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Huntington Junior College Raises Distance Ed Retention with Second Life Mash-up

BOCA RATON, Fla., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- While large public universities and their ERP software vendors theorize how Higher Education can embrace social networks and open source, a small but innovative junior college in West Virginia is already delivering education through a one-stop-shop web portal that integrates with Moodle and Second Life. Results so far suggest stronger student persistence in its distance education programs -- and happier faculty.

BOCA RATON, Fla., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ — While large public universities and their ERP software vendors theorize how Higher Education can embrace social networks and open source, a small but innovative junior college in West Virginia is already delivering education through a one-stop-shop web portal that integrates with Moodle and Second Life. Results so far suggest stronger student persistence in its distance education programs — and happier faculty.

In 2007, Huntington Junior College (HJC) teamed with Campus Management Corp., a leading provider of enterprise software to Higher Education, to participate in the company's CampusLearning early adopter program. CampusLearning is a suite of services that provides for real-time, two-way integration between proprietary portals and student information systems and the Moodle open source course management systems. Users of Moodle, meanwhile, have achieved a mash-up with virtual world leader, Second Life, to create Sloodle, a three-dimensional interactive world for campuses and classes.

Nine other institutions are now using CampusLearning to complement or replace proprietary learning management systems. The institutions are provided 24/7 helpdesk support for students and instructors, and they leverage the company's fully hosted environment, including integration to Campus Management's portals and student system, achieved using the company's application programming interfaces (APIs). Most recently, another smaller college, Huertas Junior College, is deploying the integrated system in both English and Spanish, using Campus Management's support for Moodle's language pack.

Achieving a truly virtual campus

Since the inauguration of Campus Management's early adopter program, HJC reports a 16% increase in its retention of students in its online programs, improving persistency to 80%. Faculty report a 50% reduction in administrative workloads, courtesy of Campus Management's bi-directional links between its CampusVue student administrative system and Moodle learning management system.

"The integration of Moodle through the CampusLearning program has delivered on its promise of improving the academic and administrative landscape at HJC," said Cathy Snoddy, Ph.D., assistant director at Huntington Junior College. "The student information system has to let you understand and manage your students. Campus Management recognizes the trends in education; the people who work there are smart. They know students need 24/7 access to their records and course information, so they developed the portal aspects to CampusLearning that help facilitate interaction and keep people and departments better connected. That's what makes this relationship work."

By creating a "social presence" using a mash-up of Second Life and Moodle, called Sloodle, in coordination with Campus Management's student information system, HJC has created a full-service virtual campus that enhances faculty-student interaction while automating management of rosters, grades, drop/adds, and other administrative chores. Students log in once to the college's portal, and can leap into their Second Life campus, attend class, and participate in online cafe conversations.

"We are trying to overcome the distance you feel in distance education by being socially connected," Snoddy said. "You develop socially as well as intellectually in college. That is the challenge for all educators. CampusLearning helps make the relationship real between students and HJC no matter where learning takes place."

This initiative has been so successful that Cathy Snoddy was recently awarded the opportunity to submit a best practice session, Sloodle in the Distance Ed Classroom, at the E-Learn 2008 World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, November 17-21, 2008. A case study on how Huntington Junior College is raising distance education retention with Second Life mash-up can be found at: www.campusmgmt.com/clients/customers_hjc.asp

About Campus Management Corp.

More than 1,100 college and university campuses worldwide rely on Campus Management for efficient, scalable, and flexible administrative and academic solutions to enhance institutional performance. Campus Management's One Campus Ecosystem platform is a fully integrated, centralized administrative and e-learning solution that unifies the management and reporting of traditional and non-traditional postsecondary education programs.

Campus Management's award-winning technology addresses virtually every aspect of the student and administrative lifecycle, including enrollment, academics and e-Learning, finance, human resources, advancement and alumni relations. Rapid implementation, robust and flexible software applications, and responsive support are further enhanced by CampusNet's turnkey approach to infrastructure security, continuity, support, and maintenance for all your enterprise needs. Learn more at: www.campusmanagement.com.

About Huntington Junior College

Founded in 1936 as a private institution of higher education, Huntington Junior College is a comprehensive, open-admission junior college located in the easily-accessible urban area and serving residents of the Tri-State area of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. Huntington Junior College has been granted accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.

Huntington Junior College is committed to providing an equal opportunity educational experience to ensure student learning, validate student outcomes, and promote academic excellence through a qualified and dedicated faculty, staff, and administration. The College provides quality education in seven two-year associate degree programs and three diploma programs. While adapting to the changing needs of society, the College has remained true to its mission throughout its long history. For more information please visit www.huntingtonjuniorcollege.edu or call (304) 697-7550 or (800) 344-4522.

Campus Management Corp., CampusLearning, and One Campus Ecosystem are trademarks of Campus Management Corp., which may be registered in the U.S. and other countries. CampusLearning functions independently from (and is not bundled with or required to be used with) CampusVue. Moodle is a registered trademark of the Moodle Trust. Campus Management is not associated with the Moodle Trust. For more information, visit www.moodle.com.

SOURCE Campus Management Corp.

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