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CMS Review for Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003

Wed., October 15, 2003




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CMS Viewpoint

A Challenge for Any CMS

By Frank Tansey

The installation and maintenance of a course management system is a challenge in most situations. Campus and organizations installing a CMS must add to their existing infrastructure and then address the issues of obtaining and maintaining content, as well as addressing support and technical services.

As difficult as it might be to install and maintain a campus-based CMS, imagine the issues that must be addressed to create a technical infrastructure in areas where none now exists. Then add a critical need to introduce online learning concepts to a population with limited access to personal computers. Finally, and perhaps most important, provide content to address critical societal needs.

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CMS News & Product updates

MIT's Pioneering OpenCourseWare Program Opens its Doors

Although MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative has been active since April, 2002, the program did not officially launch until September 30, when its stated goal was to have 500 courses on the site. Throughout the summer, the staff used a rolling publication schedule, releasing batches of new courses to the site on a weekly basis. In Sept., the OCW staff worked days, nights, and weekends to achieve their goal: 500 courses, spanning 33 of MIT's academic disciplines and all five of its schools.

The idea behind the OCW initiative is to make MIT course materials available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. MIT says it wants OCW to be a model for university dissemination of knowledge in the Internet age, and help make fundamental changes in how colleges and universities use the Web.

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Blackboard to Enter Content Management Market

Blackboard Inc. said it plans to unveil later this year an education-specific learning content management and e-Portfolio system - the Blackboard Content System. The company said the system would benefit students, faculty, and campus IT administrators by lowering the costs and increasing the simplicity of managing learning content, digital assets, and ePortfolios in an enterprise environment.

Blackboard said that as the use of enterprise course management systems has grown, so has the sophistication and size of campus learning content assets. To tap the value of these materials while managing costs, content systems provide storage and tracking of learning objects for institution-wide re-use; managing of scholarship in electronic portfolios; and the integration of informal content with existing library system catalogues.

Six schools are working with Blackboard over the next six months to implement the Blackboard Content System and fine tune the technology, including: Georgetown University, Fairfax County Public Schools, the University of Cincinnati, Dallas County Community College District, the National Defense University, and Seneca College (Canada).

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eCollege to Acquire College Enrollment Marketing Firm

eCollege, an eLearning provider for post-secondary education programs, signed an agreement to acquire Salt Lake City-based Datamark Inc., a provider of integrated enrollment marketing services to the college and university market, for $72 million in cash, debt, and stock. eCollege chief executive officer Oakleigh Thorne said the deal will "drive more sales and earnings as well as drive more enrollment fee revenue for eCollege." Thorne said Datamark would be added as a separate operating division alongside eCollege.

Belgium Invests 1 Million Euros for Claroline Development

The government of Belgium said it would spend 1 million Euros on research and development of Claroline, an open source electronic learning platform. The money will go to Ingeneers Higher Education and the University of Liége. This summer Claroline released version 1.4 of the software, which includes support for multiple languages. An evaluation of Claroline, by Eric Uyttebrouck and Thierry Henau of the Free University of Brussels.

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CMS Case Study

Supporting CMS Users at Drexel University

By Jan Biros
Drexel University

As a new academic year begins, the Office of Information Resources and Technology at Drexel University looks forward to promoting and supporting new and existing technologies for faculty and students. While incoming students display increasing technological savvy, it is still necessary to provide support and assistance to ensure they can take full advantage of the tools the university has invested in to enhance their academic experience.

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CMS TechNotes

Help in Selecting a Course Management System

WCET, the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications, and C2T2, the Centre for Curriculum, Transfer & Technology in Victoria, British Columbia, launched EduTools, a Web-based resource for the higher education community that includes reviews and side-by-side comparisons of the leading open source and commercial course management systems on the market today.

EduTools' researchers review each product using the developer's Web site resources, a product demo, and a set of guiding questions. A variety of analyses are available to users of the site: they can compare specific products, or, they can ask for a listing of products containing only specific features. WCET is also developing three new companion sites that apply the same decision-making models for comparisons of other tools. These new sites, set to debut over the next year, will analyze student services software and service providers, eLearning policies, and instructional technologies.

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Sponsored By: Syllabus fall2003

Humanizing New Learning Spaces: Syllabus fall2003 Keynote
William Mitchell, Dean, School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, is a featured keynote at Syllabus fall2003, the fifth annual Boston-area education technology conference, December 8-10 in Cambridge, Mass. Dean Mitchell will present his thoughts on the interaction between high-tech learning spaces and human needs in learning technology. Experience thought-provoking speakers, peer-to-peer learning, and conference tracks aligned to key campus technology issues at Syllabus fall2003. Register by November 7 and save up to $100!

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