SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Case Study

GoWMU: Portal Power at Western Michigan
By Linda L. Briggs
Imagine that everyone who enters your college or university is guided through a single main gate onto campus. You need only one road in, one welcome sign, one gate--and, if you choose, you can easily monitor who comes and goes. That’s the beauty of Web portals, or main entry pages to an entire Web site. They’re a great solution for college and university websites because they offer a single entry point for all students, and can reduce excess passwords, searching for features, and site management efforts overall.
At Western Michigan University, the GoWMU portal allows students and other users to enter the site through a portal and navigate about in a custom online environment. There, they can register for courses, apply for and check on financial aid, change their addresses, read and send e-mail, access courses within the WebCT e-learning system, and access a host of other administrative functions, as well as tools for collaboration and communication. The portal is built on Sungard’s Luminis platform and Banner student administrative system....
Ohio University Opens Virtual Doors
The costs and planning process for a Second Life virtual campus.

Last year, Ohio University purchased two islands and built several buildings on it, including a student center, learning center, and arts and music center. The cost? A few thousands dollars, plus some software development time creating the virtual buildings.

The islands are in Second Life, the popular three-dimensional virtual world created by Linden Labs. In Second Life, which is open to anyone, users create accounts and take on a name and shape, then move through the online world much as in real life. Participants encounter others, hold conversations, buy and sell things, build structures, and in general act as one might in a completely new world, albeit one in which everyone and everything is a computer creation. Sophisticated graphics give the feel of moving across real terrain, with sky, trees, buildings, paths, water, islands, and more.

Ohio University is the first university in Ohio and one of just a few universities in the United States, including Harvard and Princeton, who have launched functioning campuses in Second Life....

News & Product Updates

Ithaca Forms Committee to Examine Use of Facebook
Ithaca Cllege has formed a Facebook Task Force to help make decisions on how and whether the college should educate students on safely using social networking sites, the Ithacan Online campus news service reported....
Middlebury Bans Wikipedia as Academic Source
Vermont's Middlebury College has banned the use of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia as an acceptable source of academic information for students at Vermont's Middlebury College, United Press International reported....
Pittsburgh Art Institute Opens Campus in Second Life
One week after announcing an online social network to facilitate collaboration, the Pittsburgh Art Institute said it was opening a student campus in Second Life, the virtual business community....

Tech Notes

E-Learning: Getting the Money Right
Does your organization’s funding model support your online learning program’s success and sustainability? Here are the factors you should be considering in order to maximize one of the most significant growth areas in higher education....(Campus Technology)

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