UMassOnline Announces the Formal Launch of its Blog

UMassOnline Announces the Formal Launch of its Blog

Diverse Contributors Range from UMassOnline CEO to Student Bloggers

SHREWSBURY, MA – March 20, 2008 – UMassOnline CEO David Gray today announced the formal launch of its new blog. An ‘open-to-all’ online community featuring nine bloggers, the new site features content intended to reflect the broad interests of UMassOnline’s worldwide audience of students, applicants, parents, faculty and staff. A first of its kind for UMassOnline, the new social media site was six months in development and has just completed a ‘soft launch’ phase during which it was principally promoted and tested internally for 90 days. A unique ‘group blog’ that features a diverse team of UMassOnline voices, chief contributors include CEO David Gray, as well as:

Barbara Macaulay, Associate Vice President and Chief Academic Officer
Brian Douglas, Chief Technology Officer and Associate Vice President
Jennifer Brady, Director of Marketing
Som Seng, Marketing and Customer Service Manager, Current Online Student
Stefanie Henderson, Manager of Emerging Technology and Training, Online Graduate
Dirk Messelaar, UMass Boston Dean of Corporate, Continuing and Distance Education and UMassOnline Executive-in-Residence
Mark Gillard, Current Online Student, Full-time Professional
Art Clifford, Co-director of the Journalism Certificate Program at Continuing & Professional Education, UMass Amherst

UMassOnline, the online higher education consortium operating in conjunction with all five traditional campuses within the University of Massachusetts system -- Amherst, Dartmouth, Boston, Lowell, and the Medical School in Worcester – developed the online community to extend its presence and accessibility, and to foster a dialogue with its growing global constituencies. The new site also showcases emerging social media technologies increasingly becoming an important component of vital peer-to-peer and student-faculty communication in distance education.
In formally announcing the blog today, CEO David Gray said, “UMassOnline pioneered and helped define the online educational opportunity more than seven years ago. Our continuing leadership and educational value system has seen us become one of the leading national online educators. This online community is simply another part of a profound ongoing process to further shape and refine distance learning, and to make the UMassOnline experience a truly unique opportunity for lifelong learners worldwide.”
Already richly populated with content, with an emphasis on topics such as blended learning, emerging technology, policy matters, distance learning tools, and the life and times of online learners, posts and podcasts on the site to date have ranged from a spotlight on UMassOnline’s growing interest in China, the organization’s stance on online cheating, and technology accessibility factors for disabled distance learners, to national ranking and accreditation issues, online learning self-discipline factors, and advisories about selecting a quality, reputable online learning provider versus a diploma mill.   

Date: 03/20/08