CT Briefs

:: NEWS

TRAINING IN SECOND LIFE. Tremendous cost savings, along with the ability to offer more realistic emergency preparedness training to a wider audience of health care professionals and emergency responders, are two of the reasons behind Play2Train, a twoyear- old effort at Idaho State University that is using tools like Second Life to enable distance learning for emergency response training. The Play2Train Open Content Alliance is an evolving collaborative effort among universities to build a permanent archive of open source virtual worlds (including their content and applications) to support public domain emergency preparedness training and exercises. Read more here.

CT Briefs

Visitors in Second Life explore sustainable housing design.

REAL AND VIRTUAL HOUSING. Students in a graduate-level interdisciplinary communication course at The University of Texas at Austin needed to produce a class project in an authentic communication context. They chose to create a Second Life build of two sustainable urban housing designs called The Alley Flats, being piloted in real life by The BaSiC Initiative, a UT-Austin program focused on building sustainable communities. Working with volunteer expert builders in SL who used realworld architectural drawings to construct the virtual houses, the students created an interactive resource where visitors in SL can learn about sustainable design, access plans, and find a network of collaborating organizations.

DIGITAL MEDIA INTEGRATION. Yale University (CT) is piloting a new program that integrates its open source collaboration and learning environment, Sakai, and its digital asset and digital rights management system, C-Labs from Cdigix. Yale has used the C-Labs web-based DAM/DRM tool since 2004 to deliver online digital media to students in about 400 courses. The integration of the two systems will enable viewing of media directly from within Sakai. Read more here.

BRINGING HISTORY TO LIFE. At The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Western Civilization 101 and 102 students immerse themselves in web-based scenarios that make history come to life. In the 101 course, they become undercover detectives who investigate the theft of valuable historical artifacts. In 102, they participate in an “Artifacts Roadshow” and appraise items with possible historical significance. Both courses leverage rich multimedia, including live-action video and interactive participation. Course developers have made creative use of Adobe Flash, PHP 5.0, and XML, with student information stored in a MySQL database.

DON’T CRY FOR NYUeVITA. At New York University, professional staff and students collaborated on the design, development, and branding of the university’s ePortfolio system, dubbed NYUeVita. As a beta school for Symplicity, NYU was able to play a major part in the software development process and customize the look and feel of the system. NYUeVita is now pre-populated in the NYUHome portal accounts of all students, but users can selectively and easily create highly customized ePortfolios from the basic template and uploaded data such as personal profile, skills, documents, videos, and references.

:: PEOPLE

Daphne Koller STANFORD PROF GETS ACM-INFOSYS AWARD. Infosys Technologies and the Association for Computing Machinery have presented the first ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences to Daphne Koller, a leading researcher and student mentor at Stanford University (CA). Koller’s own research contributions to computer science and the field of artificial intelligence have been enormous, but her thought leadership in the advancement of computer science as a field of study, and the fostering of innovation, have also set her apart. Notably, she has involved undergraduate students in computer science research, expanding their learning experiences far beyond the textbook problem sets that lead only to predetermined answers. Read more here.

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