Colleges and Universities Grow Online Programs with Harmonize
by Harmonize, on Aug 17, 2021 10:00:05 AM
Innovative communication and engagement tools are helping higher education institutions engage online students more successfully
42 Lines, a leader in custom edtech development and creator of the Harmonize online discussion platform, announced today that the company is seeing record growth as colleges and universities across the country adopt Harmonize to help instructors engage and reach students in new and interactive ways. In 2021, 42 Lines onboarded 33 new institutions and is positioned to double that number by the end of the year.
“We’re tremendously proud to have earned the confidence of education institutions across North America,” said Marcus Popetz, Co-founder and CEO of 42 Lines. “As we work closely with our customers to understand and anticipate their needs, we continue to evolve our toolset to support learning wherever it happens, whether that’s online, in a blended classroom, or face-to-face,” he said.
As colleges and universities expand their online learning programs to meet rising student demand, many are relying on Harmonize to create a thriving virtual academic community. East Central Community college, Eastern Florida State College, George Mason University, Southern Arkansas University Tech, the University of Illinois--Springfield, and Virginia Community College System are just some of the institutions who have all introduced Harmonize in recent months to support their online curricula and blended programs.
Faculty at Eastern Florida State University love what they see
Harmonize is a new kind of communications and engagement platform that transforms online discussions with features that helps students engage more fully in online conversations with their peers. Eastern Florida State University in Brevard County, Florida, which offers both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, used a portion of their CARES funding to implement Harmonize as a way to meet new policies that regulate the frequency and quality of communications between instructors and online students.
“Faculty and administrators are really excited by what they’re seeing,” said Phil Simpson, Provost, Eastern Florida State University. “We’re seeing consistent and steady communication in classrooms that have adopted Harmonize and we plan to incorporate it into all of our online courses and, eventually, our blended classrooms,” he said. “Implementation was simple--largely due to out-of-the-box integration with Canvas, our LMS,” he said. “And I couldn’t be more pleased with the level of support we’ve received from the Customer Care team,” he added.
Easy integration is a plus at George Mason University
At George Mason University, Virginia’s largest public research institution, Charles Kreitzer, executive director of online operations, was tasked with finding a tool that could be easily integrated with Blackboard and help increase collaboration and engagement between students and instructors. “We’re especially excited about how Harmonize integrates a suite of engagement tools into a simple, easy-to-use platform,” he said. “The application supports rich media, reactions, Q&A, chat, and even multiple due dates--just about everything faculty need to make online discussions more exciting for students.” Like other institutions across the country, George Mason has seen an increased demand for online learning from students and plans to offer more blended and online learning opportunities. “With Harmonize, we’re moving ahead by leaps and bounds in our ability to create engaging learning environments for our students,” he said.
The Virginia Community College System will roll out Harmonize to more of its member institutions
Harmonize is also generating excitement across the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). After seeing Harmonize in action at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, VA, Sheri L. Prupis, director of teaching & learning technologies at VCCS, wants to introduce Harmonize to other VCCS institutions. “We ‘re working hard to integrate the best teaching and learning technologies we can across our community colleges,” she said. “The experience at Thomas Nelson CC was quite positive and we’re eager to see that replicated at the eight institutions across Virginia who raised their hands to try out something new,” she said.
Southern Arkansas University Tech sees increased student participation
Instructors with first-hand experience of Harmonize are also enthusiastic. Traci Rushing, an instructional designer at the Center for Online Learning at Southern Arkansas University Tech, typically built discussion assignment assignments using tools available in the LMS. “Most students did what they needed to do to receive a passing grade,” she recalls. “Then last semester, our institution introduced Harmonize. Participation has increased tremendously,” she said. “Students are interacting with more posts and truly engaging with their peers.” She attributes some of that success to the media upload feature in Harmonize which makes it easier for students to attach documents and videos. “I have not received a single email from a student complaining about technical issues that keep them from completing a discussion assignment.”
Harmonize continues to expand its platform to better support teaching and learning. This year, Harmonize was recognized for Online Learning Innovation in the EdTech Breakthrough Awards Program. The platform also earned a data privacy certification from the IMS Global Learning Consortium this year, one of the first discussion platform vendors to receive the ”TrustEdApp” seal, and is an IMS Global Learning Impact Award finalist.