SUNY's Herkimer County CC Adopts Angel LMS for Online Program

Herkimer County Community College (HCCC) has adopted the Angel Learning Management Suite (LMS) to deliver its online courses. The college, which has about 3,300 students, is a two-year unit of the State University of New York (SUNY). HCCC offers 40 traditional degree programs and 20 online degree programs.

"As adults, our students should be able to dictate the path and the pace of their learning," said Bill Pelz, professor of psychology, SUNY Herkimer County Community College. "The Angel LMS provides us with more strategies to implement learner-directed instruction. Angel agents automatically release content based on the learner's level of achievement. Angel team capabilities and the social networking enabled by discussion forums, blogs, and wikis allow students to make connections with one another and easily orchestrate student-led activities."

Angel LMS consists of a collection of programs for administrative tasks, such as setting up accounts and enrolling students; instructor features, including the ability to set up agents for automating actions based on student performance; and student features, including communication and collaboration tools.

Results of an ongoing study conducted by HCCC in conjunction with the SUNY Learning Network (SLN), which also uses Angel LMS, consistently demonstrate statistically insignificant differences in course achievement and completion rates when comparing traditional students and distance learners taking the same courses from the same instructors. The HCCC approach downplays episodic assessments in favor of frequent writing activities and essay exams. And the online faculty report that they enjoy being cast in the role of facilitators of learning.

"At HCCC, we have exploded the myth that online courses and classroom courses differ substantially with regard to both student satisfaction and their perceived learning," Pelz said.

The Angel LMS is also used for traditional classes at the college.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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