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Educause Floor Shopper: CT Exclusive: Our Product Picks

We’ve rounded up outstanding products we can’t wait to see this year in Dallas. Don’t miss these booths!

Angel ePortfolio
Essential eTools for Institutional Assessment

The electronic portfolio has become a critical tool for learners and educators alike; a digital collection of work that facilitates peer collaboration and has the potential to support lifelong learning and professional development. We at Campus Technology think ePortfolios are so significant, in fact, that this year we recognized the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system as a Campus Technology Innovator for its statewide electronic portfolio effort, eFolio Minnesota, which serves more than 50,000 Minnesota students and residents. The project is now expanding into the development of institutional ePortfolios to help meet accreditation needs and other mission-critical institutional objectives. We’re seeing a similar trend in the vendor space: Companies like Angel Learning are heeding the call for powerful assessment tools to mine the hard data schools need in their budgeting, planning, and accreditation processes. The recently launched Angel ePortfolio 2 features new assessment tools and reporting capabilities for the institution itself. Custom learning objectives, rubrics, certified artifacts, and flexible reporting all allow schools to track and aggregate the specific data they need and report the data to meet varied demands. Booth 1115.

Sony’s Vaio UX Micro PC
Sony Vaio G'es Micro

Converged mobile technologies have been big news at schools like Wake Forest University (NC), where just last year pocket PC phones were put into students’ hands in the school’s Mobile U pilot program. If your campus is following in WFU’s footsteps, take note: Powerful new ultra-portable devices with full-size performance capabilities (think: a pocket-sized device with a fully functional Windows XP operating system) have been storming the market. Don’t miss Sony’s Vaio UX Micro PC; it could be just the thing to take teaching, learning, and communication to the next level on your campus. The 1.2-pound device boasts a 4.5-inch wide SVGA screen, Intel Core Solo Ultra Low Voltage CPU, Microsoft Windows XP Professional OS, plus integrated wireless LAN, wireless WAN, and Bluetooth technology. A built-in camera, microphone, and speakers allow users to communicate via VoIP for videoconferencing on the go. And a biometrics fingerprint sensor ensures you never have to remember passwords. Booth 703.

Sonic Foundry Mediasite
Podcasting and a New Management Portal

Could podcasts become as ubiquitous to college and university course content as the old-fashioned textbook? Schools like Duke University (NC) and Georgia College & State University were among the first to develop extensive academic programs with podcasting, and many other institutions around the country are following suit. If you’re looking for a way to meet the growing demand for podcasting content, you won’t want to miss the Sonic Foundry booth. Known for its stable recording and playback environment (pictured), Sonic Foundry has developed a smart way to utilize the rich media presentation content your school may already be recording via Mediasite—for podcasts. The new Mediasite Podcasting solution automatically converts standard Mediasite presentations to MP3 audio, which can be played back on iPods or other MP3-compatible players, and may be uploaded to iTunes or iTunesU. Also worth a trip to the booth: The new Mediasite Management Portal provides chaptering, different levels of permissions, and other features that will open up new possibilities for content producers and program developers. Booth 202.

Epson PowerLite 6100i
Truly Thoughtful High-Use Room Projection

The problems with high-use room projection are many, and include the expected: the need for clearer, crisper images and richer detail, and an ability to project vibrant images in both dark and well-lit lecture halls and meeting facilities. But think about this: The larger your facility, the greater the number of presentation attendees—and the greater the chances that some of those attendees may have special needs that the presentation completely ignores. In fact, hearingimpaired and color-blind students routinely complain that they are “shut out” of many classroom and campus presentations because they can’t adequately see or hear the information. But for many schools, it has been just too costly to purchase special external components to address accessibility issues. Good news: Epson has just rolled out the PowerLite 6100i, which takes advantage of Epson’s 3LCD technology and projects up to 3,500 ANSI lumens of brightness in XGA (1024 x 768) native resolution, for sharp detail and rich color transmittal. What’s more, the projector features embedded technology that is entirely compatible with closed-caption tuners. Added pluses: a special filtration capability protects the projector’s components from air particles such as dust or chalk; out-of-the-box technology allows for remote monitoring and control of the projector via LAN or internet; a 5-watt speaker provides true room-filling sound; theft prevention is enhanced at least three ways; and more. Booth 335.

