SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, October 4, 2006

News & Product Updates

Desire2Learn Strikes Back

Desire2Learn has filed a response to Blackboard’s infringement suit. They claim that the patent is invalid because Blackboard knowingly refrained from disclosing relevant prior art (including software they had purchased such as Prometheus and previous standards work done through the IMS).

The company basically calls for that immediate dismissal, payment of their legal fees by Blackboard, and also opens the door for possible punitive damages...

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States Offer One-Stop Shop for College Aps

Georgia is now among about 35 states with Web sites that serve as a one-stop shop for applying to state colleges and requesting financial aid. This one is called gacollege411.org and it is an effort by education officials to make college more accessible by demystifying the daunting task of applying to schools while helping students enroll within their borders. It is an idea that is gaining momentum in more states.

The $1.5 million site is modeled after a similar site in North Carolina, and has already registered more than 100,000 students and families in the past 18 months. The site includes free prep classes for the SAT college-entrance exam, applications to more than 100 colleges, virtual campus tours, and information on getting one of the state’s full-ride, lottery-funded scholarships...

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KSU Claims World’s Largest Course Podcasting Initiative

Kansas State University said it would convert 6,000 recorded classes to an enhanced podcast format this year, which it said would result in the largest educational podcast implementation ever. KSU students currently have access to several hundred lectures in podcast format, some converted from older recordings, and some being created automatically.

The school will continue to offer its students access to these and future class recordings on demand, either online or via MP3 players. The school will use its current podcasting vendor, Tegrity, to convert the lectures. Tegrity provides the university recordings of about 152 classes across campus each year, which it had been capturing automatically and making available via KSU’s in-house course management system.

When the school upgraded the service to include an automated podcasting module, it began to convert class recordings from previous semesters to an enhanced podcast format, indexed and enhanced with class slides and annotations. Bryan Vandiviere, Web presentation technology coordinator for KSU, said both students and faculty have taken to the technology. “And with so many students…already possessing iPods, this is a familiar and highly convenient way for them to receive and review their course content.”...

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