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eLearning Dialogue for Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Wed., May 12, 2004




Sponsored By: NMC
NMC 2004 Summer Conference, June 16-19
The NMC Summer Conference, one of higher education's most unique technology-focused events, attracting an audience of highly skilled campus professionals who are knowledgeable and interested in the integration of emerging technologies into teaching, learning, and creative expression will be held June 16-19 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Click here for more information.

CMS Viewpoint

Learning Management Systems and the Help Desk: A need for strategic integration

Steve Acker
Ohio State University

In a time of major change tied to introducing a new LMS, a well-prepared “help desk” is a prime stress reducer for the user, as well as for those supporting the LMS. In addition, this relationship should have a strong influence on the LMS adoption process and argues for stakeholder compromises that allow a campus to present a unified LMS, and unified help desk, to its students.

In the first week of Ohio State University’s 2003 Autumn quarter, 2,600 faculty, student, and staff calls were recorded at 8-HELP, the main number for Ohio State’s technology support center (TSC). Even though the number of calls is large and OSU’s support generally successful (average response time less than two minutes, discontinuance rate less than two percent), student and faculty needs for technology assistance continue to grow. E-mail questions are trending upward and self-help is on the horizon. From the user’s perspective, the “help desk” is often one of the earliest experiences they have with a learning management system, particularly when that system is new. That first impression can be critical in establishing a positive relationship between the university, a new service, and members of its community. For all of these reasons, it is imperative to have the campus technology support center well integrated with learning management system support.
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Sponsored By: Syllabus
Syllabus2004 Features Day on Campus at UC Berkeley
Spend five days expanding your knowledge of the latest technology for higher education at Syllabus2004, July 18-22 in San Francisco and on the campus of UC Berkeley. During a special day-long visit to Berkeley you'll hear from some of the leading scholars on technology in education, including Kristine Hafner, Ph.D., on the role of IT at the University of California in turbulent times; Gary L. Baldwin, Ph.D., on the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), and Mark Kubinec on teaching with streaming media and electronic individual student response systems, to name a few. Register by June 18 and save up to $200.

Click here for the complete program.

CMS News & Product updates

Blackboard to Power Online Community for 25th NEEC Conference

Blackboard Inc. has partnered with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to help create an online community to extend the benefits of ISTE's National Educational Computing Conference (NECC). The Blackboard Portal System will provide conference participants, sponsors and other interested parties with a forum that will deliver synchronous and asynchronous discussions among attendees on more than 10 different topics.
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U. of Iowa Recognized for Achievement in eLearning

Each year, SkillSoft recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated innovation, significant business results, leadership, and other accomplishments in enterprise learning. The Training Administrator of the Year went to two winners for this Category: Maureen McCormick, director of learning and development for The University of Iowa, and Abbie Edwards, senior manager of MCI Technical Training Center. McCormick and her team established a university-wide eLearning program encompassing approximately 41,000 faculty, staff, and students in a tough budgetary climate eLearning is now linked to key university initiatives such as leadership and management training for university supervisors, HR-related training for faculty and staff, ongoing skill development for IT, performance management consultation, and educational outreach to alumni and diverse Iowa communities.
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Online University Project Prepared for Sell-Off

Government-backed online university project, UK eUniversities (UKeU), is up for sale and is looking to attract bidders this month as a result of poor student interest. The sale notice follows a meeting last month conducted by The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on the restructuring of UKeU's activities and services.
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Is eLearning Really The Future Or A Risk?

Can eLearning investment decisions be justifiable with the rate in which technology evolves? (Association for Computing Machinery)
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For Online Adjuncts, A Seller's Market

Part-time professors, in demand, fill many distance-education faculties. Ruth Achterhof won't say how many courses she teaches, for fear that her employers will think the workload is too much for her to handle.
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University Consortium Surveys Concur With Latest Industry Report

Surveys conducted by Online University Consortium indicate traditional universities remain the preferred choice for online education and degree programs. These findings were substantiated in a recent report by Eduventures, prompting the Consortium to help clarify the market by making its industry checklist available for public download at
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New Service Connects Prospective Online Faculty with Institutions

As enrollments in online courses continue to grow, institutions are challenged to identify qualified, experienced online faculty. Persons who desire to teach online are often frustrated with the time consuming process of searching for online teaching positions. A new service called FacultyFinder has been created at the intersection of these two needs.
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Princeton Weighs Plan to Curb 'Grade Inflation'

Faculty members and school officials are reviewing proposed changes to the university's grading system that would limit the number of A's that professors could award. The goal of the proposal made public this week is to lower the number of A's from the current 46 percent to 35 percent for undergraduate courses.
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Electronic Learning Workshop Offered By UNO Slidell Campus

The term eLearning (electronic learning) covers a wide set of applications and processes, such as Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms and digital collaboration.
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CMS Case Study

The Tennessee Board of Regents Online Degree Program: A (remarkably) integrated learning environment

The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) is the sixth largest Board of Regents in the nation. It governs 47 colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical centers that offer degrees ranging from basic certificates to doctorates; its schools serve over 180,000 full- and part-time students. In September of 2000, the TBR approved the Regents Online Degree Program (RODP) projected to serve 7000 students in 2005.

The Regents online degree program was designed to provide statewide access to higher education using flexible, technology-based delivery systems.
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CMS TechNotes

FedEx Institute of Technology, Nortel Networks Deploy Multimedia Services Platforms to ADL

Nortel Networks and the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis are working together to facilitate the "Workplace of the Future." In a model anticipated to serve as a vanguard for future educational and collaborative research activities, the Institute is deploying Nortel Networks Multimedia Communication Server (MCS) 5100 to connect researchers, academics, students, and staff of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Network of Co-Labs, one of the Institute's in-residence research partners. This includes ADL co-development partners in Florida, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin.

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CMS Exchange

From the Reader Response Forum
Response to Chris Vento’s Open Source Article
Posted by: michaelp

Many of these articles seem to be based on the assumption there is a stark dichotomy between free but unsupported software and commercial, well supported software (ie the you get what you pay for argument). However, you can replace "Commercial Open Systems" in the below sentence with Moodle (a best of breed open source LMS feature equivalent with Blackboard/WebCT), and it still reads fine.

"Commercial Open Systems (Moodle) incorporate quality and performance engineering/testing, ongoing software maintenance, a formalized feature enhancement process, customer support, and professional services required to effectively support an enterprise eLearning solution."

Some of the features are provided on a volunteer basis, while some are commercially available from (the well established MySQL model where the code and user-to-user support are free, but paid support, hosting, and custom featuer development are also available.
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Sponsored By: Syllabus
Exploring the Future of Campus Technology at Syllabus2004
Annie Stunden, Chief Information Officer and Director of IT, University of Wisconsin, Madison is a featured keynote at Syllabus2004, July 18-22 in San Francisco. Stunden's speech, "Wandering the Technology Universe," is sure to stimulate thought and discussion on how technology will change campuses and support students and faculty in the future. World-class keynote speakers are just one reason to attend Syllabus2004. Register by June 18 and save up to $200!

For a detailed conference schedule, all the speakers and programming, click here .

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