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Element K[R] education case study: Quinnipiac University Student e-Learning experience: test, pilot, and rollout.

Below is an excerpt of an Element K case study. The complete 4-page study is available to educators who visit, or who call 1.800.434.3466, or who return the bound-in reply card.

QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY, founded in 1929 and located in Hamden, Connecticut, is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution of higher education and home to a community of more than 8,000 students, faculty, and staff. In the fall of 2003, freshmen entering Quinnipiac University began the semester with two new requirements: laptops and subscriptions to e-Learning.

"Today's college students have grown up with computers," said David Vance, Quinnipiac's Manager of Training and Communications, and one of the key people responsible for bringing e-Learning to campus. "They're comfortable with computers, they know about the Internet, and they know how to find what they need on the Internet. So, they don't need handholding." But Quinnipiac determined that the one-credit computer course it had been offering freshmen since 1980--a course meant to provide students with basic presentation skills and word processing tools needed for the work expected at Quinnipiac--wasn't serving its purpose. In the late '90s, Vance explored some e-Learning alternatives to this one-credit technology course, and ultimately found Element K. After testing it himself and with staff members, Vance became enthusiastic about the learning tool and decided to further explore its capabilities across the campus community through a pilot. Vance chose to start small, and limited the pilot to 300 users specifically selected to represent a cross section of the entire university community. "Through this pilot, we proved to the Quinnipiac University community that Element K offered a solid learning tool for students, faculty, and staff," said Bill Clyde, Dean of Academic Technology, Quinnipiac University.

Next Step--School of Business. With their homework done, Clyde and Vance approached faculty in the School of Business--where laptops have been a requirement for freshmen since 1998. Based on the positive results of the initial pilot, the School of Business agreed to make Element K a requirement for all required freshman Business School courses. "This is how it worked: as assignments came up that would require, say, Microsoft[R] PowerPoint[R], the assignment date was preceded by the assignment of the completion of the relevant PowerPoint module in Element K," Clyde said. "The Element K module would help provide them with the skills necessary to complete the assignment in the course." The overall usage rate for Element K e-Learning modules with the Business School freshmen reached 90 percent. With Quinnipiac's Business School as further evidence of e-Learning's potential, Vance looked ahead to the fall of 2003--when the laptop requirement was expanded to all Quinnipiac freshmen. As of early 2003, faculty from more than 20 freshman courses had already committed to using the laptops in the classroom. "We've met with faculty monthly and they're obviously excited about it," Clyde said.

Built-in accountability. "Our programmers in Academic Technology have written a script to take assessment output files from Element K and import the data into our systems (which includes the Blackboard system). This software allows a faculty member to go to a designated site, click on his or her course, and roster of students and the scores they've achieved on the Element K assessments," Clyde said. "What this means is that faculty are building the assessments into their curriculum and students are held responsible for getting certain percentages or grades on the assessments of the modules they are assigned." A critical piece of the entire program, Quinnipiac has decided to share this unique software with other colleges and universities that have similar plans for e-Learning. This fall, all incoming 2003 freshmen arrived with laptops in hand and e-Learning was rolled out to the 20 or so freshman courses with multiple sections. "We are distributing Element K subscriptions in the same way we did for the pilot programs," Clyde said. "We held a technology training session the week before classes started and we handed out cards with Element K access keys. All freshmen have access to Element K's Office Productivity library, and the cost was built into the course fee."

Quinnipiac is one of the many institutions of higher learning that Element K has helped with e-Learning for students, faculty, and staff. Vance put it this way: "It's one thing to give freshmen technology or laptops. It's another thing to turn the laptops into tools integrated into the academic experience."

For more information about Element K e-Learning for higher education, including courses for faculty. IT staff, and students, and a complete copy of this Quinnipiac case study, please use the bound-in reply card, or if it is missing, please call 1.800.434.3466, or visit

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Publication:University Business
Article Type:Advertisement
Date:Feb 1, 2004
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