Industry Briefs

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GOIN’ GLOBAL, MATE.

eLearning systems giant WebCT (www.webct.com) is expanding again, adding a “down under” office in Sydney, three senior-level execs, and five new resellers. Meanwhile, the roster of new WebCT Vista international higher ed customers grows—the University of Vienna (Austria), University of the Aegean (Greece), and Nagoya University (Japan) have recently come on board. Other institutions—the University of Birmingham (UK) for one—are upgrading their WebCT systems to meet the demands of eLearning programs.

Hobsons’ acquisition of Academic Engine creates an organization that can now “guide students from prospect to alumnus” via enrollment management technology and natural- language Q & A.
CONTENT EXCHANGE TAKES OFF.

WebCT and MERLOT (www.merlot.org), a free online learning resource, have partnered to give WebCT users access to 10,000 indexed learning objects, thus enhancing the learning content exchange. The MERLOT Web site will be optimized for WebCT users, and the WebCT materials will be augmented by MERLOT, say WebCT spokespeople.

CENTRALIZE, CENTRALIZE.

Penn State University’s (PA) Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology (AERS) department has selected the Web-based service desk product FootPrints from UniPress Software (www.unipress.com), to centralize its IT Help Desk. AERS deployed Footprints to track and manage all incoming IT support requests from AERS staffers, faculty, and graduate students. The AERS ITS Help desk staffers can now track and manage calls via trouble tickets, quickly refer to FAQs for answers, and utilize a knowledgebase to collaborate on problem resolution.

SMALL ENVIRONMENT, BIG COLLABORATION.

Educational technology firm and provider of collaboration software, DyKnow (www.dyknow.com) has partnered with the University of Richmond (VA) to increase “wired” collaboration between students and faculty via DyKnow Vision collaboration software. Despite the small liberal arts setting, says DyKnow President Laura Small, “Richmond is setting up the perfect environment to show that liberal arts subjects can benefit greatly from DyKnow’s collaborative features.”

M&A

PAPERLESS PARTNERS.

Jenzabar Inc. (www.jenzabar.com) an eLearning system provider, has partnered with document imaging group Feith Systems and Software Inc. (www.feith.com), allowing Jenzabar to offer imaging, workflow, and records management to colleges and universities using Jenzabar’s software—part of its Total Campus Management (TCM) system.

HOW TO BOOST ENROLLMENT.

To strengthen its enrollment management technology (EMT) product line, higher ed communications and recruitment technology provider Hobsons (www.hobsons.com) has completed the acquisition of Academic Engine (www.academicengine.com), an Internet software development firm showcasing a natural language question/answer system. Hobsons spokespeople note that the merger creates an organization that can now “guide students from prospect to alumnus.” The merger also adds 150 new higher education clients to Hobsons’ 650.

PEOPLE

TWO AGAINST INTRUSION.

Kenny Van Zant (formerly of Cisco Systems’ broadband access team) and David Sikora (President/CEO of infrastructure software firm Pervasive Software), have been appointed to the board of directors of TippingPoint Technologies Inc. (www.tippingpoint.com), provider of networked-based intrusion prevention systems.

SWITCHING GEARS.

Former Sun Microsystems exec William Malik has joined enterprise researchers Aberdeen Group (www.aberdeen.com) as VP of Technology Research, driving Aberdeen’s CIO’s Strategic Agenda research programs.

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