21st Century Classroom

April 22, 2014 at 8:00 am | Posted in Interesting Facts | Leave a comment
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21st century classroom

The Future of e-Learning

April 21, 2014 at 8:53 am | Posted in Interesting Facts | Leave a comment
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elearning in higher ed

Edvance360 Announced as 2014 CODiE Finalist in 3 Catagories

April 3, 2014 at 11:46 am | Posted in E360 News & Events | Leave a comment
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Edvance360 LMS-SN, the 2011 winner of the CODiE Award for Best Post-Secondary Course or Learning Management System, today announced it has been named as a finalist in the Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) CODiE Awards in three separate categories: Best Postsecondary Learning Solution, Best K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution, and Best Corporate Learning/Workforce Development Solution.

Seward’s Day

March 31, 2014 at 10:00 am | Posted in Interesting Facts | Leave a comment
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AlaskaSeward’s Day is a holiday in Alaska, the United States, to commemorate the US purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. This state holiday is annually held on the last Monday of March. It should not be confused with Alaska Day.

César Chávez Day

March 31, 2014 at 10:00 am | Posted in Interesting Facts | Leave a comment
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thCADF1JIRCésar Chávez Day is observed in the United States on March 31 each year. It celebrates the birthday of César Estrada Chávez and it serves as a tribute to his commitment to social justice and respect for human dignity.

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day

March 26, 2014 at 10:00 am | Posted in Interesting Facts | Leave a comment
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Jonah Kuhio KalanianaolePrince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day, also known as Prince Kuhio Day, is a state holiday in Hawaii in the United States. It is observed on March 26 every year and honors Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, one of the best-known leaders in Hawaii’s history.

March Equinox

March 20, 2014 at 10:00 am | Posted in Interesting Facts | Leave a comment
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UniverseToday is the March Equinox.

Increasing New Student Retention though Social Media

March 19, 2014 at 11:23 am | Posted in Integrating Tools into Online Courses | Leave a comment
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Featuring Benedict College: Increasing New Student Retention though Social Media


Student retention and completion strategies are a major part of any successful academic institution’s overall strategy.  Many institutions of higher education struggle with student retention, as students seem less and less prepared for college rigors.  Hardest hit are the community colleges and schools with open-enrollment policies.  Instituting successful strategies that increase student retention and ensure academic success is both necessary and often difficult.

To help their students become successful, Benedict College, an HBCU (Historically Black College & University) with open-enrollment policies, developed and implemented the Freshman Institute.  Benedict College utilized Edvance360 LMS-SN (Learning Management System and Secure Social Network) to facilitate the implementation of new services provided via the Freshman Institute as well as provide the online face to students.   The Benedict College Freshman Institute focused on increasing new student retention though Edvance360’s social learning and collaborative online tools.  This paper explores this process, it’s overwhelming success, and the factors for continued increases in student completion and retention.

About Benedict College

Founded in 1870, Benedict College is a private, co-educational liberal arts institution located in Columbia, SC. Benedict College has produced over 15,000 graduates and currently has over 3,100 students enrolled in baccalaureate degree programs. Benedict was recently named one of the top 100 institutions in the nation graduating African American scholars by Diverse Magazine. The College is a major economic contributor to the region and South Carolina, with a local annual economic impact of $106.7 million. Dr. David Holmes Swinton is the thirteenth president of Benedict College. Since Dr. Swinton’s appointment in 1994, the College has experienced a dramatic increase in its enrollment, particularly among male students. As a result of this tremendous growth, Benedict has the second largest undergraduate population of the 20 private institutions in South Carolina, and has become the fourth largest college in The College Fund/UNCF network (http://www.benedict.edu/cms/?q=node/106).

Freshman Institute

Benedict College is an open-enrollment HBCU school admitting students at any level of readiness and committed to preparing them to be “powers for good in the 21st century.”  Many students are from underserved populations and under-funded school systems and have not been adequately prepared for the rigors of academia.

The three-fold challenge was to provide sufficient support services to meet the needs of these under-prepared students, identify and reinforce needed behaviors/skills, and implement a constant, relationship-based monitoring system that facilitated immediate intervention.

The Freshman Institute began with the adoption of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) in the spring of 2010.  In line with the focus of being an early-contact, early-intervention program, Benedict began by sending all new incoming freshman their own Edvance360 accounts, allowing them to “virtually” explore the college, their instructors, and the LMS.  Benedict then created a Registration 101 community specifically for new freshmen intended to guide them through the entire registration process digitally. In September 2011, Benedict began using the new Mentor Accounts and instituting new services using Edvance360 collaboration and social media tools.

