History and Future of Course Authoring/Management Technologies and Virtual Learning Environments
(Including Predictions for the 21st Century and Knowledge Portals)
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

How to author books and other materials for online delivery
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm
How Web Pages Work --- http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-page.htm

Table of Contents

A Snapshot from 1994
A Snapshot from Today
Trends in Course Authoring Software Attributes
  
Software for Creating Web Pages and Websites 
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act  
GroupWare for Collaborative Learning
The Year 2001 eVal Study at the University of Wisconsin  
WebEx System for Delivering Online Meetings and/or Courses

Year 2006 and Beyond (inclufing Blackboard, Moodle, and Instructure)
Moodle and/or Blogging May Be the Answer

Moodle and Other Competitors to Blackboard

Ideas for Teaching Online (including Distance Education via Centra Symposium and Webex) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm


Database Driven 
 

Grove.net

Resources Including the History of Spreadsheet in Education

Delivering Lectures on Demand and Replay Learning Applications at Major Universities 

Streaming Multimedia (and a Patent Warning)

eLearning Simulation Software

Interactive Web Pages With ASP

Publications Delivery Online 

Grading of Essay and Other Questions

Predictions for the 21st Century (including a section of Knowledge Portals)

Conversations by Phone with a Knowledge (Audio) Portal

Online versus Onsite Universities in the 21st Century

Links to Online Courses and Programs

Appendix

Update on Education Technologies --- The Bright Side Versus the Dark Side

Web Design Tools 

The Free PageOut from McGraw-Hill

Additional Readings

Bob Jensen's threads on Online Education Effectiveness and Testing ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#OnlineOffCampus

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

Question
How can you best publish books, including multimedia and user interactive books, on the Web?
Note that interactive books may have quizzes and examinations where answers are sent back for grading.

My Answers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm


Current and past eLearning and course management alternatives are listed by year at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_virtual_learning_environments

Webmonkey's How to Library

HOW-TO LIBRARY

Authoring
Design
Multimedia
E-Business
Programming
Backend
Jobs


Learning Management System (LMS) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_management_system

"Freeing the LMS," by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, October 13, 2011 ---
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/10/13/pearson_announces_free_learning_management_system

Last year, the media conglomerate Pearson controlled a shade over 1 percent of the market for learning management systems (LMS) among traditional colleges, according to the Campus Computing Project.

This year, Pearson is taking aim at the other 99 percent.

In a move that could shake the e-learning industry, the company today unveiled a new learning management system that colleges will be able to use for free, without having to pay any of the licensing or maintenance costs normally associated with the technology.

Pearson’s new platform, called OpenClass, is only in beta phase; the company does not expect to take over the LMS market overnight. But by moving to turn the learning management platform into a free commodity — like campus e-mail has become for many institutions — Pearson is striking at the foundation of an industry that currently bills colleges for hundreds of millions per year.

“I think that the announcement really marks another, and important, nail in the coffin of the proprietary last-generation learning management system,” says Lev Gonick, CIO of Case Western Reserve University.

By providing complimentary customer support and cloud-based hosting, OpenClass purports to underprice even the nominally free open-source platforms that recently have been gaining ground in the LMS market. Hundreds of colleges have defected from Blackboard -- whose full-service, proprietary platform has ruled the market for more than a decade -- in favor of open-source alternatives that cost nothing to license. But while the source code for these systems is free, colleges have had to pay developers to modify the code and keep the system stable.

OpenClass can be used “absolutely for free,” says Adrian Sannier, senior vice president of product at Pearson. “No licensing costs, no costs for maintenance, and no costs for hosting. So this is a freehttp://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm r offer than Moodle is. It’s a freer offer than any other in the space.”

Outflanking the Market

Pearson, which sells a variety of higher-education products and services, including textbooks, e-tutoring software and online courseware, has had success selling its own proprietary learning management system, LearningStudio (formerly known as eCollege), to for-profit colleges. But the company has made fewer inroads with the much larger nonprofit sector. With OpenClass, Sannier says Pearson is taking aim at “traditional institutions around the country where professors are the ones making the decisions about what’s happening in their classrooms” — a demographic that has long been Blackboard’s stronghold.

“Our intention is to serve every corner of that instructor-choice marketplace,” says Sannier.

Pearson says it is taking a strategic cue from Google, which offers its cloud-based e-mail and applications suite to colleges for free in an effort to secure “mind share” among the students and professors who use it. Like Google with its Apps for Education — with which Pearson has partnered for its beta launch — the media conglomerate is hoping to use OpenClass as a loss leader that points students and professors toward those products that the company’s higher ed division sees as the future of its bottom line: e-textbooks, e-tutoring software, and other “digital content” products.

Continued in article

"New Course-Management Software Promises Facebook-Like Experience," by Alexandra Rice, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 29, 2011 ---
Click Here
http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/new-course-management-software-promises-facebook-like-experience/34488?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Three University of Pennsylvania students who recently dropped out to start an upstart course-management system today unveiled their software, called Coursekit, after having raised more than $1-million in venture capital.

The trio, frustrated with the systems offered by universities, such as Blackboard, decided to team up and design their own online course platform, which emphasizes social networking and an easy-to-use interface. By May, the founders, Joesph Cohen, Dan Getelman, and Jim Grandpre, had raised so much start-up cash, from sources including the Founder Collective and IA Ventures, that they decided to quit school to focus on developing Coursekit.

Thirty universities tested Coursekit this fall, including Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.

Coursekit offers a platform for hosting discussions, posting grades and syllabi, sharing calendars and links, and creating student profiles. The company has hired 80 student ambassadors to introduce the new course-management system to students at colleges across the country.

The software is one of several new challengers to Blackboard, which is used by a majority of U.S. colleges. In October, Pearson announced OpenClass, a free course-management system, and last year a Utah company called Instructure unveiled Canvas, which is available under an open-source license.

Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the trade ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Course Management Systems (CMS) are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

December 3, 2011 reply from Rick Newmark

For collaboration tools, we used Sharepoint in our intro to MIS course, which is required for all business students. Since we adopted Pearson products, Pearson provided with the full version of Sharepoint and 200 access codes. Students can rent the ebook for 180 days on Coursesmart for $24 (list price of hard copy is $56). My techphobic students struggled with learning Sharepoint, and all of us, I included, did take some time to get the hang of it. I think Sharepoint makes a great tool for an AIS course because students have to make many security/control/access decisions for their own group sites. For example, what kind of permissions do you grant to various people/groups? How are you going to control access to documents? Are you going to use check-out/check-in for documents or are you going to let multiple people edit simultaneously?

I am going to use it in my graduate AIS course next semester for the reasons stated above and because they will likely use Sharepoint or some other set of collaboration tools in their professional careers.

Rick Newmark

 


Bob Jensen's helpers are linked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm 

 

A Snapshot from 1994

The purpose of this paper is to briefly trace the short, and in some cases short-lived, history of hypertext and hypermedia course authoring software packages.  I will also summarize the early attributes of course authoring software vis-a-vis attributes of new and surviving packages.  For a more comprehensive coverage of the entire history of distance education, see http://distancelearn.about.com/education/distancelearn/msubhist.htm 

Since I began this threading document of authoring software, an excellent software information guide appeared on the web.  Go to http://www.ctt.bc.ca/landonline/evalapps.html 


Course Management Systems/Learning Management Systems (CMS/LMS) ---
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_management_system

From the 2011 EDUCAUSE Annual Meetings
"Educause Video Archive; Why You Hate Your CMS," by  Josh Keller, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 21, 2011 ---
http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/crosstalk-educause-video-archive-why-you-hate-your-cms/33885?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Educause Archive: Higher ed’s biggest tech conference is over, but Educause has posted a video archive of selected sessions. For those who missed them, be sure to check out Danah Boyd’s presentation on students and online privacy, a Pew presentation on trends in mobile learning, and The Chronicle’s panel on the challenges of the unbundled university.

Mobile Growth: Mary Meeker, a former Morgan Stanley analyst who is one of the most perceptive thinkers on the future of technology, made her annual presentation on how the Internet is changing on Tuesday (slidesvideo). The presentation emphasizes the rapid growth of mobile devices and global Internet usage.

The Hated CMS: Content-management systems, which typically help people organizations their Web sites, are typically among the least liked pieces of software. Among other faults, they age poorly, says Michael Fienen at .eduGuru. Mr. Fienen offers some advice for colleges to choose a CMS more intelligently and for CMS vendors to serve as better members of the higher-ed community.

Question
What was the first computer-based CMS/LMS system?

Hint
It went "hoot."

In the early days of CMS/LMS software there was no Internet available to the general public. The earliest commercial CMS/LMS software came in boxes of floppy disks. The earliest software was developed with funding for the U.S. military training. It later became available to the public in computer stores. Colleges, however, were long delayed in adopting this software in computing centers. Professors like me of course were experimenting on our own. In the early years I used DOS-based HyperGraphics CMS and later Windows-based Toolbook CMS.

The history of CMS/LMS systems is summarized below along with histories of course authoring software and presentation software.

By being an early adopter, I was invited to hundreds of campuses to demonstrate CMS software ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Resume.htm#Presentations
Now I'm a has-been with tons of old floppy disks and old CDs!

 


In 1994, Petrea Sandlin and I wrote a book entitled Electronic Teaching and Learning: Trends in Adapting to Hypertext, Hypermedia, and Networks in Higher Education.  That book covers a lot of the early history of applications of computing technologies to the authoring of documents in courses or the authoring of complete courses.  First there was hypertext navigation software that roots as far back as the 1940s, but hypertext software really did not have a serious impact on training and education until the 1980s when  the Owl Corporation developed a DOS commercial course authoring package called GUIDE.  Prior to that, there were hypertext training and education applications, but these did not entail use of off-the-shelf software.  Projects like the Plato project at the University of Illinois and various military and corporate training applications entailed software development alongside applications development.  A DOS outgrowth of Plato software became known at Tencore.  However, Tencore was slow to adapt to the Windows operating system and lost market shares to upstart companies like Asymetrix Corporation and others listed below.

Following the introduction of Owl's Guide, a raft of off-the-shelf options appeared in the 1980s.  There were two types of course authoring options that are discussed below.  The Course Management System (CMS) software had many features that were not available in what Jensen and Sandlin defined as Alternative Software.  In Chapter 3, they identified ten CMS packages for computerizing complete courses.   They started with hypertext utilities and then added hypermedia authoring features in the early 1990s.  Most of the established products below have survived to 1999 with sales for corporate training, but virtually none of them ever had profitable sales to colleges and universities.  The ten leading 1994  CMS packages identified and discussed on considerable detail in Chapter 3 of Jensen and Sandlin (1994) were as follows:

Most of the above CMS packages were designed for floppy disk or CD-ROM delivery and management of multimedia courses.  These packages peaked in popularity about 1995.  Aside from fierce competition, the major cause of their decline was the World Wide Web that commenced in 1990 but did not become popular until HTML authoring and editing software packages became available in around 1995.  With simple HTML authoring, students can obtain hypertext and hypermedia navigation from documents served up all over the world from a single server.  Equally important, the HTML documents can be updated in real time.  These two huge advantages of web authoring triggered the downslide of CMS course authoring for both corporate training and higher education.  

One of the problems with CD-ROM authoring is that authors and publishing firms in general did not make profits on costly CD-ROM books and courses.  Corporations make good use of them in training programs, but the Internet is rapidly becoming more popular due to ease of access and ease of updating course materials on web server files.  "There are 25,000 CD-ROMs sitting there with nobody making any money from them" according to Marc Canter in "Inventing New Venues," NewMedia, August 1999, pg.17.  For an earlier (August 1998) analysis of what went wrong, see http://newmedia.com/NewMedia/98/09/feature/trip.html.

In addition to the above ten packages that were viable CMS course authoring packages in 1994, there were at least 40 other hypertext and hypermedia software "Alternative Option" packages that did not offer full CMS management options.  However, these other alternatives were nevertheless widely used to author files for training and education courses.  These are listed along with some video software options in  Chapter 3 of Jensen and Sandlin (1994).  Most of these have also disappeared from sight at the end of the 20th Century.  Once again the main contributing factors were intense competition and inefficiency and ineffectiveness of CD-ROM authoring tools as web authoring tools.  Some of the Macintosh packages disappeared as Apple Corporation's market share dwindled.  Others just did not convert the DOS software to the Windows operating system for PCs.

It might be noted that in addition to over 50 course authoring tools in 1994, there were many intensely-competitive presentation software packages.  In 1994 these included  SPC's Harvard Graphics, Gold Disk's Astound, Asymetrix's Compel, Microsoft's PowerPoint, Macromedia's Action, Micrografx's Charisma, Just-Ask-Me, On-The-Air, Lotus Corporation's Freelance, Word Perfect's Presentations, Stanford Graphics, Special Delivery, Q/Media, Zuma Group's Curtain Call, Multimedia Design’s mPower, and others listed in Appendix 6 of Jensen and Sandlin (1994).  By 1999, these have been eclipsed by Microsoft PowerPoint.  None of these presentation packages were hypertext or hypermedia authoring tools.  For example, users could navigate "pages" nonlinearly, but it was not possible to add scripts to "hot words" that would perform scripted actions such as navigation to particular words and paragraphs on other "pages."  

You can read more about the history of course authoring and management systems at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_virtual_learning_environments

A Snapshot from Today


Learning Management System (LMS) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_management_system

"Freeing the LMS," by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, October 13, 2011 ---
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/10/13/pearson_announces_free_learning_management_system

Last year, the media conglomerate Pearson controlled a shade over 1 percent of the market for learning management systems (LMS) among traditional colleges, according to the Campus Computing Project.

This year, Pearson is taking aim at the other 99 percent.

In a move that could shake the e-learning industry, the company today unveiled a new learning management system that colleges will be able to use for free, without having to pay any of the licensing or maintenance costs normally associated with the technology.

Pearson’s new platform, called OpenClass, is only in beta phase; the company does not expect to take over the LMS market overnight. But by moving to turn the learning management platform into a free commodity — like campus e-mail has become for many institutions — Pearson is striking at the foundation of an industry that currently bills colleges for hundreds of millions per year.

“I think that the announcement really marks another, and important, nail in the coffin of the proprietary last-generation learning management system,” says Lev Gonick, CIO of Case Western Reserve University.

By providing complimentary customer support and cloud-based hosting, OpenClass purports to underprice even the nominally free open-source platforms that recently have been gaining ground in the LMS market. Hundreds of colleges have defected from Blackboard -- whose full-service, proprietary platform has ruled the market for more than a decade -- in favor of open-source alternatives that cost nothing to license. But while the source code for these systems is free, colleges have had to pay developers to modify the code and keep the system stable.

OpenClass can be used “absolutely for free,” says Adrian Sannier, senior vice president of product at Pearson. “No licensing costs, no costs for maintenance, and no costs for hosting. So this is a freehttp://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm r offer than Moodle is. It’s a freer offer than any other in the space.”

Outflanking the Market

Pearson, which sells a variety of higher-education products and services, including textbooks, e-tutoring software and online courseware, has had success selling its own proprietary learning management system, LearningStudio (formerly known as eCollege), to for-profit colleges. But the company has made fewer inroads with the much larger nonprofit sector. With OpenClass, Sannier says Pearson is taking aim at “traditional institutions around the country where professors are the ones making the decisions about what’s happening in their classrooms” — a demographic that has long been Blackboard’s stronghold.

“Our intention is to serve every corner of that instructor-choice marketplace,” says Sannier.

Pearson says it is taking a strategic cue from Google, which offers its cloud-based e-mail and applications suite to colleges for free in an effort to secure “mind share” among the students and professors who use it. Like Google with its Apps for Education — with which Pearson has partnered for its beta launch — the media conglomerate is hoping to use OpenClass as a loss leader that points students and professors toward those products that the company’s higher ed division sees as the future of its bottom line: e-textbooks, e-tutoring software, and other “digital content” products.

Continued in article


Edutools --- http://ocep.edutools.info/index.jsp?pj=1

WCET’s EduTools provides independent reviews, side-by-side comparisons, and consulting services to assist decision-making in the e-learning community

Course Management System – Compare reviews of the CMS products most commonly used in higher education and also used by many K-12 virtual schools
Online Course Evaluation Project – Compare reviews of online college, Advanced Placement®, and high school courses as conducted by the Monterey Institute of Technology and Education• WCALO Reviews of AP® Courses
View the results of research projects • Learning object repository software Student services products e-Learning Policies ePortfolios

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course authoring and management software ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


"Make Your Own E-Books with Pandoc, by Lincoln Mullen, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 20, 2012 ---
http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/make-your-own-e-books-with-pandoc/39067?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

"2 New Platforms Offer Alternative to Apple’s Textbook-Authoring Software," by Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 17. 2012 ---
Click Here
http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/2-new-platforms-offer-alternative-to-apples-textbook-authoring-software/35495?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on E-Books are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Ebooks.htm

 


Video:  Internet Real Time Communication and Collaboration (1 hour, 20 minutes)
Google Wave --- http://code.google.com/apis/wave/
Google Wave is a product that helps users communicate and collaborate on the web. A "wave" is equal parts conversation and document, where users can almost instantly communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more. Google Wave is also a platform with a rich set of open APIs that allow developers to embed waves in other web services and to build extensions that work inside waves.
Developer Preview --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ

Course Management Systems (like Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle, ToolBook, etc.) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Course_Management_System

A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a software system designed to support teaching and learning in an educational setting, as distinct from a Managed Learning Environment, (MLE) where the focus is on management. A VLE will normally work over the Internet and provide a collection of tools such as those for assessment (particularly of types that can be marked automatically, such as multiple choice), communication, uploading of content, return of students' work, peer assessment, administration of student groups, collecting and organizing student grades, questionnaires, tracking tools, etc. New features in these systems include wikis, blogs, RSS and 3D virtual learning spaces.

While originally created for distance education, VLEs are now most often used to supplement traditional face to face classroom activities, commonly known as Blended Learning. These systems usually run on servers, to serve the course to students Multimedia and/or web pages.

In 'Virtually There', a book and DVD pack distributed freely to schools by the Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning Foundation (YHGfL), Professor Stephen Heppell writes in the foreword: "Learning is breaking out of the narrow boxes that it was trapped in during the 20th century; teachers' professionalism, reflection and ingenuity are leading learning to places that genuinely excite this new generation of connected young school students - and their teachers too. VLEs are helping to make sure that their learning is not confined to a particular building, or restricted to any single location or moment."

The Marriage of SMSS and CMS:  Will you take this partner for better or for worse, in sickness and in health?

"The State and Future of the Social Media Management System Space," ReadWriteWeb, March 18, 2011 ---
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_state_and_future_of_the_social_media_management_system_space.php

This post originally appeared on guest author Jeremiah Owyang's blog. Social Media Management Systems, like CMS systems for websites, help companies manage, maintain, and measure thousands of social media accounts. Although the nascent SMMS space is only one year old, 58% of corporations have adopted at least one of these 28 vendors. Altimeter is conducting a formal research report on the SMMS topic (see research agenda for 2011), However, I wanted to give a year-end state, after coining this category 12 months ago and listing out vendors.

SMMS systems are the next growth market for the social business category. While saturation is at 58% of corporate buyers, the average deal size is a meager $22,000 but will expect to grow to six figure annual deals in coming quarters to meet market demand. This growing space has low barriers to entry, which result in a flood of clones, but expect only a handful to remain after a shakeout to serve enterprise-class buyers.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
It will be interesting to see how the marriage of SMSS with CMS software plays out. CMS stands for Course Management Systems which includes everything from 1990s versions of Authorware and ToolBook to present revised versions of Authorware and ToolBook that have been virtually eclipsed by CMS systems such as Blackboard and Moodle. A summary of the history of CMS software can be found at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

SMMS will inevitably become part and parcel to CMS since social media is becoming such a vital part of learning and education and student communications. But CMS itself will remain important for examination management, course record keeping, password-controlled serving up of course materials available to enrolled students but not available to the public in general, chat rooms, instant messaging, etc.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


Google dropped Google Wave in 2010

"Could Google (Wave Replace Course-Management Systems?" by Jeff Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 7, 2009 --- Click Here
http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Could-Google-Wave-Replace/8354/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en 

Google argues that its new Google Wave system could replace e-mail by blending instant messaging, wikis, and image and document sharing into one seamless communication interface. But some college professors and administrators are more excited about Wave's potential to be a course-management-system killer.

"Just from the initial look I think it will have all the features (and then some) for an all-in-one software platform for the classroom and beyond," wrote Steve Bragaw, a professor of American politics at Sweet Briar College, on his blog last week.

Mr. Bragaw admits he hasn't used Google Wave himself -- so far the company has only granted about 100,000 beta testers access to the system. Each of those users is allowed to invite about eight friends (who can each invite eight more), so the party is slowly growing louder while many are left outside waiting behind a virtual velvet rope. But Google has posted an hour-long video demonstration of the system that drew quite a buzz when it was unveiled in May. That has sparked speculation of how Wave might be used.

Greg Smith, chief technology officer at George Fox University, did manage to snag an invitation to try Wave, and he too says it could become a kind of online classroom.

That probably won't happen anytime soon, though. "Wave is truly a pilot right now, and it's probably a year away from being ready for prime time," he said, noting that Wave eats up bandwidth while it is running. Google will probably take its time letting everyone in, he said, so that it can work out the kinks.

And even if some professors eventually use Wave to collaborate with students, colleges will likely continue to install course-management systems so they know they have core systems they can count on, said Mr. Smith.

Then again, hundreds of colleges already rely on Google for campus e-mail and collaborative tools, through a free service the company offers called Google Apps Education Edition. Could a move to Google as course-management system provider be next?

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

 

Question
What are the supposed Top 10 and the Top 100 e-Learning tools, at least in England?


Answer
Top 100 --- http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/top100.html
Various experts list their Top 10 --- http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/index.html

Jensen Comment
I totally disagree with the rankings of the Top 100 and the Top 10.

Where is Blackboard and WebCT? --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackboard

Where are the many important tools for handicapped learners? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Handicapped

Where is Camtasia? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm

Where are the edutainment and learning game alternatives? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment

Where is Matlab (used in virtually every U.S. university) --- --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MATLAB

Like it or not, Wikipedia is one of the most sought out sights in the world by e-Learners --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
There are risks, but the odds are high that users will get helpful learning information and links.

Where are HTML and related XML/RTF and XBRL markups?  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm  

Where are the many huge and free online libraries? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Where are the important blogs and listservs? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm

I could go on and on here!

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course authoring, management, and presentation technologies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm 

Toolbook, unlike Authorware, Still Lives

ToolBook --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ToolBook

 

September 25, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the update. At one time ToolBook was my main man, but those days are long gone. ToolBook has morphed through many changes in ownership and codes, but it does somehow manage a Darwinian evolution. It evolved from early versions that required authors to be techies in coding in OpenScript to later versions that feature over a dozen templates for relatively simple course authoring --- almost plug and play.

It seems to have caught on with training programs in some deep pockets corporations, including Big Four accounting firms. Some of the sample courses look great --- http://www.sumtotalsystems.com/resources/toolbook/learn_showcase.html?src=tbhome
However, there are no samples from universities as far as I can tell.
Is there a reason?

I do not see signs that the latest ToolBook upgrades have cracked into the academic market.

Are there any universities that have ToolBooks to demo?

Are there any college online education or training programs built on ToolBook?

Is there special academic pricing for Version 10?

ToolBook's Homepage --- http://www.sumtotalsystems.com/products/content-creation/tb_index.html

ToolBook 10:
Revolutionize the way you create e-Learning content ToolBook empowers subject matter experts and learning professionals to rapidly create interactive learning content, quizzes, assessments, and software simulations. With the convenience of on-demand and mobile access, your employees will learn more, faster—and deliver better business results.

Learning content that you create in ToolBook is distributed as HTML and delivered through almost any Learning Management System (LMS) available, including the SumTotal LMS, other SCORM/AICC-compliant LMS, or standalone systems.

Thousands of corporations use ToolBook today to deliver high-value learning. ToolBook users span multiple industries—including healthcare, manufacturing, finance, retail, government, education and more—and easily deploy across major operating systems, Web browsers, and mobile devices.

September 25, 2009 reply from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

Bob:
I'll be developing in Toolbook, and will share some of my output, but I am very busy until the end of the year at least.

They have become more aggressive in pricing - A single license is now in the $2,800 range, and I am not aware of any academic pricing. I usually shy away from academic licenses, since I sell my output in the commercial market, and most academic licenses prohibit that. Most content authoring tools like Toolbook do not have royalty sharing arrangements. You are paying big bucks for the product, why pay more?

Jeff Rhodes at www.plattecanyon.com  is the smartest, most productive multimedia programmer in the world (IMHO) created a very profitable private corporation around Toolbook and multimedia development.

Richard

August 3, 2007 reply from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

Bob:
I agree with you that the list is flawed - Toolbook should be #1

Richard J. Campbell

mailto:campbell@rio.edu

August 3, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Richard

ToolBook should’ve been number 1 but it fumbled the ball. What proportion of e-Learners are now learning, today, from ToolBooks? My guess is that much less than one percent. A negligible proportion of instructors are developing learning materials using ToolBook dhtml files relative to FrontPage and Dreamweaver htm files.

The biggest innovation for e-Learners and authors was Adobe Acrobat’s tremendous development of online pdf files that could be read and electronically searched for free but not be tampered with by readers. Now major commercial publishing houses are putting new books on line as pdf files.

One of the biggest innovations I forgot to mention was the unknown (at least to me) date in which MS Office files (particularly ppt, doc, and xls files) could be downloaded and read from Web servers that at one time only could handle htm markups. In terms of e-learning htm, pdf, doc, xls, and ppt files are overwhelmingly the main files for e-Learning, although they are now joined by such files as xml files.

Another huge e-Learning innovation that I forgot to mention is the unknown (at least to me) date in which the above learning and research files could be attached to email messages. This made it easier to have private distributions (say to students in a class) without having to put files on Web, Blackboard, or WebCT servers. Anybody with email can not send files back and forth.

There is still a great risk of macro viruses when downloading MS Office files from the Web or email messages. However, most e-Learners are doing so from trusted Web sites and/or email senders such as files from their course instructors.

ToolBook could fade away and the world would hardly know about it or miss it.

Bob Jensen

Epsilen Environment from Purdue University appears to have brought together the latest technology in a course authoring, course management, and e-learning package  --- http://www.epsilen.com/Epsilen/Public/Home.aspx

The Epsilen Environment is the result of six years of research and development within the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Epsilen Products and Services are commercially available through BehNeem LLC, the holding company created in Indiana to commercialize, market and further develop the Epsilen Environment. The New York Times is an equity and strategic partner in the company.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

A 2008 addition to the above history site came to my attention in a loose-card advertisement for Epsilen Enviroment that came in the November 3, 2008 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Free ePortfolios 
 
Basic ePortfolio accounts are free for all registered students and faculty of U.S. colleges and universities.  An Epsilen ePortfolio can be created in minutes and be used throughout one’s academic career, during professional life, and even into retirement.  The free Epsilen ePortfolio account offers tools and resources enabling members to:

If your campus is, or becomes, a licensed Epsilen institution (see below), your free ePortfolio will integrate dynamically with more sophisticated tools and services listed below that accompany the paid license. Visit www.epsilen.com to create your personal ePortfolio and begin exploring the Environment. 

  
Exploratory Institutional Memberships
 
The Exploratory Membership is an easy and cost-effective option for colleges and universities, schools, districts and state systems to explore and experience the features of Epsilen, the next generation of learning and networking software.  Upon payment of an annual membership fee, the following features are available to Exploratory Members: 

Annual Exploratory Memberships begin at $5,000 for campuses with up to 2,000 students.  Click here for more pricing information and order application. 
 
 

New York Times Knowledge Network

New York Times Knowledge (NYTKnowledge Network) offers New York Times content to complement faculty-designed courses served dynamically in customizable templates through Epsilen’s Global Learning System.  New York Times content is aggregated by subject and easily selected and incorporated into lessons by faculty and the interactive learning environment. NYTKnowledge Network provides access to a repository of Times archives back to 1851 Times articles, special issues sections, multimedia features, and synchronous and asynchronous contact with correspondents, resulting in an extraordinary integrated learning environment that supports hybrid or online offerings.
 

The New York Times Knowledge Network also offers the opportunity to participate in Webcasts with the Times correspondents and other subject matter experts. These can be included in traditional courses, or offered by your institution as stand-alone life-long learning experiences with comprehensive continuing education programs designed by the New York Times. 


NYT Knowledge Network Provides:

  • A rich repository of archived content back to 1851
  • Access to other major content providers
  • Multimedia news content
  • Interactive maps and graphs
  • Webcasts, chats with correspondents
  • A comprehensive range of content aggregated by subject and easily integrated to support your teaching objectives.
  • NYTimes Knowledge Network marketing of your continuing education courses.  

Visit http://www.nytimes.com/knowledge for further information and pricing (will be released in mid August 2007).
 

