Penn State's Second Life Island and TV spot earn national awards

April 09, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- Two Penn State initiatives aimed at adult online learners were honored April 9 with national awards by the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) during its 95th annual conference in San Francisco. UCEA is the principle organization for continuing higher education in the nation.

“Penn State is committed to helping adult learners succeed,” said Craig D. Weidemann, vice president for Penn State Outreach. “These awards recognize our efforts to develop student recruitment and support services that take advantage of current technologies to meet the needs of busy adult learners.”

Penn State has more than 25,000 adult learners University-wide. They include students who are 24 years old or older, veterans of the armed services, returning to school after four or more years of employment, homemaking or other activity, as well as holding multiple roles as parent, spouse/partner or employee.

UCEA awards include:

-- A Silver Award in the broadcasting category for a 30-second television commercial about Penn State’s World Campus. World Campus, online at, specializes in adult online education, delivering more than 70 graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs to more than 9,600 students in every state and 62 countries. The commercial is part of an integrated World Campus marketing campaign to increase awareness of Penn State’s online campus. It was targeted to Penn State alumni, fans and others who know the University, but may not be aware of Penn State’s online programs. The commercial aired during football season in September 2009 on the football highlights TV show “The Penn State Football Story” and on the Big Ten Network during Penn State home football games. It also appeared on the Beaver Stadium jumbo screen. A survey conducted after the commercial aired found that it had increased national awareness about Penn State’s online campus.

-- The Penn State World Campus Island in Second Life received a Bronze Award in the interactive marketing category. Launched in January 2009, the island offers online learners opportunities to participate in traditional student activities, such as forming friendships with fellow students, attending a football game, watching a Homecoming parade and participating in an open house for graduating students, in a three-dimensional virtual environment from anywhere in the world. The island includes representations of some of the Penn State main campus’ signature landmarks: Berkey Creamery, the HUB-Robeson Cultural Center and Hintz Family Alumni Center. The goal of Penn State’s Second Life Island is to build community outside of the course environment. Island membership continues to increase. As one student commented: “These experiences have truly given me the same sense of camaraderie that I enjoyed many years ago as a traditional college student.”

Penn State Outreach, at online, is the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education, serving more than 5 million people each year and delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 09, 2010