Registration reopening for eArmyU

After taking the past three months off to design evaluation materials, the Army's largest e-learning virtual university program, eArmyU, re-opened new-student registration at five sites this week and will do the same at the nine remaining sites later this month.

Diane Stoskopf, director of the Army Continuing Education System, said the registration of new students into the eArmyU program was halted for the past quarter because it was time to assess the program's value.

"It was very healthy to take a hiatus ... because we've been on a dead run for two years and never looked back, or even ahead," Stoskopf said.

EArmyU has delivered educational opportunities online to more than 30,500 enlisted personnel since its inception in January 2001, and will enroll about 80,000 soldiers by 2005 worldwide, said Jill Kidwell, a partner at IBM Corp.'s Business Consulting Services, the program's prime contractor. The five-year, $453 million contract for eArmyU was awarded in December 2000.

"We'll be conducting an evaluation to get our arms around ... where we are and where we want to go," Stoskopf said. "People say, 'How do you measure success?' We want to take the time to figure it out."

The evaluation will begin Jan. 27 at the eArmyU's 11 established sites, as well as at three new locations: Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Bliss, Texas' and Fort Knox, Ky., she said, adding that the process should be complete by the end of March. During that time, the Army is prepared to enroll up to 12,500 more students in the program.

Once enrolled in eArmyU, soldiers receive up to 100 percent funding for tuition, books and course fees, as well as a personal laptop computer, printer, e-mail account and an Internet service provider account. Other features include 24-hour technical support, and assistance in determining a program of study, registering for courses and transferring credits.

Late last year, IBM announced a slew of new academic program offerings and the expansion of participating colleges and universities in eArmyU. The number of colleges and universities will increase from 21 to 32 this year, and those institutions will offer more than 3,000 courses and more than 150 academic degree programs, which is triple the number of degree programs available when the program began, Kidwell said.

The goal is for soldiers to be able to access the information they need via the eArmyU portal in about three clicks, which requires aligning the Army system with the different schools' computer systems, she said.


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