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  • Kitchener-Waterloo, ON

Piedmont Technical College Uses Desire2Learn eLearning Platform to Proactively Address Pandemic Threats

Press Release

Piedmont Technical College Pandemic Influenza Plan provides a coordinated and comprehensive response to ensure continuation of education and services

Desire2Learn Incorporated (Desire2Learn), a leading provider of mission-critical enterprise eLearning solutions, congratulates Piedmont Technical College (PTC) on their proactive approach to addressing academic continuity in response to H1N1, as well as other possible health issues that result in large number of absences from campus.

Through implementation of the Desire2Learn Learning Environment, Piedmont Technical College is able to provide a coordinated and comprehensive response to any pandemic in order to help ensure continuation of education and services.

“We have implemented plans to provide every option available to keep students who have to be out due to illness from falling behind,” Jerry Alewine, Dean of Health Sciences and Co-chair of the Pandemic Response Planning Committee (PRPC), Piedmont Technical College, says. “Each division has also established a plan to cover classes in the event the instructor is out. The Desire2Learn platform provides us with great flexibility in our options to keeping classes going.”

The proactive initiative arose more than two years ago from the South Carolina leadership committee under the guidance of then PTC President, Dr. Walters. When Dr. L. Ray Brooks took the helm in March, 2008, Alewine met with the new president to discuss the need for a pandemic plan.

A review of Learning Management Systems (LMS), that could provide alternatives to traditional classroom settings, got underway and by October, 2008, the PRPC had selected Desire2Learn and begun implementation.

“Approximately 40 percent of our full-time faculty are actively using eLearning,” states Alewine. “Most of the faculty, both full and part-time, are trained on using the Desire2Learn platform and could continue with classes quite easily. The Desire2Learn LMS has enabled us to do something that wasn’t possible prior to implementation. It is easy to use, user-friendly and intuitive for both students and faculty. We have all the confidence that in the event of a pandemic we can definitely carry on.”

The pandemic plan has triggers that set it in action if 30 percent of the class or faculty are out due to illness. Within 48 hours, classes can be moved to an online medium and both students and faculty can continue on knowing that no class time or content is missed. Sixty-nine percent of courses already have an online component while 1800 of the more than 5200 student body are already fully online so the transition would not be an onerous one.

“Piedmont Technical College is a definite leader in taking steps to prepare for the potential of a pandemic, minimizing the risk of exposure among employees, students and visitors and ensuring that students do not fall behind in their studies,” says John Baker, President & CEO, Desire2Learn. “They have modeled what it is to be prepared.”

Distance learning team members (L to R: Lynn Mack, Associate Dean Instructional Development and Transfer; Ruth Smith, Helpdesk Manager and Deidre Stidom, Learning System Manager/Technical Trainer) working on a plan for implementation

About Piedmont Technical College

Since opening its doors in 1966, Piedmont Technical College has maintained a long-standing history as a successful public, comprehensive, two-year institution. Located in Greenwood, South Carolina with centers in Abbeville, Edgefield, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry and Saluda counties, Piedmont Technical College also has a virtual campus accessible anywhere. We meet the needs of today’s students by constantly introducing new programs and updating facilities and equipment. To learn more, visit:

About Desire2Learn Incorporated

Desire2Learn Incorporated is a world-leading provider of enterprise eLearning solutions that enable institutions and other organizations to create teaching and learning environments that reflect their vision, values, goals, pedagogical approaches and branding. Desire2Learn and its subsidiaries support more than five million learners worldwide and clients include higher education, K-12, as well as associations, government and other leading organizations. Founded in 1999, Desire2Learn is headquartered in Kitchener, ON, Canada with personnel located in North America, the U.K. and Australia. For more information, visit:, call 1.519.772.0325 or toll-free 1.888.772.0325 (within North America), 0808.234.6744 (U.K.) and +61 412 067 308 (Australia).


John McLeod
Director of Marketing
Desire2Learn Incorporated
519.772.0325 ext. 378
[email protected]