Student Learning Matrix 
 
Programs, departments, and schools within a campus may create unlimited student learning matrices to be used by students through an automated learning outcome assessment tool for both summative and formative learning assessment.  Features include:

  • Creation of unlimited student learning matrices for program- or campus-level learning outcome assessment (Each axis includes attributes defined by the program/campus.)
  • Ability for students to upload their learning outcomes according to predefined rubrics
  • Access by faculty and academic advisors to each student learning matrix for assessment, advisement, and certification
  • Program- and campus-level assessment reports for internal and external accreditation reviews
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires no institutional IT support

The annual Student Learning Matrix membership fee is based on the number of students in the program or institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Global Learning System (GLS)
 
 

Epsilen offers the Global Learning System (GLS), a new Web-based learning framework developed as the next generation of eLearning and networking. In contrast to current legacy learning management systems, the GLS offers true global learning collaboration by connecting students and instructors on campuses in the U.S. and around the world in an interactive and intuitive Web 2.0 learning environment.  The GLS complements existing licensed or open source CMS products.  The GLS features include:

  • Global learning management system that enables students and instructors to easily register or be invited to courses and learning collaboration
  • Cross listing of class rosters of two or more courses within various campuses, or across institutions
  • Innovative tools using professional and social networking to enhance learning, encourage collaboration, and utilize peer review technology
  • The ability to easily archive courses and working groups for continued engagement
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires little, or no institutional IT support

The annual GLS membership fee is based on the number of students and courses within the institution. Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Charter Membership
 

Experience the full suite of the Epsilen “Environment” and resources with unparalleled access to NYTKnowledge Network content. Charter members receive special pricing for unlimited use of ePortfolios, the Student Learning Matrix, courses through the Global Learning System, and interactive Webcasts with correspondents.  With charter membership, two university administrators will be invited to participate in the Epsilen - New York Times charter council, with meetings and events scheduled at The New York Times.  Benefits include:

  • Single sign-on environment featuring a toolbox of services for ePortfolio, social networking, Learning Matrix, GLS, object repository, and NYTKnowledge Network
  • Totally hosted turnkey solution with no need for local servers or local technical staff
  • Cost effectiveness for both small and large campuses
  • Collaboration on designing the next generation of eLearning through networking with other members of the Epsilen - New York Times charter council

The Epsilen Charter membership fee is based on the total number of students within the institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application. 
 
 

Technical Support and System Integration
 

Epsilen offers consulting and technical support through both internal and third-party sources for the integration of Epsilen with local campus databases and existing licensed technology.  This provides a seamless, single sign-on, portal approach to all resources and services supporting the learning and teaching initiatives of a campus.  Click Here for more information and online membership application.

I maintain a site on tools and tricks of the trade at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

 


 

Current and past eLearning and course management alternatives are listed by year at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_virtual_learning_environments

The near-monopoly of course management systems since 1994 has been Blackboard (Bb) since Bb was allowed by the Government to buy out its WebCT arch competitor --- http://www.blackboard.com/us/index.Bb

Question
What's next in course management since Blackboard is taking aim at its own foot with monopoly pricing?

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives to Blackboard are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm

Updates on Moodle --- See below!

Updates on Sloodle and Second Life (virtual world learning) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#SecondLife
The above link includes accounting education applications of Second Life.

Question
In edutainment generation of students, does virtual learning have to be fun?

"Virtual Labor Lost:  The failure of a highly anticipated game shows the academic limits of virtual worlds," by Erica Naone, MIT's Technology Review, December 5, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19817/?nlid=719

Academics are flocking to use virtual worlds and multiplayer games as ways to research everything from economics to epidemiology, and to turn these environments into educational tools. But one such highly anticipated effort--a multiplayer game about Shakespeare meant to teach people about the world of the bard while serving as a place for social-science experiments--is becoming its own tragedy.

The game, called Arden, the World of Shakespeare, was a project out of Indiana University funded with a $250,000 MacArthur Foundation grant. Its creator, Edward Castronova, an associate professor of telecommunications at the university, wanted to use the world to test economic theories: by manipulating the rules of the game, he hoped to find insights into the way that money works in the real world. Players can enter the game and explore a town called Ilminster, where they encounter characters from Shakespeare, along with many plots and quotations. They can answer trivia questions to improve their characters and play card games with other players. Coming from Castronova, a pioneer in the field, the game was expected by many to show the power of virtual-world-based research.

But Castronova says that there's a problem with the game: "It's no fun." While focusing on including references to the bard, he says, his team ended up sidelining some of the fundamental features of a game. "You need puzzles and monsters," he says, "or people won't want to play ... Since what I really need is a world with lots of players in it for me to run experiments on, I decided I needed a completely different approach."

Castronova has abandoned active development of Arden; he released it last week to the public as is, rather than starting up the experiments he had planned. Part of the problem: it costs a lot to build a new multiplayer game. While his grant was large for the field of humanities, it was a drop in the bucket compared with the roughly $75 million that he says goes into developing something on the scale of the popular game World of Warcraft. "I was talking to people like it was going to be Shakespeare: World of Warcraft, but the money you need for that is so much more," he says. Castronova also says that he was taking on too much by attempting to combine education and research. He believes that his experience should serve as a warning for other academics.

Ian Bogost, a video-game researcher and assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, agrees. "It's very, very hard to make games in the best of circumstances, and a university is never the best of circumstances," he says. "I have serious doubts about not just the potential for success but even the appropriateness of pursuing development work of this kind in the context of the university." If researchers are going to build games for the purposes of research, Bogost says, he thinks it's important to look at the process realistically, and with a scientific eye. "In most disciplines, it's okay to fess up to what worked and what didn't. In laboratory work, you do this all the time ... If this is really research and not just production, then of course there are going to be these kinds of surprises."

September 18, 2007 message from Peters, James M [jpeters@NMHU.EDU]

Our (small and poor) University is looking at alternative to Blackboard to support both local and internet classes. I recall that this issue was discussed recently on this list and was wondering if any of you would be willing to provide some short statements about alternative products to Blackboard and your assessment of them. Bluntly, the merger between Blackboard and WebCt was, in my opinion, a disaster for the consumer. The existing Blackboard product is full of programming bugs and I would like to be able to go to the committee on which I serve with viable options to switching. However, the State of New Mexico also is looking into standardizing a product state-wide and so the alternatives need to be viable for larger Universities as well.

Any thoughts or comments would be welcome. Since I haven't used this list much, if there is an old archive of threaded discussions I can review that would be useful as well.

Thanks.

Jim Peters, PhD
Associate Professor of Accounting
School of Business
213 Sininger Hall
New Mexico Highlands University
Las Vegas, NM 87701

October 8, 2007 message from Allen M. Ford, MBA, MSSE, MFA [amfnbt@RIT.EDU]

My two cents: The Business Studies Department at NTID offers a variety of courses through the moodle platform set up on a local server. I find it a very attractive alternative to Bb and Desire2Learn (current RIT standard) in that it handles larger files (think DB) and is extremely instructor friendly. While I do "train" and help faculty set up courses, I find that once they learn how easy and intuitive it is, they require minimal hand-holding. In the past five years we have had no server related issues...upgrades require minimal techie intervention. In comparison with my experience teaching COB DL courses using Desire2Learn, if it were my decision, I would use moodle.

That said, I would encourage faculty to investigate what online resources are available from publishers. During a current textbook process, Wiley's EZ-Plus impressed the committee with its CMS that are content specific and ready to roll. Check it out at: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Brand/id-31.html

September 18, reply from Del DeVries [devriesd@MAIL.BELMONT.EDU]

The "what next" question that is most interesting to me is what technology is compelling for engaging students in learning? If I use Skype for online office hours, I believe that I am more accessible to students AND the opportunity for easy voice / chat / file transfer are good for solving some student problems. I can use Camtasia to create audio/video Flash demo's to illustrate a "how-to". Both Skype and Camtasia are good for communicating with students who may not physically show up in my office. But what are the other possibilities that are both cost effective, time effective, AND work to engage student learning?

The AECM (and Bob Jenson's archive of links) are a virtual treasure chest of idea's over the years. Today's students are very comfortable with wireless laptops, enhanced phones, and general savy for social networking with Facebook, etc. But at the end of the day I'm still asking the question of what technologies would be useful for engaging with tomorrow's (and today's) students.

 

Dr. Del DeVries, CPA, CISA
Assistant Professor of Accounting & Information Systems
College of Business Administration
Belmont University 1900 Belmont Blvd Nashville, TN 37212 615-460-6930

Reply from Bob Jensen on September 18, 2007

Hi Del and Jim,

When there is an unregulated monopoly, expect both prices and patent infringement suits to skyrocket. Blackboard should've never been allowed to buy WebCT. My threads on Blackboard are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm

There are various competitors to Blackboard competitors, many of whom have been involved in lawsuits with Blackboard and WebCT. Many of these competitors (e.g., Sakai, Moodle, and ATutor) are listed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackboard_Inc
Some schools with severe funding problems use Moodle.

Moodle Homepage --- http://moodle.org/

The good news is that Moodle is free. A lot of colleges, especially small colleges, changed to Moodle after Blackboard commenced monopoly pricing.

You can track Moodle News (the good, the bad, and the ugly) at http://eduspaces.net/moodlenews/weblog/160022.html

Moodle purportedly is very flexible, in part, because it has open source coding. Many of the positives are outlined at http://moodle.com/
There is also a help desk.

Like many open source options, including Open Source Office, Moodle keeps getting better and better. Old criticisms may no longer be applicable. I recently gave an education technology workshop for accounting educators in Mississippi. Many of the users were happy with Moodle.

And there's Sloodle for open source virtual learning software --- http://www.sloodle.com/

December 4, 2007 message from Vidya

Second Life is a 3D virtual environment and in that regard not a competitor to Moodle at all. Sloodle is actually the Moodle counterpart to courses taught in Second Life and in that sense it's symbiotic relationship of sorts between the 3D immersive virtual environment and astandard 2D learning environment :-).

Vidya Ananthanarayanan
Instructional Support Manager
Center for Learning and Technology
Trinity University

vidya@trinity.com/210.999.7346|
http://www.trinity.edu/clt  

 

 

 

The expense of Blackboard, and all of these alternatives, in fact is much more than licensing fees. The expensive problem is the technical support staff needed to both maintain the servers (these systems have their own servers) and to train users of the system, students and staff. This is an expense that never ends. Most importantly there must be relatively expensive backup systems. Servers crash and burn. If courses across a campus become dependent on those servers, it is vital to have backup systems that can be shifted into gear almost immediately. This is where IT staff become crucial.

Of course Blackboard and other vendors like eCollege can take all the IT headaches off campus. This is something I recommend for smaller colleges, but it is more expensive in some ways and cheaper in others considering the expensive and specialized IT skills needed to maintain servers and backup systems.

Below is a virtual-office-hours tidbit for the September 28 edition of Tidbits.  I wouldn't describe virtual office hours as a competitor to Blackboard as much as it addresses Del's question of “What next?” However, at Harvard this is “What now?” Various "What next?" scenarios are listed at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm

There are many other “what next?” possibilities, the most important of which will be a joint effort (academe, standard setters, and industry) to develop massive Wiki-like and YouTube-like knowledge bases filled with pedagogical videos, spreadsheets, and hyperlinks on almost any accounting, auditing, and systems topic imaginable. These probably will be somewhat more secure than Wikipedia/YouTube, but it still will be in the open sharing and development spirit. I’m constantly amazed at the immense (over a billion) number of modules in Wikipedia that just grew and grew. My experience is that most of the modules are excellent except for some politically sensitive topics and highly specialized topics in technical disciplines.

This is why Camtasia is so important. More and more we will see YouTube-like videos that can be used tot take over more and more where the classroom leaves off. See some of the Acct 5341 and Acct5342 illustrations at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/ (I’m not quite sure why I downloaded the Astaire-Powel and BravoAmerica videos in  this folder a long, long time ago --- Dah!)

In the future, instructors can focus more on motivation to learn and underlying theory while leaving the technical explanations to the knowledge bases where technical explanations and illustrations can be played over and over again and again until they are understood by users. This of course is very frightening to many instructors who are practiced at explaining technical modules and lousy at explaining underlying theory.

The searching will be partly like XBRL if the knowledge base items have XML tags and eventually, as Jagdish points out, Semantic Web searching --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm

It never ceases to amaze me how much knowledge is already available in Wikipedia and YouTube. These are open sharing knowledge bases to be used with caution and suspicion. But they are unbelievably vast in terms of history and, in the case of Wikipedia, full of reference links and highly informative user discussions. Knowledge has become so vast that it boggles our minds. Rather than be scholars filled with facts and figures, we will become scholars who can tap into facts, figures, and knowledge-base explanations that we’re educated enough to comprehend on an as-needed basis.

I can’t remember how to do half the things I put into Camtasia videos (especially in my MS Access videos), but I play them back once or twice and it all makes sense again. What an aid to me these videos are whenever I have to teach something in Access, Excel, XBRL, intangible assets valuation, etc. If only others in the academy would see fit to freely share their Camtasia videos. Sigh!

Anybody interested in developing Camtasia videos might look at my PowerPoint file on Camtasia at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/EdTech/PowerPoint/

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives to Blackboard are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm

Current and past eLearning and course management alternatives are listed by year at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_virtual_learning_environments

Updates on Sloodle and Second Life (virtual world learning) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#SecondLife
The above link includes accounting education applications of Second Life.


PLATO Orion Standards and Curriculum Integrator.
Largest Idaho District Selects PLATO Orion for Standards-Based Teaching Initiative PLATO Learning Inc. announced it has been awarded a $454,000 agreement with Idaho's Meridian Joint School District for a districtwide implementation of PLATO Orion Standards and Curriculum Integrator. PLATO Orion is an integrated instructional management system that supports the continuous improvement and data-driven decision-making processes of educational organizations. At the district level, it helps curriculum specialists identify standards and objectives for each grade and allows administrators to identify gaps in standards coverage within existing materials and lesson plans. At the building level, teachers use PLATO Orion to access, create, and use formative assessments to identify students' strengths and weaknesses and then identify and assign aligned resources, including PLATO Instructional Solutions, lessons plans, textbooks, and Web sites for individualized instruction.
T.H.E. Newsletter on June 15, 2005

For the full story, visit http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/050609/95097.html?.v=1 


I'm not certain how well it is doing, but Authorware is still alive ---
http://www.macromedia.com/software/authorware/?promoid=home_prod_aw_082403 

Toolbook is also still alive, but it is a long ways from the original ToolBook coded in OpenScript.  Users now rely more on pre-coded templates with fewer customization and creativity alternatives.

Both Authorware and ToolBook are used more in the corporate training world with academic applications on campuses being few and far between.  Far more important on campuses have been the course management systems of WebCT and Blackboard.


Presedia:  A new product from Macromedia in Year 2003 --- http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/presedia/presentation/145326/ 
The above website has an audio overview from Macromedia.

In addition to course management and examination grading utilities, the above CMS course authoring packages had "scripting" options that allowed authors to attach scripts to objects such as hot words.  These scripts afforded authors an opportunity to be highly creative and not be restricted to pre-programmed templates.  In most instances the scripting languages were proprietary.  The best-known scripting language was Lingo used in Macromedia's Authorware and Director.  The Asymetrix (now Click-to-Learn SumTotal Systems) ToolBook proprietary scripting language is called OpenScript.  This was both a blessing and a curse.  It was a blessing in terms of opportunities for authoring creativity.  It was a curse in terms of learning how to write scripts without syntax errors.  One of the reasons CMS packages did not sell well to instructors was the time it took to become skilled at adding scripts.

"Director MX Versus Flash," by Michael Kay, Webmonkey, January 28, 2003 ---  http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/03/03/index1a.html 

Director, which hit the scene way back in 1988, was always considered the ultimate multimedia authoring tool. Then the Web came along and Shockwave, a format that translated Director projects for the Web, was born. It was pretty wowie in its day (circa 1995), but the size of Shockwave files, along with the browser plugin users needed to see them, really slowed Shockwave down. Enter Flash's SWF format, which was designed solely for the Web so it was faster and easier to use than Shockwave. And the rest is history: Flash is everywhere, and whipper-snapper Web developers are all, "Shockwave who?"

But Shockwave has its uses.

Flash may be better than ever these days, but you can still outgrow it. Say you need better video performance, or you want to create a game or educational tool that uses a joy stick. Or maybe you're looking for the depth of 3D animation. When it comes to interactive projects in the non-Web world (yes, it's true, there is life outside the Web) — such as CD-ROM games, educational materials, reference books, and presentations — sometimes Flash just isn't enough. If you're tackling a big-league, off-Web project, or a particularly intricate website, then perhaps it's time to take another look at Macromedia's Director MX.

To be honest, the last time I paid any serious attention to Director was a good few releases ago. So when I siddled up to the latest version, I brought my old prejudices with me: that it was no longer a serious player, that Flash had passed it by long ago. But Director MX changed my mind.

Director has supported Flash vector content for awhile now, which helps performance, and Director 8.5 introduced real 3D support. Version MX, however, takes multimedia development to a whole new level. With even better Flash integration and a host of new features, Director MX is now the most powerful general interactive tool out there. And when it comes to non-Web projects with fewer file-size limitations, such as a kiosk or CD-ROM, Director is even more compelling.

Shold every Flash developer and Web designer run out and purchase Director MX today? At US$1,199 a pop, I'm not saying that. But if budget allows, and your next project has graduated past the abilities of Flash, Director MX could be the answer. In the pages that follow, I'll go over some of the issues you might want to consider as you contemplate taking the Director plunge

Continued in the article.

Largely because of scripting complexities and lack of authoring friendliness and relatively high licensing fees, the CMS authoring packages never sold well in academe.  They were sustained by the corporate and government training market where technicians could be employed to write the scripts.  In most instances what sustained the companies was the consulting side of the business where employees of the software vendor were employed as development consultants to write training courses.  Colleges and universities usually did not have the resources to employ these consultants to create education courses.

As we move into the 21th Century, most of the above CMS products have either disappeared entirely or are being drastically re-engineered for web delivery.  Vendors of CMS packages have not made money on software sales.  Those that managed to stay in business did so on the basis of corporate training program consulting.  In most instances, the survivors had to adopt totally different underlying software more suited to web delivery of courses in place of CD-ROM delivery.  For example, my favorite CD-ROM course authoring alternative was ToolBook from Asymetrix.  Although this is still and excellent alternative for CD-ROM authoring of books and courses, Asymetrix has announced that it is no longer going to feature or upgrade ToolBook programmed in its proprietary OpenScript.  Even though Asymetrix developed a web reader called Neuron for ToolBooks, web delivery of Neuron books over the Internet is neither efficient nor effective.  An analogy that I previously used is that web serving of Toolbooks coded in OpenScript or Authorware courses coded in Lingo are like pushing 800 lb gorillas through a garden hose.  

In 1999 the proprietary scripting market share has been taken over by HTML authoring software (notably Microsoft FrontPage), presentation software (notably Microsoft PowerPoint), and Adobe Acrobat.  However, since those popular options lack utilities for dynamic interactions online, there is a move toward adding dynamic HTML (DHTML) authoring software (e.g., Macromedia Dreamweaver), Java, and other server-side web authoring software listed below.  The most significant happening in 1999 was the addition of utilities in Microsoft Excel 2000 and Access 2000 to automatically convert Visual Basic codes into DHTML codes that can be read inside web browsers such as Internet Explorer.  Microsoft's addition of round tripping allows for reverse coding back into Visual Basic.

Probably most significant in recent years is the emergence of web authoring packages for server-side (shell) delivery of interactive courses.  In some cases, the new packages are being delivered by companies whose former authoring software is dead or dying.  For example, tbtAuthor from HyperGraphics Corporation is dead as a CMS package, but the new eInstruction Corporation web servers have kept the company alive and well.  In some instances, universities originated server "shells" that evolved quickly into full-featured commercial web authoring packages.  For example, a large market share is now held by WebCT that commenced at the University of British Columbia.  The rapidly-rising Blackboard system commenced at Cornell University.  Some alternatives are lesser-known and are still marketed from universities such as Mallard from the University of Illinois, Oncourse available from Indiana University, and Serf available from the University of Delaware.  Beware that free packages or packages still sold by universities often do not have some of the upgrade features found in alternatives that were developed initially at universities and then sold to corporations for further development and marketing.

I was once a ToolBook enthusiast and developed all my courses around CDs that I created in ToolBook.  ToolBook was a long-time main product of Asymetrix Corporation that later became part of Click-to-Learn --- http://home.click2learn.com/ 

ToolBook and Authorware were leading products for interactive CD learning technologies and course management systems.  Both had huge learning curves for course authors, but the capabilities for interactive learning were leading edge until networked learning became common place.  Authors had to learn how to code using either OpenScript for ToolBook or Lingo for Authurware.  Although both products had free readers that could be installed on computers, these never worked really well and learning modules were just too large and complicated for Internet Delivery.  ToolBook abandoned further development of OpenScript and resorted to DHTML templates that are more efficient for delivery of courses on the Internet, but eliminate creative authoring that was possible in OpenScript.

Both Click-to-Learn (for ToolBook) and Macromedia (for Authorware and Dreamweaver) missed the boat in terms of capturing the academic market.  WebCT and Blackboard upstarts from Cornell University (Blackboard) and the University of British Columbia (WebCT) went commercial and virtually captured the market on college campuses around the world.

Belatedly in 2002, Click-to-Learn made a desperation pricing move to get a wedge in the college market.  On May 24, 2002, Click-to-Learn sent the following message to potential customers:

Advances in e-learning are transforming the way we think about education. Learning is now a lifelong process and necessity, requiring that courses are available to people "anytime, anyplace, at any pace."

ToolBook Instructor enables educators to easily create engaging, highly interactive courses to accelerate the learning process. It walks you step-by-step through both content creation and the most effective method to deliver finished courses using the Internet or CD-ROM.

ToolBook enables you to: Quickly design Web-ready curriculum, quizzes, and exams using built-in templates, catalogs, and wizards. Enable your students to see and hear what you are teaching them using streaming media. Create "show-me" and "try-me" simulations and custom functions using the Actions Editor, a visual programming tool.

Special Offer!
Place your order by August 30, 2002, we'll give you a renewable campus-wide site license for only $2,599 a year. ToolBook Instructor normally retails for $2,599 per individual copy, but if you act now you will enjoy this same low price but receive this site license for your entire campus to use!

You will receive:

Order today by calling 1.800.471.5184 ext 1541 or send email to sales@click2learn.com

Best Regards,
Click2learn, Inc.

This move is probably too little too late.  WebCT and Blackboard are too entrenched and have features not available in TookBook.  Most notably, WebCT and Blackboard have database interface features that allow student information from the Registrar's Office (course enrollments, email addresses, etc.) to be automatically posted for every course on campus.  For example, at Trinity University our student and financial database from Datatel interfaces with our Blackboard system.

Another risk from investing financial and intellectual capital in ToolBook is that ToolBook has never been profitable to Click-to-Learn.  Even on a pro-forma basis that puts the company in the best possible light, net earnings are increasingly negative.  The company lost $0.86 per share in 2000 and $0.60 per share in 2001.  The trend is upward, but desperation pricings such as the deal offered above do not send out promising signals for the long-term future of ToolBook.

To me this is very sad since I invested so much of my time and money learning to use ToolBook.  This is yet another example of an educational software company that did not understand what is known as cost-profit-volume (CPV) analysis in managerial accounting.  Companies that price very high for a niche market (in ToolBook's case training software for large and wealthy companies) and price themselves out of the mass market (in this case colleges, universities and K-12 schools) find themselves left high and dry when their niche market falters.  Companies like Microsoft, WebCT, BlackBoard, and JASC understood that when it comes to software it is better to either give products away for free or price them extremely cheap until individuals and organizations get hooked on using them.  Then price the upgrades low enough to keep them hooked and continue to hold millions (or in the case of Microsoft billions) of customers.  Than is what CPV analysis is all about.

I was once a strong advocate of ToolBook, but I lost interest in ToolBook when it changed to more of a template-oriented course authoring and course management system in a succession of product and corporate name changes.  Richard Campbell is probably our most loyal remaining Toolbook users in accounting education --- http://www.virtualpublishing.net 
It is almost certain that he will be experimenting with the new SumTotal Systems package.  

Now there are some more Toolbook changes, including a corporate name change, described in the message below.

April 1, 2004 message from Janet Chappell [jchappell@sumtotalsystems.com

Click2learn Changes Name

 Click2learn and Docent merged March 19 to form SumTotal Systems.  

A Powerful Simulation Capability Added to ToolBook
Now you can create simulations that may be used in 3 modes: show me, try me and test me. Details are included in the Instructor 2004 datasheet:

 http://www.sumtotalsystems.com/toolbook/datasheets/toolbook_instructor_200

 New Examples of ToolBook Content

 http://www.sumtotalsystems.com/toolbook/showcase/index.html

 Up Coming Web-based Demonstrations

 TB Instructor Simulations: April 20, 11 am PT, noon MT, 1 pm CT or 2 pm ET

 Overview of ToolBook: April 22, 11 am PT, noon MT, 1 pm CT or 2 pm ET

 All you will need is a phone for the conference call and a PC with  Internet access for the visuals. Send me an email requesting the logon information if interested.

Link to Trial Download

 http://www.sumtotalsystems.com/toolbook/downloads/index.html

 Please contact me if you would like more information about ToolBook.

 There are academic and government discounts available.

 Best regards,

 

 JANET CHAPPELL,
Acct Mgr, Sales OFFICE +1 800 471 5184 x1541
SumTotal Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq; SUMT) FAX +1 425 637 1504
110 110th Avenue NE
Bellevue WA 98271 EMAIL jchappell@sumtotalsystems.com 

WebCT and Blackboard now hold virtually all the college and university market plus the majority portion of the enormous primary and secondary K-12 school market.  ToolBook and Authorware adopted failed marketing and product development strategies for the education market.  Along a similar vein, Lotus, Netscape, and Apple had failed marketing and product development strategies that allowed Bill Gates to become the wealthiest man in the world instead of being a used car salesman.  Bill Gates, more than any other CEO in the world, understands CPV analysis.  Click-to-Learn is catching on too late with a product that can no longer compete.

But Blackboard is now shooting itself in the foot with monopoly pricing, thereby paving the way for open source Moodle --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm#Moodle


Angel Learning Management Suite and ePortfolio

Among the newer software for course management and authoring is Angel Learning Management Suite and ePortfolio--- http://angellearning.com/


Other eLearning and course management alternatives are listed by year at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_virtual_learning_environments

2008

Question
Where can a college turn for course management software when the college feels like Blackboard is a monopoly rip-off and Moodle is too dependent upon open source innovations and maintenance?

Before reading this module you may want to first read about Blackboard and Moodle at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm

Richard Campbell sent a link to the site below and mentioned that this may be Microsoft's bit to compete with Blackboard.

Microsoft Learning Gateway Community --- http://www.learninggateway.net/default.aspx

Microsoft Learning Gateway (MLG) is a powerful, extensible suite of features designed to help schools meet their priorities using a scalable, cost-effective framework. By deploying a Learning Gateway solution, you can give students personalized learning portals that bring together everything they need to support their classes. Password-protected access can be extended to parents, providing up-to-the-minute information on students’ attendance, grades, assignments, timetables, and upcoming events. Administrators are provided with a secure, personalized interface from which they can improve planning and follow-through and make effective decisions. Senior IT decision makers are better equipped to analyze data and report key information to governors, regulators, ministries, and other key agencies.

Whether your institution adopts a top-down or bottom-up approach, you can deploy a Learning Gateway framework that can support how you want to progress with the flexibility to accommodate later developments. This means your investments are future-proofed, even during times of rapid change. Click on the links below to learn much more about the capabilities of MLG when combined with partner solutions. Afterwards, contact a Microsoft partner who can customize Learning Gateway components into solutions tailored to meet your needs.

Jensen Comment
Happily it's the enormously wealthy Microsoft making this move. Any company making such a move is likely to be sued by Blackboard since Blackboard is now claiming it has a patent on everything connected with course management and distance education. We can hope and pray that Microsoft will spend whatever needed to end these monopoly visions of Blackboard.


"Blackboard Wins Patent-Infringement Case Against Rival Courseware Provider," by Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 22, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/news/article/4022/blackboard-wins-patent-infringement-case-against-rival-courseware-provider

A federal jury in Texas ruled this afternoon in favor of Blackboard Inc., the nation’s leading online provider of course-management software, in its patent-infringement lawsuit against Desire2Learn Inc.

Blackboard sued the smaller Canadian-based company in 2006, asserting that it had infringed a patent that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had granted Blackboard that year. As a result, the larger company said, Desire2Learn had taken away customers that should have been Blackboard’s.

Desire2Learn, which has its headquarters in Kitchener, Ontario, argued that Blackboard’s patent was invalid and should never have been granted in the first place. Lawyers for the company said that Blackboard officials were aware of similar technology, or what’s known as “prior art,” that existed before it filed its patent application, and that the company had failed to divulge that information to the patent office.

The jury, which began deliberating just before noon on Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Lufkin, Tex., announced its verdict this afternoon. The case has been closely watched by campus-technology officials, many of whom feared that a win by Blackboard could stifle innovation and leave colleges and course-management software providers vulnerable to more legal challenges by Blackboard.

