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eLearning Dialogue for Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Campus Technology
Wed., Oct. 27, 2004




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Library-IT Partnerships: New Services for New Campus Demands

By Stephen R. Acker, Ohio State University and Michael D. Miller, University of Michigan

The roles of central information technology and library organizations are being transformed by demands that new campus services be delivered more effectively and efficiently. Both organizations have reasons for paranoia and reasons for optimism as they look into the future. Properly conceived, library-IT partnerships can reduce threats and increase opportunities.

Nicholas Carr’s Harvard Business Review article of May 2003 (“IT D'esn’t Matter”) argued that information technology is moving rapidly into commodity status, and prudent managers should look to control costs rather than attempt to innovate services. The Library community has concerns that the value of their physical presence may be lost in the rush to networked access to electronic resources (Prinsen, 2001). These are but two voices framing concerns about the roles that information technology organizations and libraries will play in higher education’s future.

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News & Product Updates

UMass President Jack M. Wilson Inducted into USDLA Hall of Fame

University of Massachusetts president Jack M. Wilson has been inducted into the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) Hall of Fame and recognized as an outstanding pioneer in distance education. Prior to becoming president of the University of Massachusetts system, Dr. Wilson was founding CEO of UMassOnline where he worked with the five UMass campuses to build UMassOnline into one of the largest externally directed online programs in the United States. He is a well-known entrepreneur and distance educator, co-founder of LearnLinc Corporation (now Mentergy), has received numerous awards, authored many scholarly articles and books, and has served as a consultant to many computing and communication firms.

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Nobelist Publishes Two Courses to MIT OCW

MIT Professor Frank Wilczek, who won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for a ‘colorful’ discovery in the world of quarks, the building blocks of the atomic nucleus. Wilczek’s work, which involves the dominant, or “color,” force between quarks, is key to several major problems in particle physics and beyond. Wilczek has published two courses published on MIT OCW: Course 8.325--Relativistic Quantum Field Theory III, which directly reflects on the work that won Wilczek the Nobel Prize, and Course 8.012--Physics I, an introductory physics course.

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Ohio Learning Network Offers Shared WebCT Vista Pilot

The Ohio Learning Network (OLN) has partnered with WebCT to use the WebCT Vista academic enterprise system to pilot statewide shared hosting of course management systems. Institutions that participate in the Ohio Commons pilot project may save thousands of dollars in hardware, licensing, implementation and migration services, and server administration. Institutions also gain access to learning objects, including courses, lessons, graphics, and audio/video clips via OhioLINK. The Ohio Supercomputer Center will facilitate participants’ access to these learning systems via single sign-on access.

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Blackboard Integrates Macromedia Contribute 3

Blackboard customers can take advantage of new content management capabilities available since the integration of Macromedia’s Contribute 3 content development tool. The tool allows users to create, edit, and publish content for the Web.

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McGraw-Hill, Cisco Form Courseware Delivery Partnership

McGraw-Hill Higher Education has formed a partnership with network giant Cisco Systems to create and deliver online courses. The publisher will build on Cisco’s Global Learning Network (GLN), which the company dubs a scalable eLearning architecture, to offer courses with multimedia content on a global basis.

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WebCT Offers Real-Time Delivery of MERLOT Learning Objects

WebCT released WebCT PowerLink for MERLOT, which supports continuous delivery of up-to-the-minute learning object links directly to WebCT courses. The links originate in online content clearinghouse, MERLOT, the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching. The links point to RSS feeds from MERLOT of learning objects such as animations, simulations, case studies and tutorials in 15 subject areas from biology to world languages.

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Jenzabar Offers ePortaro’s ePortfolio System

Enterprise eLearning software developer Jenzabar Inc. is partnering with ePortaro, a provider of electronic portfolio systems, to provide ePortaro’s Folio electronic portfolio system functionality with Jenzabar’s Total Campus Management (TCM) solutions. Folio enables students to organize and share materials across a secure browser interface.

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.NET-Based eLearning Platform for Blackboard Windows Clients

Blackboard Inc. has released the Blackboard Learning System for the Microsoft .NET Framework, which provides a .NET-based eLearning platform for Blackboard Windows-based clients. The new release has been built entirely using Microsoft .NET technologies in order to function as a native component of an institution’s Microsoft .NET infrastructure.

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Workshop: Putting Portfolios into Practice with OSP

The r-smart group is hosting an ePortfolio hands-on workshop held at Mesa Community College, Mesa, AZ, December 10-11, 2004.

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Case Study

UVa. Tests Tablet PC-Hosted Digital Courseware Program

The University of Virginia is hosting the test of a state-of-the-art educational delivery platform this fall in collaboration with three companies holding a big stake in the higher education community. The project involves Thomson Learning, which is supplying Web-based courseware developed with UVa. faculty based on the firm’s iLrn platform. Course packages will include Web sites with online tests, diagnostic tools for personalized learning and planning, and links to reference materials via Thompson Gale’s InfoTrac service.

Students will be equipped with Tablet PCs from HP running Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC software and the Microsoft OneNote digital note-taking application. In one application, OneNote templates are being used to record biochemistry lectures. The university expects a professor’s ability to gauge students’ comprehension of the course material immediately via their online performance will improve student retention.

“The academic environment has changed dramatically in the last decade as a result of numerous social, cultural and economic factors,” says Edward L. Ayers, dean of Arts and Sciences at UVa. “The rise of technology has affected how students learn, how instructors teach, and how course materials are developed and presented. Greater numbers of students, as well as significant changes in the demographics of those students, necessitate new approaches and instructional models.” The program will continue through the spring 2005 semester.

Tech Notes

BI Tools Coming in 2005

eCollege has plans to launch a Program Intelligence Manager in the first quarter of 2005. The set of business intelligence tools will enable institutions to identify, capture, and analyze program metrics. “Program Intelligence Manager is aimed at giving institutions more tools to drive top and bottom line growth and regulatory compliance through valuable insight into program performance,” says Oakleigh Thorne, chairman and CEO of eCollege. “It will help identify ways to improve program quality, increase student retention, reduce the cost of retaining accreditation and assist in justifying Title IV funding.”

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Reader Response

From the Reader Response Forum
Pro-CMS publications/studies
Posted by: wash_u

Some of the leadership at my place of employment are doubting the benefits of the CMS that was just implemented. They cited only a 30% adoption (30% of faculty, I am assuming) in the first 6-7 weeks of the semester. Granted, they don't promote it to faculty. They only offer it to those faculty seeking assistance using technology in the classroom. They claim to have seen studies that show minimal adoption of these technologies across academia.

D'es anyone know of or have a link to publications or studies that show the opposite trend, that CMSs that are well-supported greatly enhance the classroom experience and make the lives of faculty easier, especially at smaller liberal arts school?

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