Penn State World Campus receives national innovation award

Advising and Learner Success professionals used Web 2.0 technologies to create an online community for learners to help improve their academic success

Penn State's Advising and Learner Success team is this year's recipient of the Distance Education Innovation Award from the National University Technology Network (NUTN) for its "extraordinary learner-focused solution" to student engagement. The award will be presented Sept. 18 during NUTN's Network 2012 Conference in Kansas City. This organization is a professional development network for the advancement of teaching and learning in distance education.

"The Advising and Learner Success team integrated the best learning and communication technologies to create a community on the Web for World Campus students to engage with each other and become more connected with the University," said Wayne Smutz, executive director of Penn State World Campus and associate vice president for Academic Outreach. "The aim of this initiative is to improve learner success and retention."

The team's approach, "Utilizing Web 2.0 Technologies to Build a Dynamic Community of Online Penn Staters Worldwide," is comprehensive, creative and cost-effective and illustrates a unique and effective approach that can serve as a model for others.

Among the communication tools available to World Campus students are podcasts, webinars, town halls, student blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, Flickr photo galleries, instant messaging and customized student web space.

Since the World Campus opened in 1998, the number of students learning online has continued to grow. Currently, 11,420 students are enrolled online — an increase of 22 percent over last year. The average age of online students is 34, 52 percent are female and most are enrolled part time in more than 80 professional certificate, associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering more than 80 of Penn State's most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, which serves more than 5 million people each year, in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015