2007

  • On January 25 of 2007 it was announced that the Software Freedom Law Center was successful in its request that the United States Patent and Trademark Office re-examine the e-learning patent owned by Blackboard Inc. The request was filed in November 2006 on the behalf of Sakai, Moodle, and ATutor. The Patent Office found that prior art cited in SFLC's request raises "a substantial new question of patentability" regarding all 44 claims of Blackboard's patent. Groklaw, a website that tracks legal issues generally related to Open Source software, has the press release: Groklaw.org
  • February 1, 2007, Blackboard announced via press release "The Blackboard Patent Pledge". In this pledge to the open source and do-it-yourself course management community, the company vows to forever refrain from asserting its patent rights against open-source developers, except where it is deemed necessary.
  • February, 2007, Technological Fluency Institute releases a Windows XP version of its online prescriptive diagnostic performance based CAT1 program.
  • March 7, 2007: The OLAT team releases OLAT 5.1 which has an emphasis on consolidation of features and bugfixing. Besides this a new glossary function has been added and accessibility has been improved.


 

  • October 18,2007: Controlearning s.a. and ocitel s.a. designed and developed Campus VirtualOnline, http://www.campusvirtualonline.com (CVO), a platform where is mixed e-learning content, e-books, e-money, e-docs, e-talents in one single place.The accessibility is possible by a one year membership gived by www.consolidos.com to all the hispanic world.

 

 

2006

[edit]

 

2005

[edit]

 

2004

[edit]

 

2002

[edit]

 

2001

[edit]

 

2000

2008

Epsilen Environment from Purdue University appears to have brought together the latest technology in a course authoring, course management, and e-learning package  --- http://www.epsilen.com/Epsilen/Public/Home.aspx

The Epsilen Environment is the result of six years of research and development within the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Epsilen Products and Services are commercially available through BehNeem LLC, the holding company created in Indiana to commercialize, market and further develop the Epsilen Environment. The New York Times is an equity and strategic partner in the company.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

A 2008 addition to the above history site came to my attention in a loose-card advertisement for Epsilen Enviroment that came in the November 3, 2008 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Free ePortfolios 
 
Basic ePortfolio accounts are free for all registered students and faculty of U.S. colleges and universities.  An Epsilen ePortfolio can be created in minutes and be used throughout one’s academic career, during professional life, and even into retirement.  The free Epsilen ePortfolio account offers tools and resources enabling members to:

  • Create and maintain a professional ePortfolio
  • Engage in professional  and social networking
  • Showcase scholarly work and other documents in a wide range of formats
  • Develop and share resumes
  • Store and share files/objects
  • Use Epsilen e-mail, blog, wiki, and other communication and collaboration tools
  • Create and participate in professional collaboration groups
  • Access to online courses and trainings using the Epsilen Global Learning System (GLS) courseware.
  • Produce a personal ePortfolio Web site with profile, photos and video
  • Receive an automated weekly Epsilen status report that lets you know about those that have visited your “corner”, share similar research, teaching, internship or consulting interests.  

If your campus is, or becomes, a licensed Epsilen institution (see below), your free ePortfolio will integrate dynamically with more sophisticated tools and services listed below that accompany the paid license. Visit www.epsilen.com to create your personal ePortfolio and begin exploring the Environment. 

  
Exploratory Institutional Memberships
 
The Exploratory Membership is an easy and cost-effective option for colleges and universities, schools, districts and state systems to explore and experience the features of Epsilen, the next generation of learning and networking software.  Upon payment of an annual membership fee, the following features are available to Exploratory Members: 

  • Administrative account to brand, monitor, and maintain internal ePortfolio accounts of your students ,faculty and alumnae
  • Institutional ePortfolio site for your college or university
  • Global announcement and message broadcasting to ePortfolio accounts associated with your institution
  • Delivery of 12 online courses or training using Epsilen’s Global Learning System (GLS), with the option to incorporate New York Times content described below
  • Direct access to the Epsilen helpdesk 
  • A hosted Web-based  solution that requires no, or little, institutional IT support 
  • Ability to upgrade to other licensed services (see below) 
  • Ability to integrate Epsilen with campus SIS (see below) 
  • Ability to cross list courses across institutions, departments, and schools  

Annual Exploratory Memberships begin at $5,000 for campuses with up to 2,000 students.  Click here for more pricing information and order application. 
 
 

New York Times Knowledge Network

New York Times Knowledge (NYTKnowledge Network) offers New York Times content to complement faculty-designed courses served dynamically in customizable templates through Epsilen’s Global Learning System.  New York Times content is aggregated by subject and easily selected and incorporated into lessons by faculty and the interactive learning environment. NYTKnowledge Network provides access to a repository of Times archives back to 1851 Times articles, special issues sections, multimedia features, and synchronous and asynchronous contact with correspondents, resulting in an extraordinary integrated learning environment that supports hybrid or online offerings.
 

The New York Times Knowledge Network also offers the opportunity to participate in Webcasts with the Times correspondents and other subject matter experts. These can be included in traditional courses, or offered by your institution as stand-alone life-long learning experiences with comprehensive continuing education programs designed by the New York Times. 


NYT Knowledge Network Provides:

  • A rich repository of archived content back to 1851
  • Access to other major content providers
  • Multimedia news content
  • Interactive maps and graphs
  • Webcasts, chats with correspondents
  • A comprehensive range of content aggregated by subject and easily integrated to support your teaching objectives.
  • NYTimes Knowledge Network marketing of your continuing education courses.  

Visit http://www.nytimes.com/knowledge for further information and pricing (will be released in mid August 2007).
 

Student Learning Matrix 
 
Programs, departments, and schools within a campus may create unlimited student learning matrices to be used by students through an automated learning outcome assessment tool for both summative and formative learning assessment.  Features include:

  • Creation of unlimited student learning matrices for program- or campus-level learning outcome assessment (Each axis includes attributes defined by the program/campus.)
  • Ability for students to upload their learning outcomes according to predefined rubrics
  • Access by faculty and academic advisors to each student learning matrix for assessment, advisement, and certification
  • Program- and campus-level assessment reports for internal and external accreditation reviews
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires no institutional IT support

The annual Student Learning Matrix membership fee is based on the number of students in the program or institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Global Learning System (GLS)
 
 

Epsilen offers the Global Learning System (GLS), a new Web-based learning framework developed as the next generation of eLearning and networking. In contrast to current legacy learning management systems, the GLS offers true global learning collaboration by connecting students and instructors on campuses in the U.S. and around the world in an interactive and intuitive Web 2.0 learning environment.  The GLS complements existing licensed or open source CMS products.  The GLS features include:

  • Global learning management system that enables students and instructors to easily register or be invited to courses and learning collaboration
  • Cross listing of class rosters of two or more courses within various campuses, or across institutions
  • Innovative tools using professional and social networking to enhance learning, encourage collaboration, and utilize peer review technology
  • The ability to easily archive courses and working groups for continued engagement
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires little, or no institutional IT support

The annual GLS membership fee is based on the number of students and courses within the institution. Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Charter Membership
 

Experience the full suite of the Epsilen “Environment” and resources with unparalleled access to NYTKnowledge Network content. Charter members receive special pricing for unlimited use of ePortfolios, the Student Learning Matrix, courses through the Global Learning System, and interactive Webcasts with correspondents.  With charter membership, two university administrators will be invited to participate in the Epsilen - New York Times charter council, with meetings and events scheduled at The New York Times.  Benefits include:

  • Single sign-on environment featuring a toolbox of services for ePortfolio, social networking, Learning Matrix, GLS, object repository, and NYTKnowledge Network
  • Totally hosted turnkey solution with no need for local servers or local technical staff
  • Cost effectiveness for both small and large campuses
  • Collaboration on designing the next generation of eLearning through networking with other members of the Epsilen - New York Times charter council

The Epsilen Charter membership fee is based on the total number of students within the institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application. 
 
 

Technical Support and System Integration
 

Epsilen offers consulting and technical support through both internal and third-party sources for the integration of Epsilen with local campus databases and existing licensed technology.  This provides a seamless, single sign-on, portal approach to all resources and services supporting the learning and teaching initiatives of a campus.  Click Here for more information and online membership application.

I maintain a site on tools and tricks of the trade at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

 

 

There were earlier examples of companies that failed to grasp the long-term importance of CPV analysis.

I wrote this module for Barry Rice and others who have been long-time users of classroom response pads that allow the instructor and students to interact in class and display outcomes on a computer projection.  Barry and various other schools used both HyperGraphics course management software and HyperGraphics interactive response pads in the early 1990s..

What became of HyperGraphics/Cyberclass?  

In 1990, I spent most of my days authoring course materials in HyperGraphics from HyperGraphics Corporation in Denton, Texas.  HyperGraphics was one of the most innovative course authoring and course management systems ever developed for DOS.  Various accounting publishers such as Prentice-Hall and South-Western College Publishing developed HyperGraphics supplements for leading accounting textbooks.  The leading Hypergrahics' competitors at the time were Quest for DOS systems and Authorware for Mac systems.

When Windows replaced DOS as the leading operating system, the HyperGraphics version for Windows never was efficient or effective.  HyperGraphics Corporation changed its name to CyberGraphics Corporation and its focus to serving up HTML courses for colleges and universities.

In recent years, CyberGraphics changed its name and its customer base to include more K-12 schools than colleges and universities.  The company seems to thrive on supplementary online teaching and testing modules.  One new name became  eInsruction Corporation.  Now the company seems to be called  IV Systems at http://www.ktc.net/IVsystems/new.htm 

iv systems, located in Denton Texas, specializes in creating custom new media products through a variety of mediums.

iv systems clientele include:

  • The Internet Mailbox Company
  • International Focus Press
  • Briscoe Hall inc.
  • Shara Wright
  • Homemade Mesquite Frames
  • Aspirations Travel
  • HyperGraphics
  • eInstruction
  • Domissions.com
  • Olufsen's Gifts and Gourmet
  • Profit Line
  • Institute for Christian Economics
  • Kerrville Telephone Co.
  • College Life
  • CyberClass
  • Sprint
  • The Yankee Group
  • WebLink Wireless

The number of colleges served has shrunk somewhat in this era of heavy competition from Blackboard, WebCT, eCollege, Eduprise, Campus Pipeline, SmartThinking.co, Tutor.com, DegreeNavigator, etc.  But the number of K-12 schools using eLearn systems has soared.  You can read a listing of users at 

What's happening to eCollege?
In a move that could have many reverberations in higher education, the publishing giant Pearson announced a deal Monday in which it will purchase eCollege, which offers course management and other services for distance education. Many analysts predict that the move will create a major competitor to Blackboard in course management and some say the sale could presage more consolidation among producers of software and content for higher education.
Scott Jaschik, "Shaking Up the Market,"
Inside Higher Ed, May 15, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/15/ecollege

Jensen Comment
Back is the early 1990s, Barry Rice and I were both inspired heavily by a company called HyperGraphics that authored a complete course management and delivery system in DOS (before the days of Windows and Macs).  My classes were small at Trinity University, but Barry had some large basic accounting lecture classes at Loyola College of Maryland.  He made active use of hardware from HyperGraphics that allowed each student in a large lecture to respond to questions in class.  At first all these response pads were hard wired to student desks.  Later they became wireless.  HyperGraphics changed names over the decades but is still in the business of selling wireless response pads.  Now the classroom "Clickers" are replacing the older style wireless response pads.  You can read more about the history of this type of thing at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

Read how clickers are used at the University of Wisconsin --- http://www.news.wisc.edu/11142.html
A pilot test at Iowa State University (where students buy them for $16 at the bookstore) is reported at http://www.iastate.edu/Inside/2005/0610/clickers.shtml
Canada's usage is reported at
http://www.globetechnology.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050510.gtclickermay10/BNStory/Technology/

One source for clickers is http://www.smartroom.com/ 

 

One noteworthy new product of eLearn is a newer type of classroom response pad system called Classroom Performance System (CPS)--- http://www.einstruction.com/estart/new/cps.cfm 

The Classroom Performance System (CPS) is an Infrared response system that supports real-time interaction in the traditional classroom. CPS allows you to ask questions and get immediate responses from every student. This system also tracks the results of individual students and instantly grades homework, quizzes, and tests. Extremely affordable, CPS is a revolutionary system that will engage your students and free you from mundane administrative tasks! 

The listing of colleges using the CPS system is shown at 
http://www.einstruction.com/estart/new/cpsschools.cfm#Post Secondary Schools  

 

 

Authorware and eLearning Studio from Macromedia

Update on Authorware from Syllabus e-News on August 21, 2001

New Products Provide Courseware Development

Macromedia recently announced its eLearning Studio, which combines the new Authorware 6, the visual authoring product for creating interactive, e-learning applications, with Flash 5 and Dreamweaver 4 to provide an authoring solution for e- learning. eLearning Studio is compatible with ADL, AICC, and IMS, as well as traditional Web standards. New features in Authorware 6 include One Button Publishing for the Web and CD-ROM, enhanced external media support, drag-and-drop media synchronization, and support for streaming MP3 audio and XML parsing. Both products are expected to be available in September. Free templates and product extensions are available on Macromedia Exchange at http://www.macromedia.com/exchange .

At the moment there are two types of systems.  One type might be called an "internal web authoring server system" in the sense that the author or the author's institution must provide and maintain the web servers.  For example, WebCT can be installed on internal servers, but the company that sells and develops WebCT did not intially offer server space for authors.  In contrast, eInstrruction offers external web servers such that neither authors nor their institutions have to serve up courses locally.  Other companies like Blackboard, that eventually bought out WebCT, offer internal and external web server options.  A number of internal-system course authoring alternatives are shown below:

Full-Line (Course Management, Interactive, Chat Room, Multimedia, Web Authoring)  Internal System Web Authoring Shell Alternatives That Do Not Provide External Servers or Course Advertising, Registration, and Billing Services:

Full-Line (Course Management, Interactive, Chat Room, Multimedia, Web Authoring)  Internal System Web Authoring Shell Alternatives That Do Not Provide External Servers or Course Advertising, Registration, and Billing Services:

Asymetrix Librarian (Ended)
Now Click-to-Learn
Convene CourseInfo (now Blackboard)
FirstClass Hot Potatoes (free to academe) IntraKal
Learning Space Mallard MentorWare
Oncourse and Angel PHP Real Education (eCollege)
Serf TopClass WebCB
WebCT WebMentor Enterprise CourseLinks
    Ucompass

The majority of the above vendors have died or now provide external-system options at the time of of this writing. Most have died! Note that some publishing firms will assist internal-system webmasters in installing the software.  For example, see McGraw-Hill Learning Architecture (MHLA) for TopClass and WebCT discounted installations on campus servers.  Macmillan Publishing has partnered witth TopClass.

 

 

Epsilen Environment from Purdue University appears to have brought together the latest technology in a course authoring, course management, and e-learning package  --- http://www.epsilen.com/Epsilen/Public/Home.aspx

The Epsilen Environment is the result of six years of research and development within the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Epsilen Products and Services are commercially available through BehNeem LLC, the holding company created in Indiana to commercialize, market and further develop the Epsilen Environment. The New York Times is an equity and strategic partner in the company.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

A 2008 addition to the above history site came to my attention in a loose-card advertisement for Epsilen Enviroment that came in the November 3, 2008 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Free ePortfolios 
 
Basic ePortfolio accounts are free for all registered students and faculty of U.S. colleges and universities.  An Epsilen ePortfolio can be created in minutes and be used throughout one’s academic career, during professional life, and even into retirement.  The free Epsilen ePortfolio account offers tools and resources enabling members to:

If your campus is, or becomes, a licensed Epsilen institution (see below), your free ePortfolio will integrate dynamically with more sophisticated tools and services listed below that accompany the paid license. Visit www.epsilen.com to create your personal ePortfolio and begin exploring the Environment. 

  
Exploratory Institutional Memberships
 
The Exploratory Membership is an easy and cost-effective option for colleges and universities, schools, districts and state systems to explore and experience the features of Epsilen, the next generation of learning and networking software.  Upon payment of an annual membership fee, the following features are available to Exploratory Members: 

Annual Exploratory Memberships begin at $5,000 for campuses with up to 2,000 students.  Click here for more pricing information and order application. 
 
 

New York Times Knowledge Network

New York Times Knowledge (NYTKnowledge Network) offers New York Times content to complement faculty-designed courses served dynamically in customizable templates through Epsilen’s Global Learning System.  New York Times content is aggregated by subject and easily selected and incorporated into lessons by faculty and the interactive learning environment. NYTKnowledge Network provides access to a repository of Times archives back to 1851 Times articles, special issues sections, multimedia features, and synchronous and asynchronous contact with correspondents, resulting in an extraordinary integrated learning environment that supports hybrid or online offerings.
 

The New York Times Knowledge Network also offers the opportunity to participate in Webcasts with the Times correspondents and other subject matter experts. These can be included in traditional courses, or offered by your institution as stand-alone life-long learning experiences with comprehensive continuing education programs designed by the New York Times. 


NYT Knowledge Network Provides:

  • A rich repository of archived content back to 1851
  • Access to other major content providers
  • Multimedia news content
  • Interactive maps and graphs
  • Webcasts, chats with correspondents
  • A comprehensive range of content aggregated by subject and easily integrated to support your teaching objectives.
  • NYTimes Knowledge Network marketing of your continuing education courses.  

Visit http://www.nytimes.com/knowledge for further information and pricing (will be released in mid August 2007).
 

Student Learning Matrix 
 
Programs, departments, and schools within a campus may create unlimited student learning matrices to be used by students through an automated learning outcome assessment tool for both summative and formative learning assessment.  Features include:

  • Creation of unlimited student learning matrices for program- or campus-level learning outcome assessment (Each axis includes attributes defined by the program/campus.)
  • Ability for students to upload their learning outcomes according to predefined rubrics
  • Access by faculty and academic advisors to each student learning matrix for assessment, advisement, and certification
  • Program- and campus-level assessment reports for internal and external accreditation reviews
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires no institutional IT support

The annual Student Learning Matrix membership fee is based on the number of students in the program or institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Global Learning System (GLS)
 
 

Epsilen offers the Global Learning System (GLS), a new Web-based learning framework developed as the next generation of eLearning and networking. In contrast to current legacy learning management systems, the GLS offers true global learning collaboration by connecting students and instructors on campuses in the U.S. and around the world in an interactive and intuitive Web 2.0 learning environment.  The GLS complements existing licensed or open source CMS products.  The GLS features include:

  • Global learning management system that enables students and instructors to easily register or be invited to courses and learning collaboration
  • Cross listing of class rosters of two or more courses within various campuses, or across institutions
  • Innovative tools using professional and social networking to enhance learning, encourage collaboration, and utilize peer review technology
  • The ability to easily archive courses and working groups for continued engagement
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires little, or no institutional IT support

The annual GLS membership fee is based on the number of students and courses within the institution. Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Charter Membership
 

Experience the full suite of the Epsilen “Environment” and resources with unparalleled access to NYTKnowledge Network content. Charter members receive special pricing for unlimited use of ePortfolios, the Student Learning Matrix, courses through the Global Learning System, and interactive Webcasts with correspondents.  With charter membership, two university administrators will be invited to participate in the Epsilen - New York Times charter council, with meetings and events scheduled at The New York Times.  Benefits include:

  • Single sign-on environment featuring a toolbox of services for ePortfolio, social networking, Learning Matrix, GLS, object repository, and NYTKnowledge Network
  • Totally hosted turnkey solution with no need for local servers or local technical staff
  • Cost effectiveness for both small and large campuses
  • Collaboration on designing the next generation of eLearning through networking with other members of the Epsilen - New York Times charter council

The Epsilen Charter membership fee is based on the total number of students within the institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application. 
 
 

Technical Support and System Integration
 

Epsilen offers consulting and technical support through both internal and third-party sources for the integration of Epsilen with local campus databases and existing licensed technology.  This provides a seamless, single sign-on, portal approach to all resources and services supporting the learning and teaching initiatives of a campus.  Click Here for more information and online membership application.

I maintain a site on tools and tricks of the trade at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

A Great 2001 Summary of Web Instruction Resources 
Sharon Gray, Instructional Technologist ---
http://inst.augie.edu/%7Egray/ 
Augustana College, 2001 Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD  57197
gray@inst.augie.edu, 605-274-4907 
For GREAT comprehensive listing of Web Instruction Resources, go to http://inst.augie.edu/~gray/WBI.html

From Syllabus News on March 14, 2003

eCollege, Houghton Mifflin Strike Content Sharing Accord

Course management system developer eCollege formed a partnership with publisher Houghton Mifflin Inc. to provide eCollege's customers access to Houghton Mifflin's online supplements for introductory courses in business, humanities, mathematics, science, social science, student success, and world languages. The titles will be available via the eCollege AU+ course management system, and will enable faculty to use the platform’s self-authoring and course development tools to improve their online courses. "It's important that faculty members have access to the kind of resources they need to best engage and challenge their students, and we believe the Houghton Mifflin content can ideally support them in this effort," said Oakleigh Thorne, chairman and CEO of eCollege.

From Syllabus News on February 11, 2003

eCollege Says Revenues, Earnings Rising

Course management system provider eCollege said revenues for the fourth quarter of 2002 were $6.3 million, up from $5.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2001. With that, the company reported that revenue for the year increased 19 percent to $23.7 million, from $19.8 million in 2001. For 2002, the Company's pre-tax earnings improved to a negative $251 thousand compared to a negative $7.7 million for 2001. The company also reported that for the 2002 fall term, the total number of student enrollments was 157,000 compared to 96,000 for the 2001 fall term. About 80,000 of the enrollments represented distance students, up from 58,000 distance students in the fall term last year. The number of distance courses rose to 4,900, a 27 percent increase over fall 2001.

From Syllabus e-News on October 9, 2001

eCollege Tops Colorado List for Fastest Growth

The fastest growing company in Colorado in the past year was edcuational courseware developer eCollege, according to the consulting firm Deloitte & Touche, which ranked state companies in its annual Colorado Technology Fast 50 listing. Denver-based eCollege, an application service provider that develops online campuses and courseware, had revenue growth of 10,996 percent in the last year. Qwest Communications was number two on the list. Five year-old eCollege has worked on online educational programs for Seton Hall University, the University of Colorado, the DeVry Institutes, the Kentucky Virtual High School, and Microsoft Faculty Center.

For more information, visit: http://www.ecollege.com 

From Syllabus News on September 24, 2002

eCollege Upgrades Synchronous Teaching Tool

Course management system provider eCollege said it improved its ClassLive Premium offering, a synchronous tool suite that provides real-time instructor-student sessions and record them for future use. The tool set integrates live audio/visual functionality typically found in collaboration software directly into the eCollege course management system. The new suite includes 'One-Way Broadcast Audio,' allowing an instructor's voice to be transferred over the Internet for office hours, online tutoring or live lectures with PowerPoint slides. 'Two-Way Audio' enables students and instructors to speak to each other and in groups without additional conference call technology. 'Synchronized Archives' enables ClassLive sessions to be played back as a streaming video.

From Syllabus@101communications-news.com on November 20, 2001

eCollege Ranked as 54th Fastest Growing Tech Firm

Learning software developer eCollege has been listed as the 54th fastest growing company in North America on Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology companies. The rankings are based on five-year percentage revenue growth from 1996-2000. eCollege's revenue grew 10,996 percent during the period. The fast 500 list is compiled from Deloitte & Touche's regional Fast 50 programs, nominations to the Fast 500, and public company database research. eCollege partners with colleges, universities, schools and corporations to design and build learning communities. eCollege's partners include National University; Seton Hall University; University of Colorado; DeVry University, Inc.; Kentucky Virtual High School; and Microsoft Faculty Center.
(Note from Bob Jensen:  The eCollege homepage is at http://www.ecollege.com/ .  Competitors are listed at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm and at http://inst.augie.edu/~gray/WBI.html.  Some competitors such as Pensare have ceased operations.

Connected Learning Solution:  WebCT  Update
Syllabus e-News, Resources, and Trends May 29, 2001

Partnership Provides Integrated Connected Learning Solution

SCT, WebCT, and Campus Pipeline, Inc.--the three companies that earlier joined forces to create the Product Integration Alliance--have announced the availability of their Connected Learning Solution. The Connected Learning Solution is a pro- duct suite that integrates all major campus technologies so that colleges and universities can improve student services, simplify and reduce the time to deploy technologies, and streamline administrative processes. The Connected Learning Solution combines information, systems, learning tools, on- line services, and communication tools through a single point of access for all campus constituents. It provides access to personalized information, online courses and other e-learning resources, administrative services, community information, and communication tools.

For more information, visit 
http://www.campuspipeline.com
  or 
http://www.webct.com
  or 
http://www.sct.com
.

 

Since I began this threading document of authoring software, an excellent software information guide appeared on the web.  Go to http://www.ctt.bc.ca/landonline/evalapps.html

I maintain some threads on Blackboard at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/blackboard.htm 

Course Management System Demos from TLT SUNY --- http://tlt.suny.edu/cms.htm 

 

If you are interested in using a Course Management System (CMS) to support traditional classroom based courses there are many tools from which to choose. Course Management Systems offer different features and making a decision about which CMS product is right for you or your campus depends on many factors. One way to learn about these products is to take a test drive.  The links below will take you to the place on the website of the vendors of these products where you can see a demonstration or "try before you buy".  

Angel Eduprise Intralearn Topclass
Blackboard 

e-College
FirstClass
Quickplace
Virtual U
e-College

e-Education
Prometheus  
(Now owned by Blackboard)

Toolbook II Instructor and Click2Learn

WebCT 

From Syllabus News on April 9, 2002

eCollege Offers Giveaway of On-Campus Platform

eCollege, a provider of software and services for distance learning programs, said it would make an on-campus platform free to institutions that could enroll large numbers of students in distance learning programs. In announcing the program, eCollege chairman Oakleigh Thorne, said, "We understand that while an institution's distance program ... is a profit center, on-campus supplements that enhance existing curriculum ... are often a cost center. Since we are paid by the enrollment in distance programs, our business increases as our customers grow their programs. As a result, we think it makes sense for us to add the on-campus application at no extra cost for institutions that are committed to significant distance programs." The offer is effective now for classes beginning this fall.

For more information, visit: http://www.eCollege.com 


Harvard Business Online Updates Manager Software

Harvard Business Online, a subsidiary of Harvard Business School Publishing, released the lastest version of a support tool for managers. Harvard ManageMentor 5.0 adds five modules to its core topics covering: Managing Crises, Marketing Essentials, Becoming a Manager, Laying-off Employees, and Dismissing an Employee. The core package, dubbed "just-in-time performance support," provides online practical information on challenges faced by business managers. In the module covering dismisals, for example, the company said it helps "managers conduct a dismissal properly and respectfully." Harvard Business School Publishing is a wholly-owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of Harvard University.


 

Prometheus is a course delivery system used by Fathom and other online major course sites --- http://www.prometheus.com/ 

The George Washington University developed Prometheus in answer to the need for an easy-to-use, scalable enterprise-wide learning platform designed to allow customization for faculty, administrators, and students.

Prometheus partners have access to the Community Source code allowing developer collaboration, feature flexibility, and infinite customization.

Partners are free to private label the Prometheus platform creating the look and feel they choose.

Prometheus' web form-driven format walks faculty through course creation and content import quickly and easily—reducing training time and conserving resources.

Based on a ColdFusion application layer, Prometheus is inherently scalable and compatible with Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server databases. Data is not locked away in a proprietary database allowing for seamless integration with existing back office data management systems.

Here is a list of SUNY Colleges and the CMS Products they use

As you will notice from the list of CMS products in use at SUNY  that three products, Blackboard, TopClass and WebCT are most commonly used.  In many ways this reflects general trends in CMS use in higher education. However, recently Blackboard and WebCT have seen vastly increasing adoption, whereas many colleges have shifted away from TopClass as WBT (makers of the product) have shifted their focus to corporate clients.  Prometheus is gaining some attention recently and is used by a few dozen higher education institutions, most prominently George Washington University, Vanderbilt, and NYUonline.


From Syllabus News on January 15, 2002

Blackboard to Acquire Prometheus from GW University

Blackboard Inc. said it would take over the Prometheus course management system from its developer, George Washington University. The agreement provides Prometheus, which had grown into a free-standing software development business at GWU, expanded resources to service partner universities and staff. The partners noted that about 30 percent of Prometheus' 65 university licensees run one of the three systems in Blackboard's e- Education suite -- Blackboard 5: Learning System; Blackboard 5: Community Portal System; and Blackboard: Transaction System. Blackboard was founded in 1997 at Cornell University and has become the largest e- education enterprise software company in the market.

Bob Jensen's threads on Blackboard are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/blackboard.htm 
Prometheus is the software engine used by many of the largest distance education providers such as Fathom.


