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CMS Review for Wednesday, November 12, 2003.

Wed., Nov.12, 2003




Sponsored By: Respondus
Colleges increase the adoption rate of online testing
Hundreds of colleges using WebCT, Blackboard, or eCollege also rely on Respondus 2.0 to get instructors “up and running” with online testing. Exams are created offline in a Windows environment. Publisher test banks and Word files are easily imported too. Respondus then uploads the exam seamlessly to the instructor's online course.

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CMS Viewpoint

Living in Parallel Worlds: Blogs and Course Management Systems

Frank Tansey

During the closing plenary session at the Syllabus Conference last July in San Jose, I made a comment about the software I was using to create and maintain my Weblog or blog. I was struck by the questions and comments my brief remark generated. A few years ago, mentioning blogging software would have caused a faint ripple of recognition in the audience. However, it seems clear that blogging is coming to the academy.

Frank Tansey can be reached at: [email protected].

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CMS News & Product updates

Blackboard Unveils Integrated CMS, ePortfolio System

Blackboard Inc. unveiled its education-specific learning content management and ePortfolio system–the Blackboard Content System–which it said would lower the costs and increase the simplicity of managing learning content, digital assets and ePortfolios in an enterprise learning environment. The new system includes enhanced features in four areas: learning content management, ePortfolios, Virtual Hard Drives, and Library Digital Asset Management.

New Product: WebCT Demos Open Source Portfolio

WebCT demonstrated a new “PowerLink” for WebCT Vista that enables the transfer of student files from WebCT Vista-powered courses to open source electronic portfolios. The files can then become part of a permanent personal record that students can selectively share with peers, professors and employers over their lifetime. The new feature for WebCT Vista is being developed using WebCT Vista SDK, with the Open Source Portfolio Initiative, a group advancing the use of e-portfolios. OSPI's founding partners include experts from the University of Minnesota and the University of Delaware and the r-smart group.

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eCollege Integrates Course, Content Management Systems

eCollege plans to launch a unified Course and Content Management System to help universities manage course content across their entire institution. The system will help schools centrally manage, standardize and reuse large volumes of content across multiple programs, courses and sections. This simplifies the administration process and adds value by creating rich institutional content. eCollege has a multi-phase plan for content management development, with the first phase scheduled for release in 2004, and the second phase scheduled for 2005.

Blackboard, RealNetworks Wed Streaming Media, eLearning

Blackboard Inc., and Internet media company RealNetwork, have formed a partnership to provide its users the ability to access digital audio and video. RealNetworks will leverage Blackboard’s Building Blocks open architecture program to integrate the RealNetworks Helix Universal Server technology and the Blackboard Learning System. The integrated system will enable seamless delivery of digital audio and video throughout the CMS system.

WebCT Pledges Expanded Technical Support to Users

WebCT said it will expand its technical support program to provide every customer in the world live support from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. their local time, five days a week. the CMS vendor said it believes that as more users rely on the eLearning system as part of their learning experience, ensuring maximum uptime is critical.

Assessment Firm Teams with Electronic Portfolio Company

ePortaro, Inc, an electronic portfolio vendor, and assessment software firm Questionmark, announced a partnership to integrate Questionmark Perception testing and assessment software with Folio by ePortaro. The integration will be built by ePortaro and enable ePortaro clients to tap Perception evaluation and assessment tools as a part of their electronic portfolio environment. Faculty and other evaluators will be able to provide student assessments and post these to portfolios for review by third parties of the students' choosing. Further, students and instructors will be able to easily post the results of Perception tests and assessments to any of their portfolios.

Syllabus Radio: Selecting a CMS

Kathy Christoph explains how the University of Wisconsin selected a new course management system, through an in-depth study of campus requirements and user input, and a rigorous evaluation of potential CMS vendors.

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CMS Case Study

U Mich: CompreHensive collaborativE Framework (CHEF)

In September 2003, the Midwest Instructional Technology Center installed on server hosted for the Comprehensive Collaborative Framework (CHEF) now being used and developed at the University of Michigan. Faculty members, supported by instructional technologists, at Earlham College and Lake Forest College are participating this semester in a pilot test of CHEF from a MITC server. Five faculty members, two instructional technologists, and a librarian, as well as more than 90 students, are currently using the system in five courses.

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CMS TechNotes

Industry Weighs WebCT Open Knowledge Demonstration

WebCT has prototyped an application that uses the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) Open Service Interface Definitions (OSIDs) for interoperability among higher education applications. OKI seeks to provide simple integration with existing infrastructure, encourage local innovations that can be shared across campuses or universities, and facilitate adaptation to new technologies without destabilizing the overall environment.

In the demonstration, the WebCT Vista academic enterprise system automatically synchronized calendars with Microsoft Outlook using the OKI authentication and scheduling OSIDs, or APIs, to exchange data. This would enable both calendars to be simultaneously updated by updating one.

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Sponsored By: Syllabus
Syllabus fall2003 Early Bird Deadline Extended to 11/14!
There's still time to save up to $100 off your registration for Syllabus fall2003, December 8-10 in Cambridge, Mass. Don't miss this opportunity to network with peers, advance your knowledge of technology solutions on campus, hear outstanding keynote speakers William J. Mitchell of MIT, Graham Spanier, Penn State, and Howard Strauss, Princeton University, and explore tracks of strategic importance applicable to your needs. For complete details and to register, go to

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