At Online College of University of Essex, Everything is Done Through the Internet - Even the Exam Boards

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University of Essex reduces carbon footprint by meeting online.

Kaplan Open Learning

The online learning platform that Kaplan Open Learning employs for student seminars and group work is flexible and robust enough for us to use for conducting our academic and administrative business. This first online exam board was as rigorous as any held in traditional face-to-face meetings.

Kaplan Open Learning, the fully online degree college validated by the University of Essex, has held one of the first entirely online Exam Boards.

Designed to provide an impartial review of student progress and held every quarter, the Exam Board met last week for the first time entirely online.

The Board included the course leader in the Yorkshire Dales, academic director based in Bournemouth, academic advisers in Leeds, external examiner in Leicester, dean of Kaplan Open Learning in London and dean of academic partnerships from the University of Essex in Colchester.

All of the required data including assignment grades; and statistical and anecdotal feedback from students, tutors, course leaders and the external examiner was sent to participants in advance. The delegates could view student work during the exam board meeting online using Kaplan Open Learning's learning platform which uses the same software that distance learning students use during online seminars.

The exam board meeting was recorded, ensuring that nothing was left to chance and the minutes were available for review later.

Dr Aulay Mackenzie, dean of Academic Partnerships at the University of Essex said: "The online learning platform that Kaplan Open Learning employs for student seminars and group work is flexible and robust enough for us to use for conducting our academic and administrative business. This first online exam board was as rigorous as any held in traditional face-to-face meetings."

"With participants from six different locations around the country, being able to hold our exam board entirely online saved a total of at least 34 hours of travel time with a carbon footprint of 580 kilograms of CO2, not to mention the paper saved."

Notes for Editors:

About Kaplan Open Learning
Kaplan Open Learning offers degree programmes in Business Studies and Criminal Justice that are taken entirely online and are designed to be completely accessible for working adults. Multiple start dates throughout the year with a continuous 52-week academic calendar allow students to study anywhere they have access to the Internet on their own schedule.

The partnership between Kaplan and the University of Essex combines Kaplan's global reputation as a provider of adult education, training and home learning for the past 70 years with the University of Essex's excellent academic standing and reputation for high-quality research and teaching excellence. Kaplan Open Learning benefits from the expertise Kaplan has gained in running US-based online Kaplan University, which currently has an enrolment of 37,000 students.

About Kaplan, Inc.
Kaplan, Inc. is a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Kaplan, which had 2007 revenue of $2 billion, is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO). For more information, please visit http://www.kaplan.com.

About the University of Essex
The University of Essex is one of the UK's leading academic institutions, consistently ranking among the top 12 universities in the country for the quality of its research and teaching. Founded in 1964, it has more than 8,000 students drawn from around 120 countries. For more information, please visit http://www.essex.ac.uk.

About Foundation Degrees
Introduced in 2001, Foundation degrees are a distinctive higher education qualification combining academic study with work-based learning. Typically taking two to three years to complete, they are equivalent to the first two years of an Honours degree programme and can lead to entry into a Bachelor's degree programme. In 2006, more than 60,000 students were registered for Foundation degrees in the UK.

For more information, please contact:
Elizabeth Hess, Kaplan Open Learning
+ 020 7645 8968

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