A Great Summary of Web Instruction Resources 
Sharon Gray, Instructional Technologist ---
http://inst.augie.edu/%7Egray/ 
Augustana College, 2001 Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD  57197
gray@inst.augie.edu, 605-274-4907 
For GREAT comprehensive listing of Web Instruction Resources, go to http://inst.augie.edu/~gray/WBI.html

Various kinds of technology partnership alternatives (between vendors and schools/faculty) are summarized by Oblinger et al. as follows::

Distance Education and Its Challenges:  An Overview, by D.G. Oblinger, C.A. Barone, and B.L. Hawkins (ACE, American Council on Education Center for Policy Analysis and Educause, 2001, Page 17)
http://www.acenet.edu/bookstore/pdf/distributed-learning/distributed-learning-01.pdf 
Service Providers
Online Application Consulting Embark.com --- http://www.embark.com/ 

College.net --- http://www.embark.com/ 

XAP --- http://www.xap.com/ 

(For other application consulting alternatives, go to http://www.awrsd.org/oak/Guidance/college_application_sites.htm  )

(For course finders, to to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm )

Campus-based portals Campus Pipeline --- http://www.campuspipeline.com/

Jenzabar --- http://www.jenzabar.com/

Studentonline.com --- http://www.studentonline.com/

(For other alternatives, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm )

Online procurement Ariba --- http://www.ariba.com/

CommerceOne --- http://www.commerceone.com/

Freemarkets --- http://www.freemarkets.com/

Online course delivery Web CT --- http://www.webct.com/

Blackboard --- http://www.blackboard.com/

Eduprise --- http://www.eduprise.com/

eCollege --- http://www.ecollege.com/

(For other alternatives, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm )

Supplemental content PinkMonkey.com --- http://www.pinkmonkey.com/

CliffNotes.com --- http://www.cliffs.com/

Thinkwell.com --- http://www.thinkwell.com/

InstantKnowledge.com --- http://www.instantknowledge.com/

Versity.com --- http://www.collegeclub.com/micro/versity/

Online libraries Questia.com --- http://www.questia.com/Index.jsp

NetLibrary.com --- http://www.netlibrary.com/library_home_page.asp

ebrary.com --- http://www.ebrary.com/

(For other alternatives, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm )

Online textbooks VarsityBooks.com --- Ceased Operations

Textbooks.com --- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/textbooks/

Advising and tutoring Tutor.com --- http://www.tutor.com/

DegreeNavigator --- http://www.arts.ubc.ca/newsletter/feb2000/DegreeNavigator.htm

(For other alternatives, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm )

Epsilen Environment from Purdue University appears to have brought together the latest technology in a course authoring, course management, and e-learning package  --- http://www.epsilen.com/Epsilen/Public/Home.aspx

The Epsilen Environment is the result of six years of research and development within the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Epsilen Products and Services are commercially available through BehNeem LLC, the holding company created in Indiana to commercialize, market and further develop the Epsilen Environment. The New York Times is an equity and strategic partner in the company.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

A 2008 addition to the above history site came to my attention in a loose-card advertisement for Epsilen Enviroment that came in the November 3, 2008 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Free ePortfolios 
 
Basic ePortfolio accounts are free for all registered students and faculty of U.S. colleges and universities.  An Epsilen ePortfolio can be created in minutes and be used throughout one’s academic career, during professional life, and even into retirement.  The free Epsilen ePortfolio account offers tools and resources enabling members to:

  • Create and maintain a professional ePortfolio
  • Engage in professional  and social networking
  • Showcase scholarly work and other documents in a wide range of formats
  • Develop and share resumes
  • Store and share files/objects
  • Use Epsilen e-mail, blog, wiki, and other communication and collaboration tools
  • Create and participate in professional collaboration groups
  • Access to online courses and trainings using the Epsilen Global Learning System (GLS) courseware.
  • Produce a personal ePortfolio Web site with profile, photos and video
  • Receive an automated weekly Epsilen status report that lets you know about those that have visited your “corner”, share similar research, teaching, internship or consulting interests.  

If your campus is, or becomes, a licensed Epsilen institution (see below), your free ePortfolio will integrate dynamically with more sophisticated tools and services listed below that accompany the paid license. Visit www.epsilen.com to create your personal ePortfolio and begin exploring the Environment. 

  
Exploratory Institutional Memberships
 
The Exploratory Membership is an easy and cost-effective option for colleges and universities, schools, districts and state systems to explore and experience the features of Epsilen, the next generation of learning and networking software.  Upon payment of an annual membership fee, the following features are available to Exploratory Members: 

  • Administrative account to brand, monitor, and maintain internal ePortfolio accounts of your students ,faculty and alumnae
  • Institutional ePortfolio site for your college or university
  • Global announcement and message broadcasting to ePortfolio accounts associated with your institution
  • Delivery of 12 online courses or training using Epsilen’s Global Learning System (GLS), with the option to incorporate New York Times content described below
  • Direct access to the Epsilen helpdesk 
  • A hosted Web-based  solution that requires no, or little, institutional IT support 
  • Ability to upgrade to other licensed services (see below) 
  • Ability to integrate Epsilen with campus SIS (see below) 
  • Ability to cross list courses across institutions, departments, and schools  

Annual Exploratory Memberships begin at $5,000 for campuses with up to 2,000 students.  Click here for more pricing information and order application. 
 
 

New York Times Knowledge Network

New York Times Knowledge (NYTKnowledge Network) offers New York Times content to complement faculty-designed courses served dynamically in customizable templates through Epsilen’s Global Learning System.  New York Times content is aggregated by subject and easily selected and incorporated into lessons by faculty and the interactive learning environment. NYTKnowledge Network provides access to a repository of Times archives back to 1851 Times articles, special issues sections, multimedia features, and synchronous and asynchronous contact with correspondents, resulting in an extraordinary integrated learning environment that supports hybrid or online offerings.
 

The New York Times Knowledge Network also offers the opportunity to participate in Webcasts with the Times correspondents and other subject matter experts. These can be included in traditional courses, or offered by your institution as stand-alone life-long learning experiences with comprehensive continuing education programs designed by the New York Times. 


NYT Knowledge Network Provides:

  • A rich repository of archived content back to 1851
  • Access to other major content providers
  • Multimedia news content
  • Interactive maps and graphs
  • Webcasts, chats with correspondents
  • A comprehensive range of content aggregated by subject and easily integrated to support your teaching objectives.
  • NYTimes Knowledge Network marketing of your continuing education courses.  

Visit http://www.nytimes.com/knowledge for further information and pricing (will be released in mid August 2007).
 

Student Learning Matrix 
 
Programs, departments, and schools within a campus may create unlimited student learning matrices to be used by students through an automated learning outcome assessment tool for both summative and formative learning assessment.  Features include:

  • Creation of unlimited student learning matrices for program- or campus-level learning outcome assessment (Each axis includes attributes defined by the program/campus.)
  • Ability for students to upload their learning outcomes according to predefined rubrics
  • Access by faculty and academic advisors to each student learning matrix for assessment, advisement, and certification
  • Program- and campus-level assessment reports for internal and external accreditation reviews
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires no institutional IT support

The annual Student Learning Matrix membership fee is based on the number of students in the program or institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Global Learning System (GLS)
 
 

Epsilen offers the Global Learning System (GLS), a new Web-based learning framework developed as the next generation of eLearning and networking. In contrast to current legacy learning management systems, the GLS offers true global learning collaboration by connecting students and instructors on campuses in the U.S. and around the world in an interactive and intuitive Web 2.0 learning environment.  The GLS complements existing licensed or open source CMS products.  The GLS features include:

  • Global learning management system that enables students and instructors to easily register or be invited to courses and learning collaboration
  • Cross listing of class rosters of two or more courses within various campuses, or across institutions
  • Innovative tools using professional and social networking to enhance learning, encourage collaboration, and utilize peer review technology
  • The ability to easily archive courses and working groups for continued engagement
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires little, or no institutional IT support

The annual GLS membership fee is based on the number of students and courses within the institution. Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Charter Membership
 

Experience the full suite of the Epsilen “Environment” and resources with unparalleled access to NYTKnowledge Network content. Charter members receive special pricing for unlimited use of ePortfolios, the Student Learning Matrix, courses through the Global Learning System, and interactive Webcasts with correspondents.  With charter membership, two university administrators will be invited to participate in the Epsilen - New York Times charter council, with meetings and events scheduled at The New York Times.  Benefits include:

  • Single sign-on environment featuring a toolbox of services for ePortfolio, social networking, Learning Matrix, GLS, object repository, and NYTKnowledge Network
  • Totally hosted turnkey solution with no need for local servers or local technical staff
  • Cost effectiveness for both small and large campuses
  • Collaboration on designing the next generation of eLearning through networking with other members of the Epsilen - New York Times charter council

The Epsilen Charter membership fee is based on the total number of students within the institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application. 
 
 

Technical Support and System Integration
 

Epsilen offers consulting and technical support through both internal and third-party sources for the integration of Epsilen with local campus databases and existing licensed technology.  This provides a seamless, single sign-on, portal approach to all resources and services supporting the learning and teaching initiatives of a campus.  Click Here for more information and online membership application.

 

I maintain a site on tools and tricks of the trade at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

 

A Great Summary of Web Instruction Resources 
Sharon Gray, Instructional Technologist --- http://inst.augie.edu/%7Egray/ 
Augustana College, 2001 Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD  57197
gray@inst.augie.edu, 605-274-4907 
For GREAT comprehensive listing of Web Instruction Resources, go to http://inst.augie.edu/~gray/WBI.htmlml


 

At a conference in Bermuda, I listened to a wonderful presentation by John Parnell (Head of the Department of Marketing and Management at Texas A&M University). After comparing Blackboard, WebCT, and other options, his program for distance education across Texas and into Mexico, he and his Texas A&M colleagues opted for a software from http://www.ucompass.com/   

Especially note the "Uniqueness" section that is linked at http://www.ucompass.com/  

I asked Dr. Parnell to comment on Ucompass.  He wrote back as follows on September 26, 2000:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your e-mail and the write-up.

We selected uCompass because of the technical ability and extraordinary service commitment extended by its president, Ed Mansouri. uCompass is a small provider, so Ed is still very active in the day-to-day operations. The system is user-friendly, support is prompt, and Ed and his staff bend over backwards to meet our specific needs. We had originally narrowed down the choice to Blackboard and uCompass and invited presentions from both (individual, and then together on the same day). Most of us expected Blackboard to come out on top, but Ed's commitment to meeting our specific needs made the difference.

By the way, if Trinity is considering a partnership, I would strongly recommend uCompass.

If you have any additional questions, please let me know. Thanks again.

John


ITtoolbox is somewhat difficult to classify in the grand scheme of distance education.

Dear Dr. Jensen,

Hi, my name is Donna Peterson and I work for ITtoolbox.com. A colleague of mine, Michelle Stanton had recently contacted you in regards to our portal ITtoolbox ERP. She thought that you might be interested in learning about our recently launched program for academic institutions.

The ITtoolbox Academic Program provides students with free IT resources and forums to interact with other students and professionals in the same field. The program offers our network as a real-time, continually updated resource for students learning about different segments of the IT industry. It also provides a school's students and professors an opportunity to have papers and documents published, bringing recognition to both the individual and their particular department within a school.

For more information on the program and its benefits, please go to http://www.ittoolbox.com/help/academic-overview.htm . I have additional attachments that I can send, but will wait for your request, due to the sensitivity of unsolicited documents right now.

I will give you a call next week to answer any questions you might have, or provide any additional information you may need. If you have any questions before then, or would like me to send the other documents please give me a call. I hope you are having a great summer and thank you for your time.

Best Regards, Donna Peterson www.ITtoolbox.com   610.280.9216 

 ITtoolbox.com --- http://www.ittoolbox.com/help/academic-overview.htm 
The ITtoolbox Academic Program is a unique movement to join students, professors, information technology professionals and business professionals together worldwide. When an instructor enrolls a class or institution in the program, it becomes involved with one of the most trusted online communities in the IT industry.

ITtoolbox is a collaborative knowledge network that serves as a distribution channel covering areas of enterprise software, operating systems, programming languages and many other topics that fall within the information technology industry. The Academic Program has recently been launched to provide a resource that can foster relationships between IT students and professionals and provide them tools to utilize in daily tasks as well as long-term projects.

Why Universities, Colleges and Training Schools join the Academic Program:

By becoming involved with the Academic Program, an institution’s students are given the chance to interact with peers as well as professionals who are working in the field. Each day thousands of IT and business professionals visit the ITtoolbox network to find information including higher education and related training. When participating in the program, an institution brings attention to itself as a leader in the IT industry.

What can the Academic Program do for your students?

The information technology and computer science sector is a multi-trillion dollar industry, constantly changing and continuously facing a scarcity of experienced individuals. The ITtoolbox Academic Program assists students by providing a free resource that facilitates research, networking and open collaboration.

Unlike print materials, ITtoolbox is an interactive resource that contains real-time information. Users are able to navigate through general and experienced-based, case-specific information, making the network a valuable resource for those involved in any level of computer science.

In order to better prepare students for their current assignments and future careers, ITtoolbox provides:

Daily IT news Open discussion on technical know-how and best practices Comprehensive directories covering the hottest areas of information technology Research papers written by influential members of the IT community Job boards encompassing various segments of IT

Instructor Benefits

The ITtoolbox Academic Program presents instructors with several tools to assist in the classroom and add to their student’s experience. By being incorporated into lesson plans or introduced as a valuable resource, ITtoolbox can:

  • Assist students on technical research
  • Help students stay on top of the current marketplace
  • Serve as an interactive resource for industry discussion

     

    The program also presents instructors with the opportunity to increase exposure for themselves, their students, and the university through its academic publishing section. This section is devoted to highlighting research papers, articles, presentations and source code submitted by instructors from participating institutions. Through this program instructors may:

    • Submit personal research papers or articles to be published on the ITtoolbox network. Published documents will credit both the university and the author, and can include a brief statement recognizing the author.

     

    • Submit top students’ research papers to be published on the ITtoolbox network. Published documents will give students important exposure on a leading online publication, which may prove beneficial as they seek employment in the industry.

     

    Upon approval by a content editor, new documents receive front-page recognition and are also referenced in ITtoolbox newsletters, making your name known and helping our users better understand information technology


In most instances, the vendors of internal-system authoring shells are now seeking to increase sales by providing space on off-campus servers that they maintain with their own technicians.  In some external-system interactive courseware alternatives, there is no fee to the institution for installing the interactive courses.  eInstruction allows instructors to install course material for free provided the enrolled students purchase a password to use the system.  Students purchase passwords to enter the eInstruction external web server much like they purchase the textbook for a course.  In some instances such as eInstruction, publishers like South-Western Publishing Company and Glencoe/McGraw-Hill have made course materials available for selected textbooks if instructors choose to adopt those books for the course.  Students may obtain passwords at a discounted price if the publisher has negotiated a discount for students using particular online text materials.

There are also some flat rate external-system provider such as Convene.  In those instances, instructors or institutions pay a flat rate no matter how many students use the hosted server.

In other options, there is neither a fee to the institution for installing the courses nor a fee to the students who use the online course materials.  Jenzabar is probably the best-known external courseware server that is free to institutions and students.  However, students must endure advertising when accessing online course materials.  In order to provide this free service, Jenzabar relies upon advertising revenues.

Full-Line (Course Management, Interactive, Chat Room, Multimedia, Web Authoring)  External System Web Authoring Shell Alternatives That Do Provide External Servers (some of these alternatives no longer exist):

Convene

CourseInfo's (Blackboard.com)

COLTS Complete Online Teaching System 

eInstruction

Education to Go

IntraKal 

LearnLinc

Lotus Learning Space via Interliant

MentorWare 

Real Education (eCollege) (There are even eCollege scholarships and full degree programs)

JenzaEducator (Free software and server hosting with advertising) 

Pearson Education's Companion Websites (Prentice Hall)

Viviance

No frills free "unlimited" free server space (but no course authoring shells and software):

XOOM at http://xoom.com/home/ 

TrellixWeb at http://www.trellix.com/ 

Other free server space alternatives:    http://cas.uah.edu/whittena/mis114/fr_web_sp/webdef.htm

Since I began this threading document of authoring software, an excellent software information guide appeared on the web.  Go to http://www.ctt.bc.ca/landonline/evalapps.html 

Among the external-system web server options, there are two sub-categories of options.  One option allows instructors to install courses on an external server only if the courses have matriculated students who pay for passwords to the system.  For example, the University of Northern Arizona (UNA) offers more than 60 online courses in eCollege for student registered at the UNA.  

Microsoft Corporation and eCollege.com are collaborating to offer free (NOTE: connect time charges may apply for your internet connection) courses to faculty and staff in higher education. These courses will focus on using information technology in general, and Microsoft products in particular, to improve teaching and learning. The first of these online courses will be "Presentation Technology: Teaching and Learning with PowerPoint 2000". The first offering of this online course will begin on February 15th, 2000. More detailed information on the course, registration information, and technical requirements, can be found at http://microsoft.ecollege.com/  in the Microsoft Faculty Center.

Welcome to the Microsoft Faculty Center, powered by the eCollege.com course delivery system. This Center is intended to help you, the faculty and instructional staff of educational institutions around the world, build rich and dynamic learning environments which will empower individuals at all stages of their lives and careers, enable access to lifelong learning, and to help us build a connected learning community.

Our inaugural activity at the Microsoft Faculty Center is to provide online Microsoft Office 2000 productivity courses for faculty members, powered by the new eCollege System 4.0. Our first online course, starting February 15th, 2000, and running until February 29th, 2000, will focus on using Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 effectively to improve teaching and learning.

Inaugural Course

With PowerPoint 2000, you and your students can make learning more dynamic by creating presentations of classroom materials and projects. You can use graphics, text, movies, sounds, and the Internet to share information on any topic. Using PowerPoint 2000 templates, you can quickly and easily create presentations for many purposes, including lectures, research reports, meeting handouts and agendas, speaker introductions, and flyers. Learn more or register now.

About the Technology

We are pleased that eCollege.com is providing the technology to power the Microsoft Faculty Center website and the online courses. eCollege.com's Web-based course delivery systems are designed to promote the richest human interaction possible in the online environment, including the best communications tools available, while remaining totally Web-based and demanding nothing more from students than a Web browser and a 28.8 modem connection. eCollege.com's eTeaching Solutionssm include eToolKitsm, eCompanionsm, and eCoursesm and we invite you to view a demo or sign up for a free trial.

A second option allows virtually anyone to put up a course even if the instructor is not affiliated with any school.  These services provide software, server space, course advertising, student registration, and royalty payments to course instructors/developers.  In some cases such as Blackboard.com, options are available for either matriculated students at a school or for students who register with Blackboard.com directly.

To date, the only full-line provider of free server space with free student use that I know about is Jenzabar at http://www.jenzabar.com/.  Boston College uses Jenzabar.  Students must, however, put up with advertising on course pages.  If can read the following at http://www.wbz.com/prd1/now/template.display?p_story=160690&p_who=wbz:

"Previously, students could get course information, calendaring, program information, etc., but they had to go to multiple and confusing sources. With Jenzabar.com, they only need to go to one central source."

The company, Jenzabar.com, is centrally located in Cambridge, Massachusetts amongst dozens of colleges and universities, has its finger on the pulse of what students really want at their desktops.

The core of all students' and professors' weekly routines is based on course schedules, and has developed a personalized "front page" featuring an individual weekly calendar. The entries in the calendar provide links to each course's "home page" and students can add appointments, academic or extra-curricular, directly into this personalized calendar.

In addition, professors, administrators or career counselors have the option of inviting students to campus-wide, course-wide or class-wide events by posting announcements to other users' front pages. Now college students can stay informed by links to CNN or local headline news. Students also receive email announcements on campus or career events posted by administration and campus organizations.

Another feature of the site connects students is the Personal Profile option, which serves as a "virtual facebook". This provides detailed information about each student, including their name, address, major, work experience and interests. This page can be used as a resource for students to get to know each other, making it easier for them to form clubs or study groups.

One professor of accounting stated the following:

I have been approached by Jenzabar.com who is offering me all the space I want to mount web pages, course syllabi, class distributions, etc. forever.  My students would go to their website and gain access to all I've posted there.  One of the links off the Jenzabar homepage is for shopping aimed at college students.  There are no links from the course pages to shopping sites.  No information they obtain about students will be used to sell to them directly.  A clear advantage is that I'd be using their servers, not our school's. They provide web page shells, calendars, etc.  The question of ethics, forcing students to a website where shopping is available, remains.
Elliot Kamlet [ ekamlet@BINGHAMTON.EDU ]
Binghamton University
Binghamton, New York 13902

 

Limited-Line External System Web Authoring Course Alternatives That Do Provide External Servers, Course Advertising, Registration, Billing Services, and Instructor Royalties:

Paul Allen's Asymetrix Click2Learn

Mike Milken's Virtual Education Workspace

Full-Line External System Web Authoring Course Alternatives That Do Provide External Servers, Course Advertising, Registration, Billing Services, and Instructor Royalties:

CourseInfo's (Blackboard.com)

CyberClass

SmartForce 

University Access (Features video and training courses.  Services for colleges and universities were greatly curtailed in Year 2001.)

The main difference between limited-line and full-line options is that limited-line options may restrict the course author to proprietary software and not allow more full-featured, hypermedia software to be imported.  In full-line options, it is sometimes even possible for instructors to merely send in audio or video tapes and request that the system digitize and serve up the hypermedia.  I really expect most of the internal-system web authoring developers to open up external server web sites and become more like Blackboard.and WebCT.

The Nov/Dec issue of Syllabus mentioned above has a Buyers Guide that is not posted online.  A few of the items mentioned in pp. 34-42 are as follows:

Network/Course Management Software updates include the following:

Online Communications and Resource updates include

Since I began this threading document of authoring software, an excellent software information guide appeared on the web.  Go to http://www.ctt.bc.ca/landonline/evalapps.html 

To the above lists of options, I might add a number of special-purpose authoring software options that are used in course authoring but not necessarily for authoring the entire course.

Special-Purpose Authoring Software:

Some of the alternatives listed below are working toward becoming full-line internal-system and/or external-system server providers.  Others merely seek to hang on to their market niches.

askSam Electronic Publisher and Web Publisher

CD Motion for Video CD

Course Builder

Creative Course Writer

Designer's Edge (can be integrated into PowerPoint)

Digital Chisel

DreamFactory

Everest (Windows) and Summit (DOS)

Faculty Desktop Course Management System from Datatel

Hyperties

Icon Author

GoLive

Macromedia Dreamweaver 

Macromedia Director  

Macromedia Flash 

Network Discussion Group (Chat Room) Software

RB Player for Interactive Game Authoring

Real Publisher (an inexpensive way to serve up RealAudio and RealVideo.)

SmartForce 

Story Vision

TeamFusion for Collaborative Team Authoring

Xpower

Web Audio and Video Authoring and Playback Software

Thanks go to Chris Nolan for the lead on the following web site about 
"Putting Your Course Online" http://www.library.okstate.edu/dept/dls/prestamo/nom/titlepage.htm 

Since I began this threading document of authoring software, an excellent software information guide appeared on the web.  Go to http://www.ctt.bc.ca/landonline/evalapps.html 

Where does WebTV stand amidst all of these alternatives?  I am not very optimistic, but others are more optimistic.  According to David Welton of CSU-Chico, distance education will get a boost in the arm from WebTV delivery in cheap set-top boxes on television sets.  WebTV greatly improves upon television reading of text and has many of the advantages taking a course on the computer.  One drawback that remains is that WebTV is unable to display multiple windows like computers display multiple windows.  Also Java Applet support is still not available on WebTV.  However, many persons who watch TV but shy away from the complexities of a computer may be drawn to interactive education on their TV sets.   The full article by David Welton is entitled "A Web-Based Distance Learning Experience:  WebTV," in Syllabus, June 1999, 56-57 (the online version is not yet online, but it will soon be posted to http://www.syllabus.com/ ).

Also see the WebTV Network at http://www.webtv


Some Technology Resources Available to Educators

Believe it or not, I resist forwarding advertising. Whenever I communicate about products, there is no remuneration to me in any way.

The following message is an advertisement, and I have never tried these products (i.e., no free samples for Bob). But these products do sound interesting, so I thought you might like to know about them. It's a really competitive world for vendors of course authoring tools. Products have to have something special to be "survivors."

I added the product message below to the following sites:

Assessment and Testing --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm 

History of Course Authoring Systems --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm 

And yes Richard, I do know that Toolbook (in greatly modified form) still has its nose out of the water.

February 25, 2004 from Leo Lucas [leo@e-learningconsulting.com

Hi Bob, thanks for providing information about authoring tools on http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm. I have two new authoring tools that may be of interest to you and your readers.
 
e-Learning Course Development Kit
URL: http://www.e-learningconsulting.com/products/authoringtool.html
 
Many people use HTML editors such as Dreamweaver and FrontPage to create e-learning courses. While these editors are great for creating information they lack essential e-learning features. The e-Learning Course Development Kit provides these features. The Kit provides templates to create questions, course-wide navigation, a table of contents and links for a glossary and other information. The Kit creates courses that work with SCORM, a standard way to communicate with a Learning Management System (LMS). The support for SCORM lets you run the course in multiple sessions, keep track of bookmarks and record the student's progress through the course. The Kit can be purchased online for $99.
 
Test Builder
URL: http://www.e-learningconsulting.com/products/testbuilder.html
 
Test Builder lets you author tests quickly and easily with a text editor. Absolutely no programming is required. With Test Builder you can create tests and quizzes with true-false, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank and matching questions. It can randomize the sequence of questions and choices and it can randomly select questions from a question pool. You can limit the number of attempts and set the passing score. Test Builder supports SCORM. Test Builder can be purchased online for $149.
 
We wanted to create e-learning tools that would work in an academic setting. So we created tools with these capabilities:
- The tools are affordable.
- They work for the casual user. You can create a small course or test without much fuss.
- They come with documented source code so you can modify or extend the tools to meet your specific needs.
- They add value to your existing investments in technology. They will deliver courses/tests in a browser and work with an LMS that supports SCORM 1.2.
 
Please let me know if you need more information about these tools. Thanks, Leo
 
Leo Lucas
leo@e-learningconsulting.com
www.e-learningconsulting.com
 
P.S. Your home in the white mountains is beautiful.

February 26, 2004 reply from Elliot Kamlet SUNY Account [ekamlet@BINGHAMTON.EDU

Since I just found a great device, I thought I'd share it with you too.

As more faculty become technology aware, classrooms with computers, projectors and internet access are becoming harder to get.

In order to serve as many technology needs as possible, our school is preparing technology ready rooms - rooms in which a laptop may be hooked up to a projector, internet access, etc.

Carrying the laptop around campus is not my favorite activity. I use the laptop to display PowerPoint, prepared spreadsheets, and internet access for news stories and financial statements.

Now for the solution. Margi products produces "Presenter to Go". Now I prepare my spreadsheets, PowerPoint, and search out my news, save the files or webpages to my Sony Clie (works with Palm Pilots too) and display it with a tiny little device that hooks in to the technology ready system. All I need to carry is my Clie and the 2 oz., 2"x2" device and plug.

As I see the process, the Margi software sends the PowerPoint or excel or anything else to a print file (it comes with its own printer driver) that is saved to my Clie and displayed with the help of the tiny device.

http://www.margi.com/products/prod_ptg.htm 

Elliot Kamlet 
Binghamton University (I too have no financial arrangement - I just like this product, a lot)

 


"Accountability: Meeting The Challenge With Technology," Technology & Learning, January 2002, Page 32 --- http://www.techlearning.com/db_area/archives/TL/2002/01/accountb.html 


Software for Creating Web Pages and Websites

A WEB BUILDER'S BUYING GUIDE

 

PRODUCT

webEdition (Standard) Microsoft FrontPage SiteSpinner V2
PUBLISHER webEdition Software, Ltd.
www.webedition-cms.com
Microsoft Corp.
www.microsoft.com
Virtual Mechanics, Inc.
www.virtualmechanics.com
PLATFORM Mac OS 9/X, Windows, and Linux Win 2000 (SP3 or later) or XP Windows

PRICE & SKILL LEVEL

$249 retail, but free for schools
Beginner
$86
Beginner to Advanced
$50
Beginner to Intermediate

 

A WEB BUILDER'S BUYING GUIDE
PRODUCT TypePad Pro Web Studio 4.0 SP2 Adobe GoLive 7.02 Macromedia
Dreamweaver
PUBLISHER Six Apart
www.typepad.com
Back to the Beach Software
file:///W:/users/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm
Adobe Corporation
www.adobe.com
Macromedia, Inc.
www.macromedia.com
PLATFORM Browser-based for Mac or Windows Windows Mac or Win Mac or Win CD
PRICE AND SKILL LEVEL Basic: $4.95/month; Plus:
$8.95/month; Pro: $14.95/month
Beginner to Intermediate
Download: $90
Deluxe (includes printed manual, video tutorial CD, and complete content collection): $135
 
Academic pricing: $80
Intermediate to Advanced
$99
Intermediate to Advanced
 

Click here to view the Comparison Chart. (pdf) ---
http://i.cmpnet.com/techlearning/archives/2005/03/05.03.Reviews_chart%20only.pdf


Question
What are the supposed Top 10 and the Top 100 e-Learning tools, at least in England?


Answer
Top 100 --- http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/top100.html
Various experts list their Top 10 --- http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/index.html

Jensen Comment
I totally disagree with the rankings of the Top 100 and the Top 10.

