Introducing PhoenixConnect: The University of Phoenix academic social network
“If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us.” —Adlai Stevenson; October 8, 1952; University of Wisconsin.
In the not-so-distant past, knowledge-seekers scaled mountains, trekked continents and sailed seas searching for answers to intellectual dilemmas. Pursuing a single nugget of wisdom could literally take one’s lifetime—sometimes without yielding so much as a clue to the answer.
Students today are fortunate to have a vast reserve of intelligence at their fingertips. The Internet provides access to libraries, professional and scientific journals, and academic papers to help seekers uncover potential answers in seconds. And, it provides the means to share discoveries through email and social media channels.
Expanding on the best of what the Internet offers, social networking is a popular online platform that allows individuals of like interests to connect. People “gather” in online chat rooms, clubs and organized networks such as Facebook® to interact regardless of geographic locations.
Harnessing the power of knowledge
University of Phoenix is recognized as the pioneer of online higher education and has been at the forefront of advancing education through technology for more than 30 years.
Their latest innovation is The PhoenixConnect℠ academic social network, a large academically-focused social network. This members-only website allows University of Phoenix business students and faculty to connect and collaborate as part of an organized, online community.
This open communication offers students new ways to pool resources and to work together to benefit each other. The result can be greater growth and development.
150,000 members and growing
In just six months, this community has grown to more than 150,000 School of Business students and faculty members. “Our goal is to become the largest social network with an academic-focus in the world,” declares Kate Klingensmith, Community Strategist behind the PhoenixConnect academic social network.
Here, members can reach out to peers to ask what to expect from courses and gain insight into various academic and career development paths, while connecting with fellow students and their faculty members on a personal level outside the classroom.
There are four distinct areas where members can congregate: Academics, Campus Life, Professional/Career and Technical and Financial Support. Each section tells students and faculty what type of support they can receive from, and provide to, other members. Starting in late January 2011, the University will assign a staff member to the Technical and Financial Support section, allowing students to seek out and receive expert advice on how to navigate the technical world of University of Phoenix and ask about financial issues, including options to pay for school.
Klingensmith is excited about how their new academic network will benefit students. “We saw a need to create a community that allows students and faculty to connect with each other outside of the classroom and provide support for one another in real time. By moving the interaction outside of the classroom, we’re creating a new avenue for our members to learn and develop.”
In addition to finding new ways to grow, learning teams might find it useful to “meet” on the PhoenixConnect Academic Network to work on projects outside of the classroom. This site has real-time interaction capability that allows for efficient collaboration on team assignments.
In addition to academic assistance, members might also look for opportunities to grow professionally. Business students may want to reach out to other professionals and students to collaborate or seek advice. They can also create informal groups according to interests or business sector—finance, marketing, operations, etc., to work on joint ventures or explore specific areas of knowledge.
University of Phoenix plans on opening up the PhoenixConnect platform to its other students and faculty members in 2011, which will create a multi-disciplinary community to connect and explore new opportunities. “When other colleges join, there will be an explosion of growth and activity that any student or faculty member will want to get in on,” declares Klingensmith.
The Internet age has certainly created new avenues for connection; and now University of Phoenix is expanding the possibilities for students to develop academically and professionally online with the PhoenixConnect academic social network. The opportunities to pursue academic and professional development appear to be limitless.
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