The Trust Challenge: 5th Digital Media and Learning Competition – Awards up to $150,000

The Trust Challenge: 5th Digital Media and Learning Competition – Awards up to $150,000

Deadline: November 3, 2014

Applications for the Trust Challenge are now open. Join the Challenge and solve some of the thorniest issues facing connected learning today.

The Trust Challenge is the fifth Digital Media and Learning Competition — an open, international invitation to organizations willing to create collaborations or alliances that address existing real-world challenges to trust in connected learning environments. The Digital Media and Learning Competition is a program designed to find and to inspire the most novel uses of new media in support of connected learning.

Successful labs will create scalable, innovative, and transformative exemplars of connected learning that bridge technological solutions with complex social considerations of trust.

The Trust Challenge

Trust, privacy, and safety are critical to learning in an open online world. How can learners exercise control over who sees and uses their data? What tools do they need to navigate, collaborate, and learn online with confidence? What solutions will foster greater civility and respect in online learning environments? How can open technical standards create more opportunities to share and collaborate online in a spirit of trust?

The Trust Challenge will award $1.2 million to institutions and organizations that tackle these questions in real-life learning contexts. The Competition is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered by HASTAC through a grant to the University of California, Irvine.


  • $10,000 to $150,000 year-long development grants
  • $5,000 technology grants
  • $1.2 million will be awarded in total.

Development grant award amounts will be determined by project feasibility and complexity, team member expertise, length of time required to complete the work, and level of institutional support.

In addition to the larger, on-going development grants, “People’s Choice Awards” will be made to the three finalist applications that amass the most votes during the public voting process. These small grants will be up to $5,000 and must be used specifically for approved technology purchases for the applying organization/institution.


The Trust Challenge strongly encourages collaboration. Successful proposals will include youth-serving organizations and institutions and institutions of higher learning anywhere in the world that serve as laboratories where challenges to trust in connected learning environments can be identified and addressed.

Teams must include

  • institutional/organizational stakeholders and administrators that can provide and direct project objectives, inform design and implementation, and increase opportunities for scalability.

Additionally, teams might also include:

  • technologists, web developers, app developers, badge system designers, etc. that can design, build and implement the proposed digital solution; and
  • researchers, educators, learning experts, policy advisors, legal counsel, etc. that can give careful consideration to complex social and institutional/organizational considerations around trust and learning.

Judging Criteria

A panel of expert interdisciplinary judges will review all applications and select finalists. The following criteria should guide the creation of proposals. Strong applications will engage meaningfully with as many of the following criteria as possible.

  • Laboratory
  • Connected learning
  • Diversity, civility, and inclusivity
  • Access
  • Control of data
  • Privacy
  • Technical
  • Communication and implementation plan
  • Plan and Budget

For more information, visit The Trust Challenge.