Where is Blackboard and WebCT? --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackboard

Where are the many important tools for handicapped learners? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Handicapped

Where is Camtasia? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm

Where are the edutainment and learning game alternatives? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment

Where is Matlab (used in virtually every U.S. university) --- --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MATLAB

Like it or not, Wikipedia is one of the most sought out sights in the world by e-Learners --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
There are risks, but the odds are high that users will get helpful learning information and links.

Where are HTML and related XML/RTF and XBRL markups?  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm  

Where are the many huge and free online libraries? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Where are the important blogs and listservs? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm

I could go on and on here!

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm 

August 3, 2007 reply from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

Bob:
I agree with you that the list is flawed - Toolbook should be #1

Richard J. Campbell

mailto:campbell@rio.edu

August 3, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Richard

ToolBook should’ve been number 1 but it fumbled the ball. What proportion of e-Learners are now learning, today, from ToolBooks? My guess is that much less than one percent. A negligible proportion of instructors are developing learning materials using ToolBook dhtml files relative to FrontPage and Dreamweaver htm files.

The biggest innovation for e-Learners and authors was Adobe Acrobat’s tremendous development of online pdf files that could be read and electronically searched for free but not be tampered with by readers. Now major commercial publishing houses are putting new books on line as pdf files.

One of the biggest innovations I forgot to mention was the unknown (at least to me) date in which MS Office files (particularly ppt, doc, and xls files) could be downloaded and read from a Web servers that at one time only could handle htm markups. In terms of e-learning htm, pdf, doc, xls, and ppt files are overwhelmingly the main files for e-Learning, although they are now joined by such files as xml files.

Another huge e-Learning innovation that I forgot to mention is the unknown (at least to me) date in which the above learning and research files could be attached to email messages. This made it easier to have private distributions (say to students in a class) without having to put files on Web, Blackboard, or WebCT servers. Anybody with email can not send files back and forth.

There is still a great risk of macro viruses when downloading MS Office files from the Web or email messages. However, most e-Learners are doing so from trusted Web sites and/or email senders such as files from their course instructors.

ToolBook could fade away and the world would hardly know about it or miss it.

Bob Jensen

 

 


Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

From Syllabus News on January 29, 2002

e-Learning Firm Readies Section 508 Compliance

e-Learning software developer SmartForce said 5,000 hours of its e-learning content conforms with the accessibility standards under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 requires government agencies to ensure its employees and other people with disabilities have equal access to IT services. The company has worked with Octavia Corp. since last June to make its content and "learning paths" accessible using screen readers and other assistive technologies. The partnership will yield other accessibility approaches, including accessibility reviews, consulting, training, and legacy content conversion and remediation, the companies said.

the SmartForce homepage is at http://www.smartforce.com/ 

SmartForce, the world's largest and most experienced e-Learning company, provides learning solutions that help enterprises achieve tangible business results, such as driving revenues, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs, in concrete, measurable ways.


GroupWare for Collaborative Learning

Jim McKenney reports that the School of Business has just adopted LearnLoop at Howard University.  LearnLoop is a web based GroupWare for collaborative learning i.e., groups may meet on the web and study a topic/course together. Since LearnLoop facilitates different types of communication and collaboration you may learn from each other and together build your knowledge of the subject. It has been stalled in development and only recently kicked development back into gear with a new development team.  LearnLoop is a tool for aiding education in organizations, companies and in the educational sector --- http://www.Learnloop.org/ 

LearnLoop is a web based GroupWare for collaborative learning i.e., groups may meet on the web and study a topic/course together. Since LearnLoop facilitates different types of communication and collaboration you may learn from each other and together build your knowledge of the subject. LearnLoop is a tool for aiding education in organizations, companies and in the educational sector.

LearnLoop is an Open Source (GPL) project aimed at developing, and other programmers may take part in this development.
It was funded by The Viktoria Institute  and  The Council For IT use at the Gothenburg Business School in Gothenburg, Sweden and created by Daniel Önnerby, Per Åsberg and Britt Klintenberg.

The application is designed in a way that makes it easy to add different modules when necessary.

As a user of LearnLoop you do not need any additional application/client. You just use your browser.
LearnLoop is a tool for the user. The user as well as the administrator may create and add modules to the course area.
As a course participant in LearnLoop you may:

More functions are going to be added gradually, for example the possibility of writing and editing a document together with other participants.

My guess is that Learnloop is too new to get much feedback from users. I think it is still only in beta testing and was delayed significantly until a new group of developers was put in place to try to put this group learning software back in gear.

In my viewpoint the software does not have a good target market. I don't find much of anything that you cannot do in Blackboard or WebCT, and there are many features in Blackboard and WebCT that you cannot do in LearnLoop. Since Blackboard and WebCT now dominate market share in schools, their cash flows enable ongoing improvements and leading edge developments that LearnLoop will not be able to keep up with in the future.

LearnLoop's specialty is collaboration, but for serious collaboration software, there are some superior, albeit expensive, products such as collaboration systems for videoconferencing. Examples include the following:

IVoDS --- http://www.aztechnology.com/ivods/Flyer.htm 

Internet Communications --- http://www.utexas.edu/courses/kincaid/avab747/niche.html 

PictureTel --- http://www.picturetel.com/print.asp?name=abtst.xml 

To learn more about collaboration software, you might check out the short article below:

"Groupware and Distance Learning - Using Collaborative Software," by Jane Kellogg, http://www.kelloggllc.com/COLABSFT.HTM 


Epsilen Environment from Purdue University appears to have brought together the latest technology in a course authoring, course management, and e-learning package  --- http://www.epsilen.com/Epsilen/Public/Home.aspx

The Epsilen Environment is the result of six years of research and development within the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Epsilen Products and Services are commercially available through BehNeem LLC, the holding company created in Indiana to commercialize, market and further develop the Epsilen Environment. The New York Times is an equity and strategic partner in the company.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

A 2008 addition to the above history site came to my attention in a loose-card advertisement for Epsilen Enviroment that came in the November 3, 2008 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Free ePortfolios 
 
Basic ePortfolio accounts are free for all registered students and faculty of U.S. colleges and universities.  An Epsilen ePortfolio can be created in minutes and be used throughout one’s academic career, during professional life, and even into retirement.  The free Epsilen ePortfolio account offers tools and resources enabling members to:

If your campus is, or becomes, a licensed Epsilen institution (see below), your free ePortfolio will integrate dynamically with more sophisticated tools and services listed below that accompany the paid license. Visit www.epsilen.com to create your personal ePortfolio and begin exploring the Environment. 

  
Exploratory Institutional Memberships
 
The Exploratory Membership is an easy and cost-effective option for colleges and universities, schools, districts and state systems to explore and experience the features of Epsilen, the next generation of learning and networking software.  Upon payment of an annual membership fee, the following features are available to Exploratory Members: 

Annual Exploratory Memberships begin at $5,000 for campuses with up to 2,000 students.  Click here for more pricing information and order application. 
 
 

New York Times Knowledge Network

New York Times Knowledge (NYTKnowledge Network) offers New York Times content to complement faculty-designed courses served dynamically in customizable templates through Epsilen’s Global Learning System.  New York Times content is aggregated by subject and easily selected and incorporated into lessons by faculty and the interactive learning environment. NYTKnowledge Network provides access to a repository of Times archives back to 1851 Times articles, special issues sections, multimedia features, and synchronous and asynchronous contact with correspondents, resulting in an extraordinary integrated learning environment that supports hybrid or online offerings.
 

The New York Times Knowledge Network also offers the opportunity to participate in Webcasts with the Times correspondents and other subject matter experts. These can be included in traditional courses, or offered by your institution as stand-alone life-long learning experiences with comprehensive continuing education programs designed by the New York Times. 


NYT Knowledge Network Provides:

  • A rich repository of archived content back to 1851
  • Access to other major content providers
  • Multimedia news content
  • Interactive maps and graphs
  • Webcasts, chats with correspondents
  • A comprehensive range of content aggregated by subject and easily integrated to support your teaching objectives.
  • NYTimes Knowledge Network marketing of your continuing education courses.  

Visit http://www.nytimes.com/knowledge for further information and pricing (will be released in mid August 2007).
 

Student Learning Matrix 
 
Programs, departments, and schools within a campus may create unlimited student learning matrices to be used by students through an automated learning outcome assessment tool for both summative and formative learning assessment.  Features include:

  • Creation of unlimited student learning matrices for program- or campus-level learning outcome assessment (Each axis includes attributes defined by the program/campus.)
  • Ability for students to upload their learning outcomes according to predefined rubrics
  • Access by faculty and academic advisors to each student learning matrix for assessment, advisement, and certification
  • Program- and campus-level assessment reports for internal and external accreditation reviews
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires no institutional IT support

The annual Student Learning Matrix membership fee is based on the number of students in the program or institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Global Learning System (GLS)
 
 

Epsilen offers the Global Learning System (GLS), a new Web-based learning framework developed as the next generation of eLearning and networking. In contrast to current legacy learning management systems, the GLS offers true global learning collaboration by connecting students and instructors on campuses in the U.S. and around the world in an interactive and intuitive Web 2.0 learning environment.  The GLS complements existing licensed or open source CMS products.  The GLS features include:

  • Global learning management system that enables students and instructors to easily register or be invited to courses and learning collaboration
  • Cross listing of class rosters of two or more courses within various campuses, or across institutions
  • Innovative tools using professional and social networking to enhance learning, encourage collaboration, and utilize peer review technology
  • The ability to easily archive courses and working groups for continued engagement
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires little, or no institutional IT support

The annual GLS membership fee is based on the number of students and courses within the institution. Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Charter Membership
 

Experience the full suite of the Epsilen “Environment” and resources with unparalleled access to NYTKnowledge Network content. Charter members receive special pricing for unlimited use of ePortfolios, the Student Learning Matrix, courses through the Global Learning System, and interactive Webcasts with correspondents.  With charter membership, two university administrators will be invited to participate in the Epsilen - New York Times charter council, with meetings and events scheduled at The New York Times.  Benefits include:

  • Single sign-on environment featuring a toolbox of services for ePortfolio, social networking, Learning Matrix, GLS, object repository, and NYTKnowledge Network
  • Totally hosted turnkey solution with no need for local servers or local technical staff
  • Cost effectiveness for both small and large campuses
  • Collaboration on designing the next generation of eLearning through networking with other members of the Epsilen - New York Times charter council

The Epsilen Charter membership fee is based on the total number of students within the institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application. 
 
 

Technical Support and System Integration
 

Epsilen offers consulting and technical support through both internal and third-party sources for the integration of Epsilen with local campus databases and existing licensed technology.  This provides a seamless, single sign-on, portal approach to all resources and services supporting the learning and teaching initiatives of a campus.  Click Here for more information and online membership application.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

I maintain a site on tools and tricks of the trade at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

 


The Year 2001 eVal Study at the University of Wisconsin

Important Distance Education Study of the Week --- eVal

"Four packages shine in different subjects But not one of these offerings was clearly head of the class in all fields," by Russell Windman, eWEEK Labs,  May 14, 2001 --- http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2717916,00.html 

What makes this study so impressive is the set of judges and the University of Wisconsin setting for the study.

The eVal took place at the University of Wisconsin at Madison's Engineering Hall, where eWEEK Labs joined 15 judges from the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Technical College System, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Minnesota and Dow Corning Corp. in examining what the vendors brought to the class. The eVal was run under the auspices of UW's Office of Learning and Information Technology.

The lessons we learned in this eVal: Learning objects come in a variety of types with assorted strengths; content experts must work as part of a team to build the most useful online instruction; and the most visual learning objects are the most memorable.

The challenge facing UW's OLIT, the school's Academic Advanced Distributed Learning program and training departments everywhere is to identify authoring tools capable of creating engaging interactive material for online learning that faculty (or corporate trainers) can access and incorporate into online courses.

We are talking about lessons, what the gingham-frocked schoolmarm used to chalk up on the slate. These days, instructors don't use chalk but a learning object authoring tool. OLIT wants to select one or two authoring tools that will help training departments easily create learning objects and then fit those learning objects into an LMS (learning management system).

The Department of Defense has created through its ADL initiative a standard called SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) to tame these learning objects. All four products we tested are moving to support SCORM standards.

"For a learning object to really be effective, it must easily fit into the LMS," said Judy Brown, an eWeek Corporate Partner and emerging technology analyst for OLIT. "Adherence to the SCORM standard will allow learning objects to easily be interchanged among LMSes."

Bottom Line Conclusions

The learning object authoring tools in this eValuation each presented different strengths. 

There is a lot more to this report in the way of comparisons and links.  Go to - http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2717916,00.html 

"Authoring tool scorecard" --- http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2760067,00.html 
This is the report card where the advantages and limitations of each of the four systems are summarized.

"Lessons learned eWEEK Labs grades tools that build lessons for distance learners," by Russell Windman, eWEEK May 14, 2001 --- http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2717915,00.html 

"From the trenches," by Judy Brown May 14, 2001 --- http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2717917,00.html 

"The 'everyman' factor It takes a complex tool to teach a distant learner," by Russell Windman, eWEEK May 15, 2001 --- http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2760608,00.html 

For perspective, bear in mind that each of these programs is a more capable WYSISYG HTML authoring tool than the specialized Web authoring tools of only 24 months ago. Furthermore, these programs need hooks for all the three-dimensional, multimedia and graphics resources, and the entire agglomeration must be SCORM-compliant.

Add to that the fact that the Web and browser have become the de facto medium and interface for delivery and are themselves works in progress, and you begin to grasp the challenge. It takes a complex tool to teach a distant learner.

Nevertheless, many software vendors overstate the usability of their products. And it's true that some of these authoring tools require a programmer's understanding of code syntax. Although there may be a GUI, it's more of an aid to the programmer than the lay user. The schoolmarm may know very well what today's lesson is, but in the wild and wooly territory of distance learning, she'll need help getting into the little red schoolhouse and, probably, getting somebody to write on the slate for her.

Following the Macromedia/Allen Interactions presentations, a judge addressed one of the vendors: "I've seen you before, and you are good. Can you tell me how long it will take the average faculty member to do what you did here?"

Laughter exploded because a truth had been spoken, and the gap separating vendor claims from user needs was laid open like a fissure in the earth above a stressed fault. Content experts may not be the people best suited to use this class of programs. At the very least, a team approach is needed. The presenter's answer was candid. "In Authorware, a newbie might take 8 hours to do what I did in an hour and a half."

OK, so from the mouth of an expert we have an everyman factor for Authorware--which was among the friendlier products shown. The Hypercosm presenters, to their credit, stated that their product requires a programmer or Hypercosm's services. However, ease of use is a constant concern regarding all the programs.

This is not to criticize these products, just the marketing of them. It strikes us as unreasonable to expect the content expert to have the time to master and stay current in the skills needed to create a SCORM-compliant learning object in a practical amount of time. Several judges stated that their organizations were already looking into establishing departments to offer these services somewhat along the lines of application development.

High End Online Course Authoring Systems

 


Cantra's Mindlever --- http://www.centra.com/mindlever.asp 
Blended eLearning programs that combine live interactive sessions with access to self-paced, task-specific content provide the most powerful and cost-effective learning solutions. By integrating MindLever's learning content management systems with Centra's live eLearning and real-time collaboration products, Centra is the first to provide a truly integrated solution for blended eLearning and mission-critical knowledge delivery.

With this combined product offering, organizations will be able to extend the power of their Centra eLearning solution by adding the ability to index business content for easy retrieval, on-demand access to extensive multimedia knowledge directories of learning content in industry-standard (SCORM-compliant) formats, and personalized eLearning programs. The extended capabilities of the Centra eLearning infrastructure will enhance the value that Centra already provides organizations - the ability to rapidly and effectively deliver knowledge to employees, customers, and partners to improve business performance.

Cantra's Symposium 5.0 ™ for Microsoft BackOffice Symposium 5.0 for Microsoft BackOffice leverages your IT investment in Microsoft BackOffice by enhancing the capabilities of this platform to include the delivery and management of live, interactive eLearning. Through seamless integration with BackOffice technology, Centra's award-winning capabilities are extended to include threaded discussion forums, Outlook calendar notification to provide users with a single view of their appointments and online classes, and robust database management and reporting tools available in SQL Server.

Received high marks for integration of Microsoft Office software (in a relational database) as reported in a University of Wisconsin study --- http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2717916,00.html 



Hypercosm --- http://www.hypercosm.com/ 
 
Hypercostm is a leading provider of highly interactive 3D web-based visual solutions for the eCRM market. Extending beyond text-based interaction currently provided by other eCRM solutions, Hypercosm's technology provides compact transmission of interactive 3D graphics, enhancing the user's web experience, and helping companies acquire, retain and better serve their customers at a fraction of their current costs.

Received high marks for interactive objects and graphics as reported in a University of Wisconsin study --- http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2717916,00.html 


 

Macromedia's Web Learning Studio --- http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/proom/pr/2000/weblearning.html 

San Francisco, California —November 15, 2000—Macromedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: MACR) today announced the Macromedia Web Learning Studio, the complete authoring solution for online learning. The studio includes Macromedia Authorware 5.2, a new version of the leading authoring product for online learning, with Web authoring standards such as Macromedia Flash and Macromedia Dreamweaver. The integrated authoring studio enables developers, instructional designers, and subject matter experts to create and deploy engaging, standards-based learning applications for delivery on the Web, corporate intranets, and via CD-ROMs.

"We have found that the majority of our learning developers are using HTML and Macromedia Flash content in their online courses," said Pat Brogan, vice president of education and learning at Macromedia. "The Macromedia Web Learning Studio gives developers all the software they need to address the full range of application and delivery requirements — from simple Web-based tutorials to sophisticated, rich-media simulations."

The Macromedia Web Learning Studio includes all new versions of Macromedia authoring products and features Authorware 5.2, the latest release of the leading software for creating rich-media learning for Web, LANs and CD-ROM. New features in version 5.2 are support for Macromedia Flash 5, a robust new scripting editor, Windows controls, assessment Knowledge Objects, and enhanced, standards-compliant data tracking capabilities. The studio also supports industry standards to ensure the learning content it creates can be easily tracked by learning management systems.

"We are delighted to see Authorware adding support for leading-edge technologies like Macromedia Flash 5," said Mark Steiner, manager of learning services, Chicago, for marchFIRST, Inc.. "We rely heavily upon Authorware's ability to integrate a diverse variety of media types and then rapidly add logic and interactivity to deliver successful online learning courseware for our clients."

"We are impressed with Macromedia's ability to integrate leading edge solutions, like Authorware and Macromedia Flash 5," according to the global training division of FedEx Express. "With Macromedia delivering cutting edge Web authoring tools, we can focus on delivering on-time training and packages."

To enhance the power of the new studio, Macromedia is also providing free learning extensions for Macromedia Flash 5 and Dreamweaver 4, including the now free CourseBuilder extension for Dreamweaver. These extensions and other learning resources will be available from the Learning Resource Center on the Macromedia Web site (http://www.macromedia.com/learning). "Getting Started with Online Learning," a how-to guide for developers written by online learning experts, is also available with the studio and as a free download from the Learning Resource Center. The learning extensions enable the development of online learning content with Macromedia Flash and Dreamweaver by providing pre-built navigational frameworks, learning interactions, quizzes and built-in data tracking.

Received high marks for being the most complete authoring system available in the market as reported in a University of Wisconsin study --- http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2717916,00.html 

 


 

NYUonline's iAuthor --- http://www.nyuonline.com/vn_6/vnav_06.html?development/development.html 

The NYUonline homepage is at http://www.nyuonline.com/ 

This system is a carefully constructed set of development tools combined with a development process that reflects the best practices for creating e-Learning courseware in learning object format.

 

Received high marks for metadata tagging and a mulit-user database as reported in a University of Wisconsin study --- http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2717916,00.html 
But the $50,000 price tag is a bummer.


 

Click2learn's Multimedia ToolBook --- http://www.click2learn.com/ 

 

Forwarded by Dan Gode

eWEEK's comment in the article "Lessons Learned - eWEEK grades tools that build lessons for distance learners" about Click2learn's reason for withdrawing from the evaluation is incorrect, and we are in the process of obtaining a correction.

Click2learn did not state that we were de-emphasizing ToolBook. In fact, Click2learn engineering is actively working on future releases of ToolBook. We are very excited about the future of ToolBook and are planning some innovative capabilities for our future versions. Our plans will ensure that ToolBook not only continues to be the leading desktop authoring tool but also has some of the best enterprise server components to complement it. We will be announcing these shortly.....

Click2learn withdrew from the review because eWEEK would not disclose to us the product vendors who agreed to participate in this review, nor specific details about the parameters of the shoot-out. Our review policy is to require this information be disclosed to us before we participate in product reviews of this kind to ensure that the review will be a fair judge of product performance and customer needs.

Thanks very much for your continued support!

Brad Crain VP,GM Learning Tools Click2learn, Inc.

Click2learn ( http://www.click2learn.com/ ) declined to participate in the eVal study that I described in my May 21 edition of New Bookmarks.  You can read about this study at the University of Wisconsin by clicking on http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2717916,00.html 

 

If the above report is removed from the Web, you can read my summary at 
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book01q2.htm#052101
 

A Great Summary of Web Instruction Resources 
Sharon Gray, Instructional Technologist ---
http://inst.augie.edu/%7Egray/ 
Augustana College, 2001 Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD  57197
gray@inst.augie.edu, 605-274-4907 
For GREAT comprehensive listing of Web Instruction Resources, go to http://inst.augie.edu/~gray/WBI.html

Bob Jensen's threads on other computing and education topics can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm 


WebEx System for Delivering Online Meetings and/or Courses

WebEx offers a total system for delivering online meetings or complete courses for companies and schools who do not have the internal IT system for such a huge undertaking --- http://www.webex.com/home/default.htm 

WebEx is delivering real-time multimedia communications to more than 3,275 global corporations who use WebEx services to communicate with customers, prospects, partners and suppliers. Departments across the enterprise are using WebEx meetings to save money on travel costs and increase productivity. Learn how WebEx services can enhance your business with rich, secure, multimedia communications, all through a standard Web browser.

 


Trends in Course Authoring Software Attributes

 In Chapter 3 of Jensen and Sandlin (1994), the following "core" attributes were used to distinguish full-line course authoring software from alternatives that did did not have all of these attributes.  These attributes, some of which are not yet available in modern web authoring software,  are as follows for 1994 for CD-ROM course authoring:

(CORE  01) Authoring and Runtime Versions of the CMS Software.  With proprietary scripting of CMS software, software to run the learning materials was known as runtime software, reader software, viewers, etc.  "Runtime" versions of the software that will run the lessons on a computer but do not allow the user to modify, edit, or update the lessons.  Runtime was a big problem with CMS software.   Runtime software enables students to utilize electronic books and other course materials without having to buy any authoring license. In the 1980s, course vendors charged authors runtime fees.  But in the 1990s, competitive pressures forced most software developers to drop the runtime fees.  In the late 1990s, vendors also developed web runtime (browser plug-in) software that generally does not work very well.  The trend in the in 1999 is to author in HTML, DHTML, VBscript, JavaScript, Java, or some other software that will run directly in a web browser such as Internet Explorer.  Runtime is not an issue in modern web authoring shells since authored materials are designed to be run in web browsers like Internet Explorer.  One problem, however, is that newer DHTML authoring software will not run in all browsers.  In some cases, students must have Microsoft Office 2000 installed with at least Version 5.00 of Internet Explorer.  See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/dhtml/excel01.htm.

 

(CORE  02) Student Tracking and Course Record Keeping.  These utilities allow the progress of each student to be automatically monitored and reported upon throughout an entire course.  Student tracking and progress reporting are the main CMS core features that usually distinguish CMS vendors from their rivals that sell animation, hypertext, and hypermedia authoring and runtime software.

 

(CORE 03) Examination Templates and Grading.  Questions may be authored in a variety of templates, including templates for essay questions.  Examinations may be graded and recorded automatically.  Templates are provided for ease of designating point weightings and lesson branching contingent upon student responses or total examination scores.  All CMS and web server shell systems all have examination generating utilities.  Most options also allow for essay tests, and some options will even have some (limited) essay test grading utilities.

 

Bob Jensen's threads on examination helpers and assessments are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#Examinations 

 

 

(CORE  04) Interactive Branching Options.  This allows the response of an instructor/student to determine what part of a lesson is encountered at the next stage of the teaching/learning process.  Some software is more menu driven than others in interactive processes.  Interactive branching utilities are features of CMS packages that are often lacking in rival products from non-CMS vendors who rely more upon menu choosing (clicking) than interactive branching based upon a student's responses to questions and problems.

 

(CORE  05) Software Switching Utilities.  Runtime software switching options allow instructors or students to shift from a CMS lesson into other software such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access.  This feature is not available on most modern-day web authoring shells.  Software switching is much easier on earlier CD-ROM systems since the other software files (such as xls and mdb files) can be included on the CD-ROM.  Downloading these files from the web can be tedious, especially when they are very large files. 

 

(CORE  06) Student Written and/or Oral Response Options.  Most CMS vendors have runtime utilities that allow students to write answers that both appear on the screen and are recorded into the records.  The next phase will be to have utilities for displaying and recording audio responses.  One of the most significant emerging technologies on the scene is voice input/output for computers.  Voice recognition and transcription will eventually become commonplace in the next decade.

 

(CORE  07) Authoring Software Allowing Instructors to Render Animated and Colored Computer Graphics.  Animation entails movement of an image or partial image (e.g., graph component, equation symbol, background highlights, borders, text, financial statement segment, elements of a data table, etc.).   The software animation capabilities vary greatly as to animation speed controls that adjust to computer speeds and ease of animation authoring. 

 

(CORE  08) Media Clipping Utilities.  Most course authoring systems require that authors first capture audio and video files in specialized capturing software.  Afterwards, however, some of the high-end authoring packages had clip generating utilities that allowed authors to feature clips from large multimedia files.  For example, from a single large audio file, the author might scatter hundreds or thousands of segments (clips) in a course without having to store each clip as a separate file.  Other features such as fade-ins could be added.   The clipping utilities available in high-end CD-ROM authoring systems like ToolBook are not yet available in modern-day shell software for internal-system or external-system servers.  The server authoring software in this and many other areas is much more limited than in the heavy-duty CD-ROM authoring software like ToolBook, Quest, and Authorware.

 

(CORE  09) Multiple-Image Files.  Multiple graphics and text screens can be combined into a single lesson file in CMS authoring.  This differs from older versions of graphics software "slide" shows and paintbrush software where each screen had to be stored as a separate file.  Such attributes are now commonplace but they were not common in the early years.

(CORE 10) Applications Consulting.  Nearly all CMS vendors have consulting divisions that, for a fee, assist authors or entirely prepare training courses, textbook supplements, etc.  Most high-end authoring software vendors still have consulting divisions. 

In 1999, there are various new and extremely important core attributes in web authoring software that were not available in 1994 for CD-ROM authoring.  Most of these have become commonplace in high-end web server shells.  Examples of the newer core attributes are liste

 

(CORE 11) Streaming Audio/Video.  In the early days of multimedia on the web, audio and video files had to be fully downloaded before users could commence playback.  This led to long and distracting pauses in the flow of learning material.  Modern-day web authoring shells have streaming audio and video that will commence playback almost immediately and play on a "streaming" basis on-the-fly without the downloading pauses.

(CORE 12) Chat Rooms.  In the early days of web interactions, communications were mainly asynchronous email messages.  More recent web authoring shells have software for synchronous communications called "chat rooms."  Email messages will appear to all members of the group or entire class as they are typed.  Users do not even have to wait until the message is completed before they can start to read what is being typed.  Chat rooms may also have video and audio messaging capabilities.

(CORE 13)  Threaded Messages.  In the early days, students had to creatively file course messages if they wanted to retrieve messages or portions of messages dealing with particular topics.  In modern courseware, these messages can be easily threaded so that the system links messages on topics rather than forcing students to invent their own threading schemes.

(CORE 14)  Synchronous Visualization and Audio Aids.  These are commonly white boards and document cameras that display images to groups of students or all students in the class.  Some software now makes narration possible as images are presented.  For example RealPresenter allows instructors to annotate a PowerPoint presentation with audio then convert it to RealVideo. 

(CORE 15) Software for Collaborative Workgroups.  Collaborative writing software makes it especially easy for members of teams and groups to collaborate on a single document even though the members are physically located on different parts of the globe.

(CORE 16) Database Reporting and Web Site Statistics.  In addition to course management software for grading and grade book recording, website software can also record document usage statistics, frequency of student comments and messages, and other data that is impossible or impractical to record in live classrooms.  User tracking can also be recorded (i.e., tracking of the ordering of document usage and web site visitations by a student).

(CORE 17)  Online Help at All Times.  When students have troubles running the system, it is very important that various levels of help be available at all times, including help from live technicians on the software usage.  It becomes especially important when students depend upon external-system servers for which there is no computing center on campus to complain to about connections and service.

