Tuesday, June 3, 2008

RioLounge virtual student union is Rio cool

Students at Rio Salado College are lining up for the college’s new student union. They are looking forward to meeting new people, joining discussion groups, chatting with friends, getting updates to news and activities and posting items for sale on the bulletin board.
Fortunately, students from around the country and even the world will have access to the college’s snazzy new student union because it’s all online.
The virtual student union dubbed RioLounge, is designed to give online students the same social aspects of college at the click of the mouse.
“As an online college we realized what some of our students are missing is the social community they get in a traditional college. We think this will fill the gap,” said Kishia Brock Rio Salado dean of enrollment management.
Not only is the RioLounge the MySpace or Facebook of Rio Salado it also has dozens of articles on timely subjects as well as links for tutoring, the library, advisement, students services, etc.
There is even a link for an orientation for online learning, chock full of tips on how to become a successful online learner.
“We are hoping to keep students more engaged and focused with Rio Salado’s helpful resources right at the tips of their fingers,” said Brock.
Rio Salado’s virtual student union is divided into six different sections. Under “The Buzz” students can access the online library, get tips on how to prepare for exams, access financial aid, career counseling, academic advisement and special services.
A link titled “People” is a section for meeting new people and interacting with friends. Discussions are where students will want to go to chat about a variety of topics. And “Favorites” helps students link with others with the same focus and interest. Community allows students to post items for sell or create online clubs.
“Connecting with others through social networking is becoming more and more popular. We know social networking is popular with students and we want to make sure our Rio Salado students have a place to interact with each other,” said Brock. MySpace and Facebook are some of the most trafficked web sites in the world. According to web-strategist.com MySpace has 110 million active users and Facebook has 68 million. To access RioLounge go to http://www.riosalado.edu/riolounge/
Rio Salado College has more than 26,000 online students and 450 online classes. Classes start every Monday so students can start anytime and anywhere.
One of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges, tuition at Rio Salado College is $65 a credit, less than a third of what most private online colleges charge. The college offers degrees and certificates in business, education, healthcare, law enforcement and more. For registration or more information call 480-517-8540 or go to www.riosalado.edu/registration.