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Colleges and Universities See Improved Student Outcomes with Wimba

Learning Environments that Leverage Wimba Solutions Better Engage Learners - Improving Grades, Retention and Employability

NEW YORK – March 9, 2010 – Wimba® Inc., a leading provider of collaborative solutions for educators around the world, announced today that colleges and universities report improved student outcomes and increased student retention through use of the Wimba Collaboration Suite™.  By strengthening campus-wide collaboration with Wimba, these same institutions realize additional benefits like enhanced student engagement, boosted enrollment, better test scores and grades, as well as a rise in graduate employability.

Improving Engagement = Improving Outcomes

Effectively engaging students, in and outside of the classroom, is critical to their success.  Real-time learning, be it in a formal lecture, online office hours or one-on-one tutoring environment, is dynamic and interactive with Wimba.  By providing audio or video recordings of class lectures students can review content at any time, relate it back to their personal classroom experience and get more out of their education.

“The benefits of Wimba are great,” says Vartouhi Asherian, Instructional Designer and Professor at the College of Southern Nevada.  “The students feel closer to the instructor and it boosts retention.  That is the key.”

William Drummond, eLearning Architect and Lead Producer at Lawrence Technological University, reports that a student at the university made significant improvements to his final grade using just that approach, “He attributes his improvements to Wimba Classroom and not having to spend time on detailed notes, but rather being able to really pay attention and interact in class, knowing that he could go back and review the archive.”  

In a Harvard University Press report by Richard Light titled, “Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds,” Light discovered that, “One of the strongest determinants of student’s success in higher education was their ability to form or participate in small study groups.  Students who studied in groups only once a week were more engaged in their studies, were better prepared for class and learning significantly more than students who worked on their own.”
 
Increasing Access, Adding Value

One of the great benefits of the Wimba Collaboration Suite is the ability to provide access to high-quality education regardless of one’s age, location, socio-economic class or schedule.  This has a benefit not only to institutions through increased tuition and exposure, it also benefits students through exposure to a broader range of individuals and experiences that can ultimately provide a greater opportunity for job placement.

According to Randall Smith, Director of the Virtual Center for Learning and Teaching at Rasmussen College in Minnesota, “A lot of our [students] are in their late 20’s, single parents, working a job, that type of thing, but we’ve always been focused on student success; that’s our primary driver, along with student placement and learning outcomes. We see all these improve with Wimba.”

Fiona Thomson, a student in the MSc in Health Improvement and Health Promotion of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, United Kingdom, recently underscored the value of diverse learning groups. In a course delivered via Wimba Classroom™, Thomson was joined by other students from Scotland and as far away as Canada and Nigeria.  She notes that, “Having participants from other countries and areas of Scotland enhances the learning experience and I have already gained a new job which I feel is partly due to the fact that I am doing the course.”

Improved Outcomes = Improved Retention

Wimba clients worldwide report examples of improved grades and pass rates in their courses that use Wimba’s collaboration tools.  The benefits of collaboration are easily recognized by both teachers and students. In fact, even in traditional face-to-face courses, students who feel isolated or unable to have even a modest level of dialogue with an instructor are more likely to drop out of a learning program. But with Wimba, students are able to more easily and comfortably communicate with instructors and peers through technology that is inherent to a 21st century learner, increasing course value and therefore overall retention.

York St. John University has taught numerous business courses live, online via Wimba Classroom since 2007 (a number of which have students logged in from as far away as Bahrain), with extremely positive student feedback they believe has contributed to an almost 90% pass rate in assessments collected from one of the courses.

“Today’s students expect more value from their education and universities need to deliver that added value in a cost-effective way,” said Carol Vallone, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Wimba.  “Wimba gives universities a platform to effectively engage students anytime, anywhere.  This access to high-quality, interactive education improves the student experience, increasing satisfaction and success…and ultimately improving student outcomes.”