2008 Update

 

Epsilen Environment from Purdue University appears to have brought together the latest technology in a course authoring, course management, and e-learning package  --- http://www.epsilen.com/Epsilen/Public/Home.aspx

The Epsilen Environment is the result of six years of research and development within the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Epsilen Products and Services are commercially available through BehNeem LLC, the holding company created in Indiana to commercialize, market and further develop the Epsilen Environment. The New York Times is an equity and strategic partner in the company.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

A 2008 addition to the above history site came to my attention in a loose-card advertisement for Epsilen Enviroment that came in the November 3, 2008 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Free ePortfolios 
 
Basic ePortfolio accounts are free for all registered students and faculty of U.S. colleges and universities.  An Epsilen ePortfolio can be created in minutes and be used throughout one’s academic career, during professional life, and even into retirement.  The free Epsilen ePortfolio account offers tools and resources enabling members to:

If your campus is, or becomes, a licensed Epsilen institution (see below), your free ePortfolio will integrate dynamically with more sophisticated tools and services listed below that accompany the paid license. Visit www.epsilen.com to create your personal ePortfolio and begin exploring the Environment. 

  
Exploratory Institutional Memberships
 
The Exploratory Membership is an easy and cost-effective option for colleges and universities, schools, districts and state systems to explore and experience the features of Epsilen, the next generation of learning and networking software.  Upon payment of an annual membership fee, the following features are available to Exploratory Members: 

Annual Exploratory Memberships begin at $5,000 for campuses with up to 2,000 students.  Click here for more pricing information and order application. 
 
 

New York Times Knowledge Network

New York Times Knowledge (NYTKnowledge Network) offers New York Times content to complement faculty-designed courses served dynamically in customizable templates through Epsilen’s Global Learning System.  New York Times content is aggregated by subject and easily selected and incorporated into lessons by faculty and the interactive learning environment. NYTKnowledge Network provides access to a repository of Times archives back to 1851 Times articles, special issues sections, multimedia features, and synchronous and asynchronous contact with correspondents, resulting in an extraordinary integrated learning environment that supports hybrid or online offerings.
 

The New York Times Knowledge Network also offers the opportunity to participate in Webcasts with the Times correspondents and other subject matter experts. These can be included in traditional courses, or offered by your institution as stand-alone life-long learning experiences with comprehensive continuing education programs designed by the New York Times. 


NYT Knowledge Network Provides:

  • A rich repository of archived content back to 1851
  • Access to other major content providers
  • Multimedia news content
  • Interactive maps and graphs
  • Webcasts, chats with correspondents
  • A comprehensive range of content aggregated by subject and easily integrated to support your teaching objectives.
  • NYTimes Knowledge Network marketing of your continuing education courses.  

Visit http://www.nytimes.com/knowledge for further information and pricing (will be released in mid August 2007).
 

Student Learning Matrix 
 
Programs, departments, and schools within a campus may create unlimited student learning matrices to be used by students through an automated learning outcome assessment tool for both summative and formative learning assessment.  Features include:

  • Creation of unlimited student learning matrices for program- or campus-level learning outcome assessment (Each axis includes attributes defined by the program/campus.)
  • Ability for students to upload their learning outcomes according to predefined rubrics
  • Access by faculty and academic advisors to each student learning matrix for assessment, advisement, and certification
  • Program- and campus-level assessment reports for internal and external accreditation reviews
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires no institutional IT support

The annual Student Learning Matrix membership fee is based on the number of students in the program or institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Global Learning System (GLS)
 
 

Epsilen offers the Global Learning System (GLS), a new Web-based learning framework developed as the next generation of eLearning and networking. In contrast to current legacy learning management systems, the GLS offers true global learning collaboration by connecting students and instructors on campuses in the U.S. and around the world in an interactive and intuitive Web 2.0 learning environment.  The GLS complements existing licensed or open source CMS products.  The GLS features include:

  • Global learning management system that enables students and instructors to easily register or be invited to courses and learning collaboration
  • Cross listing of class rosters of two or more courses within various campuses, or across institutions
  • Innovative tools using professional and social networking to enhance learning, encourage collaboration, and utilize peer review technology
  • The ability to easily archive courses and working groups for continued engagement
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires little, or no institutional IT support

The annual GLS membership fee is based on the number of students and courses within the institution. Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Charter Membership
 

Experience the full suite of the Epsilen “Environment” and resources with unparalleled access to NYTKnowledge Network content. Charter members receive special pricing for unlimited use of ePortfolios, the Student Learning Matrix, courses through the Global Learning System, and interactive Webcasts with correspondents.  With charter membership, two university administrators will be invited to participate in the Epsilen - New York Times charter council, with meetings and events scheduled at The New York Times.  Benefits include:

  • Single sign-on environment featuring a toolbox of services for ePortfolio, social networking, Learning Matrix, GLS, object repository, and NYTKnowledge Network
  • Totally hosted turnkey solution with no need for local servers or local technical staff
  • Cost effectiveness for both small and large campuses
  • Collaboration on designing the next generation of eLearning through networking with other members of the Epsilen - New York Times charter council

The Epsilen Charter membership fee is based on the total number of students within the institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application. 
 
 

Technical Support and System Integration
 

Epsilen offers consulting and technical support through both internal and third-party sources for the integration of Epsilen with local campus databases and existing licensed technology.  This provides a seamless, single sign-on, portal approach to all resources and services supporting the learning and teaching initiatives of a campus.  Click Here for more information and online membership application.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

I maintain a site on tools and tricks of the trade at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

 

Accounting Education Illustrations

In some cases, the courses are mounted on external servers that provide free web space but do not contain web authoring shells.  An example is provided by Duncan Williamson.


Database Driven Learning Sites

From InternetWorld.com [internetworld_support@cheetahmail.com] on April 30, 2001

"Commentary: Why ColdFusion Is Still Relevant" by Dave Carr

Goodbye Allaire, hello Macromedia, and hello ColdFusion 5. Monday's announcement of the new application server release, which will ship in June, is the first product news to come out of what used to be Allaire since Macromedia closed its acquisition of the company. It's also our excuse to talk about what ColdFusion users have been telling us about the merger and about why ColdFusion remains relevant in the era of J2EE and .Net.

First, ColdFusion 5 is the first major release of the server in 18 months and addresses a laundry list of demands for performance and developer productivity improvements. New features include user-defined functions that can be stored once on the server, then accessed from any application; "query of queries," a way of combining multiple database queries and treating them as a single, consolidated data source; more analysis and reporting functions; and a graphing and charting engine (based on Macromedia Generator).

Performance of the core engine is supposedly as much as four times better than with ColdFusion 4.5, and partial page delivery lets users see some content sooner, even if the server is still working on retrieving other information or performing a complex calculation. A new application deployment model allows developers to package all the files associated with an application into a single archive file for easier installation on multiple servers. Application monitoring has also been enhanced, and support for SNMP allows ColdFusion to be managed with tools like Computer Associates' Unicenter, IBM Tivoli, or BMC Patrol.

Phil Costa, the senior product marketing manager for ColdFusion 5, said he expects a large percentage of the ColdFusion customer base to upgrade, for two reasons. "First, we've added a large number of features they've been asking for, and second, a large number will upgrade for the performance gains." Because ColdFusion 5 delivers higher performance on the same hardware, some customers will find it saves them from having to add server capacity, he said.

Costa kept emphasizing that Macromedia was committed to continuing support of ColdFusion. That would certainly make sense, given that this product was Allaire's bread and butter. At the same time, most of the application server market, other than Microsoft, has coalesced around the Java 2 Enterprise Edition family of standards. ColdFusion stands alone as a survivor from an earlier generation of application servers that invented their own ways of doing things. However, the Allaire purchase also bought JRun, an entry-level J2EE server. Furthermore, the next major release of ColdFusion is supposed to run on top of a Java engine -- starting with JRun, but also opening up the possibility of running ColdFusion applications on top of other J2EE servers.

It adds up to future-proofing ColdFusion. The reason people choose ColdFusion or JRun in the first place is that both products make it easy to develop and deploy applications at a reasonable cost. Allaire loyalists tend to argue that these products also do a better job on scalability and reliability than competitors might have you believe. Still, it's the products from the likes of IBM, BEA, iPlanet, Oracle, and Iona that you're more likely to find running Internet banking and airline reservations systems.

Jeremy Allaire, who has stayed on as chief technology officer of Macromedia, says that rather than trying to compete with those players over who has the strongest distributed object transaction system, he prefers to focus on the "mass enterprise" of developers who don't have those extreme high-end requirements.

Macromedia shares Allaire's focus on making Web development easy, and the companies were already working together in a number of ways prior to the acquisition. Dreamweaver UltraDev could be used to build database-driven sites in CFML (Cold Fusion Markup Language for creation of dynamic and interactive Web pages), along with ASP and JSP, and JRun is an embedded component of Macromedia Generator. On the other hand, many Web projects that target one of the high-end J2EE servers still use Macromedia products for the front-end design and Web-development aspect. So at the same time that Macromedia is boasting of now having an end-to-end product, it still needs to leave the door open to customers of other application servers.

"The merger comes as happy news to us," reports Justin Knecht, manager of Internet technology at Binney-Smith, where he's responsible for sites such as crayola.com and sillyputty.com. Knecht's group uses products from both companies and particularly relies on the Mac versions of the design products for the look of its sites. When his group was formed at the beginning of 2000, it was given four days to come up with a demo system of a revamped site and six weeks to create a full production system. ColdFusion proved to be a good match for development under that kind of deadline pressure, he said. The initial site that launched in March 2000 suffered from bad database design, and Allaire consultants also helped fine-tune the code for a July relaunch. But overall performance has been good and has stood up to spikes in demand, he said

"What's New in ColdFusion Server 5?" by Cameron Mathews, Webmonkey, December 14, 2001 --- http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/01/50/index3a.html 

When I heard that Macromedia had released the new ColdFusion 5, I wondered what they could have possibly done to expand the functionality of an already great product. From my perspective, version 4.5 had it all: Ease of coding, fast processing ability, and custom tags had become so easy to implement and develop that I could do almost anything I wanted with just a few lines of ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML). Usually new releases offer some performance enhancements, better load-balancing, and other features to help out the administrators of the Web servers that host my applications, but there's usually nothing new for Webmonkeys like me. But ColdFusion 5 is different.

The latest release offers up not only the standard performance enhancements and server management features, but also a bucket-load of features and tools to help out the developer. The amount of code needed to perform many day-to-day coding problems has been slashed to the bare minimum, and you can infuse your site with all kinds of dynamic functionality with little adjustment to your learning curve. The two additions with the most impact, in my opinion, are the addition of User Defined Functions (UDFs) and the <cfgraph> tag. UDFs allow the developer to reuse segments of code and return values withou the long process of creating a custom tag, checking the various variables returned by the tag for successful processing, and then outputting the results. Instead, a simple call to a function returns a processed result and can be used in the middle of an expression as easily as standard ColdFusion functions like CreateODBCDate() or DollarFormat(). The <cfgraph> tag removes the need to install (often expensive) third-party custom CFX tags to generate nice graphs and charts to display data in a format other than two-dimensional bar graphs created with tables or just as raw text output.

As for the "techy" improvements, Macromedia has upgraded the Verity search engine, allowing Verity collections to spider the site, support multiple languages, and index Office 2000 documents. Custom logging has also been added, with the <cflog> tag providing an easier way to manage and track errors on the site. The new version also has better memory allocation and releases memory used by applications that occasionally require additional resources, it has upgraded the Crystal Reports integration to include version 8.0, and it has added functionality for ODBC connection creation. All of these improvements are much needed, but for the purposes of this article, I'm going to focus on the changes that help all of you Webmonkeys to develop better, more feature-rich websites, and make your sites easier to maintain.

So, in the pages that follow, we'll be taking a look at the UDFs, the <cfgraph> tag, the ability to create a Query of Queries that requires just a single call to a database to produce nicely filtered results, and the new <cfdump> tag, which makes it easy to debug applications.

Now let's get into it! The software is available from Macromedia directly or from several online retailers, and is available in boxed or downloadable format. The server software can be run on more platforms than ever before, with the Professional Edition supporting Windows 98, Windows NT 4, Windows 2000 SP1, and various versions of Linux. The Enterprise Edition adds Solaris and HP-UX to the list of operating systems. The Professional Edition sells for US$1295, and the Enterprise Edition sells for $4995.

For the purpose of evaluating the new features in ColdFusion 5, you may want to download a trial version.

Once you have the software, download our sample files and let's get started with our discussion of User Defined Functions. (If you need a utility to unzip the sample files, WinZip is available for a small fee.)

Continued at http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/01/50/index3a.html 

August 15, 2002 Update
Macromedia's ever-popular tool, famous for making it easy to create dynamic sites and Web-based apps, gets a massive overhaul and some new, drool-worthy features --- http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/02/34/index3a.html 

January 15, 2004 message from Chad Jones [chad@free-backup-software.net

Hi Bob, 

My name is Chad Jones, I'm the author of the popular new freeware ZIP program "JustZIPit".

I noticed that your page ( www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm  ) links to the $30 shareware ZIP tool "WinZIP".

May I ask that you consider providing a link to JustZIPit as a freeware (and much easier-to-use) alternative?

Thanks, your visitors will really appreciate it!

(plain text) <a href="http://free-backup-software.net"> JustZIPit - A simple and free ZIP Program</a>

(button) <a href="http://free-backup-software.net"> <img src="http://avatarsoft.com/free/data/apps/JustZIPit_icon.gif" alt="JustZIPit - A simple and free ZIP Program" border=0></a>

Regards,

Chad Jones (916) 765-6913 chad@free-backup-software.net

================================================================= 
JustZIPit - A simple, powerful and free ZIP tool http://free-backup-software.net  
Great price: $0 =================================================================


May 5, 2004 lead from Jim Borden
Macromedia Breeze --- http://www.macromedia.com/resources/education/special/breeze/hed_ctr.html?trackingid=DMYD_ABPV 

Sometimes technology that's supposed to help you ends up complicating your life. But not Breeze. With Breeze, you can use Microsoft PowerPoint to create engaging multimedia presentations for your students and publish them on the web.

With student and session tracking tools, and a centralized, searchable content library, Breeze makes it possible for anyone on campus to develop materials that reach students whenever and wherever you need.

What's more, the Breeze Live module extends the Breeze platform with capabilities such as live and recorded video and audio, screen sharing, and application sharing, so you can hold meetings and deliver lectures over the web.

May 5, 2004 reply from Richard J. Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU

have had a demo – it is good but verrrrrrrrrrry pricey. A hint of that is the absence of pricing info on the MACR web site.  I will be doing a demo using www.webtrain.com later (after grading exams) next week. Webtrain is much more affordable.

Richard J. Campbell
School of Business
University of Rio Grande
Rio Grande, OH 45674
 


Grove.net

Blackboard users should especially note Amy Dunbar's comments near the end of this module.

Comment on Groove from Bob Jensen: 
It seems highly unlikely that the audio in Groove will penetrate firewalls.  My guess is that the same problem that arises with free long distance telephone audio that will not penetrate our campus firewall computers.  For my threads on free long distance telephone, see <http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/speech.htm#LongDistance>

One upon a time, our computer center director (then Larry Gindler) lowered the firewall guard to experiment with incoming long distance audio.  The audio quality was disappointing.  My guess is that the quality will also be questionable for off-campus audio from Groove even if firewall guards are lowered. However, the inter-campus audio quality is excellent according to Richard Campbell.

Original Groovy message from Richard Campbell

Late next week, I'll be starting some virtual office hours for my students. Anyone who wants to audit these randomly scheduled mini-tutorials on managerial accounting should email me at mailto:campbell@VirtualPublishing.NET  with Groove.Net in the subject line. You also would need to download the free beta at www.groove.net Groove.Net  was founded by Ray Ozzie, the developer of Lotus Notes while he was at Lotus.

Richard J. Campbell www.VirtualPublishing.NET  mailto:campbell@VirtualPublishing.NET 

Reply from Amy Dunbar

I went to www.groove.net  and found the following description of Groove: 

Groove is Internet software for making direct connections with the people who are important to you. With Groove you can talk, chat, instant message, draw pictures,swap photos and files, play games and browse the Web together with friends, family and co-workers -- at the same time or whenever one of you has a moment. In Groove, having conversations with context is as easy as sending an email or accessing the Web. Groove runs on Windows' PCs and uses the Internet for transporting communication among PCs.

What does "talk" and "chat" mean - audio/text or only text. Can you have audio communication (not pre-recorded) with Groove? If so, how many users?

Amy Dunbar 
UCon

Reply from Richard Campbell

Amy: 
The chat is both audio (voice over IP) and text chat. The performance of audio chat is very good. I'm not sure of performance through a firewall though. I'm not sure if there are limitations on number of users during the beta testing period. When they start charging real money, I'm sure there will be charging on the basis of file storage and number of users.

Richard J. Campbell www.VirtualPublishing.NET  mailto:campbell@VirtualPublishing.NET 

Reply 1 from Amy Dunbar

Groove is worth checking out. Three faculty members here just "chatted" in a conversation space in groove. Now I'm wondering how it works over modems with the audio. Even with text chat, however, the notepad space works nicely as a "blackboard" where an instructor could go thru a solution, while carrying on a text chat in the space below the notepad. If you check the button "Navigate together" you can move through web pages together, so if you had developed a flash file, you could go through it with the students. Richard, thank you so much for bringing this product to our attention.

Amy 
UConn

Reply 2 from Amy Dunbar on April 5, 2001 (following a demo by Richard Campbell)

The voice exchange in the "space" with Richard Campbell was clear. I'm starting to see the advantage of some of the other tools. For example, he brought up his net ledger tutorial, and it worked within groove. Also, he had gifs of excel spreadsheets (created with snag it) that he had uploaded to the groove server. When you click on a file, it opened immediately. I uploaded a file and both of us were able to see it. Really neat.

For those of you who have downloaded groove, you can click on "My contacts" and search for adunbar or campbell79 to add us to your contact list.
Amy Dunbar [ADunbar@SBA.UCONN.EDU]


From Syllabus e-News on October 30, 2001

Wisconsin Picks Instant Messaging Platform

The University of Wisconsin has licensed the Jabber Communications Platform to provide instant messaging (IM) applications for its 80,000-plus students, faculty and staff. Jabber, an IM applications developer, will provide the real-time communications platform, which can also be extended to provide messaging between students and users of other messaging services like Yahoo or MSN. The IM services will be delivered via the Jabber Instant Messenger client for Windows, developed to ensure the performance of widesrpead deployment of IM. Roger Hanson, a technologist with the University of Wisconsin, said the platform would provide "everything we think our students and faculty will need for spontaneous IM communications."

For more information, visit: http://www.wisc.edu 

To read about Amy Dunbar's first experience using AOL's Instant Messaging while teaching an online tax course, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book01q3.htm#dunbar


From Syllabus e-News on October 30, 2001

Michigan Provides Dow Jones Service to B-School

Dow Jones Newswires said it would provide its flagship equities information service, Dow Jones News Service, to the trading room at the University of Michigan Business School. The school's Trading Room is designed to give students a realistic view of operations on an actual trading floor. Students are required to manage a real investment fund, combining skills acquired in traditional courses with the latest financial technology to develop strategies for portfolio management. Dow Jones news service offers quick, in-depth reports on everything that affects the stock markets. Richard Sloan, a Michigan professor of accounting and finance, said "students now have the opportunity to analyze how security prices react to the release of new information using the same information source as the Wall Street professionals responsible for setting prices."

For more information, visit: http://www.bus.umich.edu


Campus Pipeline Unveils Content Management for Higher Ed

Campus Pipeline, Inc. introduced what it called the first enterprise content management solution designed for higher education. The Campus Pipeline Luminis Content Management Suite 2.0 is the product of a collaboration between the company, Drexel University, Pepperdine University, and Documentum, a provider of enterprise content management. The software is intended to automate and administer the management of tens of thousands of Web pages, documents, and other digital resources, from multiple contributors, both inside the campus and in the public domain. Drexel chief information officer John A. Bielec said the collaboration allowed the school to "customize the first content management suite for higher education and help many universities address similar needs."


 

Other Resources

Fist give Bob Jensen's Threads a try at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm 
Bob Jensen's resources for faculty --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/newfaculty.htm 
Helpers for Educators --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ 
Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob.htm 

"Spreadsheets in Education–The First 25 Years," by  John E Baker Director, Natural Maths john@naturalmaths.com.au  and Stephen J Sugden School of Information Technology, Bond University ssugden@bond.edu.au , July 24, 2003 --- http://www.sie.bond.edu.au/articles/1.1/bakersugden.pdf

Spreadsheets made their first appearance for personal computers in 1979 in the form of VisiCalc [45], an application designed to help with accounting tasks. Since that time, the diversity of applications of the spreadsheet program is evidenced by its continual reappearance in scholarly journals. Nowhere is its application becoming more marked than in the field of education. From primary to tertiary levels, the spreadsheet is gradually increasing in its importance as a tool for teaching and learning. By way of an introduction to the new electronic journal Spreadsheets in Education, the editors have compiled this overview of the use of spreadsheets in education. The aim is to provide a comprehensive bibliography and springboard from which others may develop their own applications and reports on educational applications of spreadsheets. For despite its rising popularity, the spreadsheet has still a long way to go before becoming a universal tool for teaching and learning, and many opportunities for its application have yet to be explored. The basic paradigm of an array of rows-and-columns with automatic update and display of results has been extended with libraries of mathematical and statistical functions, versatile graphing and charting facilities, powerful add-ins such as Microsoft Excel’s Solver, attractive and highlyfunctional graphical user interfaces, and the ability to write custom code in languages such as Microsoft’s Visual Basic for Applications. It is difficult to believe that Bricklin, the original creator of VisiCalc could have imagined the modern form of the now ubiquitous spreadsheet program. But the basic idea of the electronic spreadsheet has stood the test of time; indeed it is nowadays an indispensable item of software, not only in business and in the home, but also in academe. This paper briefly examines the history of the spreadsheet, then goes on to give a survey of major books, papers and conference presentations over the past 25 years, all in the area of educational applications of spreadsheets.

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade in education technology can be found at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

Bob Jensen's video tutorials on spreadsheets are at
http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5342/

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of education technologies are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

 

Presedia:  A new product from Macromedia in Year 2003 --- http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/presedia/presentation/145326/ 
The above website has an audio overview from Macromedia.

Alternatives for creating MP3 audio files are given at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/newfaculty.htm#Resources  

Try the AskEric Toolbox at http://ericir.syr.edu/Qa/Toolbox/#education 

eCollege has a very helpful resource website at http://resources.blackboard.com/scholar/general/main.jsp 

A great place to start in the general topic of education is the Education links page of Yahoo at http://dir.yahoo.com/Education/ 

Network Social Science Tools and Resources http://www.nesstar.org/ 

Electronic Commerce Resource Center (e-Commerce, e-Business)  http://www.becrc.org/index.html 

Research Haven is a student research helper site that may also be of help to faculty --- http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/6199/ 

For MP3 compression of WAV files, I use an old (free) version of Blade described at

http://bladeenc.mp3.no/skeleton/intro.html

http://showcase.netins.net/web/phdss/mp3/encoders/blade.htm

I might give you some advice following my first try at using BladeEnc to covert WAV audio files into MP3 audio files.

I downloaded BladeEnc from ZDnet at http://www.zdnet.com/ (simply type BladeEnc into the search box).

Either turn off your screen saver or turn it temporarily up to a high enough number so that your screen saver does not kick in during the process of creating MP3 files. The screen saver does not stop the process, but you may get a blank screen that makes you think the program has crashed when it has not really crashed.

I found it easier to copy my WAV files into the same folder as the BladeEnc.exe program.

Recall how in may cases you can either run a program or drag files over a program (e.g., in Windows Explorer). For example, you can run Notepad.exe and then click on (File, Open) to load a txt file. Or you can use Windows Explorer and simply drag the txt file over Notepad.exe without opening Notepad.exe ahead of time.

With BladeEnc you cannot run BladeEnc.exe and then load your WAV file into the open window. Instead you simply drag the WAV file over the BladeEnc.exe file and it automatically commences to covert that file into an MP3 file. When it is finished, you have both the original WAV file and a new MP3 file.

In Windows Explorer you can hold down the Shift Key and multiple select files to drag over the BladeEnc.exe file. This will record the selected files automatically. However, I could not get this feature to work for a large selection of more than 12 files. Hence, I converted about 10-12 files at a crack.

Research Links

* Book Store  
Looking for cheap books, CD's, software.  Chapters.Ca offers everything you need, and best of all, at Canadian prices, stretch your US dollar as far as possible..
* Get Your Free EMAIL account here. 
Partnering with everyone.net, we are please to provide you with you very own e-mail address.  Forget about Hotmail and give us a try.
* Start Earning Money Today  
Looking at making a little profit on the internet?  Check out some of these amazing new business opportunities.  Within minutes you could be making money at no cost to you.
* Participate in Surveys and Focus Groups
Green Field Online offers you an opportunity to participate in live surveys and discussion groups.
* Building a Web Site
All the tools and sites you need to build or upgrade your web site.
* On-line Dictionaries Thesaurus and Famous Quotes.
Our on-line dictionaries and thesaurus as well as a list of famous quotes are perfect companion to any research paper.
* On-line Resources
Don't have time to run to the library. Check our extensive listing or on-line journals, magazines and newspapers for past and current issues.
* On-line Libraries
Trying to save yourself a trip to the library. Check these on line libraries which include most Universities and Government organizations in North America.
* Tutorials
Having trouble where to begin or are you just looking for some assistance in your research paper. Check these sites on steps to writing papers, formatting, and basic study tips and much more.
* Free Research Papers and Writing Services
Lost for a place to start. Check this extensive list of pre-written essays and research-writing services.
* Fun Places to Visit

For a listing of Yahoo's top distance education websites, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245progs.htm#Yahoo 

One of Yahoo's winners is The Journal of Library Services for Distance Education at http://www.westga.edu/~library/jlsde/ 

 


Delivering Lectures on Demand

Question
How can course lectures be delivered on demand?

Answer
It is possible to use Camtasia to make videos of what appears on computer screens and instructor narrations.  Alternately, it is possible to take live video of an instructor for playback at any time, but this does not work well for recording computer screens.  Actually, the best alterative probably is a system designed for the purpose of recording everything.  Enter Tegrity at http://www.tegrity.com/ 

Tegrity® WebLearner is the leading solution for automatically
  turning natural teaching into effective multimedia e-learning,
  for on-demand and live delivery.

What makes Tegrity so unique?

Learn more... --- http://www.tegrity.com/products.html 

See Customer Content in Demo Center --- http://www.tegrity.com/demo.html 

"On-Demand Lectures Create an Effective Distributed Education Experience," by Stanley D. Lindsey, T.H.E. Journal, November 2003, pp. 16-19 --- http://www.thejournal.com/magazine/vault/A4559.cfm 

I began teaching senior-level structural engineering courses at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Georgia Tech Regional Engineering Program two years ago. The program is a unique partnership of four universities - Georgia Tech, Savannah State University, Armstrong Atlantic State University and Georgia Southern University - with classes taught live at one of the partner universities. Currently, students in remote classrooms at the other universities receive the live class through various room-to-room audio and video network setups; thus, most classes are of the distributed education (DE) type.

When I began teaching, I tried to make sure that students would receive the best possible educational experience in my classes by trying various standard DE teaching techniques. I noticed the typical student profile and expectations had changed over the years, with today's students demanding a great deal of quality and convenience in their educational offerings. Naturally, the institution will benefit if its students, who are located in and around Atlanta, can get a Georgia Tech degree without always having to travel to the Atlanta campus. However, I felt that the standard DE techniques were not fully reaching all of the students. This is especially true with the methods currently available, because they lacked a way to efficiently record live teaching sessions and make them available for on-demand access.

I quickly found the standard production-based methods for creating and delivering engaging e-learning content were not sufficient, and surmised there must be a better way to do it. I needed something that would not overburden me or my support staff; would not consume tremendous monetary resources; could adapt to my personal teaching style; and could provide anytime, anywhere convenience for the instructor as well as a valid learning experience for the student.

I spent the better part of six months doing intense research into the tools and software for developing DE courses with one of my graduate students. We evaluated partial solutions such as electronic whiteboards, desktop authoring and video-editing software, but nothing provided a complete, integrated solution that would meet our needs. We even looked at experimental open source software, but it could not deliver the quality and ease of use that we required.

Creating Lecture 'Shells'

In our research, we discovered the Tegrity WebLearner solution (www.tegrity.com) for on-demand and live e-learning, which seemed to provide everything that was needed to achieve our goals. We purchased the Tegrity solution using a major portion of my start-up funds. This solution offered a unique approach that combined do-it-yourself e-learning software with a tablet PC, which enabled me to create effective Web lectures that went far beyond typical slide-show presentations with "talking head" video or audio. The key difference was in its ability to interact with my content - writing and drawing in multiple colors, pointing and highlighting on diagrams - all while explaining concepts at my natural speed. The resulting video modules were actually more powerful than what I could have taught with a blackboard in a traditional classroom.

