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eLearning Dialogue for Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Campus Technology
Wed., Nov. 10, 2004




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Migrating to a new CMS: Easier than It Seems
“Switching to ANGEL was easier than we expected, and we’re glad we did.” It’s common feedback from institutions that switch to ANGEL from other popular course management systems. ANGEL preserves content and provides features not available in any other CMS. Experience ANGEL yourself. Sign up for a free demonstration account.

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Shifting Paradigm in Higher Ed IT Orgs: Partners in the Academic Enterprise

By Sarah Roberts, Duke University

For some time now, I have been contemplating the role of centralized IT in higher education. Many of these organizations have grown up in the 1990s, when disparate departments were merged together, budgets were centralized, and IT support, from the desktop to the enterprise system, was shifted centrally. Throughout the consolidation of central IT, the Internet explosion of the early 1990s, the wiring of campuses, the wireless-ing of campus again a few years later, and the massive initiatives to take student systems electronic, the dominant operating paradigm was one of customer support. Students, faculty, other administrative departments and their staff--all were customers of the central IT group, and the support delivered to them was the major business of IT. We were a service group whose work, while important in its own right, was largely secondary to the business of the university environment in which we operated. It was a culture that we largely perpetuated ourselves; this was the model that made sense at the time, and the place in which we saw ourselves in the context of the university environment.

Yet lately this role of service provider to customers has struck me as an increasingly inaccurate model for much of the business that g'es on in a central IT group. To be sure, the desktop and enterprise support activities still make up much of the day-to-day work that g'es on. But new, exciting models are now emerging that must be recognized, lest their importance get buried in the customer support/customer service model that seems ill-fitting in their cases. Many IT departments are expanding their scope across boundaries and effecting change on their campuses in new and innovative ways.

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Gateway: A Lesson in Teamwork
Learn how Creighton University streamlined their technology environment and reduced service and support costs in this exclusive white paper by Gateway. A Lesson in Teamwork gives you a comprehensive blueprint for creating a reliable and cost-efficient high speed network on your campus. Visit the Campus Technology Resource page to download this important white paper and see how Gateway can help you to make an anytime, anywhere learning environment a reality at your institution.

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News & Product Updates

Cambridge U's Homerton School of Health Studies Signs WebCT Campus

Homerton School of Health Studies (HSHS) at Cambridge University has selected the WebCT Campus Edition. The institution will centrally administer WebCT Campus Edition to support its current and evolving academic environment with a single platform for eLearning. The new system will facilitate improved course sharing with HSHS's partner institution, Anglia Polytechnic University (APU). It will also encourage health professionals across Cambridgeshire to share best practices, meeting government recommendations for accessible, inter-departmental education.

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UNC System Exploring "Free" Music for Students

The experiment on all four UNC campuses is funded by a $200k grant by an unnamed major music label. (

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Unicon to Distribute Columbia U Portal and Content Mgt Tech

Unicon will be distributing and supporting the development and maintenance of both Columbia University's open source HyperContent Web content management application and Announcements Channel for Unicon's Academus Portal and the uPortal community. HyperContent (formerly CuCMS) is an open source Web content management system developed at Columbia University, featuring a rich set of management and authoring tools that enable content experts, designers, developers, and administrators to collaborate in the production of Web sites with consistent navigation and design. Columbia U's Announcement Channel, also contributed to the JA-SIG Clearinghouse, is a widely used announcements channel for uPortal, allowing authorization to determine who can make announcements and who can see them.

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'Define the Line' About Being Good Cyber Citizens

Coinciding with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched a new program to "educate students about the importance of being good cyber citizens and respecting the intellectual property of copyrighted works online." (PR Newswire)

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rSmart Offers Workshop on Implementing ePortfolios

The workshops help institutional teams of faculty, administrators, and technical staff realize the potential of ePortfolio. The ePortfolio Workshop offers practical, hands-on experience in the design and implementation of ePortfolios. Workshop participants will acquire the skills and tools to realize the full potential of ePortfolios on their campuses. The next workshop will be offered December 10-11 at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona.

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Turnkey Virtual University Appliance

Digital Learning Management Corp. released its Virtual University Appliance (VU), an all-in-one hardware and software solution for creating eLearning portals. The system allows institutions to create a virtual eLearning presence from scratch. The standard 1U rack mounted device can be placed in the client's location behind their firewall or at Digital's facility. The tool is targeted to school that desire lower implementation costs and reduced implementation time in setting up an eLearning environment.

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Case Study

UMass Amherst: Personal Response System

It can be a challenge for even the most talented faculty to continuously engage students in large lecture sections. It is not uncommon for student attention to lag and attendance to drop during the term. Faculty frequently find it difficult to assess whether the class is comprehending new concepts and it is a challenge to accurately assess progress except with a quick show of hands.

At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the campus is increasingly turning to a personal response system, InterWrite PRS from GTCO Calcomp, to increase the interactivity in large lecture sections. The personal response system uses wireless transmitters to provide quick student responses to questions posed by faculty. Each student in a classroom supporting the personal response system can enter a response to a faculty question projected at the front of the class using the numeric keypad on a wireless PRS transmitter. Student responses are automatically tabulated, giving the faculty member a much better sense of student understanding.

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Share your expertise: Speak at Syllabus2005
Plan to speak at Syllabus2005, July 24-28 in Los Angeles. Call for Papers is now open and we are accepting proposals until November 30 in six content areas applicable to higher education technology. For complete details go to

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Tech Notes

Elluminate Live! 6.0

The new release of Elluminate Live! delivers live video and multimedia capabilities for online collaboration, Web conferencing, and synchronous training with Web, multimedia, and interface enhancements. This latest release builds on Elluminate's Java-based Collaborative Communication Framework (CCF) and provides rich media content support, including live video, multimedia content such as movie playback in Flash and Shockwave formats, and synchronized Web browsing with individual interaction. Version 6.0 ensures clear two-way voice over the Internet and in-sync communications-regardless of connection speeds (including lower speeds like 28.8 kbps)--so there is never any lag time or garbled voices. Thus, CCF overcomes the intermittent reliability of the Internet.

Elluminate Live! 6.0 has also enhanced its cross-platform support, enabling users on Windows, Macintosh, Java Desktop System (JDS/Linux), and Solaris to participate simultaneously in the same session without performance degradation. This flexibility is intended to help users of Elluminate Live! 6.0 lower meeting, training, and learning costs by enabling collaboration between participants on different platforms.

The system also aims to increase value to users through lower upfront and ongoing costs, resulting in a low total cost of ownership (TCO). Monthly flat rates are designed to allow organizations to save, compared to the higher-cost software licensing fees or the per-minute charges that can quickly accrue.

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Reader Response

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

I'm interested in what kinds of tools other colleges and universities are using for online collaboration, particularly for distance and hybrid courses. I'm currently working with a learning community to explore these technologies and am growing frustrated with costs involved. How have you funded these technologies?

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