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IT Trends 07-10-2003

Thursday, July 10, 2003

In This Issue


Who's Conferring with Faculty on Online Course Quality?

Terry Calhoun, Commentator
Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)
University of Michigan

Henryk Marcinkiewicz is associate vice president for academic affairs at Pennsylvania College of Technology, and a frequent writer and presenter on issues relating to information technology and teaching and learning. In his opinion piece he calls for greater quality control over online course development, noting that course management technology d'esn't lend itself to quite the same degree of self-correcting misuse as other forms of information technology did when they were relatively new.

* * *

Faculty and institutions should control for quality when using online instruction. This may seem obvious, but it is not common practice for faculty to follow a set of quality control measures in developing online instructional material. The fact that online courses are password-protected complicates the review process.

During an introductory or novelty phase of instructional technology application there is a lot of experimentation, as there should be. Recall the overuse of features on word-processed documents, varying font sizes and styles, for example. Or, consider the overuse of features in digital slide show presentations. Course management systems (CMSes) for online instructional material are practical: They have enabled the compiling of lesson parts and functions into a single location, but the same overuse or misuse of features has been evident in these applications as well. …

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Microsoft Sponsors University Work on Embedded Windows

After 130 proposals from 120 schools, Microsoft Corp. is splitting $1.7M in grants among 77 winning research projects and curriculum development relating to Microsoft CE .Net and Windows XP for embedded use, including various robotics projects. (InfoWorld)
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Fresno State Faculty Group Challenges PeopleSoft Investment

Following complaints about "delays in student financial aid, lack of system security that allowed unauthorized sharing of confidential information, and registration," a faculty union has called for the project to stop and the dollars to go directly to instruction. Others say the system is already creating synergies for the institution. (The Fresno Bee)
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Seton Hall Sophs Give Nod to IBM ThinkPad R40s Switch

The university's PC Support Services office ran its recommendation to purchase IBM ThinkPads by the sophomore class Senate for approval. With the nod, students will get laptops with 32MB video RAM, 512MB RAM, 40GB HDD, a DVD/CD-RW combo, and a Universal Serial Bus 2 port in exchange for models they had previously been using. (The Setonian)
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EDUCAUSE Task Force Looking to Ease File-Sharing Friction

EDUCAUSE has asked the technology task force of its Joint Committee of the Higher Education and Entertainment Communities to help ease file-sharing friction between the higher education and entertainment communities. Its goal is "to gather, describe, and organize the information submitted to provide a knowledge base on available technologies and/or legitimate services" for file-sharing and to find legal ways to share files as inexpensively as possible.
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Expensive Legal Bills for Miami U. Student E-mail Prankster

Ben Field has learned that he did a really stupid thing—and that lawyers are expensive. Last spring the senior from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, sent a fake e-mail canceling classes to the 31,000 students, faculty, and staff at the school. Now the university's president has donated $10 to help him repay $5,000 in legal fees.
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National Center for Technology Planning

The National Center for Technology Planning (NCTP) is a clearinghouse for the exchange of many types of information related to technology planning. This information may be: school technology plans available for downloading online; technology planning aids (checklists, brochures, sample planning forms, PR announcement forms); and/or electronic monographs on timely, selected topics.
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Side-by-Side Comparisons of LMSes, a research and consulting firm for the eLearning industry, released a research report it says provides an objective comparison between 69 Learning Management System (LMS) software packages, as well as new packages from IBM, SAP, and PeopleSoft. "LMS 2003: Comparison of Enterprise Learning Management Systems," which includes an optional "LMS selection tool," enables educators evaluating LMSes to draw feature-to-feature comparisons between LMS systems, the company says.
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Swedish Tech Institute Signs on to 3D Life Cycle Program

The Linkoping Institute of Technology, one of Sweden's technical universities, signed to participate in IBM Corp.'s Product Lifecycle Management Higher Education and Training Program (HEAT). The program is co-produced by IBM and product life cycle management software developer Dassault Systemes, whose software offers a 3D vision of the life cycle of products from conception to retirement. Linkoping's Department of Mechanical Engineering wants to move from a CAD platform to the IBM PLM solution.
To learn more, click here or here.

