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eLearning Dialogue for Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Campus Technology
Wed., Dec.01, 2004




Sponsored By:
Creating the Classroom of Tomorrow
What d'es it take to successfully integrate all systems across a campus? Planning, communication, flexibility, and more. In a new micro site sponsored by HP, you’ll read how several campuses approached their IIS projects and what made them successful. Join a peer forum to discuss implementation and budget issues; read white papers, case studies and articles on the challenges of integration.

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Will Open Source Software Unlock the Potential of eLearning?

By Christopher D. Coppola, r·smart Group

Technology has great potential to expand and improve the ways people learn, yet eLearning has done little more than mimic earlier learning and teaching practices. Why isn’t technology living up to its tremendous potential? The answer may be, in part, that education has been treated as a market of learning rather than an environment for learning. Markets, and the commercial considerations at their base, are driven toward uniformity and reproducibility. Environments, structured with educational underpinnings, support diversity, a requirement for the experimentation needed to unlock the potential of eLearning.

Open source applications

You’ve probably noticed the “buzz” about open source this past year. Open source is a way of building, owning, and using software as a community. Online, in the journals, in meetings, and in hallway conversations at conferences, open source projects like Sakai, OSPI, uPortal, and others are getting a lot of attention. In fact, Educause 2004 will probably be remembered as the tipping point when the open source movement spread beyond the early adopters and innovators who nurtured it over the past several years.

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Sponsored By:
Deadline for Proposals to Present at Syllabus2005 Extended
There is still time to submit a proposal to speak at Syllabus2005, July 24-28 in Los Angeles. The deadline for the Call for Papers has been extended to December 15. Plan to share your expertise in one of five tracks applicable to higher education technology.

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News & Product Updates

Stanford University Announces Online MS in Mechanical Engineering

Stanford University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering announced that it is offering the degree of master of science in mechanical engineering to technology professionals completely at a distance beginning in Autumn 2005. Successful degree applicants may pursue a master’s degree entirely at a distance in four areas of concentration: Automatic Controls, Design for Manufacturability, Design Methodology, and Solid Mechanics. Controls courses and solid mechanics provide theoretical and practical knowledge applicable to both traditional and emerging fields and technologies. The Stanford Center for Professional Development uses distance education to deliver more than 250 graduate and professional education courses from the School of Engineering, as well as selected courses from the School of Humanities and Sciences and the School of Medicine. Twenty-two Stanford master of science degree concentrations are now available online.

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Ohio Community College Launches Scientific Imaging Program

Underscoring the current need for more digital image analysts in the criminal justice and forensic science fields, Cuyahoga Community College in Parma Ohio has launched a new program to train students as scientific imaging technicians. Scientific imaging wraps in the disciplines of spectroscopy, electronics, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and psychology.

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CyberLearning Labs Introduces ANGEL 6.2

ANGEL 6.2 features content templates give every user, regardless of technology expertise, the ability to create sophisticated, pedagogically effective content. Using a wizard created by instructional designers, ANGEL content templates guide instructors through course content creation. Institutions are not limited to using only the templates provided with ANGEL. Instructional designers and instructors can infuse their preferred pedagogical styles into the design of their own institution- and course-specific ANGEL templates. The ability to reuse templates will be a dramatic time saver when creating new courses.

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California State-Hayward Advances eTextbooks

Inefficient procedures used to cause problems and lose money for the Cal State system in purchasing eBooks for disabled students, but an administrator at Hayward who spearheaded what has become the CSU Center for Alternative Media, is making it work smoothly and save dollars, too. (The Argus)

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Impatica for PowerPoint Streaming

Impacta provides a means for a PowerPoint user to compress (typically 80-95 percent) and stream PowerPoint content over the Internet. The content streams to your recipient over low bandwidth, including modem speeds as low as 28.8 kbps (dial-up), and plays in any Java-enabled Web browser. The recipient can view the content on any platform such as PC, MAC, Unix, and Linux, and d'es not require PowerPoint itself. Presentations will play seamlessly from various learning management systems including WebCT, Blackboard, eCollege and many others.

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Case Study

Web-Enabled Databases to Support Teaching

Andrew White, University of Missouri-Columbia

At the 1999 inception of course management at MU, a mere spreadsheet was adequate to keep track of the few dozen instructors who were early adopters of WebCT. As the popularity and sophistication of CMS usage increased and as Blackboard was added to the mix, the campus needed an adaptable system to (1) streamline the process for faculty signing-up to use BlackBoard or WebCT, (2) keep track of which faculty members were teaching which courses in the two systems, (3) manage courses over time so that an accurate historical record could be kept, and (4) facilitate the course creation, backup and copying processes from semester to semester. Although both BlackBoard and WebCT have a variety of internal tools designed to aid teaching and learning in online environments, neither system has what MU’s ET@MO staff needed to manage and integrate the information that the two course management systems contained separately. As the number of support staff grew and the computing environment became more heterogeneous, an easy-to-use, cross-platform solution was needed so that multiple staff members could access and compare information.

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Tech Notes

Record Your Screen as a Flash Movie

Instant Demo v. 4.0 is a Windows screen recording application that creates Flash movies for demonstrations, presentations, and training. It records screen activity up to 20 times a second, creating an animation of your Windows desktop. The software automatically captures mouse movement and appearance. The Flash movies can be played on any operating system that supports Flash 4.0 or newer.

Instant Demo allows you to record all or part of your desktop. Version 4.0 introduces a new ‘Pan’ recording mode that automatically moves the selected recording region to track your mouse activity. This results in a movie that pans around your desktop, allowing you to record applications at true size and yet still present them in a smaller window suitable for Web site presentation.

Version 4.0 also introduces the ability to combine several screen recording sessions into one movie. Using a Flash compression engine, the resulting movies can be up to 50 minutes in length. The proprietary compression creates some of the smallest Flash screen recordings on the Internet. The Flash movies are designed to stream over an Internet connection, so even a 50-minute presentation will begin to play immediately in the viewers’ browser, with no Flash pre-loader required.

Instant Demo takes full advantage of the interactive capabilities of Flash. You can add interactive mouse hotspots to your movie, allowing the audience to have full control over the presentation. The hotspots can also link to a different part of the movie, another Web page, or even load another Flash file. Instant Demo also provides a wide range of special effects to grab the viewer’s attention, such as callouts, highlights, and cross fades.

The software provides full sound support. You can capture live sound as you record your desktop, or add sound during editing. Keyboard and mouse click sounds are automatically applied.

Instant Demo v. 4.0 runs under Windows 98/Me/2000/XP.

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Reader Response

From the Reader Response Forum
Online Collaboration & Costs
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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