Top Universities Utilize Online Course For Their Alcohol Prevention Programs

October 15, 2002

Major Universities Motivate Students With Outside The Classroom’s Innovative Alcohol Education Program

Duke, Northwestern, Tufts, Others Utilize Online Course as a Cornerstone of their Prevention Programs

BOSTON October 15, 2002 Thousands of American youths entering college for the first time in 2002 are discovering there is a new component to their college education – an interdisciplinary course on alcohol.

College administrators increasingly concerned about high-risk drinking, especially by new students away from home for the first time, are making major investments in comprehensive, ongoing programs to educate students about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Determined to change the “culture of drinking” on college campuses, they are requiring alcohol education courses and instituting other programs to encourage students to change their own behavior.

A cornerstone of many schools” efforts this fall will be AlcoholEdu, an online alcohol education course delivered by Outside The Classroom, Inc., a Massachusetts-based health education company founded to address critical behavioral health issues. AlcoholEdu is an online course that students take in the privacy of their dorm rooms. Presenting valuable information in a non-opinionated format about the medical and social affects of drinking, the course empowers students to make more informed decisions about drinking – or not drinking at all.

“Rather than focusing on scare tactics and life-and-death scenarios related to alcohol, the program bases its instruction on interdisciplinary applications of alcohol to brain science, sociology, history, and even mathematics,” said Brandon Busteed, founder of Outside The Classroom. “More than 100,000 students at over 300 institutions will take the AlcoholEdu course in 2002, making it one of the world’s most widely used online education courses.”

More than half of the 20 top-ranked universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report list of leading American colleges have partnered with Outside The Classroom to deliver the AlcoholEdu course to students. Schools using the program for their entire first-year classes include Dartmouth, Northwestern, Duke, Tufts, Villanova, and the University of Connecticut. They are only among a group of hundreds of schools that have integrated AlcoholEdu into their alcohol abuse prevention programs. Many of these schools are requiring that all first-year students take the course.

“Like many leading universities, Villanova has been proactive in addressing the issue of alcohol in a comprehensive manner to include education, intervention, prevention, and enforcement so that our students may thrive in their academic pursuits,” said Paul Pugh, Dean of Students at Villanova University. “In particular, we were seeking an innovative approach that might influence student behavior very early in their college careers, rather than as a reaction to judicial violations, and an educational program that would serve as a common foundation for follow-on educational efforts. After a year of use, we have been impressed with the AlcoholEdu’s ability to suit these needs and with student feedback on the course. We therefore require all incoming freshmen to complete the course by the fall semester break.”

World-renowned experts in the field of alcohol abuse prevention developed the AlcoholEdu curriculum, which integrates many proven prevention methodologies, including the latest scientific research on the biological and sociological effects of drinking. AlcoholEdu consists of multi-media video and audio presentations, interactive applications, and personalized student feedback. Surveys and tests of students taken before and after the course indicate substantial increases in knowledge and positive changes in attitudes related to problem alcohol consumption, which is the first and most effective step toward short- and long-term behavior change.

“Leading universities in 2002 are making broad-based efforts to change the culture of drinking on college campuses,” Busteed said. “By educating a critical mass of students early in their college careers, they are changing the social norms surrounding drinking and other behavior.”

In addition to courses instituted by college administrations, other influential groups, including national Greek-letter organizations, are initiating similar education programs. Kappa Alpha Theta, the nation’s oldest sorority, with more than 150 chapters and 15,000 members, is requiring that all members of the sorority take the AlcoholEdu course.

“AlcoholEdu is effective because it meets the needs of students; it provides an intellectually-stimulating, non-opinionated education about alcohol – all at their convenience. For administrators, it is easy and cost-effective to implement on a massive scale.” Busteed said. “Outside The Classroom for the first time makes it practical to educate entire student bodies in ways that will change their behavior and the culture of the institution to which they belong.”

About Outside The Classroom

Outside The Classroom (, a Boston-based health education company, was founded to address critical behavioral health issues. The company’s flagship product, AlcoholEdu, is a non-opinionated, online course about alcohol and its effects on the body. Universities nationwide are gaining insight about key campus health trends and environmental policy issues by using AlcoholEdu in conjunction with TheHealthSurvey, a comprehensive, online assessment tool. In addition to the college market, Outside The Classroom provides world-class online health education for individuals and institutions including high schools, corporations, and the armed forces.