-known for an exceptional history in teacher preparation, and continues to be a leader in educating future teachers and community leaders to succeed in urban environments. For more information, visit

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Kellie Kennedy
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