ELKHART — Harrison College is changing how it does online education, launching a new online program called KnowU.
Robert Long, the college’s president of distance learning, explained in a presentation at the college’s Elkhart campus Thursday morning that the number of online educational programs have doubled through the past two years, but that few changes have been made to online programs.
“There’s been really very little change with online education,” he said. “The platforms are all generally the same, the experience is all generally the same.”
By June, all Harrison College online students will have access to KnowU, which college officials believe will encourage online students to connect more with faculty and other students and provide a more engaging and interactive education experience.
The website as a whole is set up as a “virtual campus,” with the background changing to images of a lobby, library or other rooms depending on where the student is on the website.
KnowU also integrates students’ Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, along with separate networking and social media opportunities with other Harrison College students. Integrating social pieces with learning makes a lot of sense for Harrison College students, Long said, because of how busy they usually are.
“All of these things are really part of the college experience and they were missing before online,” he continued.
Through the website itself, analytical tools create suggestions about learning resources and career preparation based on the students’ preferences and work on the site. Students also have access to an online library and online chat support.
KnowU will move through other phases as time goes on, Long said, including developing mobile sites for tablets.
To tour KnowU visit knowu.harrison.edu.