CMU Partners with Lumen Learning for Coordinated Delivery and Support of Evidence-based Courseware

Pittsburgh, PA and Portland, Ore. (June 27, 2019) – Two leading providers of evidence-based learning materials, the Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI) and open education innovator Lumen Learning, today announced plans to provide coordinated delivery and support for OLI courseware. Through this partnership, OLI’s historical strength in learning engineering is complemented by the Lumen Team’s expertise in how to deliver, promote, and support learning materials implemented at scale. Going forward, faculty and organizations can adopt OLI courseware with support from Lumen Learning to assist with courseware selection, onboarding, training, course setup and ongoing usage.

“Every day we hear from faculty members that what matters most is the success of their students, and this is a driving factor in which course materials they select,” said Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning. “Like Lumen’s own courseware, OLI courses are designed around proven principles for what helps students learn effectively. Through this partnership, we’re excited to provide professional development and support to help more faculty members discover and teach effectively with these OER-based courseware tools.”

Carnegie Mellon University's Norman Bier and Lumen Learning's Kim Thanos participating in a panel discussion.

Norman Bier (center) with Kim Thanos (left) and Michael Feldstein (right) at the Empirical Educator Project’s second annual summit on May 6, 2019, in Carnegie Mellon University’s Simmons Auditorium. Photo: Carnegie Mellon University, CC-BY-NC-SA.

As part of Carnegie Mellon’s Simon Initiative, OLI operates as an applied-learning science laboratory, using data and research insights to develop, test and improve course materials in a variety of subjects. With this research focus, the OLI courseware adoption process has depended on faculty members to figure out for themselves how to try out, implement, and use OLI courses. This partnership will provide guidance and consultations to faculty members and institutions implementing OLI’s learning tools.

Initially the partnership will focus on two well-regarded OLI courses, General Chemistry and Anatomy & Physiology, with other OLI courses expected to follow. Lumen’s standard pricing for OLI courses will match that of adopting through OLI directly. Today’s announcement builds on over a decade of collaborations between members of the Lumen and Simon Initiative teams, including participation in the Next Generation Courseware Challenge, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Most recently, Lumen and the Simon Initiative announced a partnership to integrate an analytical tool used to identify poorly performing learning content into OpenSimon, a new educational effectiveness toolkit announced recently by Carnegie Mellon.

“At OLI, we want to see better learning tools being used by more students and faculty members, on a wider scale,” said Norman Bier, director of the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon. “This partnership helps OLI, Lumen, and educational institutions remove barriers to effective adoption of our course materials and accelerate educators’ ability to innovate with courseware grounded in learning science research.”

OLI is joining Lumen in its strategic relationships with key institutional partners such as the State University of New York (SUNY) and the University System of Maryland, which are both working to expanding awareness and adoption of the evidence-based courseware. Through these partnerships, OLI and Lumen will provide improved tools for courseware discovery, orientation, training and professional development to help faculty members successfully adopt and teach with OLI courseware. Additionally, the partners will deepen their collaboration on efficacy research and applying learning science insights to continuously improve courseware design and better support student learning. 


About the Open Learning Initiative

The Open Learning Initiative (OLI) combines open approaches with learning science to improve student outcomes.  As a part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Simon Initiative, OLI uses CMU’s learning engineering approach: applying learning science principles in the design of innovative learning activities, and using that data to improve learning experiences while advancing our understanding of how humans learn.  Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of OLI’s approach in supporting a diverse array of students and educators.

OLI’s catalog includes over 30 courses, with topics ranging from STEM to American English Speech. The courses combine exposition, multimedia, embedded problems, virtual labs and simulations that provide learners with targeted feedback and drive learning analytics to support educators in their instructional practice.

About Lumen Learning

Lumen Learning uses open educational resources (OER) to provide affordable course materials that improve learning and replace expensive textbooks in high-enrollment college courses. Adding timely updates, learning design, and technical support to OER, Lumen makes the transition to open content simple, reliable, and effective for instructors and students.

Lumen OER courseware includes Waymaker personalized learning course materials, OHM online homework system for math and other quantitative subjects. Over 200 colleges and universities across the U.S. use Lumen-supported digital courseware for in-person, online, and blended courses. Materials created by Lumen are published under Creative Commons Attribution licenses and contributed back to the education community. Learn more at, and visit our course catalog at

Media Contacts

Jason Maderer, Senior Director, Media Relations

Carnegie Mellon University

+1.412.268.1151 |


Julie Curtis, VP Strategy & Communication

Lumen Learning

+1.503.840.5569 |