OLIVET’S “YOUR WAY” OFFERS A LOW-COST PATHWAY TO A BACHELOR’S DEGREE
BOURBONNAIS, Illinois. (January 12, 2021) – Olivet Nazarene University announces Your Way, a ground-breaking initiative which features tuition-free general education courses, providing adult students with a pathway to earn a bachelor’s degree and creating a model that redefines the learning experience by using best-in-class technology to engage students online.
Your Way is an online, completely asynchronous flipped classroom, where students are able to read and consume the course material first and enter an online community to discuss the content with classmates and faculty to expand their knowledge and deepen understanding. Course content is created ahead of time, allowing Olivet’s faculty to educate at scale.
“Through Your Way, general education courses are tuition-free so that adult students from across the nation have equitable access to college,” explained Ryan Spittal, Vice President for Olivet’s ONU Global division, which serves adult students. “Since every student has to take general education courses before taking the courses specific to their degree program, this tuition-free general education initiative flattens barriers and bends the cost curve, allowing students to take courses with no up-front costs.”
The courses, themselves, also have been reimagined. The new, dynamic learning experience is designed to provide bite-sized lessons, with knowledge-check quizzes, tests that have immediate feedback, learning activities that foster student engagement, and gamification badges earned for every module of content to keep people motivated. Students have unlimited re-takes for homework and tests, ensuring that these assessments promote understanding without negatively affecting the students’ grade in the course. That means they don’t have to spend their time worrying about their success and can concentrate fully on learning and understanding the course content by engaging with faculty and fellow students.
“With 15 years in the online market, Olivet knows that compelling content is important, but we feel that facilitating connection in an online environment is key to effective education,” said Spittal. “It is more important now than ever before, especially in this social-distancing culture, to provide a quality education and moment-making connections in an online experience that reflects our supportive on-campus ethos.”
For that reason, the program is built on Trailhead, Salesforce’s wildly popular online learning platform, and uses its Experience Cloud platform, where Olivet has developed its digital campus, called the Wayfinder Community. Students can enter their virtual classroom in Wayfinder, and they also can engage their advisor, receive help from staff, and collaborate with peers in a secure online environment. The always-on Wayfinder Community allows students to learn and engage from anywhere, on their schedule, using any device.
“Technology has the potential to transform the world, including increasing access to education. It takes organizations like Olivet Nazarene to see that potential and turn it into a reality. By democratizing education, and making it more accessible, Olivet Nazarene is unlocking opportunities for its students, and creating a better future for us all,” says Rob Acker, CEO of Salesforce.org.
Spittal followed up, explaining, "We know universities must bend the cost curve to help adult students return to college to earn a degree and equip themselves to contribute to the knowledge economy. Through this pathway, we truly are living our mission and proving that higher education has a higher purpose.”
More information on Your Way can be found at https://online.olivet.edu/yourway.
Comments on the News
“Olivet Nazarene has created a truly revolutionary program to meet the needs of adults looking to continue their education,” said Tug McTighe, Executive Creative Director of DEG, one of the fastest growing ad agencies in the nation and a Salesforce consulting partner. “We have really enjoyed working with it to bring the initiative to life and developing messaging that speaks to this one-of-a-kind offering.”
"We're thrilled to be a part of delivering ONU's Your Way initiative,” said Stephanie Sisson, Principal of EDACS. “Students will enjoy the innovative use of myTrailhead as an LMS to guide them through their classwork, and the support of Olivet's faculty and community to bring those lessons to life. It's a great way for adult learners to reconnect with their education and get back to the path to that degree."
“FormAssembly helps many higher education organizations with practical use cases relating to recruitment, grant applications, internal administrative processes, and more,” said Paul Lazatin, Head of Partnerships at FormAssembly. “This new and unique use case at Olivet expands the horizons of FormAssembly’s ability to serve higher ed customers with targeted solutions in the digital age. Watching our platform be the key that facilitates an entire virtual classroom system is not only creative, but revolutionary. We look forward to developing even more ways to serve our higher ed community in the future.”
Olivet worked closely with ElevateActual, the premier FormAssembly implementation firm, to deliver a seamless student experience using the solution. “Olivet’s goals are aggressive and innovative, and we are confident that delivery on the Salesforce and FormAssembly platform is the way to go,” explained Peter Bernardi, Principal, ElevateActual. “This new model can truly change how higher education courses are delivered, managed, and enhanced."
About Olivet Nazarene University
One of the nation’s premier Christian universities, Olivet believes higher education should have a higher purpose. With accredited programs, award-winning academics, and a faculty touting degrees from a wide spectrum of world-class educational institutions, Olivet stands committed to integrating faith and learning. Nestled in the historic village of Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet’s unique on-campus experience is extended to students across the nation with online programs through its School of Graduate and Continuing Studies.