$1.2 Million Challenge: Build Trust Online

Fifth Digital Media and Learning Competition Promotes Internet Safety, Privacy

A recent report by the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet calls for innovations that enable people to pursue online learning experiences in an environment that is safe and private.

In response, HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory), and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation are awarding $1.2 million for their 5th Digital Media and Learning Competition, dubbed the Trust Challenge

“The Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet has highlighted the transformative role that digital media can play in helping every learner reach his or her full potential,” said David Theo Goldberg, a HASTAC board member and director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute. “Our competition seeks to advance solutions that build the trusted environments learners need online so they can safely and confidently access the rich learning opportunities the Internet affords.”

The Task Force report, “Learner at the Center of a Networked World,” argues that a trusted online environment is necessary for effective learning and recommends creating such environments.

“Just as the digital revolution changed many industries, its promise is now being realized in learning environments inside and outside schools,” said Connie Yowell, MacArthur Foundation’s director of education and a leading proponent of connected learning. “The Internet is a vital link, and innovative educators are helping learners create unique and personalized learning pathways as they follow their interests online, connect to supportive peers and mentors, and become the creative makers and producers today’s economy rewards. Our goal is to support this explosion of interest-driven learning by ensuring all learners can safely and confidently leverage these rich digital resources.”

The Trust Challenge is open to museums, libraries, school districts, schools, higher education institutions, community organizations, developers, researchers and others committed to creative, open connected learning. Successful contestants will develop digital projects and tools designed to build privacy, security and safety into its digital offerings and build awareness around data and trust. Projects might include web or online applications, digital badge systems, data management platforms, online learning content or other innovations. Winners will receive grants of up to $150,000. 

Deadline to enter the Trust Challenge is Nov. 3. Winners will be announced in January. More details are available at dmlcompetition.net.

Learn more during three upcoming webinars:

Thursday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST

Rachel Anderson from the Data Quality Campaign speaks with Akili Lee of Chicago City of Learning and Luis Mora of the Los Angeles City of Learning about digital and human systems and issues of trust in connected learning environments. Register online.

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST

Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO and president of Voto Latino and co-chair of the Aspen Task Force on Learning and the Internet speaks with digital media scholar Sheryl Grant about interoperability, access, digital literacy, and trust, and the call to action for a truly networked learning environment. Register online.

Thursday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST

Connie Yowell, MacArthur Foundation’s director of education, and Cathy Davidson, co-founder of HASTAC and director of City University of New York’s Futures Initiative will discuss the challenges and opportunities for connected learning when human and digital systems are designed with trust at the forefront. Register online.


Trust Challenge Press Release
Trust Challenge Website

Trust, Privacy and Everyday Life
ConnectedLearning.tv Series on Building Trust in Connected Learning

Media Contact:
Mimi Ko Cruz, 949-824-4587