Recent updates have improved EDUKAN services to their on-line students.

The process of learning on-line through the EDUKAN system has undergone updates that will improve the systems ability to deliver a high quality education from the colleges in the EDUKAN system.

In recent months, EDUKAN has transferred to a new learning management system.

All EDUKAN courses are now hosted on the Canvas platform that allows better interaction between students and teachers in the Internet classroom, said Esther Lahargoue, new EDUKAN chief executive officer.

The new system is very user friendly and is easy for students and faculty to navigate. Canvas also allows the use advanced digital assets in many of the EDUKAN courses. Some of those courses operate in a simulation environment. The new system allows faculty to use its advanced features to enhance images they can use in the classroom.

"This is very attractive to us," Lahargoue said. "Phones, iPads and computers and receive the information. It's very mobile. It's a way to get classes to fit their (student) needs best."

Another change at EDUKAN is a new student information system. Campus Management has improved the secure transfer of data among the six colleges in the EDUKAN system. This system makes sure that students are enrolling with the registrars on each campus and it helps make sure the information between EDUKAN and the colleges is secure, Lahargoue said.

The new information system is flexible and that fits the unique EDUKAN needs without decreasing security or efficiency.

The time frame to get Campus Management up and running is very short. It has to be implemented by March 1. To meet that deadline, EDUKAN has dedicated resources to make sure the system is implemented on time, Lahargoue said.

An EDUKAN goal of strengthening the EDUKAN infrastructure is to update date technologies and have the right people in the right places to help grow the number of on-line courses. This will also help to give the consortium colleges leverage for contracts and give them more buying power.

Another change at EDUKAN is marketing partnership with Fort Hays State University that was solidified in October.

The partnership allows EDUKAN and FHSU to share marketing resources. The marketing departments can exchange ideas and help promote each other. It allows for easier transfer of information between EDUKAN and FHSU and that makes it easier for the students.

"It makes it easier to know what students need to take and lets them focus on their classroom work," Lahargoue said.

A similar relationship is already in place with Kansas State University. A goal for EDUKAN is to keep strengthening their relationships with FHSU and KSU because it helps the students.

All of this is being done to provide an affordable, quality education and provide flexibility for the students. Whatever cost savings EDUKAN can realize will be passed on to the students, Lahargoue said.

"We are well on our way. We are so excited," Lahargoue said.

The changes will help EDUKAN member colleges like Pratt Community College continue to provide on-line classes that will draw students to the college, said PCC President Michael Calvert.

The EDUKAN classes provide the main source of enrollment growth at PCC. This is vital to the college in this time when population is stagnate or declining in many places in Kansas.

The cost of education can be an obstacle for many students. The EDUKAN fees help make classes affordable and keep the members competitive in a very aggressive market. The EDUKAN prices are more affordable than similar courses on offered on the coasts.

There isn't much room for PCC to expand at its present location so on-line through EDUKAN provides a way to deliver more credit hours without expanding the campus, Calvert said.

About 20 percent of the total classes are offered on-line through EDUKAN, Calvert said.

The EDUKAN on-line program began in 1998. There are six community colleges in the group including Pratt Community College, Colby Community College, Barton County Community College, Garden City Community College, Dodge City Community College and Seward County Community College.

They offer over 200 courses on-line at an affordable price and with flexibility for students, Lahargoue said.