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American Public University System Wins Fourth Online Learning Consortium Effective Practice Award

Charles Town, W. Va., Oct. 30, 2014 — American Public University System (APUS) has received an Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Effective Practice Award for “Bringing the Library to Life: Live Librarian Instruction in a First-Year Online Course.” The project was recognized today at the annual OLC International Conference on Online Learning, an unprecedented fourth time APUS has been honored with the award in the last six years.

The primary goals of the project were to increase student connection to the online library, to develop academic research skills, and to foster student success in a first-year online course, according to Dr. Angela Gibson, professor in the APUS School of Arts and Humanities. The APUS submission was co-authored by Gibson, in collaboration with APUS Senior Online Librarians Priscilla Coulter and Susan Sartory.

“Our initiative resulted in measurable student growth in information literacy skills and reduced student anxiety in navigation and utilization of the online library, helping result in improved student learning outcomes,” said Gibson. “A live chat within the APUS library is also now being tested as one of its new initiatives to personalize service and aid retention.”

Through the Effective Practice initiative, the OLC community shares techniques, strategies, and practices in online education that have worked effectively in their school or program. Effective practices are peer reviewed and evaluated against OLC’s five pillars of quality in online education: access, learning effectiveness, faculty satisfaction, student satisfaction, and scalability. The winning practices were selected for recognition based on their ability to provide evidence of innovation and replicability.

“Identifying gaps in students' information literacy skills and knowledge of the APUS Online Library resources allows librarians and faculty members to develop more engaging online learning resources that better meet the needs of adult learners,” Dr. Karan Powell, APUS executive vice president and provost.

APUS was previously recognized with the OLC Effective Practice Award in 2013 for “APUS Online Learning Contact Hour Calculator: An Adaptive Model for Calculating Contact Hours;” in 2010 for “Semantic Mapping of Learning Assets;” and in 2009 for “Using the Community of Inquiry Framework Survey for Multi-Level Institutional Evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement.” It also received OLC’s Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education in 2009.

Priscilla Coulter, Susan Sartory, and Dr. Angela Gibson (far right)