Lancaster Bible College & Andover Newton Theological School

Lancaster Bible College

  • 2,000 students

Andover Newton Theological School

  • 300 students
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“The need for faculty and student training on the LMS has almost been eliminated since moving to Schoology"

Jeffrey Jones

Director of Ministry Studies at Andover Newton

Story

Schoology’s Ease of Use Increases Collaboration & Communication On and Between College Campuses

Small, faith-based colleges adopt new cloud-based learning management system with an intuitive interface that resonates with students of all ages. The LMS makes it easy for faculty to build well-designed online and blended courses.

The Challenge

Both Andover Newton Theological School and Lancaster Bible College were unhappy with their learning management systems (LMS), and actively searched for a new one. They wanted to facilitate high quality instructional design as well as provide professors and students with an intuitive user experience.

In addition to college-age students, both schools have a significant number of second career professionals in their programs, so the new LMS had to be easy to learn and operate for a range of technical proficiencies. And, as small colleges with limited budgets, there was a need to be cost-effective with their technology investments and staff resources. This meant that training requirements had to be kept to a minimum.

The Decision

Lancaster Bible College (LBC) had been using Moodle hosted by Moodle Rooms. Before they made their purchase decision, they reviewed 24 different systems as they searched for one that met their ease-of-use requirements and that improved online communication. Andover Newton was looking for an LMS from a company that understood the needs of higher education after negative experiences with two other providers.

For both Andover Newton and LBC, Schoology’s familiar, engaging design was a plus. Schoology looks, feels, and acts similar to websites students and faculty already use, so there was a low barrier to transition from one system to another. The general ease of use and the minimal training required to launch the system were also factors in their decisions.

Andover Newton is part of a multiple college consortium called the Boston Theological Institute (BTI). A fellow BTI school is Hebrew College, which is located right next door. These two schools share classes, and both schools use Schoology, which makes it easy for students to cross-enroll in courses and access each other’s systems for coursework and resources. Schoology also enables these students to collaborate and communicate when they are away from campus.

With multiple campuses in six states, it was important to Lancaster Bible College that Schoology could easily connect their entire school community.

The Result

“The need for faculty and student training on the LMS has almost been eliminated since moving to Schoology,” stated Jeffrey Jones, director of ministry studies at Andover Newton. Schoology’s benefits were echoed by Andrew Edwards, the school’s system administrator: “It’s a simple interface and hosted in the cloud so it doesn’t require much time to support, resulting in savings of staff time and cost-efficiency.” The IT department at Andover Newton sets up the course architecture for every course. This makes it especially easy for the individual professors to add their instructional resources and start using the system with their students.

One unanticipated benefit for Andover Newton was that Schoology allowed them to begin the winter semester when the Boston area was shut down for three weeks due to extreme weather. Schoology allowed the school to remain connected and on schedule.

Although Lancaster Bible College is early in its Schoology implementation, Chris VanBuskirk, director of online education, says they couldn’t be happier. It was an easy transition to Schoology because its key features are the ones that faculty and students use most. Chris’s department is actively helping their professors build out their courses. They are off to a quick start due to Schoology’s intuitive interface, which “helps professors and instructors create rigorous courses with limited help from the college IT department.”

One of LBC’s previous limitations was that students could not communicate with each other unless they were enrolled in the same class. Since Schoology was designed for collaboration, all students can now communicate with each other as well as professors and staff. “Schoology was built to be collaborative,” Chris noted, “and we are seeing that with both students and instructors.”

For both Andover Newton and LBC, Schoology is delivering the promised benefits of an intuitive interface that supports a collaborative learning community in a cost-efficient manner that preserves staff time and resources.

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