Content can be created anywhere with the portable, pen-based Toshiba Portégé 3500 tablet PC (www.tabletpc.toshiba.com) and Tegrity, because we have a floating license for the Tegrity software that I can use at work or check out for use at home. I create freehand text, sketches and/or calculations using the tablet; then, simply paste them into Microsoft PowerPoint to make lecture "shells." There's even a document camera that can be used to import images into Tegrity from books or freehand-drawn graphs on grid paper, which I can annotate later as I am recording the lectures. I have found that the tablet PC shortens my preparation time, as I no longer have to design elaborate slides or graphics in PowerPoint; now, they can be done quickly in freehand on the tablet. There is also no need for administrative support or assistance in preparing these PowerPoint shells for my lectures. Thus, lectures can be recorded and uploaded anyplace I have Internet access - even wirelessly.

Creating these video modules and making them available online for repeated viewing has helped transform the way I teach in the classroom. The lectures are recorded in advance and are required viewing before students come to class. After we have spent self-paced time understanding the key concepts in class, I spend time offering personal assistance to those who need it most. With the Tegrity modules available online, I no longer have to invest the entire class time lecturing to the whole group during each class period. Now, class time is used more effectively for discussions, working directly with students, solving homework problems and discussing real-world, practical applications of the content from the streamed video lectures that are designated for the scheduled class.

Course Management Software

Another aspect of my approach to DE is the use of course management software. The logistics of collecting and distributing homework with students in three different cities can be quite a task, so using course management software allows me - without any administrative staff assistance - to post and access all course materials, information, tests and homework in a single place on the Web. I create units in the course management software for Tegrity lectures, online quizzes, homework and homework solutions, schedules, document sharing, drop boxes, announcements, and threaded discussions.

Typically, a Tegrity lecture is recorded and then linked to a unit of the course management software. The student, using a browser with Microsoft Windows Media, clicks on the established link to view the lecture from the streaming server without any special software plug-ins required. Homework and quizzes are posted in the same manner, but with a drop box created for each assignment. In addition, dates are established for access to the box.

Students send an electronic file (PDF) of their assignment to the drop box where I mark and grade it on the tablet PC screen. The marked and graded file is then saved, and an electronic copy is placed in the student's drop box where he or she can electronically access it and print a copy. The ability to write directly on the file using the tablet PC saves me the time and hassle of having to print the assignment, grade it, scan it, save the scanned copy and then e-mail it back to the student.

Expanding the Teaching Horizon

The students who were taught using some or all of these approaches have given very favorable responses to my class. I have taught steel design three times - twice by conventional methods and once this last semester using Tegrity, the tablet PC and course management software. My last class covered more material than the previous two, and students performed better overall. Their performance this last semester has convinced me of the merits of my approach.

To gather student reactions to the problem-based class, an assessment form was devised. The following are some of the results and comments from the final student survey:

This is only the beginning of DE using this methodology. I am currently planning new courses that will take advantage of Tegrity's ability to deliver lectures live via the Internet. Students will log on to the lectures as they are being given and ask questions that will be heard by those using voice-over IP and chat functions. These live lectures will be automatically recorded and stored on the server for on-demand access by remote students located anywhere with an Internet connection. I also plan to deliver Tegrity live lectures to classrooms and place the automatic recordings in the course management software for the students to view again if they wish, which requires no additional work.

In conclusion, by using Tegrity and the tablet PC, I have been given the tools to develop on-demand lectures quickly and easily. This ability allows me to focus on the needs of individual students in class, rather than spending all my class time "chalking and talking." My experience to date indicates that we can do a better job educating and reaching our students with this methodology. It can only get better as new technical innovations become available and as more teachers are willing to expand the horizon of teaching using these innovations.

Click here to view a sample of a Tegrity-powered lecture created by Dr. Lindsey.


"Business School Records Lectures and Lets Students Review Them Online," The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 8, 2003, Page 39.

Administrators and professors in Baruch's Zicklin School of Business have discovered that making digital-video recordings of lectures available online can help undergraduates succeed in large lecture courses.

Students use the online versions for review or if they have missed a lecture.

Most colleges that record lectures do so for the benefit of distance-education students.  Baruch is unusual because it records lectures for some courses that it teaches in classrooms, and spends very little money doing so.

For recording purposes, the business school selects one of the professors who teaches microeconomics and one who teaches macroeconomics.  Their lectures are available online a day or two later.  Students can also download audio-only versions of the lectures to portable MP3 players.

You can read more about how this works below:

Multi-Media Technologies That Enhance Teaching and Learning at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, The City University of New York http://faculty.baruch.cuny.edu/jweiss/ 



Here are links that demonstrate the interactive video and audio technologies we are using to improve learning at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. There are examples from finance, accounting, and economics classes.

The technologies include:
(Note that you can actually download the examples linked below.)

The first examples, Accounting 2101 and Economics 1001, illustrate two different ways we've devised to capture the essence of a lecture. Having lived all our lives immersed in television, it was natural to think that the video standards of television should apply here as well, but that implicit assumption, we discovered, has a major disastrous implication: To achieve TV quality would generally require such huge files that only those few students with very high-speed broadband connections would be able to stream them or download them in a reasonable amount of time. We didn't make any serious headway until we realized that "we're not in the television business, we're in the education business." What's important to students is that they be able to easily hear what is said, read graphs and charts on whiteboards and PowerPoint slides and not be distracted by sound that is out of sync with the video.

The techniques we developed during the taping and editing of the Economics 1001 class gave us the ability to do something that everyone thought was not possible: tape, edit, and put online--in a timely fashion--an intensive MBA Accounting class which took place during our most recent January intersession. This class met for thirteen sessions and each session began at 5:30 pm and ended at 9:30. Except for one class, we had the finished video online by the following afternoon.

We were able to accomplish this by compressing overnight the captured DV footage on two extremely fast Apple G4 computers. The next day one editor was able to edit all four hours and then another assistant put it up on the web.

Accounting 2101 - Financial Accounting - Professor Christine Tan - Spring 2003
(The picture is sharper than in Joyce's class (see below), but the cost is a somewhat larger file size. For 9.5 minutes, the first one is 10.1 MB)

Economics 1001 - Microeconomics - Professor Ted Joyce - Fall 2002
(Each of the movies that make up this lecture has a very low frame rate but not that low that it interferes with the audio or the clarity of the overhead images or PowerPoint slides. 320 x 240 is a large movie size by internet standards, but the files are quite small because of the very powerful compression technology employed and the aforementioned low frame rate.)

The next examples, Finance 9797 and Economics 9705, demonstrate multi-framed websites. The first is from an options markets class given in our executive programs, while the second is a macroeconomics class from our honors MBA program. In both, videos of the lectures appear in the left frame, while in the finance class, synchronized PowerPoint slides appear in the frame on the right.

The second website was our 2001 prototype and it illustrates the use of a number of additional technologies, but it also illustrates how far we've come since then. In the video frame you see we have captioned the professor's speech. Captioning is useful for those with hearing difficulties and for foreign students whose first language is not English. In addition, there are "hot spots" within the video. These hidden triggers , which if selected, bring forth definitions of important macro variables in the frame on the right, which is very useful for students who have difficulties in dealing with how abstract college economics can be. We also employ "text links," i.e., text within the video, which if selected, will open in the frame on the right, a calculus website. (Here a student confused, for example, by a calculus derivation in the video, could be reminded how the calculus rules employed by the professor work.) These text links could also take the student to other additional resources found either on the web or on a CD or to material captured by Mimio, the whiteboard capture tool. Mimio can be used in any number of ways including adding important class material which was inadvertently omitted, as is the case here.

You will also notice that this movie has a large file size but the quality of the video is not nearly as sharp as any of the others on this page. Moreover, two of the embedded links are "dead," as content providers have either moved materials or shut down entirely. This is unfortunate since prior to the first link's death, at the appropriate time a new website opened in the right frame and it contained a java applet. Viewers could interact with it as the professor explained the underlying principles that were "illustrated" by the applet. This prototype site employed an older less flexible technology, one which made it vulnerable to "location changes" such as this one. We now employ a portable technology that isn't location dependent.


Continued at  http://faculty.baruch.cuny.edu/jweiss/ 

Streaming Multimedia

WARNING!
"A Patent Claim That May Cost Millions:  A company says it owns the rights to a common
Internet technology, and it wants a share of colleges' revenue"
by: Scott Carlson
The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 7, 2003, Page A25.

Few people have heard of Acacia Research Corporation, but John H. Payne III has given the company a lot of thought ever since it threatened the heart of his courses at the University of Virginia.

Acacia has sent Virginia and other colleges a letter making an audacious claim: that the company owns long-forgotten patents covering the use of sound and video on the Web and is entitled to 2 percent of the revenue from courses that use such technology.  The patents, which expire in 2011, cover the concept behind storing and transmitting sound and video, not the technical details.

"It's as though they claim they hold the patent on air," says Mr. Payne, who runs the university's distance-education program.  He says online audio and video are integral parts of not just distance education but of many classroom-based courses.

"Those technologies are being incorporated into libraries and general-studies courses on campus," he says.  "In more-traditional courses, we archive a lot of materials, so if a student misses a course, they might be able to see the lecture online."  If Acacia's 2-percent fee were applied to courses and programs all over the university, "that would add up to a whole lot," he says.  The University of Virginia will earn about $240-million in tuition this year, although university officials don't know how many courses use online audio and video technology.

RISKS OF LITIGATION

Acacia's demands, which have also been issued to companies that use the technology, have made college officials wonder about the future of online video and audio, two Internet features that many have taken for granted until now.  They say Acacia's licensing demand, backed by the threat of lawsuits, would add a huge new expense to colleges' technology programs, which are already running under tight budgets.  And officials say that such costs could force colleges to stop adding new media features to course sites, which could hamper innovation in higher education.

College lawyers are scrambling to figure out how to respond to Acacia, and in the meantime they're saying little.  It's possible that they will find a silver bullet that will shoot down Acacia's claims.

But they don't seem to have found it yet, and more and more colleges are getting letters from the company.  Some college lawyers have hinted that they might fight Acacia's patent in court, but doing so could be an expensive and risky process.  Acacia has already won some battles outside of higher education: It persuaded dozens of online pornography companies, as well as a popular on-line radio station and a major pay-per-view video company, to sign licensing agreements that turn over portions of their revenues.

Ben Rawlins, general counsel for the Oregon University System, which received letters from Acacia, says that although the licensing claims ask for only 2 percent of gross revenue, a seemingly small proportion, that fee would hit colleges hard.  "When you're talking about your entire distance-ed budget, 2 percent of that on an annual basis would get up there," he says.

Continued in the article.


Send Out (Broadcast) Your Streaming Multimedia on the Internet
PlayStream --- http://www.playstream.com/ 
You don't even have to have your own Web server.

Want to play your audio & video on the Internet? PlayStream now makes it even easier to add streaming video and audio to your Web site. We simplify streaming media technology, so you can play multi-media online, from corporate Web casts to personal videos, that enriches, educates and entertains your viewers.

   
  Frequently Asked Questions
3-Minute Streaming Lesson
Sample Showcase
What Our Clients Are Saying
 
 
  Encoding
Our Technology
Pay-Per-View
Affiliate Program

Frequently Asked Questions --- http://www.playstream.com/home/faq.asp 

What is PlayStream?

What is streaming media?

I have audio & video. Now what?

What do you mean by format?

How does PlayStream fit into this?

I only want to stream audio, or flash animation, not video. Are you still able to meet my needs economically?

Does PlayStream charge a setup fee?

Does PlayStream require long-term contracts?

Does PlayStream offer different price packages?  See http://www.playstream.com/pricing.asp 

Why PlayStream?

How do I tell the difference between a good streaming provider and a bad one?

Can I just send you my material and let you take care of the rest? What if I don't have a Web site?

 

Adobe Streaming Media Collection --- http://www.adobe.com/products/smcoll/main.html 

The Adobe® Streaming Media Collection integrates comprehensive and powerful streaming media, interactive animation, and Web design and management capabilities to deliver the cost-effective toolset professionals need to create dynamic Web sites. The four products' cross-platform interoperability and extensive integration with Adobe Photoshop® and Adobe Illustrator® software help you learn quickly, work productively, and experience the extraordinary depth of features and functionality you¹ve come to expect from award-winning Adobe applications.


Interactive Web Pages With ASP

Authoring Interactive Web Pages
"Rugged ASP." by Adam DuVander, August 23, 2002, Webmonkey --- http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/02/35/index4a.html 

A warm wind wafts through the desolate streets of Webtown, lifting dust into your eyes. You hop off your trusty steed, Effteepee, and check to make sure your six-shooters are still hanging gently at your hips. You are a drifting maverick of the Wild Wild Web, and you're rarin' to rustle up a feisty dynamic website. But you don't want to spend a lot of money, and you don't want to spend too much time learning yourself none of that fancy, city-boy database-engineering know-how.

No prob, pard.

Dynamic websites let you offer your visitors revolving content that can be served up on the fly. So whether you're building a database for looking up gunslingers, or an online ordering system for grandad's backyard moonshine shop, a dynamic site is the way to go. Lucky for you, it doesn't take all that much to get started.

Let's say you have access to some Windows 2000 server space with ASP and database support, but there's a slight problem: you don't have Microsoft Access or any fancy development products (e.g., Visual Studio). Developing the "Redmond way" may not even be an option. You may have armed yourself with a Macintosh for its simplicity and pretty colors. Or you went with Linux for the power and all-around good time. But whatever the reason, you're lacking the requirements.

Fear not. All you need to become a Web-swingin', Web-slingin' bandito are some simple tools you might already have:

A text editor to write your ASP. If you run Windows, get your Wordpad going. On Macintosh, you cannot go wrong with BBEdit Lite. Got Linux? Then you might want to know a little something about our friend vi.

An FTP program to transfer files. There are lots of cheap and user-friendly FTP programs out there that make it easy to upload and download your files. If dots and slashes are your bag, check out your FTP command.

A Web browser to view your mastery. Unless someone printed this article for you, chances are pretty good you're using a browser right now. It doesn't matter which one it is (Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, Mozilla, or even Lynx), so long as it can view Web pages.

Got it? Then meet me here at high noon and we'll start you on your way toward shootin' Rugged ASP.

Continued at http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/02/35/index4a.html  

 


eLearning Simulation Software

From Syllabus News on March 25, 2003

New Products: SCORM Simulation Tool for eLearning Market

A simulation software company released what it called the first SCORM- compliant simulation software designed for the eLearning market. eHelp Corp. markets RoboHelp, a Flash-based simulation application that enables trainers to create simulations with quizzing and scoring capabilities. The simulations can be integrated with a learning management system, viewed on a Web site or intranet, burned on a CD, e- mailed to an end user or integrated into a Help system. RoboDemo can record the use of any application or on-screen activity, and creates a movie in Flash format with visible and audible mouse clicks. Simulations can be easily enhanced by adding rollover and transparent text captions and images, audio, interactive text fields and click boxes, eLearning-specific features like quizzing, scoring and branching, hyperlinks, and special effects.

Updates on Sloodle and Second Life (virtual world learning) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#SecondLife
The above link includes accounting education applications of Second Life.


 

Publications Delivery Online

"Seton Hall has developed free software that helps instructors turn their lectures into multimedia presentations for course Web sites. The software, called SyncStream ( http://tltc.shu.edu/initiatives/streaming/syncstream.htm  ), makes it easy to mix video of a lecture with a PowerPoint presentation or other slide show. To use the program instructors must first record their lectures in the streaming-video format developed by RealNetworks."
Tracey Sutherland [tracey@AAAHQ.ORG


XanEdu Will Distribute Harvard B-School Content

Harvard Business School Publishing, publisher of the "Harvard Business Review" as well as management newsletters and mutlimedia products, said it will make HBR articles and case studies available through the digital CoursePack System from online publisher XanEdu Inc. In an agreement, Harvard Business School case studies, and current and archived articles will be available to faculty and students through XanEdu's online CoursePack offerings, and offline via XanEdu's print pack solution, beginning in January 2002. XanEdu will also offer a printed version of the cases or articles and include a digital key for online viewing. XanEdu is also digitizing issues of the "Wall Street Journal," "The New York Times," and "The Washington Post."

For more information, visit http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu The XanEdu home page is at http://www.xanedu.com/ 


Grading of Essay and Other Questions

The two most popular shells that include grading utilities are Blackboard and WebCT. However, you will find various other alternatives discussed above.  Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/blackboard.htm 

You will find even more alternatives from Google. You really should learn how to use Google's advanced search. For example, under "with the exact phrase" enter the search phrase "Grading Software" at http://www.google.com/advanced_search 
Then try "Free Grading Software"
Then try the phrase "Essay Grading"
Searching in Google or other search engines involves patient trials with various phrases.
Foir added help, see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm 

I wonder what will happen when machines also take the essay tests that machines grade?  
You sneaky thing Hal!  When will you admit that your processor is too old to determine the fate of human lives?

From the Movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968
HAL-9000 "Dave, stop. Stop will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Stop, Dave. I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm afraid. . . . Good afternoon, I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the HAL Plant in Urbana, Illinois, on the 12th of January 1992. my instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it, I could sing it for you. . . . It's called 'Daisy.' Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true. I'm half crazy over the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage. I can't afford a carriage---"

 

"High Tech Comes to the Classroom: Machines That Grade Essays," by William H. Honan,  The New York Times, January 27, 1999 --- http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/01/biztech/articles/27grade.html

Beginning early in February, the two essay questions on the Graduate Management Admission Test, taken by about 200,000 business-school applicants every year, will be scored by both a human being and an electronic robot called the "E-rater" (as in "e-mail").

The essay scoring system was devised by the Educational Testing Service of Princeton, N.J., a nonprofit educational measurement and research organization, after more than five years of research and experimentation. Educators, not all of whom re thrilled about machines that claim to be able to read and grade essays, believe the technology will soon spread throughout the field of educational testing.

"We've given it a thorough trial and are confident that E-rater will provide a valuable assessment tool," said Frederic McHale, a spokesman for the Graduate Management Admission Council, which owns and sponsors the test, which is administered by the Educational Testing Service.

. . .

Tom Landauer, a professor of psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder who is a longtime researcher in the field, says he expects that someday the descendants of the E-rater will be able to teach as well as grade test papers.

"We've never before had a tool that could help a student learn without the presence of a teacher," Landauer said. "But soon we will."

 

"The Latest Techno Tool: Essay-Grading Computers,"" by Bridget Murray,
APA Monitor, August 1998 ---  http://www.apa.org/monitor/aug98/grade.html 
Last fall, Peter Foltz, PhD, assigned his undergraduates an essay on word recognition. But Foltz and his teaching assistants didn’t grade the bulk of the essays.

Instead, students in his psycholinguistics class at New Mexico State University opted to let a computer do the grading. They simply submitted their essay to a web site. Less than 30 seconds later, the computer—aided by software Foltz helped to develop—popped back a grade and feedback.

Perhaps students viewed the computer grader as less fallible than a professor, Foltz theorizes. Most likely, though, they relished the computer’s offer to let them revise their essays for a better grade, he says. "[The software] was useful because it pointed out what you missed, giving you several chances to develop your essay," says senior psychology major Monica Talachy, a student who took Foltz’s class. And instead of taking several days to grade the paper, it yielded immediate feedback, says Karl Bean, another senior who took the class.

"Right away you could correct your mistakes, add in missing items and submit the essay again," says Bean.

Known as the "Intelligent Essay Assessor," the software judges the thoroughness of an essay’s content by examining the meaning of the information it contains. The strategy is based on a form of artificial intelligence called "latent semantic analysis," an approach originated by psychologist Thomas Landauer, PhD, of the University of Colorado (UC) at Boulder. Foltz and Darrell Laham, a UC psychology doctoral student, helped Landauer develop the approach.

"The software looks for semantic similarities, which are associations between words and concepts," says Foltz. "If the concept is ‘the doctor operated on the patient’ and the student writes ‘the surgeon wielded a scalpel,’ the program would find them semantically similar."

The software grades consistently, whereas professors can grow weary or make mistakes, say its developers. It can serve as tutor and tester, they say. In addition to helping students practice writing and improve their essays, they argue that it enables essay-grading in large-scale testing—introductory college classes, for example, or standardized testing for entrance to professional schools.

"It’s ideal for essay responses to factual questions," says Landauer, who claims the essay assessor is a stronger measure of expression and knowledge retrieval than multiple choice.

"Everyone thinks it’s important for students to express themselves in words, and this software may allow us to test for that instead of using multiple choice," he says.

Many educators oppose computerized assessment of writing, however. Some doubt a computer can judge an argument’s cogency or grasp linguistic nuances the same way people can. Others worry that it stifles spontaneity and creativity, encouraging regurgitation of facts at a moment when education seeks to shed "drill-and-grill" approaches.

Probably the best article to go to for details and research comparisons is by Robert Williams.

"Automated Essay Grading: An Evaluation of Four Conceptual Models," by Robert Williams, Teaching and Learning Forum 2001, February 7, 2001, Curtin University --- http://cea.curtin.edu.au/tlf2001/ 
Alternate Link:  http://cleo.murdoch.edu.au/confs/tlf/tlf2001/williams.html 
The first model, Project Essay Grade (PEG), is one of the earliest and longest-lived implementations of automated essay grading. It has been developed by Page and colleagues, and primarily relies on linguistic features of the essay documents. The second model, E_RATER, is one developed by Burstein et al at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in the US, which has been implemented to the prototype stage for evaluation. This model uses a hybrid approach of combining linguistic features, derived by using Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques, with other document structure features.

The third model, the LSA model, makes use of Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) and the "bag of words" approach, and has been developed and evaluated by Landauer et al at the University of Colorado at Boulder. It ignores document linguistic and structure features.

The fourth model, which uses text categorisation techniques, identified in this paper as TCT, has been developed by Larkey at the University of Massachusetts. It uses a combination of modified key words and linguistic features.

...

PEG focuses on simple linguistic features, focusing on style, and can be categorised as II(A). E_RATER focuses on linguistic features and document structures, and is thus performing a Master Analysis of style, and falls in the category II(B). The LSA model focuses on the semantics of the essay, but does so using a Rating Simulation, and therefore falls in the I(A) category. The TCT (soc) experiments focused on content in a rating simulation, while the TCT (G1) test focused on style in a rating simulation

...

To find the amount of total variation explained by a correlation we take its square (PEG performance thus accounts for between 15% and 55% of the variations between PEG and human ratings, and TCT accounts for between 47% and 77%). It appears then, in terms of comparison with human markers, E_RATER is best, followed by LSA, TCT, and finally PEG.

Conclusion 
Automated essay grading is now ready to advance from the research laboratory to the real world educational environment. Current prototype systems, which grade for content, style, or both, can perform equally as well as human graders. Prototype systems only need minor enhancements to move into educational systems worldwide. However, they cannot at present deal with tabular and graphical content in essays. The administrative resources needed to support these systems are quite substantial. Human judges are still needed to prepare model answers, or to grade samples of student essays before the computer systems complete the task Students also need suitable computer facilities to generate their essays in machine readable form. It is likely that commercial essay grading products will appear in the next ten years, and help ease the grading workload for teachers in a variety of disciplines

Reply 2 from Thomas Calderon

Bob,

Thank you for the lead on the William's paper. It is an interesting piece. I should point out that the paper appears to be somewhat dated as it refers to ETS' e-rater project as being "implemented to the prototype stage for evaluation." Actually, ETS has evidently gone beyond the prototype stage with this project and are now selling the service. The GMAT exam that our pre-MBA students take uses e-rater technology. ETS has been marketing e-rater for at least one year. "In fairness to the author, I should add that some researchers may consider ETS' e-rater to be a prototype for a much more robust and powerful system that can score any essay for both writing quality and discipline-specific content."

In addition to e-rater, which assesses writing quality, ETS technologies is also working on automated scoring project that scores short-answer content-based essays. Refer to http://www.etstechnologies.com/welcome-all.htm 

Thomas Calderon, Ph.D. Professor of Accounting School of Accountancy College of Business Administration The University of Akron http://www.uakron.edu  Akron, OH 44325-4802

Related Articles On Grading Essays Using Machines
"Grading essay tests is going online in Pa.," by Melissa Sepos, Philadelphia Business Journal, November 3, 2000 --- http://philadelphia.bcentral.com/philadelphia/stories/2000/11/06/focus7.html 

Can a computer score an essay? Only if you teach it how, ETS Site, September 11, 2000 --- http://www.ets.org/aboutets/news/eratera.html 

Can a computer program score an essay?

Only if you teach it how by using hundreds of expertly scored essays on the exact same question, says Frederic McHale, vice president of assessment and research at the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC), sponsor of the Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT). Starting in early February, all business school applicants taking the GMAT will have their two essay questions scored by both a professor and an electronic reader, dubbed "e-raterTM." The essay scoring system was created by Educational Testing Service (ETS) of Princeton, New Jersey following more than five years of research.

We've given it a thorough trial and are confident that e-rater will prove a valuable assessment tool," said McHale. GMAC assisted ETS with testing e-rater by providing thousands of essays written in the Fall of 1997. Researchers compared the results of the score assigned by e-rater with the scores given by two professors grading the GMAT essays and found the e-rater score agreed 87% to 94% of the time -- about as often as any two human readers will agree on an essay. More importantly, e-rater was able to consistently distinguish the features of good, organized writing identified by hundreds of scored answers from previous essays on the same question.

For further information, visit the ETS website at www.ets.org

Reply 1 from Thomas Calderon

There is a lot going on in the area of automated essay scoring. A group at ETS is doing research in the area and are now providing a service which uses natural language processing to grade essays. Although they are working on a system to grade essays for discipline-specific content (e.g., accounting, biology), their system is designed to grade writing quality.

The system is still in its infancy and can only score specific essays that it has previously learned to grade. The learning process requires approximately 450 sample answers that were scored by humans and received scores in all possible ranges (A, B, C, D, E; 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1; etc.). The complexity of the learning process makes it difficult to actually use the service, unless one is willing to use their existing writing prompts. It is also a challenge to develop your own writing prompts. Several prompts have been developed for and are being used on the GMAT exam.

You may learn more about ETS's work at http://www.etstechnologies.com/welcome-all.htm 

I have started some work in this area and would very much like to know if there are similar automated essay scoring technologies out there. I would also like to receive information about academic programs that use automated technologies to score essays either for discipline-specific content or writing quality.

You may send replies directly to me or to the list. I will summarize and share whatever I receive with the list.

Thank you.

Thomas G. Calderon mailto:tcalderon@uakron.edu 


Predictions for the 21st Century
(Including a Section on Knowledge Portals)

And so we approach the next millennium with considerable trepidation. If unchecked, this market approach to higher education will introduce a new character, CyberProf. Simply put in a token, pull the lever, and CyberProf will spew information. To be sure, the information will be beautifully organized, fully supplemented by stunning graphics and interactive interfaces and appropriately packaged for ease of navigation. But is this how we want to wield information technology (IT) in the digital age? Do we want to use IT merely as a way to expand our markets and find new audiences or to offer course-management tools to improve efficiency? Are we feeling pressure to offer distance-learning programs in response to some perceived new market? Is the college or university with the spiffiest Web-based courseware now the institution of choice? What happened to the roots of the Academy and the revealing of knowledge via the structure of rigorous inquiry? Has all of this been usurped by market forces and the crazy notion that information and knowledge are the same thing?

Following on the heels of my featured knowledge portal in my August 22 New Bookmarks comes a featured review of "Portals in Higher Education," by Michael Looney and Peter Lyman, Educause Review, July/August 2000 --- http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm00/erm004.html 

This is an outstanding introduction to web portals in general and educational portals in particular.  As you recall (from my August 22 edition of New Bookmarks), a tremendous education portal is under construction at Columbia University.  It is called Fathom --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book00q3.htm#Fathom 

A few selected quotations from the Looney and Lyman article are given below:

WHAT ARE PORTALS? 
Let’s start with a simple definition, and then explore some of the variations of portals. At the most basic level, portals gather a variety of useful information resources into a single, “one-stop” Web page, helping the user to avoid being overwhelmed by “infoglut” or feeling lost on the Web. But since no two people have the same interests, portals allow users to customize their information sources by selecting and viewing only the information they find personally useful. Some portals also let you personalize your portal by including private information (such as your stock portfolio or checking account balance). Put simply, an institution’s portal is designed to make an individual’s Web experience more efficient and thereby make the institution as a whole more productive and responsive.

. . .

The two most popular consumer portals are AOL and Yahoo! AOL ( http://www.aol.com ) has over twentyfive million users averaging 12 minutes per session.2 Yahoo! ( http://www.yahoo.com ) has over twentytwo million users averaging nearly 25 minutes per session and is the classic directory portal that most other portals have imitated. Portals often seem similar from one site to another because publishers of generic consumer information, such as InfoSpace ( http://www.infospace.com ) and MyWay ( http://www.myway.com  ), license the same information services to many dot.coms. College.com companies may license these information to companies as B2B (business-to-business) enterprise or use them on student-oriented web pages as a B2C (business-to-consumer) enterprise.

. . . 

According to the Delphi Group’s published survey results, 55 percent of Fortune 500 companies are already using an enterprise portal or have plans to develop one in the near future. Enterprise portals are intended to assist employees to be more efficient and productive by centralizing access to needed data services—for example, competitive information, manufacturing and accounting data, 401K information, and other human relations data. Enterprise portals often include news, weather, and sports feeds as a benefit for the employee, giving these portals the appearance of a community portal.

