America Online Launches ‘Online Campus’ Learning Center

December 11, 2001

Internet as Powerful and Convenient Lifelong Learning Tool

PBS, Barnes & Noble, University of Phoenix, University of California Berkley Extension Among Premier Education Companies Providing Courses and Content

America Online Inc. announced the launch of the AOL Online Campus (KW: Online Campus), advancing the vision of the Internet as a powerful and convenient lifelong learning tool with a one-stop shop of courses and content from leading adult education content providers.

The new service, on AOL’s Research & Learn Channel, enables members to research and register for offline courses, access career advancement resources, pursue an interest or hobby and even complete undergraduate and graduate degrees online. Coursework and resources in areas ranging from personal enrichment and GED degrees to college-level business administration, technology and nursing studies are offered by such premier educational providers as the University of Phoenix, the nation’s leading online university, University of California Berkley Extension, PBS and Barnes & Noble.

Terry Crane, Vice President of Information and Education Products for America Online, Inc. said, “America Online’s new Online Campus is a giant step toward realizing the promise of the Internet as a means of advancing their qualifications and careers. The Online Campus provides members with the easiest and most convenient means possible to complete a degree, pursue an interest or simply research information while juggling the demands of work and family. Coupled with AOL@SCHOOL, the K-12 homework help channel, we can now provide our members with valuable educational resources literally throughout their lives.”

Resources for All Aspects of Learning

The course and content offerings on AOL’s Online Campus are focused around three areas of interest:

Career Advancement

The Online Campus offers access to a variety of courses from some of the country’s leading educational institutions. Members can access customized content from the University of Phoenix in areas such as business and technology, nursing and education. Access to courses are also available in professional development from University of California Berkeley Extension and in business administration, technical education and other areas from Embark, which was recently acquired by the Princeton Review. Other Embark areas provide information for adults seeking online education, as well as search resources and online applications for colleges and universities.

Degree Courses

The Online Campus makes it easier for adults to further their education and complete their degrees. Through University of California Berkeley Extension, members can earn transferable academic credit while still maintaining their personal life and career, and design a program that fits their schedule. Members can work towards their degree by enrolling in as many as 20 accredited programs from the University of Phoenix in areas such as business and technology, nursing and education. Courses are also available through Embark and Western Governors University and cover a broad range of topics. PBS is providing valuable information on a variety of educational topics, including the revised GED test that will be offered next year.

For members who want to earn a degree that allows them to capitalize on their existing skills, Western Governors University offers accredited degrees and certificates based on competencies and the ability to demonstrate skills through a series of assessments. This allows members to accelerate the time it takes them to get a degree by providing recognition for their existing expertise. Members can also take an accredited professional course to enhance their career potential.

Personal Enrichment

Since not all learning is formal, the Online Campus builds on one of AOL’s most popular existing applications, the ability to pursue an interest or hobby in cyberspace.

Members can consider such diverse learning opportunities as an “Italian for Travelers” course from Barnes & Noble, which also offers free courses on such topics as poetry, history and science. The Private Lessons Channel provides members with high-quality, low-fee courses on a wide variety of topics in areas ranging from yoga and fly fishing to computer skills and arts and crafts.

The Online Campus will also offer the world’s largest online library of books from Questia. A one week free trial provides unlimited access to more than 65,000 high quality books and journal articles. An online research engine is also available from XanEdu that features a digital archive of primary source material, journals, periodicals, newspapers, reference books and case studies and members can purchase access to this content at a special price.

New Resource Driven by Member Interest and Growing Demand For Online Educational Resources

AOL developed the Online Campus based on extensive member feedback. In a recent AOL member survey, 63% said they had a high interest in taking a course online and nearly all were interested in using AOL.

Universities nationwide have also recognized the value of distance learning in making college education and resources more widely available. According to the March 2000 Census report, only 26% of Americans have associate/bachelor degrees or more.

In response, according to a study by Market Data Retrieval, 70% of colleges and universities offered distance learning programs by the 2000-2001 school year, up from 48% in just two years. Enrollment in distance education courses has also grown dramatically, doubling from 754,000 in 1995 to 1.6 million in 1998, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Additionally, the International Data Corporation reported that e-learning will increase 33 percent a year from 1999 to 2004, making online instruction a $12 billion business by that time.

About America Online, Inc.

America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, Inc. Based in Dulles, Virginia, America Online is the world’s leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services.