C-Level View :: August 9, 2006

Worth Noting

Oracle and Unicon Partner on Open Source Integration

In a strategic alliance announced August 1, Oracle and Unicon Inc. will work to create a more comprehensive academic enterprise environment by integrating Sakai’s community source collaboration and learning environment with Oracle education solutions, including student administration, grade management, ePortfolio applications, and analysis tools.

The resulting platform will be based on optimized integrations with Sakai, of existing Oracle products such as Oracle Collaboration Suite, Oracle Personal Portfolio, Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions, and PeopleSoft Enterprise Gradebook, and will conform to IMS specifications. Announced plans also target expanded support for learning performance management, competency-based outcome initiatives, curriculum management, accreditation processes, and research collaboration.

Oracle clients currently evaluating the Sakai collaboration and learning environment will especially benefit from the alliance. John Blakley, CEO of Unicon comments, “We are excited to help Oracle bring the benefits of community-developed collaboration and learning software to its clients through a supported, low-risk, predictable cost model. Our collective vision for a next-generation academic management environment will harness the strength of Oracle’s application and technology development with Unicon’s expertise in open source systems and services for a solution that meets the industry’s increasingly complex requirements.”

In July, Oracle joined the Sakai commercial affiliate program and plans to assist in the development of Sakai code and participate in the Sakai community.

Online Learning Environment to Launch with 1,000 Seats Free Offer

Digication Inc., a company founded by two Rhode Island School of Design faculty, is planning to make its Digication Campus online learning environment publicly available on August 14.

Jeffrey Yan

Jeffrey Yan

CEO Jeffrey Yan and President Kelly Driscoll first developed the Web-based, hosted environment for collaboration and communication in 2001 as an alternative to pricey, full-featured learning management systems. Since then, the system has been deployed and tested selectively at several institutions, including Otis College of Art and Design (CA) and campus-wide at RISD.

The company’s “Simple by Design” philosophy is presented as a Web 2.0 strategy of easing the technical and administrative burden on institutions by offering a simple-to-use Web service with an online signup. “Today’s educators are frustrated with the complexity of traditional learning management solutions,” Yan comments. “Paired with their hefty budgetary commitments, institution-wide evaluations, and marathon training sessions, they often provide more roadblocks than opportunities to enhance learning.”

Kelly Driscoll

Kelly Driscoll

When the streamlined LMS becomes publicly available this month, and the online signup portal is opened at www.digication.com, institutions will be able to sign up their first 1,000 users for free – lowering the financial risks of an initial deployment. The pricing structure will remain in place thereafter: The institution will always have a base of 1,000 users free, with a $20-per-seat fee annually for additional users.

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