Fine-tuning the Web User Experience

NEWAdmissions offices are pumping up their recruitment efforts on the web, reaching out to potential students via the university portal. But too often, website performance falls short, losing users due to slow page loading time, links to other sites, confusing site structure, or a lack of personal touch. At the TechSmith booth, attendees will find a new web-based service, UserVue, that provides the tools to fine-tune that all-important user experience. UserVue allows researchers, software developers, usability professionals, and others to remotely connect to, interact with, observe, and record users as they navigate an application or website in their natural environment. Up to 10 observers can view a live session (without disturbing the participant), collaborate over chat, take notes, and set markers to pinpoint critical points of interaction. The result: an accurate view of the user’s actual experience and a chance to identify design problems and make critical improvements. It could mean the difference between a potential student and an incoming freshman! Booth 109/212.

rSmart Sakai CLE
Open Source Without a Roomful of Programmers

If you’ve just attended sessions on the Sakai Collaborative Learning Environment or Kuali Financials and want to get involved but don’t think you have enough technical expertise on your campus, you’re certainly not alone. Open source proponents often hear, “But how on earth will we support it without an army of programmers?” Whether you have reservations about open source or are a full-fledged supporter, there’s no question that open source is a hot topic in higher ed technology. So before you leave the conference, check out rSmart’s booth. The company offers versions of both rSmart Sakai CLE (pictured) and rSmart Kuali Financials as boxed products, and can help you tailor them to your campus. With rSmart Sakai CLE, you can run a collaborative learning environment and choose from more than 30 tools to help you facilitate course, project, or portfolio work. rSmart Kuali Financials is available immediately (as of October 2006) for implementation at institutions with modest financial systems needs. And if your campus needs support, just ask the rSmart team. Booth 535/537.

Enterprising Administrative Solutions

Business intelligence finally hits the classroom. Here at Campus Technology, we continually cover BI solutions for campus administrators and staffers who find data-mining and analytic technology essential to uncovering patterns and trends, providing analyses, and generating actionable reports that can change the face of campus business and operations. But the people at SAS will be demonstrating the as-yet-unplumbed depth of value in analytics for the classroom.We urge conference attendees to see the demo of the SAS Enterprise Guide for teaching and learning: “Point. Click. Teach.” Most interesting is the fact that so many universities have the Enterprise Guide as part of their SAS bundle, but may not even know it. With the Guide, students and teachers will now be able to analyze data, generate reports, and more—just as campus business staffers do. Booth 102.

More BI solutions to catch. Two new BI solutions from Campus Management have caught our eye as well: CampusQuery and CampusAnalytics. Conference attendees—especially those already CampusVue-invested— should stop by the Campus Management booth for a demo of both new products. CampusQuery, a BI dashboard, gives administrators real-time access to website, program, and CampusVue data, allowing users to proactively guide business performance on a daily basis and handle problems as they crop up. The CampusAnalytics web-based dashboard for campus execs provides visibility into just about every aspect of the student lifecycle. Administrators can more effectively measure, analyze, report, and make data-driven decisions about recruiting, admissions, financial aid, student retention, and more. Booth 203.

Human capital management for the rest of us. Human capital management (HCM) is one of the fastest-growing enterprise application segments, lauded as the way to maximize productivity and retention through integrated talent, performance, and learning systems. But if you think that HCM systems are only within reach of large enterprises, you need to visit the Saba booth. The company has just launched Saba OnDemand, a webbased service that organizations of all sizes can use to deploy fully managed HCM without the resource requirements of on-site implementations. It comes packed with all the features of its older siblings—the Saba Enterprise applications often installed on-site at larger institutions. Saba OnDemand now offers HR departments of all sizes an opportunity to work with a mature HCM system without placing new burdens on IT. Booth 1442.

