Like many of their peers, the National Park Community College (NPCC) student body contains a growing numbers of “non-traditional” learners. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 85 percent of students in higher education today are considered non-traditional, predominantly defined as adults, part-time and/or working students.

“Since we are a community college, we draw students who are working to continue their education and improve their job potential and quality of life,” said Sue Burris, Director of Online Learning at NPCC. “Many of those students are retraining – sometimes because of a factory closure or layoff – and it’s our job to prepare them for a different set of challenges when they graduate.”

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Did You Know? 85% of students in higher education today are considered “non-traditional learners”

NPCC has much experience with the evolving needs and demands of students. The College was using Blackboard Basic in 2006 when they decided to migrate to ANGEL, with the latter selected as part of a strategy to target non-traditional learners with a growing set of online programs that could accommodate their busy schedules.

“Our online students don’t have time to learn complex technologies,” said Burris. “They expect the learning technologies to integrate well with other systems and have consistent and thoughtfully designed workflows.”

When support for ANGEL was extended in 2012, but development for the product shifted to support and maintenance enhancements, NPCC needed to determine what technology would best accommodate their students going forward. After an evaluation of learning systems, the College selected Blackboard Learn, and this semester completed its migration. They join Indian Hills Community College, Hilbert College, DeSales University, North Central Michigan College, Bowie State University, Lindsey Wilson College, and many others to make the switch from ANGEL to Blackboard Learn.

Looking forward, Burris and the NPCC team plan to introduce strategies that will further the technology adoption they saw under ANGEL, by utilizing the new Blackboard Collaborate virtual classroom integration with Blackboard Learn, as a tool for faculty training and student instruction. The College also licenses Blackboard Connect for emergency notifications and plans to use the Connect platform more closely with Blackboard Learn in the future.

“When selecting a new learning system, make sure to consider where your College or University needs to go, and the kinds of students you hope to serve,” advised Burris. “For us, we have selected a platform with the flexibility to support those learners, and one that integrates well with the tools we need to help them.”

Want to learn more about a migration from ANGEL to Blackboard Learn? Join an upcoming ANGEL Migration Cohort.


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