EducationSocial Media

If You Want To Get Somewhere, You Need A Good Map

Sometimes the simple approach wins out over more complicated strategies when trying to move the needle on big issues.

That’s one of the lessons from MoveED, an online and social media-driven campaign that seeks to boost college completion rates in the United States over the next decade.

As an example, one of the key – and most valuable — elements of the MoveED website, which was created and is operated by the Indiana-based Lumina Foundation, is a map that lists nearly 3,000 groups working around the country to increase the percentage of Americans who enter and graduate from college. The map provides an easy way for everyone from activists to parents to connect with each other and share information and plot joint activities.

“One of the challenges for people who are working to boost college completion rates is knowing who else is doing the same work and where to find them. With our map, we can show people right down to the street level in individual communities who else is doing that work,” says Teresa Detrich, Strategy Lead for MoveED and Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation.

Detrich adds that the map has proved far more successful than anything she and her colleagues have tried before as part of ongoing attempts to create a network of people who are committed to helping reach the goal of 60 percent of Americans obtaining a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by 2025, otherwise known as “Goal2025.”

MoveEd grows out of other work the foundation has been doing since 2009 to address lagging college graduation rates in the United States. According to the foundation, rates haven’t budged beyond 40 percent since the 1940s, despite the changing demands of the workplace that put people with only high school degrees at a distinct disadvantage.

We’re making it easy for people to find what they need by helping them cut through all the confusing clutter that’s out there.

While also addressing the challenge of boosting graduation rates on other fronts—such as working with policy makers, education officials, colleges and universities and others—Lumina hit upon the idea for MoveEd as a way to harness the power of the people working on the issue in communities across the nation. The site launched last Spring.

In addition to the map, which provides ways to find and connect people with each other, MoveED also functions like an information marketplace. The site is filled with what are called “ideas and actions” – articles, toolkits, research and other resources that groups working to boost college graduation rates can share or use to inform their own activities.

“We’re making it easy for people to find what they need by helping them cut through all the confusing clutter that’s out there,” Detrich adds.

Posted on October 3, 2014

Bruce Trachtenberg
Bruce Trachtenberg is executive producer and editor for The Atlantic Philanthropies. He previously served as executive editor for frank and before that as executive director of the Communications Network.