Technology Enabled Teaching March 2, 2005

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Welcome to Technology-Enabled Teaching, our new bi-weekly eLetter on the converged areas of eLearning, CMS, display, and presentation technologies. Formerly eLearning Dialogue, TET's expanded content will provide news, opinion and best practices for implementing the next level of the "smart" classroom.

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Viewpoint

The Next Teaching Technology: Digital Content Servers

By Gary Kayye, CTS

Did you know the next big thing in educational technology is probably something you’ve never even heard of?

Believe it.

Digital Content Servers are coming that will make life easier for everyone on campus using PowerPoint and other digital media as part of their lectures and presentations.

Imagine TiVo, iTunes and a DVR (high-quality digital VCR) all rolled up in one. Why differentiate TiVo and the DVR? Well, cable companies started offering DVRs for homes in 2004, allowing people to perform TiVo-like TV show pausing, recording, archiving and commercial skipping. But the TiVo is all that and a whole lot more. TiVo is customizable network TV. Its user interface means that there is, literally, no learning curve-–something no cable DVR can claim. No way.

What d'es this all have to do with the Educational market? A lot, actually. The future of the presentation market will be driven by customer needs to manage content–-a lot of content, from all sorts of sources and places. Many of today’s classrooms were designed to be self-contained. Some were equipped with the “give me everything I may ever need” philosophy and others with the “I’ll take anything I can afford”–-which isn’t much-–philosophy. The problem with that is that it’s not scalable and very difficult to control-–many educators are left with little training. Sure, you can tack on an AMX or Crestron control system and make the control easier, but still, it leaves a big hole for managing content, truly and simply. You still have to know where that videotape is, or where that PowerPoint lesson is stored that you used this time last year.

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News & Product Updates

Blackboard Brings Eight More Universities Into Its Fold

Blackboard Inc. announced that eight new universities will use its Academic Suite designed to foster the company's vision of "Networked Learning Environments" for educators and students. Networked Learning Environments are the future of education, Blackboard argues, making it possible to connect and integrate courses with libraries, research labs, other institutions, advisors, alumni and many other campus activities.

The latest additions include Georgian Court University, Texas Woman's University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Miami University in Ohio, Montclair State University, University of Connecticut Health Center, Bowdoin College, and Framingham State College. The company says more than 91 academic institutions around the globe use the Blackboard Academic Suite. (Blackboard news)

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Reporters Work on Journalism Masters Online

Reporters working in Asia and the Pacific Islands can not only file their news stories from their laptops, they can work on their Masters degree in journalism via the Web.

The Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism at Ateneo de Manila University in the Phillipines offers an online master’s program featuring a global faculty. The courses are specially designed to fit graduate study into the irregular hours of working journalists. (The Star Online)

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How's That iPod Experiment Going at Duke University?

As the year-long “experiment” of providing 20-gigabyte Apple iPods to all freshmen comes to an end, Duke's Chronicle Online reports that administrators have begun to evaluate the future of the project. The report says critics are asking: Have students used them for educational purposes? Did teachers find innovative ways to integrate this technology into their curricula? Was it worth the $500,000?

“We weren’t quite ready in some ways for all the things you need to make a project successful,” said one administrator. (Duke Chronicle Online)

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Case Study

Data Mining Online at Babson College

At Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., there’s a strong emphasis on data mining. Students are learning to think about large datasets in new ways, and they’re becoming fluent with data mining techniques. The college is using SPSS Inc.’s Clementine, a data mining tool, in their online curriculum.

Data mining allows students to extract information sets from large databases and to identify trends and relationships among the data in order to solve marketing problems. “We use Clementine as one application along with SPSS statistical analysis software in the advanced applied statistics course for undergrads, and it is part of the core curriculum for the MBA students,” explains Dr. Elaine Allen, associate professor at Babson.

“For some students, data mining can be very intimidating,” says Allen. “The ‘look and feel’ of Clementine is extremely easy for the students to learn.” As students reach the graduate level, data mining and data analysis become virtually routine for them. Babson students often work at companies with large databases that are ideal for data mining projects. In cases where students have their own ideas for projects, Babson encourages them to start their own companies, which are often Web-based.

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Tech Notes

WebCT Introduces Modular eLearning Products

WebCT introduced a modular version of its elearning products at the recent WebCT European User Conference in Barcelonoa, Spain.

WebCT Vista modules are designed so customers can selectively add to WebCT Campus Edition. This new modular approach lets institutions initiate elearning one step at a time.

The WebCT Vista Learning Object Manager, Vista Community Manager, Vista PowerLinks Kit and Vista PowerSight Kit modules enable institutions to selectively choose the enterprise e-learning functionality they need, according to the company. The modules provide WebCT Campus Edition customers with all the functionality previously available only in the WebCT Vista academic enterprise system. (WebCT)

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Reader Response

From the Reader Response Forum

UNIX Talent?
Posted by: michaelp

My impression is that UNIX talent is required. Can anyone speak to the level of support necessary to implement an OPEN SOURCE solution. -- Posted by Ralph Fasano, Rhode Island School of Design

Response: Hi Ralph, it depends on the OS system. Unix talent is definitly not needed to implement Moodle, it runs fine on Windows, even has a Windows installer.While much of the talk on the Moodle forums involves folks who are coding new modules for Moodle which requires extra levels of talent, simply running a standard Moodle install is no more difficult than running a standard WebCT, Blackboard, etc. install.You can even get a fully hosted supported system where all you do is run courses, via Moodle.com, for much less than hosted solutions for the other CMSs. -- Posted by michaelp

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