PASSHE Rolls Out Distance Learning System-wide

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) will be extending its distance learning and online collaborative efforts across all 14 universities in its system. The initiative includes a contract with Wimba to deploy its Wimba Collaboration Suite system-wide for collaboration between students and faculty outside of traditional settings.

The Wimba Collaboration Suite incorporates Wimba's communications tools for podcasting, video, application sharing, messaging, and other collaborative functions. These include Live Classroom (a virtual classroom environment); Pronto (an instant messaging and voice chat tool); Wimba Voice Tools; and Course Genie (a utility for converting Word documents to LMS-friendly formats).

"We first implemented Wimba Classroom in 2004. Only a few professors were using it. Today, Wimba is used in hundreds of courses, by thousands of students," said Bob Hails, distance learning coordinator for PASSHE, in a statement released last week. "With the full Wimba Collaboration Suite, our universities can leverage the technology across their campuses, providing a wide range of tools to complement the needs of different departments, courses and learners."

For the system-wide implementation, faculty will participate in custom training to familiarize themselves with the technologies.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education serves a total of about 100,000 students across 14 individual universities.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

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