The Knowledge Network for Innovations in Learning and Teaching (KNILT) project is led by Dr. Jianwei Zhang, who directs the Technology-Augmented Co-Creativity Lab (TaCCL) in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice, School of Education, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY).
KNILT represents an open knowledge network created by/for educators to share and advance our collective know-how/know-why about productive learning in the 21st century.
This ongoing project is situated in the graduate courses and research projects led by Dr. Jianwei Zhang in the graduate programs (e.g. MS in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology, PhD in Curriculum and Instruction) at the University at Albany, SUNY. Students enrolled in these classes (e.g. systematic design of instruction and technology for learning) carry diverse expertise as PreK-12 teachers, college instructors, technologists, instructional designers, curriculum coordinators, and other professionals. Their expertise is brought to bear in an authentic, semester-long project. While studying principles and processes of learning design, each class member implements the systematic processes to create an online mini-course targeting teacher learning of a high-need topic, which may focus on a new pedagogical approach, a subject-specific teaching/assessment strategy, or a new technology tool.
Since its inception in September 2007, KNILT has accumulated more than 550 mini-courses; this number grows each semester. The mini-courses are continually used by students for peer learning within each class and across different cohort groups.
The mini-courses are further made freely available to educators from all around the world, who search for new ideas, strategies, and tools to renovate their teaching.
By August 19, 2019, KNILT has received a total of 17,462,411 page views.
Since then the KNILT site has been moved to a new server space. During the pandemic from January 2020 to October 2021, close to 500,000 users have accessed the mini-courses from 223 countries, with 6000-8000 users each week.
Who can benefit from KNILT?
The mini-courses (3-5 units each) can be used by educators working in different contexts of education. These resources may be used by individuals for personal learning or by groups/institutions to organize professional development activities. Government agencies, professional organizations, school districts, and professional development teams have also been using the KNILT resources to support policy-making, curriculum development, staff training, and community service.
Find mini-courses using the navigation panel. Or see Repository of Mini-Courses and Instructional Cases to view the full subject-based index.
Impact, Endorsement and Recommendations
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (Children's Bureau) recommended the following mini-course on its Child Welfare Information Gateway site as a resource for dealing with domestic violence. See link .
- American Mathematical Society recommended the following mini-course as a resource for inclusive classrooms:
--> Joseph Russo: Designing a Culturally Responsive Geometry Curriculum See link .
- National Dropout Prevention Center recommended the following mini-course in a Position Paper as a resource on how to engage at-risk students. (Dary, T., Pickeral, T., Shumer, R., & Williams, A. (2016). Weaving student engagement into the core practices of schools: A National Dropout Prevention Center/Network position paper. Clemson, SC: National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. Retrieved from 
-->Roger Wistar: Effective Use of Self-paced Learning in the Classroom Environment
- Ohio Department of Education consulted KNILT as a major resource in the development of the Education and Training Career Field Technical Content Standards (2016). (see acknowledgement in Page ix in this curriculum standard document) .
- Ohio Department of Education's (2020) Resident Educator program recommended the following mini-course as a mentor resource (
- The following mini-course was used by the Colorado Department of Education (Office of Standards and Instructional Support) as a resource to build instructional samples for teachers to implement new curriculum standards. See links  and .)
--> Alicia Mari: Keeping Imaginative Play In the Kindergarten Classroom
- The New York State Reading Association shared a series of KNILT mini-courses with its member educators through the ReAD Electronic Newsletter (e.g. Volume 18, 2021), as resources to support students in the 2021/22 school year.
- Various schools and colleges recommended KNILT mini-courses to their faculty as a resource for teaching design and improvement. Examples:[ https://www.concordia.ca/ctl/teaching/teaching-across-disciplines/teaching-labs-for-students-in-stem-courses.html]
Interested to contribute or collaborate?
We welcome graduate level instructors who teach related programs and courses (e.g. instructional design, teacher education, online learning) to partner with us in this project.
If you are a teacher/educator/learning designer/technologist and want to create a mini-course to share your special expertise, please let us know!
Researchers/professional developers from non-English speaking countries may also request a permission to translate some of the mini-courses into their own language.
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Dr. Jianwei Zhang, Associate Professor
Department of Educational Theory and Practice (ETAP), School of Education, University at Albany-SUNY 1400 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12222, USA. Email: jzhang1(at)albany.edu