2021 Shark Tank Open Innovation Funding Recipients Announced

The Shark Tank Open was held virtually on April 8, 2021. Sixteen innovative projects were pitched by faculty and staff to an audience and a panel of judges (the sharks) in an effort to receive up to $25,000 in innovation funding.

Educational Innovations at the Minnesota State system office is pleased to share the results of the spring 2021 innovation funding round. Six projects have been selected to receive funding, all are ambitious and diverse, embodying the creativity and inventiveness of Minnesota State.

Educational Innovations extends its congratulations to the following campuses and project recipients:

Finding Your Place OER Text: Stories of Cultural Wealth and Resilience

Minnesota State University, Mankato – $24,849

Minnesota State University, Mankato, in collaboration with partners from Century College, is setting out to create and distribute a student-centered, student-produced, Open Educational Resource (OER) text. The text is designed to help first-year and first-generation college students better understand the many assets they likely already have as resources for college success. A significant part of this book will focus on the stories of alumni of color.

Student Voices: Humanizing Students Through Their Stories

Minneapolis College – $25,000

The purpose of Student Voices is to document student stories on topics around COVID-19, racism, healing, education, struggle, inspiration, and hope. Student stories will be captured and distributed though video or the tool Squigl. The multimedia creations from Student Voices will be used to help overcome the feelings of isolation and community disconnect that can accompany online learning and a global pandemic.

Minneapolis College Career Readiness Digital Badging Program Demonstrates Skill & Competency

Minneapolis College – $25,000

The Career Services Department at Minneapolis College plans to pilot digital badging in their Career Ready Mentorship Program. Focusing on the eight essential core competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, this project will promote badging opportunities across the college helping match the core competency skills students have with the ones employers are looking for.

Thrive in Five: It’s Good for Business

Saint Paul College – $25,000

The Thrive in Five project utilizes an eight-week course model that addresses the barriers faced by non-traditional students, particularly those who work full-time. To improve the success (retention, persistence and completion) rates of these part-time students, Saint Paul College will offer a holistic and measured approach to college success. This program allows students to continue full-time employment while completing one credit-bearing course at a time for eight weeks, successfully finishing two three-credit hour courses per 16-week semester.

Supporting Autistic Student Success Initiative (SASSI)

St. Cloud State University – $25,000

This SASSI project aims to examine how St. Cloud State University (SCSU) can provide individualized and intensive support services and strategies to recruit and retain more students with autism. Emphasis will be placed on integrating existing student support services, the Communication Sciences and Disorders Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, and other School of Health and Human Services programs. The data and information gleaned from the project will help inform best practices in serving the academic and non-academic needs of autistic students not only at SCSU, but across the entire system.

Interdisciplinary Applications of Artificial Intelligence Emphasizing Public Safety: A Multi Campus Collaboration to Develop and Offer a Minnesota State System Wide Course on Applications of Artificial Intelligence across the Criminal Justice System

St. Cloud State University – $23,272

Criminal Justice faculty and IT departments from St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead are collaborating with technical specialists from IBM to develop, teach, and provide technical support for a dual enrollment course on applications of Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to address the ethical concerns associated with these applications across the criminal justice system. This collaborative course offering will be available to students via a Hyflex model, and will encourage collaborations among students, faculty, IT staff, guest speakers, and IBM technical specialists.

To learn more about all innovation projects funded through Educational Innovations, visit the new Innovation Funding Gallery or the ASA Newsletter’s Stories of Innovation Series.

Submit a Pay It Forward Funding application by May 7, 2021! Pay It Forward Funding is available for up to $10,000, and rewards innovators who wish to replicate previously funded innovations from a college or university campus. Learn more.

Questions? Please contact Stephen Kelly.

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