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Welcome to eCampus

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System
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Innovation Summary

eCampus is the library system’s new online learning suite of tutoring, test preparation, educational, and career resources packaged in one easy-access location not available anywhere else. From its launch, eCampus struck a chord with teachers, students and patrons as a unique way to learn – all with just a library card.

Innovation Leader: John Szabo, Director, john.szabo@fultoncountyga.gov

Problem Statement

The library system’s award-winning GED program, graduating over 500 students per year, was available only to those who could come in person and take the series of preparation courses and testing. The challenge was to take the success of the GED program and other long-standing adult education initiatives to the next level and to a wider audience. The goal was to combine all of our core offerings, add to these, and take them into the virtual world, accessible to everyone 24/7. We wanted to address the different needs of a wide variety of patrons, from kindergarten to adult, with a new delivery method that would also support local school teachers, students, parents, homeschoolers, job seekers, and lifelong learners all in one place and packaged in an easy-to-use way on a scale that had never been done before.

Innovation

After securing additional funding from the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, and working with nine vendors to put together a learning platform offering 500+ courses from one launch page of the library’s website, our goal of having a single location where everyone could learn soon materialized. eCampus is a gateway, giving users unprecedented access to learn online – for free. eCampus courses and classrooms include: actual one-on-one tutoring in real-time with a real tutor; homework help in academic subjects; preparation assistance for naturalization and citizenship tests; honing of basic learning skills; preparation for the SAT with a video review; career exploration and employment search assistance; standardized practice tests and reviews; help finding the right college or technical school; continuing education classes for adults in subjects related to skills jobs or personal growth – some offering CEU credits; enrichment classes; GED preparation and practice tests; and much more. From accounting to anatomy – wedding planning to writing, eCampus truly have something for everyone. Step one of the roll-out was an internal launch, to gain buy-in from library staff and train them on the new platform. A full-time coordinator was hired to head up the eCampus initiative and go into the 34 libraries to introduce it and train staff. After the internal launch, libraries were supplied with collateral materials (flyers, posters and bookmarks) and a public relations awareness campaign was launched. Then we spread the word to patrons, and our coordinator and librarians went out into the community doing presentations to schools, senior centers and groups, and eCampus was officially launched.

Progress

eCampus stitched together K through adult learning in a cross-spectrum that is completely online, addressing different learning styles and needs. It a true learning campus that best demonstrates the way we learn now, meeting patrons where they need us. Since its launch in December 2011, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Elementary, middle and high schools have partnered with us to make eCampus their own. One such school, West Manor Elementary School, part of the Atlanta Public School System, learned about eCampus and sent home a notice to all parents on how to access eCampus resources. West Manor uses Skills Tutor and ePrep for grades K-5 core subjects and writing. Interim principal Dr. Reginald Lawrence said, “With 100% of our students registering for library cards from the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, the eCampus program will enhance our efforts to remediate and accelerate our students and provide access for parents to monitor and work with their child outside of the classroom.” Early usage numbers for eCampus are strong with hundreds of course registrations – one example is the ePrep database which has grown by 300% since being introduced in December 2011. eCampus has attracted positive publicity, as a quote in the April 1 issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution indicates, “. . .Another 4.3 million visited its (AFPLS) website, many of them surely attracted by the debut of eCampus, the library’s online “learning suite” featuring everything from GED prep and homework help to hundreds of continuing education classes in bookkeeping, photography, even horse care.” A quote from one 7th grader best sums up its early success: “I love this, it is just amazing. I’m just 13 and this is my second time using this and my grades went from an F to an A. My tutors have helped me a lot. Thank you.”