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7 Iowa Community Colleges To Stick with Online Platform

The Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC) has renewed the contract with its online learning platform provider, extending a relationship that dates back 12 years.

The consortium is a partnership of seven community colleges that pool resources to offer online courses and support services to more than 20,000 students every semester. Eastern Iowa, Iowa Lakes, Iowa Western, Northwest Iowa, Southeastern Iowa, and Southwestern Community Colleges, as well as Western Iowa Tech, all share faculty and staff, services, and information. In addition, the consortium sets joint standards for the creation and assessment of online courses. It offers 1,000 course sections and 10 online degree programs.

The consortium will continue to use Pearson's LearningStudio, a scalable software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform fdesigned or the creation, management, and analysis of online courses. It includes social media tools, such as profiles, chat, avatars, groups, activity feed, and Skype videoconferencing. Students can access the platform from anywhere using a customizable mobile site. In addition, LearningStudio provides a variety of assessment and analytics tools for instructors to track student progress and discover at-risk students.

According to ICCOC, implementation of Pearson LearningStudio has resulted in success rates that are 11 percent higher, and completion rates are up almost 10 percent.

"Extending our relationship with Pearson was an easy decision," said Steve Rheinschmidt, director of the ICCOC. "Through our alliance with Pearson, our educators are empowered with information to identify, track, and target specific areas for student improvement. This means our learners are more likely to successfully complete their education."

The consortium also uses Pearson's Smarthinking on-demand tutoring.

ICCOC has placed as a finalist in the 2012 IMS Global Learning Consortium's Learning Impact Awards, which are "designed to recognize the most impactful use of technology worldwide in support of learning," according to its Web site. It will make a final presentation at the Learning Impact Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on May 14.

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About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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