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News 07/12/2002

E-Learning Part of Federal Nurse Training Grant

Broward (Fla.) Community College has been given a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration to help create programs to meet a critical shortage of local nurses. As part of the school's strategy, 100 inactive registered nurses will update their skills through testing, customized e-learning modules and individually designed clinical rotations. Another strategy is aimed at upgrading 100 licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses through an online transition program. The grant will provide an online program accessible 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week so they can complete seven nursing lecture courses at their convenience. Students who choose to attend campus-based lectures will have access to the online portion of the classes at the college's computer labs.

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What's in the Future for Course Management Systems?

A special panel discussion on course management systems featuring four experts on open source initiatives is one of the highlights at the ninth annual Syllabus2002 conference July 27-31 in Santa Clara, Calif. Oakley Thorne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, eCollege; Matthew Pittinsky, Chairman of Blackboard; Barbara Ross, Chief Operating Officer of WebCT, and Phillip D. Long of MIT will discuss the successes and challenges of course management systems, the possibilities for the future, and implementation issues for new software. This interactive session with the audience will focus on possibilities and priorities. Don't miss out on this summer's education technology conference for faculty, administrators and IT professionals in higher education.

UMassOnline Grant for Tech-Business Summit

UMassOnline, the University of Massachusetts' web-based learning division, was awarded a $143,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to produce a three-day conference on how cutting-edge technology can enhance the learning of entrepreneurship. The Technology Enhanced Entrepreneurship Education (TE3) conference, scheduled for October, will "give entrepreneurship educators experience with a smorgasbord of technology-enhanced education options, including face-to-face technology-enhanced learning, online learning, videoconferencing, and 'live online learning' over the Web," said Jack Wilson, a UMass Amherst Professor of Management, and CEO of UMassOnline.

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Kurzweil Ups Tech for Sight-Impaired Readers

Kurzweil Educational Systems said the latest version of its reading software for visually impaired people -- Kurzweil 1000 Version 7 -- has improved performance in the areas of online access to books, tools that promote active reading, and office productivity. The system includes a set of text management tools for creating bookmarks, annotations, summaries and portable MP3 audio files. A key feature is automated, simplified search and retrieval of books from online repositories. This includes a direct connection to, an online community that allows people with visual disabilities to legally download over 10,000 copyrighted books in accessible formats. Designed to promote independent communication, Kurzweil 1000 can read text in English, German, Italian, French and Spanish.

eCollege Boasts Content Delivery Speed-Up

eCollege, which hosts online courses, said it had added advanced compression technology that would provide schools faster content delivery speeds. The company said its HTTP compression system would "make a 28.8 speed line perform similarly to a 56 speed line, and a 56 speed line perform similarly to an ISDN line." The compression improvement reduces load times on heavily trafficked portions of a course, including threaded discussions, exams and grades, the company said, adding that depending on the student's computer and the type of content, users can experience download speed improvements of 20 percent to over 200 percent. The company said HTTP compression is available at no additional cost, and with nothing to download.

Chipmaker Lofts Advanced Tech Give-Away

Get2Chip Inc., a supplier of multi-level, system-on-chip (SOC) technology, launched its G2C University Connections Program, designed to give university students hands-on experience with the latest synthesis technology. The program allows qualified universities and training institutes to receive the company's advanced compiler technology. Qualifying universities now include the University of California at Berkeley and the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India. "It's vastly important for universities training electrical engineers to stay current with new and emerging technologies and methodologies," said program director Taher Abbasi, Get2Chip's director of Asia Operations.

Awards, Deals, Contracts in Higher Education

-- Blinn College and Texas Lutheran University have signed a deal with infiNET Solutions to receive e-commerce services to automate various billing and payment transactions. The company's QuikPay system will enable students, parents, and guardians to make all of their education payments via the Web.

-- Virginia signed an agreement to acquire higher education administrative systems from SCT, a provider of e-education solutions for colleges and universities. The agreement calls fo Virginia's state colleges and universities to license SCT products and acquire SCT services at discounted rates. Virginia expects the new contract could provide up to $3.7 million in savings to its institutions of higher education.

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