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News 02-28-2003

Hear the Latest Techniques from Colleagues on Syllabus Radio

Syllabus Radio features interviews with established leaders, creative thinkers and education technology experts in higher education. Log on to and hear Betty L. Black of North Carolina State University discuss pilot programs using wireless handheld computers to increase interaction among students in large, lecture-based classrooms. Log on and listen to this interview and others covering the hottest technology issues on campus.

U. Minnesota-Duluth Builds Open Source Portfolio

University of Minnesota-Duluth chancellor Kathryn Martin said the university was moving to an open source electronic portfolio system that will enable individuals or the institution to adapt at will. The ePortfolio, which the university says is the first portfolio system created with open source software, will store educational records, work samples, resumes, and writing samples, as well as legal documents and other personal records in a secure, network-accessible system. Individuals will be encouraged to share program code changes with the university's Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI) group. The ePortfolio system is currently used by 23,000 students, faculty, and staff. Under the university's "Technology for Life" plan, students may continue to use and enhance their personal ePortfolios throughout their lifetime.

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Web-Based B2B Textbook Supplier Sales Skyrocket

The Thomson Corp. said sales of college textbooks through its business-to-business Web site, Service Plus, has grown from $10 million to more than $104 million in three years, an increase of almost 1,000 percent. The service provides U.S. college bookstores with round-the-clock online account management tools, title research capabilities and a powerful ordering function. The Web site is designed to handle basic customer inquiries, such as pricing and availability, freeing customer service representatives to handle more complex customer requests. Live chat with a customer service representative is also available. Approximately 36 percent of stores' pricing and availability inquiries were answered through the site in 2002. During the busiest ordering period in 2002 more than 10,500 online order-status inquiries were received.

Learning System Claims First SCORM 1.2 Certification

Avilar Technologies Inc. said its WebMentor Learning Management System (LMS) has been issued the first certificate of compliance with the SCORM specification, version 1.2, under the new certification program administered by the Academic ADL Co-Lab in Madison, Wisc. To be certified, an authorized Certification Testing Center must independently verify and validate the successful processing by the LMS of the SCORM Test Suite, Version 1.2.3. WebMentor passed the test at Run Time Environment level 3, which is the highest level of compliance, the company said. The Center auditors certifying WebMentor are from the Madison Area Technical College & UW-Learning Innovations of Madison, Wisc.

Online Provider Grows Curriculum to 1,700 Courses Inc. said its library surpassed 1,700 online courses, double the number of courses it offered 12 months ago. The company works with international subject matter experts to develop online courses for continuing education, certification, and licensing exam preparation. The company specializes in online education for professionals in the engineering, architectural, construction, land surveying, interior design, building inspection, and landscape architecture industries. Its library includes courses on a wide range of subjects from toxic mold to wetlands to project management. The company recently expanded to include areas devoted to online certification courses and online licensing exam prep courses.

Awards, Contracts, Deals in Higher Education

MESSAGING—James Madison University (JMU) awarded Mirapoint Messaging a contract to provide online messaging services for its 22,000 students, faculty, and staff. JMU will use Mirapoint's Message Server M4000 and Message Director MD400 to create a unified system that supports Webmail, anti-spam filtering, virus protection, wireless access to e-mail and calendaring.

LINUX—Golden Gate University, a for-profit school for adult professionals, said it standardized on Oracle9i Application Server and Oracle9i Database to consolidate the university's 12 disparate systems into a single software infrastructure on Linux. As a result, students, faculty, and staff, as well as 57,000 alumni, are expected to have access to relevant university information through highly personalized, user-friendly interfaces built on infrastructure software from Oracle.

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