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WVU Parkersburg collaborates with Pearson to launch cutting-edge learning management system|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Parkersburg, W.Va. 12/2/11 – West Virginia University at Parkersburg is one of nine design partners to collaborate with Pearson on a new learning management system. OpenClass is an innovative and easy-to-use system that is free to both educators and students.
WVU Parkersburg and eight other partners are completing beta testing for OpenClass. The beta testing phase consists of evaluating the program and working through the issues that may arise in the system through everyday use. Senior vice president for academic affairs Rhonda Tracy, Ph.D., brokered the agreement with Pearson to bring this opportunity to the college.
"We aggressively pursued participation in the new project, and we were selected as the only pilot institution in the state," said Tracy. "The benefit to the college and most importantly, the students, is that this new learning management system is free, which is what initially captured our attention. The system also allows our college and faculty increased access to a wide variety of digital assets across a variety of disciplines."
Associate dean for academic affairs, Cynthia Kelley, Ph.D., is working closely in coordination with the WVU Parkersburg instructors involved with the program through this first stage. "They are still developing pieces of the system, and it is growing while we use it," said Kelley.
WVU Parkersburg is collaborating with Pearson through the 2011-2012 academic year. Participating instructors include Dr. Rob Anderson, Craig Rabatin, Vijay Shah and Sy Sarkarat. Anderson and Rabatin are instructing their entire classes online with the system, while Shah and Sarkarat are blending their courses with lectures in an alternative delivery format.
OpenClass is organized to look similar to social networking sites. The system is also cloud based, which is a cyber-storage area that allows instructors to access resources from any location.
"The program is really convenient and easy to access," said sophomore Loren Bell, a student in Anderson’s History 153 class. "It definitely appeals to my demographic because it looks just like a social media application like Facebook."
During the summer, a group from WVU Parkersburg had the opportunity to travel to Denver to meet with Pearson and the other institutions involved with testing the system. This was an opportunity to discuss ideas and concerns. Faculty brought up the necessity for the system to work with mobile technology such as iPads. Pearson took it into consideration and is working on it.
"It’s an advantage to be a part of something new, and to take part in the design of such a learning management system is a tremendous opportunity,” said Kelley. “We are on the cutting edge and even with the challenges, it is exciting.”
Other design partners in the OpenClass project include Abilene Christian University, Arizona State University, Central Piedmont Community College, Monash University, Kentucky Community & Technical College System, Rice University, the University of Wisconsin Extension and Columbia University. For more information, visit http://www.joinopenclass.com.
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