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CMS Review for Wednesday, December 17, 2003

CMS Review - a resource on elearning & Course management Systems

Wed. Dec. 17, 2003




Sponsored By: Tech Strategies
Conference on Spam Fighting Strategies
The only industry conference addressing the issue of spam from both a technical and business perspective takes place March 17-19 in San Francisco. Hear from top experts working on curtailing e-mail abuse including spam, worms and viruses. Review the best tools, hear about current and upcoming technologies and the latest legislation.
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CMS Viewpoint

ePortfolios – Bridging the Gap Left By CMS

Trent Batson, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island

While CMS's are now ubiquitous, they have not fundamentally changed the patterns of centuries old teaching and learning. Classrooms or labs are still officially certified as the locus of almost all student learning; lecture still dominates; students are still assumed to be the recipients of knowledge rather than its creator. Credits toward a learning goal are still based on seat-time.

Where in current classroom practice is the promise of IT to change the structure of knowledge transactions in our society? For faculty and researchers, research, authorship, the dissemination of information, communication, and commerce have been revolutionized. Yet, the classroom remains the same, albeit with more ways to enhance the lecture.

Trent Baston is director of Information and Instructional Technology Services for University of Rhode Island and is also Chair of the Board of The Open Source Portfolio Initiative.

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Sponsored By: TDWI
Join TDWI in Las Vegas, February 15–20, 2004
Experts deliver advanced courses on the hottest topics in BI and DW at the TDWI World Conference in Las Vegas, February 15–20, 2004. Features include the BI Strategies program, a comprehensive track of BI and DW fundamentals, CBIP certification exam, ICCP Exam Cram course, BI and DW in healthcare courses, Healthcare SIG, and more!

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CMS News & Product updates

IT Solutions Firm to Acquire SCT for $584 Million

SunGard Data Systems Inc., a diversified information technology systems and services company said it would acquire SCT Corp. for about $584 million. SCT, which has about 1,300 higher-ed customers, will be an operating unit of SunGard Public Sector and Nonprofit Systems, and will continue to be led by Mike Chamberlain, SCT's president and chief executive officer. Chamberlain told Reuters News Agency that his company started to explore alternatives, including being acquired, in April and had decided recently that it would be easier to be taken over. "Selling to Sungard was in our best interest," Chamberlain said.

This is not Sungard’s first foray into higher education. In 1995, it acquired Bi-Tech Software, which provides financial, payroll, and human resources systems to colleges and universities. In 1999, it added BSR, a provider of advancement systems to higher education. All in all it has acquired or funded over 120 technology companies.

“These companies convinced us of the attractiveness of higher education as an area for further investment,” said Bob Clarke, group chief executive officer of SunGard Public Sector and Nonprofit Systems. “SCT will continue to focus exclusively on systems and services for higher education and will be led by the same executives who are now in place."

Library Resources Firm Builds ‘PowerLink’ to WebCT

Library systems integrator Sentient Learning said it would provide a “PowerLink” to WebCT’s Campus Edition 4.1 platform, which will enable higher-ed course designers to add library-managed resources directly into their WebCT course. The link is designed to improve resource access for faculty, manage links to learning resources, and provide a library with management and resource usage information.

Sentient Learning CEO Andrew Davidson said the deal would “significantly improve access and utilization of library resources, such as books and journal articles,” to students and faculty at WebCT customer institutions. The Sentient Discover learning resource management system acts as a system integrator to link disparate systems such as resource databases, journal providers, library systems, OpenURL resolvers and course management systems.

eLearning Simulation Tool Produces SCORM-based Content

eHelp Corp. said that its RoboDemo software simulation tool is now ready to produce SCORM 1.2 conformant content. The development means that RoboDemo eLearning Edition users can integrate their software simulations with any SCORM-conformant learning management system. RoboDemo eLearning Edition enables trainers, instructional designers, subject-matter experts, and Flash developers to create Flash-based simulations with quizzing, scoring, text-entry fields, LMS integration, as well as Authorware and Questionmark support. SCORM is the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), a standard formed to advance the interoperability of learning tools and course content on a global scale.

New Collegis Unit to Invest in eLearning Program Development

Collegis, which provides business and management services that support higher-ed online programs, will launch a new company to fund online program development at select schools. The new subsidiary, Collegis University Solutions, will take advantage of “more flexible delivery models” that will grow online programs “exponentially,” said J. Michael Locke, who will head the unit. He said the firm will “partner with a select group of not-for-profit and for-profit institutions to develop their respective market opportunities. For more than six years, Collegis has helped institutions build, market and support online programs and we are pleased now to be in a position to invest in these partners as well."

Collegis said it would invest in Rasmussen College and Aakers Business College, which have 2,000 students in business, allied health and information technology programs at six campuses throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. Collegis University Solutions has 17 other partnerships with private four-year institutions, community colleges, and public four-year institutions throughout the country. The new company is projecting revenues of approximately $26 million in 2004.

Syllabus Radio: Selecting a CMS

Kathy Christoph explains how the University of Wisconsin selected a new course management system, through an in-depth study of campus requirements and user input, and a rigorous evaluation of potential CMS vendors.

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CMS Case Study

Xavier Study Probed Value, Impact of Course Management System

Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching invited proposals from faculty members to participate in a case study aimed at the determining the advantages and disadvantages of a Web CMS and how a CMS would change, or not change, teaching and learning at the university. The case study also provided the university community an opportunity to examine Web course management systems in order that it might determine "best practices" of WCMS and the type of institutional support that is needed to integrate WCMS into the teaching and learning process. Furthermore, the case study offered an opportunity to examine related policy issues that may affect the university and its faculty and students. Six faculty members participated in the case study and developed online components of their courses using CMS’s from WebCT, eCollege, Anlon, and Blackboard.

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CMS TechNotes

Penn State’s LionShare Leverages P2P Nets for Higher-Ed

The Andrew W. Mellon foundation recently awarded Penn State a $1.1 million grant that will enable the school to partner with the Internet2 consortium in developing a technology called LionShare, a tool that would facilitate legitimate file-sharing among schools via authenticated Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks. LionShare is being set-up to promote responsible file-sharing by providing a way for faculty, staff, and students to exchange academic, personal, and work-related materials on an officially sanctioned P2P network.

"It's vital for higher education today to make a concerted effort to develop technologies that encourage responsible file sharing," said J. Gary Augustson, Penn State’s ice provost for information technology. "We believe that LionShare will lead the way in this effort by providing a model for the positive ways P2P technology can be used for legitimate educational purposes."

Michael J. Halm, principal architect of the project, said prototype of LionShare has already been constructed and is functioning (in test form) at Penn State as part of a previous University Libraries/Mellon initiative known as the Visual Image User Study (VIUS). New funding from Mellon will be used to extend LionShare's capabilities on a global scale, creating a collaborative network that will enable individuals from a diverse range of institutions to connect to the same secure P2P system. The unique structure of Peer-to-Peer (which allows a high level of bandwidth and computing power to be shared equally among a community of network users or "peers") will make it possible for participants to extract specific resources from fellow peer computers, while simultaneously ensuring that these interactions are secure.

LionShare will also provide a means for users to access well-known large-scale "repositories" that contain digital video, images and other data throughout the U.S., Europe and other locations.

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Sponsored By: Syllabus
Eleventh Annual Summer Conference on Education Technology
Plan to present at the Eleventh Annual Summer Conference on Education Technology held in the San Francisco July 18-22, 2004. Proposals for breakout sessions, panels, and workshops are due January 5. For details and further information, go to:

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