Posted: November 21, 2007

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has received an award for innovative and effective uses of technologies in supporting students through Minnesota Online, the system's gateway to more than 4,700 course sections and 200 programs offered via the Internet.

The Outstanding Work Award from the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications, an association with nearly 300 members in 46 states and nine countries, recognizes the system's Online Support Center for delivering high-quality student services, particularly to veterans and military personnel. The cooperative ( engages in sharing cutting-edge research and best practices for the effective use of technology in higher education.

"The Online Support Center provides individualized support to veterans and active military personnel from across Minnesota, as well as offering 24/7 educational support to individuals worldwide," said Gary Langer, the system's associate vice chancellor for academic innovation.

Minnesota Online has collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and other groups to provide advisors who are specifically trained to meet veterans' needs, Langer said. Located in Perham, the center provides pre-admission planning and advising seven days a week. Users can search the Frequently Asked Questions section online, ask other questions online, engage in online chat with a staff member or call toll-free (800-456-8519) or international phone numbers for personal assistance.

Begun in 2002, Minnesota Online provides similar services to anyone who is interested in admission requirements and program offerings. The center also frees the system's colleges and universities from much of the cost and labor associated with providing hardware, software and support staff.