Use of Social Media

Research has shown that academic success during the first year is crucial for student retention and successful matriculation of students.  First-year success is largely dependent upon constant and open lines of communications.  The college had been using the Communities in Edvance360 on a campus-wide scale to provide services to students.  With the creation of the Freshman Institute, we were able to establish a community comprised of faculty, staff, support services, and freshman as a one-stop-shop for assistance and information-sharing through the available Web 2.0 and collaborative tools. This use of technology opened lines of communication that would not have existed otherwise.

Mentor Panels provide the ability to tailor our advising sessions, allowing mentors to view grades, progress through Learning Paths, assist with assignments, view calendars, and more.  Moving forward, Edvance360 and Benedict College will work together in an effort to provide even greater transparency.  The use of a new “Observer Role” is currently under review.  This new user role would enable mentors to view (view-only) the Learning Communities (groups of freshman students by learning practice) as a whole.  These observers would look for curriculum progress, attendance, student achievement/grades, and other indicators of success/failure and intervene appropriately.

Edvance360 is a Learner Management System (LMS) and secure social network that equips schools, corporations, and organizations to host online courses, implement modular courses, and revitalize residential courses to make them more interactive.

Edvance360 provides an easy-to-use interface for students and faculty, course management and creation tools, a secure social network, Web 2.0 tools, and collaborative communities to help educational institutions build a networked learning environment.

For more information, please visit http://www.edvance360.com/ or call 866-458-0360.


The key beneficiaries of these innovations are primarily the freshman, but faculty and the institution also benefit.  With all the innovations that have been made available through the Edvance360 tools, Benedict College has been able to connect with freshman and build relationships that ensure success. The Mentor Panel feature within Edvance360 allows for constant surveillance, immediate feedback, and timely intervention.  As a result, freshman can get immediate assistance with assignments and faculty can quickly refer students to our Learning Support Services for almost immediate assistance.  The technology allowed us to complete over 3000 personal interventions and referrals to academic support services.  The result during Fall 2011 was a 77% academic achievement rate for all freshman, above our targeted goal of 70%.

Faculty also benefits from the expanded support resources and open lines of communication. Edvance360 has allowed all necessary parties at the institution easy and immediate access to pertinent data, which has dramatically improved faculty/student relationships.

The transparency afforded by these new innovations has greatly benefited our administration at the institution level as well. The ability to have immediate, up-to-date information has allowed us to quickly tailor our first-year experience in ways that are already showing a higher retention

Benedict College had already adopted Edvance360 as its Learning Management System.  When the college adopted the Freshman Institute as its Quality Enhancement Plan for SACS Accreditation, we fond the features and tools available in Edvance360 were a perfect match for facilitating many of the plan’s initiatives.  These included Communities, Secure Social Network, Web 2.0 Collaborative Tools, Mentor Panels/Accounts, and Learning Paths.  These key technology components make possible the effective, tailored relationships between freshman and our coaches and support staff.

The Freshman Institute was designed to be an Intervention-based program, providing frequent and immediate intervention to improve first-year academic success.  Two key components were the Academic Success Coaches and the Learning Support Specialists, who would need constant access to various student data (i.e. attendance, scheduled assignments, individual assignment grades, faculty designed tutorials, etc.).  While trying to determine the best way to grant access to this type of information for 1000+ freshman is when we had our first “Ah Hah!” moment.

Edvance360 was already equipped with “Parent” accounts that allowed parents of K-12 students to monitor their children’s progress. The comparison between what a “Parent” needs to monitor with what we needed our “Mentors” to monitor.  This became the perfect option and the wording was changed.


The Freshman Institute has been successful in providing open communication between students and faculty members.  In addition, the use of current technology, Edvance360 LMS-SN was beneficial because it is a system student’s use for their courses as well.  The way Benedict College is using online communities to provide campus-wide services and communication as well as the use of Mentor Accounts to monitor student progress and provide early intervention clearly sets this project apart.  To our knowledge, no other institution or LMS offers this combination of tools to provide this scope of service and the results already garnered.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2014 at 10:00 am | Posted in Interesting Facts | Leave a comment
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st_patricks_day_glitter_graphic_06[1]Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  St Patrick’s Day occurs on March 17 and is day to remember one of Ireland’s patron saints, St Patrick. It largely celebrates Irish-American culture in the United States, and the use of the color green is predominant.

Happy Evacuation Day.

March 17, 2014 at 10:00 am | Posted in Interesting Facts | Leave a comment
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Evacuation DayHappy Evacuation Day. Evacuation Day is a public holiday in Suffolk County (including Boston), Massachusetts, in the United States on March 17 each year. It celebrates the date when the British troops evacuated Boston during the American Revolutionary War. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County, where various activities are held each year to remember this event.

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