University of Wisconsin-Extension Releases Beta Version of Virtual Student Union

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University of Wisconsin-Extension launches a beta test of a new social networking site. Online students in the new green degree will find info about green jobs, connect with Sustainable Management faculty and gain advice from colleagues, all online via the new virtual student union.

Green degree students will be the first to join the virtual student union.

The virtual student union offers the benefits of a traditional student union without the walls.

The University of Wisconsin-Extension opens the doors to a new virtual student union, a place where students offer each other advice, discuss school-related issues, and connect with employers and faculty online at http://www.ilearn.wisconsin.edu . The new social networking site is a pilot program intended to eventually serve all students seeking an online degree through the UW System. Students in the Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Management degree at UW-Parkside, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout and UW-Superior are the first to join. The Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab, UW-Extension's learning technology research and development arm, built the platform.

"The beta release of our first student community is about providing a space “between” classes to share, learn, and interact with a broader community. Our development team has built a robust platform with capabilities that we will roll out over time to meet the needs of our growing online student population," said Rovy Branon, Executive Director of the Academic ADL Co-Lab. "We look to students, faculty and staff to contribute content and tell us what tools you want to make participation more meaningful."

The virtual student union offers the benefits of a traditional student union without the walls. It features blogs by returning students in the green degree, a green jobs career center, and news feeds about sustainability. SMGT Insider is a series of blogs by 5 returning students who share what it's really like to go back to school. The bloggers range in ages and experiences, from an accomplished banker at JPMorgan Chase and father of two college students to an almost 30-year old who would rather trade her car in for a bike.

The Green Guests blog line-up will feature the Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Management Advisory Board members such as Rep. Tamara Grigsby, corporate executives, faculty members and leaders in the sustainability movement including Tia Nelson who blogs about gearing up for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, her father's legacy.

For more information about the Sustainable Management degree, visit http://sustain.wisconsin.edu.

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