Help is in the house. Spending too much time batch-processing housing system requests? Banner-using campuses will be happy to discover that an annoying disconnect has been solved by SunGard Higher Education: External housing systems of all kinds can now integrate with an institution’s Banner student administration/information system, eliminating the need for custom point-to-point (often batch-oriented) integration. The Sun- Gard HE Integration for Housing software now allows administrators to “grab” vital student information in real time and quickly and smoothly enable housing solution processes, and vice-versa. This means that the housing system can, for instance, easily access student ID or eligibility data and, likewise, the Banner system can access housing system data such as a student’s new address or housing-related fees. Booth 403.

Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway 4.0
Bouncers at the Gate

Messaging security just keeps getting better and better, which is a good thing: To date, it’s been a real battle for college and university technologists to keep no end of evils from compromising networks and data. But we’ve seen real advances in the messaging security space over the past 18 months, and attendees should not miss a stop at the Proofpoint booth to catch a glimpse of an impressively comprehensive solution. The just-released Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway 4.0 appliance and Proofpoint Protection Server 4.0 software are designed to provide rapid-response protection against all forms of message-borne threats: spam and viruses, intellectual property leakage, and breaches of student, staff, and faculty data. Proofpoint has enhanced the system’s content security features, has stepped up the message-processing features, and has added a slew of core platform enhancements. The company also offers a Zero-Hour Anti- Virus Module for protection against emerging virus attacks (during those first critical hours after a new virus is released, but before traditional anti-virus signatures have been updated), enhanced directory harvest attack prevention, and even Japanese/Chinese language spam defense (and who among us has not been barraged by communiqués from the Far East lately?). Booth 1638.

Sprint Nextel to the Rescue—Literally

NEWOn the heels of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, colleges and universities—especially large public institutions—are looking for solutions that will help them coordinate campuswide and even community- and region-wide, before, during, and in the wake of a disaster. At the Sprint Nextel booth, attendees will get a firsthand look at Sprint’s disaster preparedness technology, which features Emergency Response Team (ERT) and interoperability solutions designed for any department that needs to communicate both internally and across other departments and agencies, jurisdictions, and regions; respond to an emergency; and coordinate field-training exercises. Pivotal to the solutions are Nationwide Walkie-Talkie and Emergency Group Connect digital walkie-talkie services and wireless web capabilities; and around-the-clock ERT, which consists of Disaster Support for first responders, Field Training Support (training, field exercises, and access to equipment and services on a short- or long-term basis), Agency-Specific Event Support (including wireless equipment and service to support limited-duration events), and Mobile Cellular Sites and Portable Microwave Facilities (including rugged handsets along with a secure and stable communications platform for interoperability among private radio networks). Booth 635.

Horizon Wimba Pronto
Want a Study Partner? IM Me

At Campus Technology, we use instant messaging on a daily basis to communicate with colleagues in the office or at home, discuss grammatical questions with fellow editors, and update co-workers on meeting times, the status of an article or project, or the day’s lunch plans. Making NEWconnections via IM is nothing new to the Millennial generation, either. So we were excited to hear that Pronto, an IM and voice chat solution from Horizon Wimba, is bringing the sense of IM as a collaboration tool into the university environment. Pronto connects to a school’s existing course management system (CMS), allowing students to add contacts to their buddy list automatically, based on who is enrolled in their courses. They can then discuss coursework with study partners via instant message or audio chat, and IM questions to professors or TAs. Sure, there are caveats to IM in the classroom; the risk, for example, of a professor losing the attention of students who are busy chatting away with their buddies. But since IM has already become a way of life for today’s students, why not harness that tool for academic benefit? Booth 1235.

Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 6.0
Xythos Software Targets Compliance and Cost

Two words we hear repeatedly in discussions of higher ed IT are compliance and cost. If these issues are high on the list of your institution’s enterprise document management concerns, check out the Xythos Software booth, where the company is featuring its new Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 6.0 and customer implementations of its Digital Locker Suite. EDMS 6.0 (pictured) is a web-based application developed in accordance with the US Department of Defense 5015.2 standard. New enterprise records management features— including enhanced auditing and configurable retention schedules—help institutions manage risk, and squarely address compliance. With more than one million licensed academic and research users, Xythos boasts an abundance of customer success stories, and cost efficiency is a recurring theme: Brigham Young University-Hawaii, for one, expects to save an estimated 25 percent in server resources for e-mail alone after deploying the Digital Locker Suite. Booth 1109.