Universities Ready New Scoring Displays for Fall Football Season

Five universities are upgrading their athletic scoring displays before the start of the fall 2003 football season. The University of Oklahoma in Norman will upgrade its existing Daktronics ProStar VideoPlus display for scores and information during games in its Memorial Stadium with the latest generation of the company's full-color LED display technology. The other schools are: the U.S. Naval Academy; Troy State in Troy, Alaska; Stanford University; and Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The value of the five projects exceeds $4.5 million.
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Sponsored by:
Campus Calendaring White Paper from WebEvent
"Managing Time and Space in Higher Education" describes the campus calendaring environment at colleges and universities and posits what an ideal campus calendaring system might include. It outlines some of the scheduling problems common to higher education and describes the features that staff should look for when evaluating calendaring software. For your free copy, click here.


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Motion Computing

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Syllabus2003 to Offer Special Day at Stanford
This summer's 10th annual Syllabus Education Technology Conference features a day of learning and exploration at Stanford University--a special day to see, feel and experience the latest in technology for higher education. You'll learn about high-performance learning environments, including Wallenberg Hall and the Stanford Center for Professional Development, plus have the opportunity to select breakout sessions covering areas of strategic importance to higher education professionals. The day promises to be an insider's look at one of the nation's premier campuses and is limited to the first 500 registrants. Sign up now to attend Syllabus2003 July 27-31 at the San Jose Marriott and Stanford University. Only three weeks left to conference kick-off. To register or for more details
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SCT Releases Banner 6.0

Campus management system software developer SCT released SCT Banner 6.0, a suite of software applications for student information, faculty support, human resources, and finance. The new version includes an open registration system and modified fee assessment and refunding process to enable schools to offer courses that can start at any time, run for any length, and be customized to fit anyone's schedule.
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P2P Workspace Software for Classroom/Distance Learning

Groove Networks Inc., a collaboration software developer, unveiled its "Groove U" program, designed to equip higher education institutions with its workspace desktop collaboration software. Unlike Web-based eLearning tools, Groove Workspace is peer-to-peer (P2P) software that gives students and professors the ability to interact and collaborate around shared coursework, online. With little to no IT assistance, professors can create Groove-based virtual classrooms for each course, and invite students to join via e-mail or instant messaging.
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dvGarage Releases 3D Training and Tools for Average Users

dvGarage released the 3D Toolkit 2.5, a 3D training package designed to bring high-end 3D production to video, print, and Web professionals, but also to students and hobbyists, the company says. While high-end 3D production is now possible on entry-level computers, the software is expensive and complicated for the average user. The 3D Toolkit ships with four hours of video training, 28 tutorials and a full, working version of Electric Image Universe, a production-level 3D application used in more than 50 feature films and TV shows. The package retails for $99.
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Dictionary Reader Optimized for Palm OS PDAs

Beiks LLC came out with an update of its BDicty Dictionary Reader for Palm OS. The software is optimized for the underlying ARM processor that drives Palm OS 5.x devices, making it perform very fast searches for any Palm OS dictionary application. BDicty works with the collection of dictionary lexicons available from Beiks, including languages and professional and scientific terminologies.
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Discounts Offered on Bible Reference Engine for Scholars

Logos Research Systems Inc., publisher of high-end Bible reference software, is offering discounts on its new Logos Bible Software Series X - Scholar's Library for qualified groups of students and faculty at religion departments, seminaries, and Bible colleges. The search engine is designed to save traditional and distance-education students hours on biblical languages assignments, while faculty use it for research and to demonstrate parsing, morphological searches, and lexical look-ups.
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Sponsored By

Wireless Handheld Computers to Increase Interactivity and Collaborative Learning
This week's interview features Betty L. Black

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