Noodle Partners And Pepperdine Graziadio Spark Unique Open-Source Learning Initiative

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Enhancements to Sakai will support students at Graziadio, NYU and other leading institutions.

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The toughest challenge in online learning is creating the level of interaction among students and faculty that a good school has on campus, said John Katzman, founder and CEO of Noodle Partners.

Through an innovative collaboration started by Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management and Noodle Partners, a startup that is radically changing how universities bring high-quality programs online, one open source LMS, Sakai, is driving online education in a new direction.

Pepperdine Graziadio and NYU, along with Noodle Partners, have contributed to the development of Sakai’s social functionality and user interface; their first effort rolled out to the new Pepperdine Graziadio online Bachelor of Science in Management program this fall and is now available to the Sakai community.

“The toughest challenge in online learning is creating the level of interaction among students and faculty that a good school has on campus,” said John Katzman, founder and CEO of Noodle Partners. “At 2U, I adapted Moodle into a social LMS for our own proprietary use, but the nature of Noodle is to create an open ecosystem. Pepperdine Graziadio agreed, and we’ve worked hard to find like-minded schools to collaborate on changes that benefit the millions of students at Sakai schools worldwide.”

“While Sakai is open,” said Dave Smith, dean of Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management, “it has required a great deal of training and support for students and faculty. We’ve now created a simpler platform for good teaching and interactions, not only for online students, but also for our blended and campus-based students, without having to make the expensive and time-consuming switch to a separate LMS for our online programs. We are honored to donate these enhancements to the Sakai community, and happy to collaborate with the consortium on planning and coding.”

To date, the social aspects of Sakai have been integrated, analytics used to more effectively counsel students have been imbedded, and the user interface has been clarified. Coming enhancements include improving the UI, making the process of creating instances of courses more seamless, and improving how users manage their social connections.

Several leaders in the open source and online education communities, starting with Apereo (the open source organization responsible for Sakai) are joining the movement to expedite Sakai enhancements. “It’s great to have a new jolt of energy in Sakai,” said David Ackerman, Chairman of Apereo. “This movement has the expertise, funds and will to push Sakai into the cutting edge of online higher education.”

“We will continue to push to deliver the best experiences and best values in education regardless of whether teaching and learning is done online or on a campus,” said Katzman.

About Noodle Partners
Founded by a team of education and technology veterans, Noodle Partners provides a completely new approach to program management and creates online and hybrid programs while improving traditional classroom models. Noodle Partners works with universities on every aspect of building a great certificate or degree program — marketing, student recruitment, enrollment, curriculum design, student engagement, support services, graduate placement, and alumni engagement — and provides an exceptionally high level of fit and finish. The effective cost structure, innovative approach, and team of experts enables delivery of these services while maximizing tuition revenue and control to the universities. For more information, please visit:

About Pepperdine Graziadio School for Business and ManagementA leader in cultivating entrepreneurship and digital innovation, the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management focuses on the real-world application of MBA-level business concepts. The Graziadio School provides student-focused, globally oriented education through part-time, full-time, and executive MBA programs at our five Southern California locations and Silicon Valley and Santa Barbara campuses, as well as through online and hybrid formats. In addition, the Graziadio School offers a variety of master of science programs, a bachelor of science in management degree-completion program, and the Presidents and Key Executives MBA, as well as executive education certificate programs. Follow the Graziadio School on Facebook, Twitter at @GraziadioSchool, and LinkedIn.
Media Contacts:

Noodle Partners
Alyssa Miller

Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management
Lisa Perry

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Alyssa Miller