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Technology Happenings in Higher Education


CAMPUSWIDE CLASS CAPTURE. After an extensive beta test last year, New Jersey Institute of Technology has deployed TechSmith's newest lecture capture and presentation solution, Camtasia Relay, campuswide. Currently, more than 70 of NJIT's faculty and staff are using the system, and over 1,000 students are accessing the lectures on-demand. Additionally, students will be using Camtasia Relay to capture their classroom presentations.

Campus + Industry

WEB VISITORS can 'tour' Harrisburg's new Academic Center and 'interview' virtual students, faculty, and staff.

INTERACTIVE VIRTUAL TOUR. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (PA) has unveiled a virtual tour of its 16-story, $73 million Academic Center. Based on "Synthetic Interview" technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University (PA), the tour allows users to travel throughout the structure and "speak" virtually with faculty, staff, and students. A person can ask any question about the building, and the system searches all possible questions in its database for the best match, then plays a pre-recorded answer. Harrisburg is the first higher ed institution in the country to use the Synthetic Interview technology in an online campus tour, and plans to expand on the tour to showcase more of the university's unique features to the public.

Campus + Industry

XAVIER U is using online videos to provide financial aid info to students, parents, and guidance counselors.

VIDEO AID. Xavier University (OH) has created a series of online videos, delivered by the Office of Financial Aid as an introduction to aid for students, parents, and guidance counselors. The webisodes aim to help prospective students understand the financial aid process and resources available to them in today's difficult economy. The videos have been posted here, as well as on Xavier's YouTube channel and Facebook profile.

OPEN MUSIC LIBRARY. Indiana University has announced the release of Variations, open source digital music library software that enables institutions to digitize audio and scores from their own collections, provide those materials to students and faculty in an interactive online environment, and respect intellectual property rights. Key features of the system: the ability to create bookmarks and playlists for use in studying or in preparing classroom presentations, allowing easy access to specific audio time points or segments; and a flexible access control and authentication system, which allows libraries to set up access rules based on their own institutional policies.

SELF-SERVICE SCHEDULING. The University of Chicago has licensed Starfish Connect educational support networking software from Starfish Retention Solutions, to streamline collaboration between students and faculty. Accessible via the institution's Blackboard course management system, Starfish Connect offers students self-service scheduling of appointments with instructors, advisers, counselors, and other support services. To encourage students to utilize the services available, the system displays endorsements from other students who have benefited from the campus services. The system also generates performance data such as resource utilization, helping the university optimize future service offerings. Read more here.

CT GreenGREEN GIVEAWAY. Mac terminal server enterprise software company Aqua Connect and thin client and network appliance vendor Bosanova have announced a green campaign giveaway valued at more than $17,000. Together, the companies will be donating a Mac terminal services thin-client lab to a winning educational institution, including licenses and maintenance for the Aqua Connect Terminal Server and Bosanova thin clients. The package delivers green virtualized desktops to Mac users. Entries can be submitted here until May 31, 2009.

COMMUNITY COLLEGES GROWING. Community college enrollments are way up, budgets are down, mid-year budget cuts are common, and online courses and programs are growing, according to a recent national survey of 120 community college presidents and district chancellors, conducted by the League for Innovation in the Community College and The Campus Computing Project, in partnership with Pearson. Despite the economic downturn, 92 percent of respondents reported that headcount enrollment on their campuses has increased, compared to one year ago. Forty percent of respondents reported that online course enrollments have increased by 5 to 10 percent, and another 31 percent reported a gain of 10 percent or more in the number of students enrolled in online courses (compared to winter 2008).

Campus + Industry

DELAWARE VALLEY'S portal provides access to the school's LMS, calendars, e-mail, chat, and more.

ON-DEMAND PORTAL. Delaware Valley College (PA) has adopted CampusCruiser from Timecruiser Computing to support online learning at the institution. The on-demand solution will provide a single entry point to college's Blackboard learning management system, and will connect users to integrated calendars, e-mail, chat, blogs, and message boards. It also will provide a mechanism for users to send and receive campus announcements; collaborate online within communities, clubs, and organizations; share content and collaborate on projects; and conduct polls and surveys. Read more here.

MOBILE APP CONTEST. AT&T has announced its second annual Big Mobile on Campus Challenge, a national higher education contest for mobile application development. The contest recognizes innovative and creative mobile applications that enhance academic performance, build campus community, and help improve campus operations. The Big Mobile on Campus Challenge is open to all full-time students and full- or part-time staff (individuals or up to four-person teams) at higher education institutions in the continental US. AT&T is accepting applications in three categories: mobile learning, mobile identity, and student system integration. The winner (or winning team) will receive $10,000; two runners-up will receive $5,000 and a mobile device of choice for each entrant. Deadline: Sept. 30, 2009. See here for contest details.


David GrayCHANGES AT UMASSONLINE. After more than five years as CEO of UMassOnline, David Gray has been promoted to the position of senior VP for administration, finance, and technology at the University of Massachusetts. Mark Schlesinger has been named interim CEO of UMassOnline; he comes to the new role from a four-year period as associate VP of academic affairs, student affairs, and international relations at the University of Massachusetts' President's Office. A 16-person National Search Committee has been formed to identify and name a full-time CEO for UMassOnline.

NEW AACC BOARD MEMBER. Curtis Ivery, chancellor of Wayne County Community College District (MI), has been elected to the American Association of Community Colleges board of directors. As a board member, he will help promote community colleges as the premier workforce development providers in the US, and work to influence government and corporate funding policies to support community colleges in taking on that responsibility.

TO INTERNET2 BOARD. Advanced networking consortium Internet2 has announced the election of four members to its board of trustees: Michael McRobbie, president, Indiana University; Mary Sue Coleman, president, University of Michigan; William Kirwan, chancellor, University System of Maryland; and Cisco Systems technologist Stephen Wolff.

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