NEW YORK – November 23, 2009 – Wimba® Inc., the education technology company that helps people teach people, announced today that K-12 schools, colleges and universities increasingly rely on the Wimba Collaboration Suite™ to do more – much more – with less.  Today’s financial environment gives new meaning to the phrase “it’s the economy” and requires educators to strategically consider how they can best meet the needs of students and faculty with shrinking budgets and limited resources.  Hundreds of institutions around the world employ Wimba across their entire institution to support both academic and administrative goals – saving countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars in the process. 

 

K-12 schools and higher education institutions realize excellent return on investment by leveraging Wimba’s flexible, scalable platform to:

 

·     Offer dynamic, engaging, and high-quality online learning.

·     Support robust, peer-to-peer and peer-to-professor, instant collaboration 

·     Facilitate online meetings and professional development for faculty, staff and administrators.

Cost-Effectively Expanding Access 

 

The Wimba Collaboration Suite plays a critical role in expanding access to high quality education regardless of one’s age, location, socio-economic class or schedule. With a robust set of tools that are available from any location, at any time, institutions can cater to many different types of learners, including non-traditional adult students, learners with special needs and populations located in rural remote regions, among other individuals and groups. Holmes Community College, for example – located in Central Mississippi – serves thousands of its diverse and rural student population with its campus-based and distance education programs. 

 

“Wimba allows our instructors to develop a much more interactive means of teaching our students, who range from ages 18 to 80 and are located across nine counties,” said Jenny Jones, Instructional Technology and Media Specialist at Holmes Community College.  “The access and instant feedback enabled by Wimba Pronto helps both distance and traditional students excel.”

 

Faculty, staff and administrators also benefit from collaboration for online meetings and professional development as well as greater flexibility in delivering academic services online.  For example, when recent state budget shortfalls in Idaho threatened professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers, who were no longer afforded the time or funding to drive an average of eight hours each way to participate in seminars, the Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA) leveraged Wimba Classroom™ – a live, virtual classroom environment – to offer online seminars across the state.

 

According to Donna Hutchinson, Chief Executive Officer for IDLA, 1,000 teachers across the state participated in online meetings, resulting in a savings of more than $80,000 in mileage reimbursement costs and 5,100 hours of time teachers would have spent away from their schools.

 

The Competitive Edge of Collaboration   

 

Expanding online course offerings creates new revenue streams for colleges and universities, while simultaneously providing them a competitive edge through a more diverse, comprehensive array of classes and majors.

 

Rasmussen College in Minnesota significantly expanded its campus through development of new online course offerings, shifting from a residential college with face-to-face classes at 16 campuses to positioning itself as an online college with more than 200 courses.

 

“We grew from eight campuses in 2004 to 16 in 2009,” said Randall Smith, Director of the Virtual Center for Learning and Teaching at Rasmussen. ”As our communications needs grew, it became apparent that other web conferencing systems didn’t integrate well into our course management platform. Wimba does this seamlessly.”



At North Carolina Virtual School, the use of Wimba’s technology contributed to them becoming a top 10 nationally ranked virtual school by the Center of Digital Education’s Survey of the States report, according to Bryan Setser, the school’s Chief Executive Officer.

 

Another competitive advantage institutions are realizing through the use of Wimba is increased staff efficiencies that also improve the student experience. For example, using Wimba Pronto™ – an instant collaboration platform – for virtual advising or academic help, increases efficiency and offers faculty and staff flexibility while students benefit from instant feedback and increased access to help.  

 

“More and more of our customers view collaborative technology as a strategic, mission critical investment to support and enhance both academic and administrative goals,” said Carol Vallone, CEO and chairman of the board at Wimba.  “Collaboration is no longer a ‘nice-to-have.’  Wimba’s solutions offer cost- and time-saving efficiencies, enhances teaching and learning, fosters new revenue streams and benefits students, faculty and administrators.”

 

The Wimba Collaboration Suite features a comprehensive, integrated set of tools that enhances teaching and learning through the use of video, voice, chat, application sharing, polling and white boarding for both synchronous and asynchronous courses.

  

About Wimba®

Wimba® is a leading provider of collaborative software for distance and blended learning. The Wimba Collaboration Suite, recently awarded the 2009 “Best Education Solution” CODiE award by SIIA, enhances learning, improves outcomes and increases student retention.  By combining interactive technologies such as voice, video, podcasting, instant messaging, application sharing, polling and whiteboarding, learning communities are empowered with a unique collaborative environment that fosters dynamic student-to-instructor, student-to-student, and instructor-to-instructor interaction. Our seamless integration with leading course management systems ensures that users have a simplified and familiar workflow. Wimba. People Teach People.  www.wimba.com

 

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