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CMS Review for Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2003.

Wed., October 29, 2003




Sponsored By: Vignette
Need Web solutions that won’t fail your university?
Sign up for a FREE Webinar Nov. 6th on how to meet online challenges in higher education today. Click now to register for this special event featuring Doug Blair, Web Systems Manager for Carnegie Mellon University.

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CMS Viewpoint

Learning Technology: Balancing Privacy and Functionality

Fred M. Beshears
University of California-Berkeley

There are a number of interesting privacy vs. functionality issues arising as we consider ways to improve the ability of Learning Management Systems (LMS) to provide information to students and faculty.

To put this issue in some perspective, consider the approach the library has taken with respect to privacy. Historically, librarians have gone to great lengths to protect the privacy of patrons as they access library resources. In particular, many librarians have expressed deep concerns about provisions of the Patriot Act as it may impact the privacy of their users.

Fred Beshears is Senior Strategist, Educational Technology Services, at the University of California-Berkeley. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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CMS News & Product updates

CMS, Digital Games Community, Seek Common Ground

WebCT is hosting a Digital Games Community space on its Web site in response to interest generated at its recent users' conference in the use of games as a teaching and learning tool. The Community was designed a place to broaden the network of educators with experience in developing games, especially reusable games that faculty could easily snap in to their CMS environment.

"We try to find games that are free or inexpensive, that work within WebCT without extensive customization, that are very modifiable, and that encourage positive learning outcomes," said Bonita Bray, an e-Learning Support Specialist at the University of Alberta, who gave a talk on interactive learning objects at the conference.

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WebCT Vista Platform Earns SCORM 1.2 Certification

WebCT's academic enterprise platform Vista earned SCORM 1.2 certification, the highest level of conformance with the Shareable Content Object Reference Model learning standard. The certification means the system interacts with advanced authoring tools and content. WebCT this week will demonstrate its SCORM 1.2 compliance at Plugfest 8, an event designed to refine the open architecture specification. Paul Jesukiewicz, director of the ADLCo-Lab for the SCORM initiative, called the WebCT certification an important step in "building a thriving e-learning community for vendor-neutral non-proprietary content sharing."

eCollege Offers Improved Secure Testing Features

College is offering ExamGuard, new software features designed to strengthen the online testing for its CMS customers. eCollege's current exam security features include password-protection, date and time access limits, and question pooling. The added security through ExamGuard is designed to help prevent students from sharing exam information and reduces the risk of students accessing unauthorized material during an exam. ExamGuard bars students from printing the exam; copying and pasting anything to or from the exam; surfing the Web' opening or using any other applications on the student's computer; exiting the exam (CTL-ALT Delete function); or accessing other areas of the online course.

Ruby-based Interactive Learning Environment Released

Interactive Learning Environment (ILE) Version 0.1, was released, a free, open source environment for building web-based learning environments that support arbitrary or instructor-defined interaction within distributed learning communities. ILE, which was developed with the Ruby programming language, can be used to build any web application that needs interactive, persistent form-based features.

ILE forms are automatically persistent, just like writing on a blackboard. Form contents are automatically preserved in a database and automatically restored each time the page is revisited. The developers say this makes it easy to build Web-based hand-outs, syllabii, quizzes, grade sheets, and to build custom logic for processing student submissions.

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Xaraya Open Source Content Manager Upgraded

Xaraya, an open-source extensible content management system, underwent a significant ugrade, with Version .9.1.3 adding a scheduler, workflow modules, and general de-bugging. The open source content management system allows for on-the-fly extensions to the content and user areas, which allow greater control and versatility. Its developers say Xaraya reduces web site development costs by introducing sophisticated administration tools and services which separate form, function, content, and design.

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CMS Case Study

U Oregon: Introducing CMS to eLearning Neophytes

The University of Oregon has been named to Yahoo's list of "Most Wired Colleges and Universities" every year since the list's inception in 1996. By 1999, one third of UO's faculty had begun to use Web pages to supplement their classes. Another third were interested in using the Web to enhance their classes, but weren't sure how to get started. The last third feared that Web-enhanced instruction was a fad or that their teaching styles could not adopt to the online environment.

The challenge for UO was to satisfy all three groups of instructors as well as more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students by introducing an easy-to-use e-Education software platform and offering top-notch training and support so that faculty members, students, and administrators could learn about the benefits of e-Education and how to use the platform at the same time.

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CMS TechNotes

Help in Choosing a Content Management System

An introduction for those who are new to the content management systems, providing readers the basics of how to get started and what to look for. It is written by Calvin Sov, a business and systems analyst associated with, a testing site for content management systems. He can be reached at:
[email protected]

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Sponsored By: Syllabus
Penn State President to Speak at Syllabus fall2003
Graham Spanier, Ph.D., president of Penn State University, will deliver a keynote at Syllabus fall2003, to be held December 8-10 in Cambridge, Mass. Dr. Spanier will offer his perspective of technology integration at a major research and teaching university along with his views on using IT to create a more student-centered environment. Join your colleagues to explore five tracks aligned with key campus technology issues. Register before Nov. 7 and save $100! For more information and to register

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