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CMS Review for Wednesday, February 18, 2004

CMS Review - a resource on elearning & Course management Systems

Wed., Feb. 18, 2004




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Colleges are testing the limits of their CMS. They’re experiencing growing pains as a broad array of users adopt the CMS. Provider support, integration, and the value-to-price relationship have become even more critical. Change d'esn’t need to be daunting. Read how next-generation capabilities in ANGEL meet the new demands.

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CMS Viewpoint

Dialogic Learning Objects: Inviting the Student Into the Instructional Process

By Lanny Arvan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Arvan argues that properly employed, course management systems can change the model for teaching and learning in ways that engage students more and increase their learning. He offers the "dialogic approach" to using a question-answer-feedback cycle to accomplish this and provides sample files for reader experimentation.

Viewed from the vantage of the student, the typical instructor uses a course management system as a publicly accessible file drawer and little more. We know from the literature (Faculty Use of Course Management Systems; Morgan, 2003), and Student Satisfaction and Perceived Learning via a Course Management System; Bielema, 2002) that the main CMS use is posting lecture notes and the syllabus. Perhaps this offers convenience over distributing notes through the copy shop, but d'es it have a fundamental effect on learning? How can we get beyond the "lecture note phase" and have instructors produce sites with interactivity, where there is an overt benefit to the learner, where the online part of the course complements the face-to-face part, and vice versa?

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Sponsored By: Ektron
Content Management: The 'Other' CMS For Education
Content Management Solutions are not the same as Course Management Solutions. Sign up for a free demo and learn how Content Management Solutions are helping administrators and professors deliver information and services via their existing Web sites more efficiently. More than 150 educational institutions including Syracuse, Vanguard, and Duke University use Ektron Solutions to enhance their online services.

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CMS News & Product updates

Sakai Open Source CMS Launches Partners Program

The Sakai Project launched the Sakai Educational Partner’s Program (SEPP) with a $300,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The role of SEPP is to further the development and adoption of open source Sakai Project software in higher education. The SEPP will provide the staff and services to ensure a long-term community for sustaining and evolving Sakai-based software.

Founding Partners include Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Foothill-DeAnza Community Colleges, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Tufts University, University of Colorado, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Davis, University of California-LA, University of California-Merced, University of Hawaii, University of Oklahoma, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Yale University.

Partners contribute $10,000 annually with a three-year commitment. The program facilitates technical collaboration, developer training, strategy briefings, and software sharing among universities. Partners receive access to SEPP technical staff, pre-release code, developer workshops, and access to an online Sakai Project knowledgebase managed by Indiana University.

The Sakai Board has also named Jim Farmer as SEPP Community Development Manager to begin working with partners. Farmer has extensive experience with building diverse, open source communities through his work on uPortal with JA-SIG.

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VCampus Unveils Web-Based Course Management System

VCampus Corp., an application service provider in the eLearning market, released an enhanced Web-based Course Management System to support both self-paced and instructor managed online learning. The VCampus CMS 5.0 includes a newly designed Gradebook that tracks multiple student activities, integrated course discussion boards, and a built-in testing and assessment engine. The VCampus release implements a Java-based enterprise architecture to meet the demand for hosted eLearning, the company said. The new architecture supports around-the-clock heavy usage, high reliability, performance, and scalability to handle the high volume course launches and deliveries typically required by online learning programs. The company counts over 2.5 million enrollments since 1996.

VCampus CMS 5.0 provides AICC compliant tracking to accommodate programs already using a learning management system as well as WYSIWYG editing, full lifecycle authoring control and live editing capabilities even after the course is published. For larger institutions, VCampus offers an onsite installation of the new CMS platform.

Centra Announces Blended Learning Partnership with SAP

Centra Software, Inc., which develops enterprise conferencing and collaboration software, made a deal with SAP to integrate its real-time collaboration application with the SAP Learning Solution, a component of the SAP’s mySAP Human Resources solution. The partners said the integration will provide a technology, training and performance support system that will enable individuals to launch mission-critical virtual classroom training at the desktop.

SAP said its Learning Solution enables users to map specific courses to competency requirements, to associate learning activities and results with personal development plans, and to incorporate eLearning with classroom and other learning activities into blended curricula – without incremental implementation or customization costs. Meanwhile, Centra offers application software that enables organizations to deliver real-time communication, collaboration and learning across the enterprise.

Forbes Picks eCollege for 25 Fastest Growing Tech Firms

ecollege was named to Forbes magazine’s list of the top 25 fastest growing technology companies. The list is published in the February 16, 2004 issue of Forbes. But even since the Top 25 list was assembled, eCollege has doubled in size through the acquisition of Salt Lake City-based Datamark, an outsource provider of enrollment marketing services to the post- secondary school market. Its offerings complement those of eCollege, helping institutions build enrollments and increase student retention, both online and on campus.

"2003 was a monumental year for eCollege, and we are extremely proud to be recognized by Forbes," said Oakleigh Thorne, chairman and CEO of eCollege. "Online programs are becoming central to the way institutions serve the large and growing non-traditional student population. eCollege plays an integral role in powering some of the largest and most successful programs in the country."

Blackboard Releases APIs Built on Microsoft .NET Framework

Blackboard announced the release of “Building Blocks,” built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, which gives its clients a new way to customize their Blackboard installation and further enhance the eLearning experience for students and to build their own .NET applications or integrate Blackboard with Microsoft's server and productivity applications.

Microsoft .NET is a platform that supports the integration of applications across networks. Building Blocks now enables .NET applications to easily integrate with the Blackboard Learning System. Clients now can fit the Blackboard Learning System into their .NET infrastructure to create a unified academic computing environment, including Microsoft applications, custom applications, Web services, and even mobile devices such as PocketPCs and Smartphones.

CMS Case Study

Small But Wired Bluffton Sought Jenzabar for eLearning

Bluffton College, originally known as Central Mennonite College, was ranked by Yahoo!among the nation's top 60 "most wired" colleges. So it is a mark of distinction that Bluffton picked Jenzabar for its integrated portal, course management, and administrative software. According to school officials, the platform is especially compatible with Bluffton's special Learning Circles Program, a team-based learning experience that integrates technology skills across the curriculum.

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CMS TechNotes

Open Knowledge Service Interface Definitions Available

The Open Knowledge Initiative has produced a series of Open Service Interface Definitions (OSID's), an abstraction layer between the programmer and the enterprise infrastructure systems on campus. Each OSID is characterized by a tightly defined set of methods and strict boundaries. This approach offers a number of important benefits to applications designed to the OSID's, including simple integration with existing infrastructure, adaptation to new technology, and sharing of local innovations across campuses or universities.

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CMS Exchange
From the CMS Review Forum
Posted by: Ralph Fasano, Rhode Island School of Design

While I may be interested in open source options, I am also concerned about the level of expertise and number of staff necessary to implement such an alternate CMS. My impression is that UNIX talent is required. Can anyone speak to the level of support necessary to implement an OPEN SOURCE solution?

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