eLearning Dialogue from Campus Technology for Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2004

Campus Technology
Wed., Oct.13, 2004




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The CMS Dilemma: Renew or Replace
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A Student View of CMS

By Ryan Tansey, Junior at the University of Puget Sound

At the end of the last school year my son made an interesting comment: "My teachers are finally learning how to use Blackboard." The statement immediately struck home as a missing component to our explorations of eLearning. Here are his current thoughts on the impact of the CMS on his education. --Frank Tansey

In my freshman year, the University of Puget Sound was just beginning to use Blackboard. It wasn't universal by any means. Some of my classes had it and others didn't--at least that's how it appeared.

If a faculty member was using Blackboard, the use was limited. There might be an online syllabus, but little else. For the most part even a class that had a bit more course material was hampered by the lack of knowledge on the part of the faculty. The concept of Blackboard as course management system, and what was built in, was Greek to most professors. Typically we were given a URL and told to go there. There was no explanation; we were on our own to explore and discover.

By the spring semester things began to change. Increasingly we would find our assignments online. Materials that clarified the standard syllabus were added in response to student questions. Then standard course resources, such as instructions for papers and general resources began to be posted.

Still in the end, there were no special features. It was more like a personal Web site built from a template.

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Collaboration Brings Students, Schools Closer Together

Collaboration technologies can extend the classroom and change the ways students and faculty work together. In this new article on collaboration, learn how you can meet the challenges of a growing and diverse campus community. Read three examples of how collaboration technologies are evolving and changing the way groups meet and work, in and out of the classroom. Visit this special Campus Technology micro site sponsored by Oracle to find resources on the latest collaborative tools and technologies redefining the campus enterprise. Bookmark this special section.

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News & Product Updates

Smaller, More Focused Makes the Grade

eCornell, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cornell University, is a developer and marketer of online professional education courses. The organization has recognized its need to become a smaller, more focused organization to serve its users best. Christopher Proulx, its current chief operating officer, will implement a new strategic plan as chief executive officer. Current CEO John Neuman will continue to serve on an advisory basis.

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IntraLearn Donates LMS to Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity builds one house about every 26 minutes, and is at work in 100 countries. In light of the training and education needs of this giant humanitarian organization, IntraLearn has donated IntraLearn XE to help bring volunteers up to speed around the world.

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Active PDF Sayble Speaks Volumes for Accessibility

The software aims to increase access to information within PDF files using a unique audio format, assisting visually impaired users as well as others for whom reading PDF files is a struggle.

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New Distance Learning Program at Polytechnic University

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Polytechnic University, one of nation's oldest private technology universities, announced a new distance learning program that will allow students to earn a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering through online courses. The admissions policy is identical for applicants of both the online degree and traditional degree programs offered at the Brooklyn campus and graduate centers on Long Island and Westchester County, N.Y.

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Two New MFA Degrees Online in 2005

Miami International University of Art & Design will offer two online Master of Fine Arts degree programs beginning in April 2005. The degree offerings, Graphic Design and Computer Animation, are designed for people currently in the creative field or teachers who wish to increase specific knowledge and skills in graphic design or computer animation.

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Will Blackboards Bite the Dust?

While some University of Minnesota faculty like the dust, classroom managers do not. Some say the battle between whiteboards and blackboards will be eclipsed by even newer technologies. (DuluthNewsTribune.com)

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Saved for Posterity: Records of Dot.Com Boom

The University of Maryland and the Library of Congress are teaming up to preserve digital archives pertaining to the dot.com boom of the 1990s. They will archive technical plans, venture presentations, and marketing efforts aimed at providing lessons learned for business students. (InternetWeek.com)

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LC Funds Stanford and UC-Santa Barbara Project

Stanford and UC-Santa Barbara will receive funding from the Library of Congress for a project that will archive and serve up digital documents and other information as part of a larger distributed cooperative model for preservation. (Stanford Report)

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Video Streaming for the Deaf

Educators are increasing the use of video streaming for the deaf. Until recently, libraries of archived video instruction using sign language for deaf people have been geographically isolated from many potential users. But the advent of high-speed Internet (Internet2) is causing a boom in the use of those videos. (Ohio News Network)

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Case Study

Student Preassessment for Distance Education

By Anastasia Trekles, Purdue University-Calumet

Purdue University-Calumet, the second-largest campus in the Purdue University system, based in urban Hammond, Indiana, boasts an ever-changing and diverse student population of more than 9,000 commuter students. A large percentage of these are non-traditional students, including returning adults with myriad family and work responsibilities.

The School of Education requires a course in technology skills for the classroom teacher in its undergraduate teacher education curriculum. Traditionally, this course--EDCI 260: Introduction to Computers in Education--has been held in a 20-workstation teaching lab, where students complete a wide array of projects, from creating PowerPoint presentations to developing Web-based instruction. During the first semesters of the course's inception nearly ten years ago, a large number of students encountered serious challenges in learning the software tools; for some, EDCI 260 was their first intensive work with a computer.

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Preview Academus Portal 1.5 for Higher Education at EDUCAUSE
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Tech Notes

ECAR Study of Student Use of IT in Higher Education

The EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) has released their report of a comprehensive survey of freshman and senior undergraduates aimed to capture the role of IT in student life. The "ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology, 2004: Convenience, Connection, and Control" includes summaries from a survey of close to 4,500 respondents as well as information from focus groups and individual interviews. A summary PDF with key findings is available to anyone (URL below); the full report may be obtained through ECAR at www.educause.edu/ecar/.

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Reader Response

From the Reader Response Forum
Are LMS Anti-Web?
Posted by: cameronloudon - Austrailia

Recently I have been following the blog of Dr Peter Sefton who described MIT's Anti-web Learning Management System, Caddie as anti-web. He returned to this theme in a later entry called 'Links considered too difficult for online education software' (http://ptsefton.com/blog/2004/08/06/implementingims).

What interests me most is that this observation could be applied to all the major players in the LMS space. Why do we need an LMS to be a file system repository for PDF and Word documents? Is that the best that can be offered to students?

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