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June 18, 2013

Blinn inks five-year contract for new online learning system

Desire2Learn will make College’s popular online courses even more convenient for students

The Blinn College Board of Trustees approved an agreement with Desire2Learn, Ltd. to make the College’s popular online course offerings even more convenient for students.

Desire2Learn’s learning management system will help the College administer, document, track, report and deliver online education courses. The five-year contract worth approximately $500,000 includes an option for an additional two years.

The 31-member selection committee performed hands-on tests with the finalist programs and chose Desire2Learn due to the system’s:

  • intuitive interface.
  • compatibility with mobile devices, including a free mobile app.
  • attendance feature.
  • reputation for customer support and retention.
  • analytics package, which allows instructors to track student success trends and quickly identify students requiring additional instruction.

“Desire2Learn will provide a more engaging, collaborative and personalized learning experience for our students,” said Dr. Mark Workman, Blinn’s dean of Distance Learning.

“This platform will provide our students the most convenient and accessible method of getting Blinn’s outstanding classroom experience in an online setting.”

Blinn’s current contract with Angel Learn expires in October 2014.

Online course offerings have become increasingly popular at Blinn and across the country, and Workman said approximately 88 percent of Blinn students use the learning management system for the College’s online, blended and web-enhanced courses.

During the Summer I semester, Blinn saw a 49.8 percent jump in Distance Learning enrollment, with 2,503 students enrolling in online courses. In the Spring, the College’s Distance Learning enrollment climbed 10.6 percent with 1,009 students participating in online classes.

The Sloan Consortium’s 2012 Survey of Online Learning reported that 6.7 million U.S. college students (32 percent) took online courses in Fall 2011, an increase of almost 10 percent over the previous year. That increase is especially meaningful given that overall enrollment declined in the United States for the first time in 15 years.

Workman said more students are enrolling in online courses due to the flexibility to schedule classwork around jobs, parenting and vacations; less time and money spent traveling to and from campus; and the opportunity to take courses without living in the immediate area.

Blinn’s online course offerings allow instructors to offer live discussions and virtual office hours or record lectures for students to view on their home computers, laptops, tablets or smart phones. Students can view sections of the lecture over again or slow down the lecture if the instructor is going too fast for their note-taking.