Cisco’s Virtual Classroom Package Closes the Production Gap

There’s a lot of buzz about virtual classrooms, and conference sessions offer plenty of technical advice about how to stream lectures, or how to design courses for synchronous or asynchronous learning. But education leaders at Cisco Systems think there’s an important issue that just hasn’t been addressed until now: There’s a big leap between full-blown, sophisticated—and expensive—distance learning programs and more modest entries into that virtual world. How can you bridge the “production gap” and offer high-quality audio, video, and web conferencing, no matter what your program’s size or maturity? Cisco hopes to answer that question with its introduction of the Virtual Classroom package. Five Cisco technologies—IP videoconferencing, IP telephony, web conferencing, a digital management system, and a content engine—allow educators to ramp up production values while staying within budget. Head to Cisco’s booth to see Virtual Classroom for yourself and ask questions face-to-face. Booth 711.

Student Response G'es Virtual

NEWSchools like the University of Akron (OH), which implemented an extensive “clicker” instruction pilot program in 2004, have been using student response systems (SRS) long enough to know that teaching with an SRS engages students, enhances learning, and improves performance. And that instant student feedback can help educators modify their lectures or presentations as they go, to maximize student interest and understanding. So, what’s on the horizon for SRS technology? We think GTCO CalComp’s Virtual PRS is an exciting new twist on SRS. Virtual PRS is a software-based solution—a virtual clicker—that allows students to respond from their computers via the network, rather than via a radio-frequencybased clicker. That means the SRS can be used both in and out of the classroom; schools can configure their networks to allow distance learners with remote access to use Virtual PRS to respond to instructor questions, participate in classroom discussions, take tests, and register their attendance. Booth 1315.

Video Furnace’s System 4
IP Video Just Got Easier

Delivering video over a network can get complex, especially when you consider that you may need to deliver live or on-demand TV-quality video to all sorts of devices— laptops, desktops, or even set-top boxes. That’s why Video Furnace’s System 4 comes with a variety of new features specifically designed to make it much easier for institutions to control, manage, and distribute video on a network. As with earlier versions, the InStream viewer arrives with the video stream and disappears at the end of the session—a real plus for users who could be working on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. Among the new System 4 features are enhanced management and automation, real-time and historical usage data, digital signage and emergency broadcast functions, and annotated bookmarks. System 4 will be demonstrated in Alcatel’s booth. Booth 1135.

Smart Board 600i
All-in-One Interactive Whiteboard System

With the proliferation of electronic whiteboards on the market, universities are faced with a sea of products to choose from. How to find just the right models for your “smart” classroom implementation? Smart Technologies is making the purchasing, installation, and configuring process easier with its new Smart Board 600i interactive whiteboard system. The all-in-one solution combines a Smart Board interactive whiteboard and Unifi projector with built-in 20-watt audio. Mounted securely to the wall above the whiteboard, the Unifi projector incorporates Vikuiti Super Close Projection technology with XGA (1024 x 768) native resolution, and its small footprint optimizes room space while reducing installation time and costs. A connection module allows users to integrate auxiliary media, such as VCR, DVD, or document camera, into the 600i system. Booth 927.

Class Capture Gets Webified

NEWSchools like Santa Clara University (CA) are using lecture capture solutions to support student achievement, based on the theory that when recorded lecture content is available, students can spend less time taking notes and more time listening and engaging in class. At the Tegrity booth, you’ll see lecture capture and playback taken up a notch. The new Tegrity Campus 2.0 is a web services model, providing an experience similar to a desktop application without having to install software on instructor or student computers. Tegrity Campus 2.0 works in tandem with campuswide systems, including portals, student information systems, and CMSs, so that each student’s personalized learning environment (“My Tegrity Space”) is automatically populated with class recordings organized by enrolled courses. Students can replay key moments or the entire class, using a web browser, an iPod, or by streaming to a cell phone. Booth 1335.

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