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March 19, 2013

Purdue and Pearson partner to include Online Writing Lab in new mobile learning resource

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue University's Online Writing Lab will be included in a Pearson mobile writing resource designed for smart phones and tablets through an agreement between Purdue Research Foundation and Pearson.

The agreement allows the Purdue OWL to be included in Pearson Writer, a complete resource of curated and searchable information and guidance that includes writing, research, and content and project management tools.

"The Purdue OWL had more than 230 million online hits last year and may be the single most referenced website for writing instruction and information in the world," said Linda Bergmann, director of the Purdue Online Writing Lab and a professor of English. "The service assists anyone, anywhere, with instructional writing resources for writing projects such as résumés, research papers and essays, and it offers help with significant writing challenges like learning English as a second language program and using correct English grammar."

The Purdue OWL, which is part of the Purdue College of Liberal Arts, houses writing resources and instructional material as a free service to the public. The agreement with Pearson does not affect current access to Purdue OWL, which will continue to be made available freely for non-commercial, personal, educational and training use.

"According to the Educational Policy Improvement Center, the ability to write is one of the most important skills a student needs for academic success," said Jason Jordan, senior vice president director of digital strategy at Pearson.  "At the same time, we consistently hear that students doing an online search for writing help quickly become overwhelmed with the multitude of results. By incorporating Purdue's outstanding OWL service as part of Pearson Writer we will offer an all-in-one, curated, accessible and personalized mobile resource that provides students with information and guidance on good writing and research fundamentals and managing the writing and research process. Pearson Writer includes helpful videos and quizzes, auto-citation, writing review, course trackers, source citing in the MLA, APA and Chicago writing styles, all in one searchable mobile tool. Information is kept updated so students can feel confident that the information they receive is current and available 24/7."

Pearson Writer is being piloted with more than 10,000 students in about 60 universities across the United States. 

Elizabeth Hart-Wells, assistant vice president for the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, said the collaboration between Purdue and Pearson will meet the growing need of online educational assistance.

"Mobile devices are some of the most important educational tools for students and consumers," she said. "This agreement is unique in many ways because it combines the reputation of writing expertise of the Purdue OWL online program, the depth of Pearson educational resources and expertise in personalized learning, and the strength of Purdue's information technology."

To support an increase in visitors and 24-hour demands, Information Technology at Purdue, or ITaP, has provided a virtual server configuration that hosts the university's OWL data resources alongside Pearson's OWL resources to ensure availability of the information for national and international users.

"Three-fourths of the world's population already has access to a mobile phone or device, and we are prepared for the 'always-on demand' online needs of a global audience," said Gerry McCartney, Purdue's chief information officer and vice president for information technology. "Our future plans are designed for constant upgrades for increased development of tools and resources for mobile devices but also for novel partnerships with industry like the agreement with Pearson."

Indiana Computer Systems LLC, a Purdue Research Park-based company whose technology is developed through Purdue, is providing software development and consulting services.

About Pearson

 Pearson, the world's leading learning company, has global reach and market-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing (NYSE: PSO). Pearson helps people and institutions break through to improved outcomes by providing innovative print and digital education materials, including personalized learning products such as MyLab and Mastering, CourseConnect customizable online courseware, education services including custom publishing, content-independent platforms including the EQUELLA digital repository, and the Pearson LearningStudio online learning platform and OpenClass online learning environment.

About Purdue's Online Writing Lab

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University develops and houses writing resources and instructional materials, and provides them as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts, administers trusts,; funds scholarships and grants, and acquires property on behalf of Purdue. The foundation oversees the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, which operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the United States. In the 1990s, the foundation was charged with helping the university in the realm of economic development. The foundation oversees the Purdue Research Park, which is the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. 

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, Purdue Research Foundation, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org

Sources: Linda Bergmann, 765-496-2814, lbergmann@purdue.edu

Susan Aspey, Pearson North America, 347-421-2473, susan.aspey@pearson.com

Elizabeth Hart-Wells, 765-588-3474, eahart-wells@prf.org