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eLearning Dialogue for Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Wed., March 17, 2004




Sponsored By: Syllabus
The E-Newsletter for Education Technology Professionals
Syllabus IT Trends covers the news, trends and products in the IT industry that have the most bearing on higher education. Every e-newsletter includes news updates and opinions written by the leading experts in their field, as well as product introductions and valuable resources for the IT specialist on campus.

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CMS Viewpoint

No Longer Missing: Tools for Connecting the Library with the Course Management System

Elizabeth Pyatt and Loanne Snavely
The Pennsylvania State University

Libraries and course management systems are two of the larger infrastructure investments made by colleges and universities. Too often, they are treated as stand alone systems and organizations, even though student learning is greatly affected by each. In this Viewpoint, Elizabeth Pyatt and Loanne Snavely describe Pennsylvania State University's efforts to better integrate these two campus resources.

One of the benefits of using a course management system (CMS) such as WebCT, Blackboard, or ANGEL is that course materials, including the syllabus, course schedule, course files and notes, discussion boards, course links and quizzes can be accessed from one location. Yet the role of the campus library generally has been peripheral, outside of the CMS environment. Some systems provide a link to the library home page or to a set of generic Web resources, but that has been the extent of the integration.

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Sponsored By: Respondus
Colleges increase the adoption rate of online testing
Hundreds of colleges using Blackboard, eCollege, or WebCT also rely on Respondus 2.0 to get instructors “up and running” with online testing. Exams can be imported from existing Word files or created in a familiar Windows environment. Exams are then published directly to the instructor's online course--a time savings of up to 80% on each exam.

Click here to learn more or to watch a demo movie.

CMS News & Product updates

VCampus Announces Upgrade to Web-Based CMS

Application Service Provider VCampus Corp. released an upgrade of its Web-based Course Management System to support both self-paced and instructor managed online learning. VCampus CMS 5.0 includes a newly designed Gradebook that tracks multiple student activities, integrated course discussion boards, and a built-in testing and assessment engine. The release implements a Java-based enterprise architecture to meet the demand for reliable, hosted e Learning. The architecture supports around-the-clock heavy usage, and guarantees high reliability, performance and scalability to handle the high volume of course launches and deliveries typically required by online learning programs. VCampus says it has supported over 2.5 million enrollments since 1996.

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U. of the Aegean Picks WebCT Vista for Online Learning in Greece

The University of the Aegean in Greece launched WebCT Vista to introduce eLearning across the university. The University will share content and information across 17 departments situated on campuses located on 5 different Greek islands. The University said it considers eLearning a competitive advantage and a means of achieving its strategic institutional goals of recruiting and retaining faculty and attracting high-achieving students.

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Blackboard Content Building Block Passes ADL/SCORM Tests

Blackboard Inc., released the ADL certified "Content Player Building Block," making it compliant with the SCORM 1.2 specifications. The company's SCORM 1.2 compliant Content Player Building Block is compatible with the latest release of its course management software, the Blackboard Learning System, providing its clients with greater access to UK government-funded content. The technology was developed internally by the Blackboard engineering and quality assurance teams and certified by ADL. It allows learners using the Blackboard Learning System to explore educational content developed to the SCORM 1.2 specification as well as automatically store learning results directly in the Blackboard grade book. It includes support for UK FE sector NLN content and is architecturally ready for the SCORM 2004 specification.

PeopleSoft Delivers Updated Version of PeopleTools

PeopleSoft Inc. released PeopleTools 8.44, which includes new features that automate the people-intensive processes required to maintain and operate enterprise software. The upgrade includes PeopleSoft Performance Monitor, PeopleSoft Change Assistant and PeopleSoft Diagnostics Framework. PeopleSoft Performance Monitor identifies key opportunities for performance improvement, and enables an administrator to determine the source of a performance bottleneck. PeopleSoft Change Assistant helps to automate the process of selecting and installing software fixes, and PeopleSoft Diagnostics Framework incorporates built-in diagnostics to identify the source of the problem.

Companies to Automate Taking Attendance in Higher Education

Blackboard signed a value added reseller agreement with EFM Co., to resell EFM's Student Tracking System application to the higher education market. Under the terms of the deal, Blackboard will retain exclusive reseller rights in the U.S. for the magnetic-stripe card activated version of the Student Tracking System. Additionally, EFM is developing report and data exchange interfaces between the Student Tracking System and Blackboard's Learning, Portal and Transaction System modules, utilizing Blackboard's Building Blocks architecture and specifications.

CMS Case Study

SE Missouri State University’s Online Journals

David Starrett and Michael Rodgers of SE Missouri State have studied who was being served by the school’s online courses. The University’s investment in helping faculty use technology had been justified in large part by the hope that the resulting courses would serve students across the University's service area, students not close to campus. Their data indicated that online courses were serving precisely these students.

Patti Derbyshire (Mount Royal College) and Steve Ehrmann of the TLT Group’s Flashlight Program teamed up to do an external evaluation of Project JSTOR. The program's goal was to foster increases in use of online journals (JSTOR) and information literacy. This external evaluation looked at the program's strategy and found that the effort to help faculty and librarians team up to improve or redesign courses had been especially successful in fostering increased use of online journals institution-wide, even though these small grants had focused on only a few people in each institution and even though Project JSTOR had also offered successful workshops and effective small grants to support institution-wide dissemination.

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CMS TechNotes

Review of .LRN Consortium’s .LRN Course Management System

The latest CMS review by EduTools is .LRN by the .LRN Consortium. The software includes support for discussion forums, which can be viewed by date, by thread or by author. Instructors may create separate discussion environments for small groups. Groups can be open to all or only a select set of students. Posts can include attachments, an image or URL.

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CMS Exchange

To contribute a CMS related case study and/or news updates to the new eLearning Dialogue, send your article to [email protected] or post your comments to the forum.

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Sponsored By: Syllabus
Make Plans Now to Attend Syllabus2004: July 18-22
Syllabus2004 opens its 11th annual summer conference for education technology professionals with five days of don't-miss keynotes, general sessions, break-outs and more in San Francisco and on the campus of University of California, Berkeley where you'll explore innovative learning technologies and collaborative computing environments. In addition, you'll enjoy enjoy networking in Syllabus' traditional collegial atmosphere. Registration is now open and Early Bird Rates are in effect!

Save up to $200--for details click here.

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