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What's Happening In Technology Sectors


FIRST FULL-SCALE KUALI LAUNCHES. Colorado State University and San Joaquin Delta College (CA) have launched Kuali Financial System 3.0 on their campuses-- the first full-scale implementations of the open source enterprise system. The web-based system combines the functions of transactional recording, accounting, budgeting, online purchasing, and credit card processing. Officials at both campuses reference Kuali as a primary example of how institutions can contain costs through innovation and collaboration: "We were able to implement state-of-the-art infrastructure for a fraction of the cost of our peers through a partnership with the Kuali Foundation," reports Patrick Burns, CSU's VP for IT and interim dean of libraries, who notes that the total cost for CSU's new system came to less than $2 million. Raúl Rodriguez, president of San Joaquin Delta, adds, "The money we saved by not buying a proprietary system is money that can now be spent where it belongs-- on our students."

MOVING FORWARD WITH eTEXTBOOKS. A new eTextbook program at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh College of Business aims to make higher education more affordable for students. The project, funded by a two-year, $295,706 grant from the US Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, will allow professors to create textbooks customized to individual courses and teaching styles. Core content will be shared among classes in the same subject area, with supplemental material supplied by individual instructors. While specific details about the eTextbook delivery platform have not yet been determined, a low-priced, print-on- demand option will be made available to students who prefer a hard copy to the electronic version.

Campus + IndustryEMBRACING MOBILE ACCESS. This fall, more than 100 incoming students in the fulltime MBA program at Canada's Laurier School of Business & Economics (ON) began using BlackBerry smart phones as part of their curriculum. The school has implemented the Desire2Learn 2Go mobile learning application, enabling students to view course details, communicate with classmates, sign up for study groups, and check grades, all via their phones. Another Canadian institution has gone the iPhone route: The University of Saskatchewan recently deployed iUSask, an application designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch that allows students to receive grades, get campus news, access campus maps, and utilize a self-service question-and-answer tool powered by IntelliResponse. And stateside, Columbus State University (GA) has integrated Google Apps for mobile devices with the school's online, password protected student information system. With the new Columbus State Mobile App, students can use any web enabled cell phone to securely view information about academic status (such as GPA, adviser contact, and grades), class schedules, admissions documents, financial information, campus shuttle schedules, and more.

Campus + Industry

IONA COLLEGE'S revamped Ryan Library is marrying technology and library science on campus.

TECH-SAVVY LIBRARY. This fall, Iona College (NY) opened its redesigned and expanded Ryan Library, with the goal of marrying technology and library science on campus. The 63,800-square-foot space features individual quiet study and group work/study areas, dual-boot iMac workstations, networked printers and scanners, and a staff of reference librarians and technical support available seven days a week. The library and information technology staffs have been integrated to help move the library into the digital era: Library staff members help students navigate through research databases, answer technical questions, plus conduct ongoing training of faculty members in the use of technology.

SIMPLIFIED NETWORK MANAGEMENT. Boise State University (ID) is using BlueCat's Domain Name System/Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol solution to centrally manage a large and highly distributed campus network. The school has a Class B IP address space with 56 separate DHCP Pools, 208 DNS Zones, and 22,000 host records, as well as 2,300 IP phones. By automating the labor intensive IP address monitoring and management process, the BlueCat technology has simplified network and services administration and increased IT infrastructure stability, making it easy for faculty, staff, and students to instantly and securely access the university's applications, devices, and portals via e-mail, voice mail, or the web.

FOCUSING ON eLEARNING. SunGard Higher Education and Datatel have each announced partnerships with eLearning solution providers: SunGard HE is integrating its solutions with the Epsilen eLearning environment, while Datatel has signed an exclusive deal with Moodlerooms. Both companies are leveraging eLearning technology as a key new facet of their portfolios of products and services.

Campus + Industry

SUNY-DELHI is utilizing a variety of Web 2.0 tools to facilitate IT support.

WEB 2.0 FOR USER SUPPORT. SUNY-Delhi has developed a flagship web page for user help and support that utilizes a variety of Web 2.0 tools to make it easy for users to get up-to-date information, make live contact with technicians, ask questions, submit help tickets, and receive assistance. A customized instant messaging widget from enables live chat; a Google Voice widget provides a tollfree way for users to call for help; and technology from Dimdim provides screen-sharing capability between technicians and end users. Other features include: a Twitter feed for up-to-the- minute system updates; 24/7 self-service search of the school's Atlassian Confluence knowledge base; a podcast RSS feed for video tutorials; an embedded Google Calendar; and a Javascript help form.

SUPPORTING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. Pearson and the Career Colleges & Schools of Texas have announced a partnership to improve retention and achievement for students enrolled in job-training programs. CCST member colleges and schools now can utilize a customized version of Pearson's MyFoundations- Lab, an integrated set of developmental reading, writing, and math resources designed to engage and motivate learners in a completely online environment.

IDENTIFYING AT-RISK STUDENTS. SunGard Higher Education, Purdue University (IN), and the Purdue Research Foundation have collaborated to launch Signals, an early intervention system that warns students who may be under performing in a course and facilitates faculty intervention. Developed by Purdue, the software monitors students' behavior patterns and academic performance to determine if they are at risk of earning a low grade, and allows faculty to suggest actions students can take to improve their grade. An intuitive stoplight icon provides a visual warning to prompt students to take action. Data from Signals will feed into SunGard's Banner Enrollment Management system, to help create a complete picture of a student's educational experience.

:: M & A, Etc.

ELLUMINATE ACQUIRES SOCIAL NETWORK. Elluminate has acquired Edtuit, the company that developed the Elluminate-sponsored LearnCentral social-learning network. Launched this past June, LearnCentral combines asynchronous social networking with Elluminate's real-time online communication, collaboration, and education environment.


Carol ValloneWIMBA TOP EXECS. Wimba has announced the appointment of Carol Vallone as CEO. Vallone has been Wimba's acting CEO for six months, and brings to her role extensive experience as WebCT's co-founder and former CEO. In addition, Barb Ross and Karen Gage have joined the executive team as co-COOs. Both execs spent time at WebCT: Ross as co-founder and COO; Gage as senior VP of marketing.

Ron ThomasEMBRY-RIDDLE DEAN. Ron Thomas has been named dean of online instruction at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (FL). His department provides undergraduate and graduate courses worldwide for a campus of over 38,000 students. In addition, he will oversee a worldwide network of online faculty-development programs, serving more than 4,000 full and part-time faculty members.

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