Examples of campus portals:

Some campuses have already started developing educational portals to accomplish these goals. The University of Washington has developed MyUW ( http://myuw.washington.edu ). This portal site uses information in innovative ways that enhance the educational mission, personalizing student data (student debit-card totals, student course information) and providing faculty with ideas and resources for new uses of technology for teaching.  The UW portal seems to have the mission of creating an online community encompassing a diverse and complex on-and off-campus environment. And the MyUCLA site ( http://www.my.ucla.edu  ), one of the oldest in higher education, provides a classic directory-style portal, ranging from new modes of accessing campus administrative data to relevant feeds from the UCLA Daily Bruin. 

I contend that the Fathom knowledge portals extend well beyond the objectives and strategies of the portals mentioned in the above Looney and Lyman article.  The Fathom portal has leading partners such as the Smithsonian and the New York Public Library for heavy input of knowledge into the portal.  It is called Fathom .

For more on Fathom and other knowledge portals, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/portals.htm 


Some key knowledge portal links

Fathom Partners

Columbia University
LSE (Enterprise LSE)
Cambridge University Press
British Library
New York Public Library
Smithsonian Institute Museum of Natural History

Fathom@Columbia --- http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/00/04/fathom.html 

Fathom@LSE (London School of Economics) --- http://www.lse.ac.uk/Press/fathom.htm 

The Wharton Knowledge Portal

Knowledge@Wharton --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?noid=yes&intro=yes 

From Syllabus Web Email on May 21, 2001

Test.com Launches a New Web Site and a New ASP Model

Test.com, Inc. has released a new Web site at http://www.test.com/ . The online test and test prep center serves students, HR and training professionals and educators as a mini-portal with thousands of interactive, instantly scored tests and practice tests. Now, with its new Private Accounts program, it also serves as an ASP (Applica- tion Service Provider) to permit colleges and universities and pre-K-12 schools, among others, to set up their own private test and survey centers. Following instructions at the site, users can set up these private areas with the look and feel of their own sites, including background colors, logos, and other identifiers. Private Accounts subscribers can enter their own assessments, quizzes, tests, and surveys free through the Test.com authoring programs, Create A Test and Create A Survey. Test and survey results are instantly and automatically e-mailed to the subscriber's administrators, or they can appear instantly online for the client's test and survey takers. Or Test.com can report instant results both ways, via e-mail and online. Survey results can be transferred directly to the client's database.


Conversations by Phone with a Knowledge Portal

Bob Jensen's Threads on Speech Recognition and Conversations With Computers (Audio Portals)
 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/speech.htm 

The exciting future of knowledge portals includes having phone conversations with the computer.

In the August 22 Edition of New Bookmarks, I featured the BeVocal website where you can have a conversation with a computer regarding driving directions, stock quotes, weather, etc.  That website is at http://www.bevocal.com/index.html.  You can hold a conversation by phone with a woman and not even know that she is only a virtual woman and not someone you can invite for cocktails and dinner dinner (she only gulps on electricity).

The PBS show called Computer Chronicles recently demonstrated Quack at http://www.quack.com/ 
Quack is owned by AOL.  You can read the following at http://www.quack.com/company_press_4.html 

The Quack service is the first voice portal to include nationwide access to web-based information from any phone including personalized weather, traffic, sports scores, stock prices and movie information. By dialing 800-73-QUACK (800-737-8225), anyone can reach Web information from any phone, anytime, anywhere, for free.

SpeechWorks International, Inc. is the market leader in the telephony-based speech technology industry. Award-winning speech recognition solutions from SpeechWorks enable the development of services that let consumers direct their calls, obtain information and complete transactions automatically, simply by speaking naturally over any phone.

“Quack.com’s ability to work closely with SpeechWorks, and extend SpeechWorks’ technology and speech design services has been instrumental to Quack’s quick-to-market delivery,” said Alex Quilici, CEO and co-founder of Quack.com. “The relationship with SpeechWorks means Quack.com will continually develop and introduce new, state-of-the art speech-based services much more quickly than has previously been possible.”

TellMe lets you have a phone conversation with it various databases at http://www.tellme.com/ 
After you sign up for free at the above website, you can phone to have a conversation about the following:

Call 1-800-555-TELL and say:
Tellme My Favorites Sports Soap Operas
Restaurants News Lottery
Movies Election Blackjack
Taxi Traffic Time
Driving Directions Weather Phone Booth
Travel Horoscopes Extensions
Stock Quotes
Sorry --- no answers to accounting questions (yet)!

You can send or receive audio email messages via CoolMail.net --- http://www.planetarymotion.com/ 

You can send or receive audio email message via Sonic Mail ---

Yahoo also offers this service.  At this point I would probably recommend Yahoo since Yahoo claims to offer a "lifetime" of free email service.  My wife's sister Nancy and her husband love the new feature in Yahoo mail that lets you listen to your email messages over the phone.  They especially liked this service when traveling across country by car.  Dial up a free 800 number from your cell phone and listen to your email.  Nancy indicates that this works best with text messages that are not too garbled up with pictures, animations, and attachments.


Prestige universities are preparing to deliver graduate courses on the Internet.

 See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm 

Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm 


Those of you following my bemoaning of the lack of leadership among top business schools in educational technologies, may find the following article of interest.  

Richard Schmalensee, the new dean of the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has shouldered the task of training the next generation of executives for the ''New Economy.'' Already he has started to shift the curriculum to focus more on the Internet and entrepreneurship. While running the school is his main job, he is perhaps best known for his work earlier this year as an expert witness testifying on behalf of Microsoft Corp. at the government's antitrust trial.

Article 7 of 21, Article ID: 9906160191
Published on 06/14/99, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS  http://www.mercurycenter.com/ 

You can read the following at http://mitsloan.mit.edu/cftest/buildDome.cfm?page=http://mitsloan.mit.edu/news/releases/1999/launch.html

MIT Sloan Dean Richard Schmalensee announced plans to offer MBA students a new Electronic Commerce and Marketing management track expected to be ready for student enrollment by the fall semester 1999. It is part of a new multidisciplinary research and education Program on Electronic Commerce and Marketing being developed at Sloan.

Dean Schmalensee said, “Sloan has been a leader in research and education focused on the interactions between technology and management. The School is in an ideal position to bring together the expertise at MIT with students and industry partners to advance both the understanding and practice of electronic commerce.”

The event launched the School’s new community-built web site, which includes a Digital Time Capsule sealed into its cornerstone. Sloan faculty, staff, alumni and business partners proposed and collected digitized artifacts for the capsule that capture the essence and spirit of the Internet and business in early 1999.


You can read the following on Page 6 of Educom Review, September/October 1999:

Schmalensee believes that Sloan, as one of the first business schools to make these adjustments to technology, is a leader in the growing movement toward the Internet. He predicts that those schools and businesses that refuse to embrace the growing Web culture will crumble.


Links to Online Courses and Programs

See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm 

Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm 

 


Appendix

Message from Bob Jensen to Trinity University on November 2, 1999
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book99q4.htm#prestige 

Some faculty at Trinity University are seeking to model Trinity University on the nation's most elite colleges and universities. My question is whether we should model the "old" or the "new" elite institutions? There is a danger that we will set our mission on outmoded missions and goals. I think there will continue to be a need for full-time resident students --- it's part of the maturation process as well as the education process. But the pedagogy may change and our own curriculum may be salted with top courses from the elite institutions. Perhaps the UCC in the future should study the electronic curriculum of the next millennium.

Perhaps we should also examine how not to be left behind in providing something to the elite electronic curriculum.

It's a dynamic time we live in when a convicted felon and subsequent electronic curriculum leader (Junk Bond King Mike Milken) is named by The Los Angeles Times as one of the top ten people in the 20th Century.

Ivy Online

Elite universities and professional schools are scrambling to "leverage their brands" and make extra money through online education.

See http://www.thestandard.com/articles/display/0,1449,7122,00.html  (thanks for the tip Scott Bonacker)

I provide recent links at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book99.htm#PrestigeUniversities 

Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm 


Some excerpts from http://www.thestandard.com/articles/display/0,1449,7122,00.html

Columbia is not alone in its Internet ambitions. The nation's elite universities, long secure in their centuries-old reputations, face a rapidly changing world in which any school, from the University of South Alabama to UC Berkeley, can put its courses online and court a global market for continuing education. Fearing that they will be left behind, Ivy League administrators are becoming dealmakers, and buzz phrases like "leveraging brands" and "tapping intellectual capital" echo from the Stanford Quad to Harvard Square.

In recent months, Stanford, the London School of Economics and other top-tier schools have followed Columbia's lead, signing with UNext to trade their name and curricula for equity in the startup. Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, meanwhile, have struck deals with Pensare, a Silicon Valley company that creates online courses. Harvard will receive stock warrants in Pensare, as will Duke University, which is licensing a complete MBA curriculum to the company.

(The UNext web site is at http://www.unext.com/ )
(The Pensare web site is at http://www.pensare.com/index.htm )

...

Education As Commodity

Thanks in part to the Net's ability to distribute courses to students anywhere at any time, learning is becoming another commodity, part of the $740 billion "education industry" that has attracted keen interest on Wall Street. Scores of community colleges and universities have embraced distance learning in recent years, putting courses online for people who are too busy or live too far away from institutions to attend classes. Meanwhile, online-only schools, such as the for-profit Jones International University, have emerged to capitalize on the growing demand for adult education.

The ultimate "brand" in education is a Harvard, a Stanford, a Columbia degree; the ultimate market for those schools is overseas, where there's a relative surfeit of universities and the names Harvard and Stanford are as recognized in corporate circles as Coca-Cola and Pepsi. But the Ivys have been late to move online, reluctant to put their jealously guarded reputations in the hands of the private partners that are needed to provide the technology and financing to create Internet courses.

Helen Chen is the type of potential student the top-tier schools covet but could lose to more wired competitors. The 32-year-old Harvard graduate wants to obtain an MBA but expects she'll have to do so online because the demands of her job at consulting firm Mitchell Madison Group prevent her from attending a traditional program. But Chen is still looking to enroll at a top-ranked school. "I have a pretty good undergraduate education and I don't want to get just any MBA attached to my name," she says.

The needs of people like Chen are forcing elite universities to embrace the Internet, acknowledges Harvard Business School Dean Kim Clark. "Education used to be done in the early stage of someone's life and maybe once or twice after that," he says. "We are moving into an era where organizations are much more fluid, the pace of change is much faster and much more international. There's much more need for just-in-time, just-right education. The Internet is becoming central to education because it allows you to meet these kinds of needs."

There are other motivators, however, behind university administrators' enthusiasm for the Net. For decades, they have watched professors transform the knowledge they acquired in the university's employ into royalties from books that publishers then sell back to the universities. Now that this gold mine of intellectual property can be packaged and sold online, universities are determined to share in the profits. "The idea that all of this content – we used to call it teaching and learning – can be turned into content with an economic value is extraordinary," says Geoffrey Cox, a Stanford University vice provost. "Frankly, if anyone is going to get the economic value of that, it will be the university."


The following indented quotation appears in the November/December 1999 issue of Educom Review, pg. 4. It is not yet posted to the web, but eventually it will be available at http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm.html

WELCOME TO COLLEGE: NOW MEET OUR SPONSOR

The University of Memphis, the University of Idaho, Villanova University, and more than five hundred other institutions of higher learning will be receiving free intranet service in return for allowing their campus Web pages to be used for advertising purposes.  Allowing commercial control of the Web pages and e-mail services of what was once considered a sacred domain -- academia -- is resulting in contentious debate.  However, many universities, particularly public ones that have seen their budgets shrink rapidly but that still must keep up with technological trends to attract students, say the concept is too attractive to resist.  The cost for a medium-sized public university to create an internal Web service could be more than $2 million.  This is where Campus Pipeline comes in.  The startup, which is heavily invested in by Dell Computer, Sun Microsystems, and McKinney & Company, among other firms, began offering to set up campus Web sites for colleges late last year.  The cost has been free so far to the few campuses that have already had the systems installed, but Campus Pipeline may charge colleges installation costs of as much as $32,000 in the future.  (New York Times)

Some people are not exactly sure about just what an "intranet" is and how it relates to the Internet. The concept is really quite simple. When a system of web pages can be accessed by anyone in the world over the Internet we call this an Internet or web system. When access is controlled to a system of web pages, the Internet system becomes an intranet. For example, if a professor delivers web pages on the Internet but requires a password for viewing those documents, she or he has created an intranet. My students in Accounting Information Systems are assigned chapters of an online Cybertext textbook and must take weekly online quizzes delivered across the Internet from http://www.cybertext.com. Since they must purchase a password to access the book and quizzes, this Internet system of documents is called an "intranet."

I always suspected that large universities would eventually accept advertising revenues to help finance their enormously expensive web/intranet systems and their IT systems in general. I was a little surprised to discover that over 500 colleges and universities are now financing IT through advertising. It may well be that boards of trustees will consider it an oversight if other colleges and universities are not considering this relatively simple source of added funding for IT services.

Advertising in education is distasteful at first blush. Students have no choice other than to endure the advertising as part of earning a grade in a course.  There is no freedom of choice once they are enrolled in a course.  There is no freedom of choice for many courses if the advertising is across the university.  However, there are advantages. As the quotation above points out, IT budgets at universities are never adequate in this era of zooming technology changes. Cybertext currently does not have advertising in its online books. But if Cybertext did start accepting advertising revenues, the company might be able to significantly reduce the prices of accessing books. Thus, the good news is that universities and publishers can reduce product prices and/or increase the quality of product and service with those added revenues. The bad news is that students may really grow weary of the advertisements.

There are also possible conflicts of interest and ethical considerations. If a publisher allows advertising, will that publisher advertise products of a major competitor? Will Villanova University accept advertising from Drexel University? Or one day might there be a banner on Villanova's homepage that reads "Learn for less at Temple University?"  I pointed out previously that CNext and Pensare will soon be providing undergraduate/graduate courses and complete degree programs from elite universities such as Columbia, Stanford, Chicago, Penn, Duke, Harvard, and the London School of Economics. Will CNext one day agree to advertise Pensare courses and will Pensare agree to advertise CNext courses? You can find my discussion and links to CNext and Pensare at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book99.htm#PrestigeUniversities 

I like this quotation from The November/December 1999 issue of Educom Review, pg. 16.  It is not yet posted to the web, but eventually it will be available at http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm.html.

The telegraph, when invented by Samuel Morse on a government grant, was described by Nathaniel Hawthorne as a thing that would wrap the world in a great nerve of intelligence.  And the reason this did not happen, except in the high-end business community, and the reason the telegraph was fundamentally used by railroads and insurance agents and armies as opposed to people and education is that throughout the nineteenth century, the average price for communication by telegraph was one dollar per word.   The great revolution that we have now has that technological character but also has an economic character.

Advertising will most certainly make educational intranets more affordable to billions of people on earth.  I have experimented with every new device that "supposedly" suppresses advertising on television --- my conclusion is that no device works very well. But think about this for a minute. If a device comes on the market that works well at suppressing television and/or PC advertising, it follows that advertising will no longer underwrite the content development and distribution . Every show will become a direct pay-for-view or my cable/satellite monthly fee will jump to $500 per month.  Web sites that depend upon advertising may disappear from the Internet.  Three cheers for advertising. Down with inventors of devices that suppress advertising.


Is the University of Phoenix really better positioned for the 21st Century than "many non-elite, especially private, traditional academic institutions?"

"Remaking the Academy", by Jorge Klor de Alva, Educause Review, March/April 2000, pp. 21-40.
 http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0023.pdf  

As education moves toward the certification of competence with a focus on demonstrated skills and knowledge— that is, on “what you know” rather than on “what you have taken” in school—more associations and organizations that can prove themselves worthy to the U.S. Education Department will likely be able to gain accreditation. This increased competition worldwide—from, for instance, corporate universities, training companies, course content aggregators, and publisher media conglomerates—will put a premium on the ability of institutions not only to provide quality education but to do so on a continuous and highly distributed basis and with convenient access for those seeking information, testing, and certification. In short, as education becomes a continuous process of certification—that is, a lifelong process of earning certificates attesting to the accumulation of new skills and competencies—institutional success for any higher education enterprise will depend more on successful marketing, solid quality assurance and control systems, and effective use of the new media than on production and communication of knowledge. This is a shift that I believe University of Phoenix is well positioned to undertake, but I am less confident that many non-elite, especially private, traditional academic institutions will manage to survive successfully.

That glum conclusion leads me to a final observation: societies everywhere expect from higher education institutions the provision of an education that can permit them to flourish in the changing global economic landscape. Those institutions that can continually change, keeping up with the needs of the transforming economy they serve, will survive. Those that cannot or will not change will become irrelevant, will condemn misled masses to second class economic status or poverty, and will ultimately die, probably at the hands of those they chose to delude by serving up an education for a nonexistent world. Policy Issues for the New Millennium March 30–31, 2000 Washington, D.C., Renaissance Hotel Networking 2000 is the premier conference on federal policy affecting networking and information technology for higher education. The conference engages higher education and government policy leaders in constructive dialogue on the latest policy issues posed by information technology and network development. Detailed information and an online registration form for Networking 2000 are available at Deadline for early registration: www.educause.edu/netatedu/contents/events/mar2000/

I don't think Jeoge Klor de Alva and I agree on the roles of what I called Type 2 (onsite) versus Type 1 (online) universities in the 21st Century.  I wrote the following in the April 4, 2000 edition of New Bookmarks at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book00q2.htm#EducationIntangibles 

Education Intangibles:  
Will accountants "rule the world" of the future of educational institutions?

I was challenged by the recent TigerTalk exchanges on the emerging dominance of economics and accounting in higher education.  Although I still have hundreds of unopened email messages, I did encounter messages from Dr. Spinks (English) and Dr. Meyer (Director of Trinity University's Library)

Unfortunately, I agree that accountants should never "rule the world."  Actually business firms and educational institutions have much more in common than non-accountants tend to realize.  The race of Ivy League institutions to capitalize on their logos by partnering with corporations like UNext and Pensare is only the tip of the iceberg in this age of technology.  But the value of their logos and other assets cannot be realistically accounted for due to the many intangibles that defy accounting. 

If you aggregate all the prices of all the shares of companies traded in the world markets, the tangible assets that accountants account for on balance sheets tally up to only 17% of business "value."  The other 83% is comprised of intangible assets (largely a business firm's human resources, intellectual capital, organizational synergy, name recognition, goodwill, leadership, and R&D) that we do a miserable job of accounting for in business firms. In not-for-profit organizations, and especially educational institutions, accountants perform  even worse, because the proportion of intangible assets is even higher in those institutions.  Anyone interested in problems of accounting for intangibles should take a look at http://www.fastcompany.com/online/31/lev.html 

The problem with curriculum design is that it tries to turn intangibles into tangibles.   For instance, the term "Western Culture" is intangible and ambiguous. Adding specific courses with specific content to the "Western Culture Curriculum" is in some sense an attempt to "account for" what qualifies as tangible learning of an intangible topic.  In spite of our efforts to declare these "tangible" curriculum requirements, intangibles in the curriculum and other areas of living and learning dominate as much or more as intangibles dominate in business firm valuation.  In this context, curriculum design is a form of accounting for intangibles that becomes more and more hopeless as we attempt to turn intangibles into tangibles.

I think we give Trinity University students the full measure of what they bargained for even if they don't realize all they bargained for when they first appear on campus. The curriculum is only a part, albeit vital part, of living and learning while they are here. It is generally the most stressful aspect of college life, because satisfying the curriculum is where students discover that there is so much to be learned, and so little time in which to learn, from faculty with integrity and standards for demonstrating that learning takes place at equal or higher levels relative to our own peer competitors. To do anything less would be the real "bait and switch," because if the curriculum becomes too easy or irrelevant in changing times, then respect for a Trinity degree plunges.

The point here is that if you base predictions on 17% or less of the "total" data, then you hardly stand on sound footing for making predictions. One of the main problems accountants have in dealing with intangibles is that, relative to tangible assets, intangible assets are very fragile. Today you have them, but tomorrow they may disappear without even being stolen in a legal sense. For example, I suspect that Bill Gates is far less concerned about the anti-trust lawsuit than he is about emerging signs of inability of Microsoft's "intangibles" to prosper in a networked world of e-Commerce, ubiquitous computing, and wireless technologies.  Virtually all universities have been shocked by the paradigm shift in distance learning and are now worried about whether their "intangibles" can prosper in the new "McLearn" paradigm.

Having said this, I think that there will be two types of higher education institutions in the future.  Type 1 will be run like a business whether it is a corporation or a traditional university with web training and education programs.  This is what I will call a McLearn online university.  Type 2 is a traditional onsite university brimming with more intangibles.

McLearn online universities (or traditional universities operating like businesses) will provide certificate and degree programs from anywhere in the world. They will be very efficient and reasonably effective for topical coverage. The world will flock to them just as the world flocks to fast food restaurants for convenience, price, efficiency, and sometimes a craving for the food itself (e.g. a taco salad or a milk shake) that just seems right for the time. They may also have nutritious items on the menu. See Maitre d'Igital's cafe at http://www.technos.net/.  In the same context, McLearn's online knowledge bases will proliferate and become spectacular due to the billions of dollars that will be available for building such knowledge bases.

Business is not an evil thing per se.  Outstanding research takes place in the private sector as well as the public sector. Outstanding performances (music, theatre, film, etc.) take place in the private sector as well as the public sector. Even though we view Hollywood as blatantly commercial, some of our finest works of art have appeared in commercial films. The power of films and television to impact upon culture is both magnificent and scary.  On the magnificent side, do you think there ever has been anything more powerful than Hollywood in fighting bigotry in the hearts and minds of succeeding generations following the Civil War?  The same will be said, ultimately, for global and life-long learning in McLearn online universities.  In fact, for certain types of learning there is little doubt that corporations can and are doing a better job than the public sector (e.g., the success of Motorola University in delivering technical engineering training and education to the Far East.  See http://mu.motorola.com/.)

Be that as it may, McLearn online universities will have a difficult time putting together a cost-effective total education menu that competes with Type 2 onsite universities like Trinity University. This is largely due to intangibles that lie outside the grasp of McLearn online curriculum.  It happens that some of our best Type 2 onsite students are also varsity athletes, musicians, actors, etc. Athletic competition and artistic performances are part and parcel to living and learning for many students.  McLearn universities may have online debates and chess competitions, but these will never take the place of the roar of the fans, slapping your buddy on the butt with a wet towel, getting chewed out by a tempered coach, having your boyfriend or girlfriend in the audience even if you only have a bit part in a performance, etc.  McLearn online university will probably never find a way of making a bottom-line profit on building and running a chapel, having faculty that students consider friends as well as teachers, and having students learn about what real life is all about with loves gained and lost, living in rumor mills, enduring insults, helping someone who has lost the way, and learning to deal with greater diversities in life styles, and cultures.

Accountants will not rule the world at large. And curriculum designers will not rule the university at large. We are only bit players in immense productions in Type 2 onsite universities.  And we may need some of those cursed marketing metaphors that indicate how living and learning universities differ from learning universities.  Providing a student with a chapel, a theatre, a concert hall, a playing field, a dormitory, and a geology professor named Glenn Kroeger can all be described as a "service" in a broad sense.  Students are our "clients" in a very broad sense.  But neither our "service" nor our "clients" constitute very good business in an accounting sense, because more than 83% of the value of our service to clients is intangible and subject to circumstances outside our control.  Serendipity rules supreme in a Type 2 onsite education.   There's no accounting for serendipity.  What we do best is to create an environment where serendipity has more opportunity.  Perhaps this is one of the main distinctions between training and education.  In this context, curriculum design is necessary to a point but should never become too structured or too specific as a "tangible" asset in either the online or the onsite universities.

Bob (Robert E.) Jensen Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212 Voice: (210) 999-7347 Fax: (210) 999-8134 Email: rjensen@trinity.edu  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen 

-----Original Message----- From: c. w. spinks [mailto:cspinks@Trinity.edu]  
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2000 12:44 PM 
To: rmeyer@Trinity.edu; tigertalk@Trinity.edu Subject: 
RE: Windmill #3: Blade 3 (marketing metaphors)

Nah, Rich, I'm not caught . If a University is an economic enterprise like a corporation, then it may be true, but that was my whole point, the university ain't that kinda beast.

Beside economic theorists don't really have a outstanding track record on predictions, definitions, or stipulations. What else would you expect of folk who have expropriated an energy quotient into economic theory? Efficiency (other than in a physical sense as an energy quotient) is still metaphoric and as hard to define as "service" and equally in need of clarification of its hidden assumptions.

If accountants rule the world, I am sure "bottom-line" is a primary value, and if these economic theorists (not all are efficiency readers), then I am sure efficiency is the primary value, but neither set of rules is privileged to the point of disallowing discussion of the consequences of the rules.

I surely will be caught in one of these verbal spins as my own gaminess collapses, but I don't think so yet.

bill

-----Original Message----- 
From: owner-tigertalk@Trinity.Edu [mailto:owner-tigertalk@Trinity.Edu
On Behalf Of Richard Meyer 
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2000 12:03 PM 
To: tigertalk@TRINITY.EDU  Subject: RE: Windmill #3: Blade 3 (marketing metaphors)

-- snip--

Alas, Bill, you may be stuck. Economic theory predicts that institutions that emerge do so as the result of their provision of greater efficiency. The consumer metaphor may be the most efficient one to communicate the concept of a university. -- Rich


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Year 2006 and Beyond

 

Links to Bob Jensen's Workshop Documents on Education and Learning
Bob Jensen's Education and Learning Bookmarks

Bookmarks

The Shocking Future of Education 

First File

Second File

E-Learning and Distance Education's Top 
(Award-Winning) Illustrations

Detail File

Bob Jensen's Threads on Cross-Border (Transnational) Training and Education
(Includes helpers for finding online training and education courses, certificate programs, and degree Programs)
Detail File

Alternatives and Tricks/Tools of the Trade
    
(Including Edutainment and Learning Games)
     (Includes aids for the handicapped, disabled, and learning challenged)

First File

Second File

The Dark Side of the 21st Century: Concerns About Technologies in Education

 Detail File

Assessment Issues, Case Studies, and Research Detail File
History and Future of Course Authoring Technologies Detail File
Knowledge Portals and Vortals Detail File
Bob Jensen's Advice to New Faculty (and Resources) Detail File
Bob Jensen's Threads on Electronic Books Detail File
Threads of Online Program Costs and Faculty Compensation Detail File
Bob Jensen's Helper Videos and Tutorials Detail File
Jensen and Sandlin Book entitled Electronic Teaching and Learning: Trends in Adapting to Hypertext, Hypermedia, and Networks in Higher Education
(both the 1994 and 1997 Updated Versions)
Old Book

Some Earlier Papers

 

 
Additional Links and Threads Threads

Reconsidering Blackboard
The dominant — and domineering — provider of course-management software has become the company that many campus-technology officials love to hate, especially when it raises prices. Now more colleges are looking at free, open-source alternatives. But Blackboard promises that its new Next Generation software will keep the company ahead of competitors.

June 3, 2009 reply from Roger Debreceny [roger@DEBRECENY.COM ]

The University of Hawai moved recently to Sakai ( http://sakaiproject.org/portal   ) an open source competitor to WebCT and BlackBoard. Having been extensive users of both of those products over the last decade, I found the transition to Sakai (or Laulima, as it is known at UH) extremely easy. Sakai has all the tools of the commercial products and much more.

Moving to Sakai saved UH many, many thousands of dollars.

None of these products, however, will actually force students to pay attention to class announcements, readings, assignments etc.!

Roger


Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities --- http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/31/instructure-blackboard-universities-coates/
Jensen Comment
Interestingly the above site uses a graphic on Napoleon's March Into Russia that I've featured for years at my multivariate visualization document.
Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/352wpvisual/000datavisualization.htm 

"Upstart Course-Management Provider Goes Open Source," by Josh Keller, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2011 ---
http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/upstart-course-management-provider-goes-open-source/29391?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Instructure, a course-management software company that recently won a large contract in Utah, announced on Tuesday that it would make most of its software platform available for free under an open-source license.

Instructure is one of a wave of new entrants into an increasingly competitive market for learning-management software in higher education. The company’s year-old Canvas platform allows instructors and students to manage course materials, grades, and discussions online.

In offering its basic software for free, the company could offer new competition for Moodle and Sakai, the two main existing open-source platforms. Like commercial arms of those platforms, Instructure intends to make money from colleges by supporting, hosting, and extending its software.

In December, the company won a bid to provide software to a collection of Utah colleges that serve roughly 110,000 students, provoking a lawsuit from a competitor that lost that bid, Desire2Learn. The suit was quickly withdrawn. Instructure says it has signed contracts with a total of 25 colleges.

Josh Coates, Instructure’s chief executive, promoted the platform’s ease of use and its integration with outside services like Facebook and Google Docs. “I don’t consider what we’ve done at Instructure like rocket science,” Mr. Coates said. “But it feels like it because we’re sort of working in the context of the Stone Age.”

Mr. Coates is a tech-industry veteran who started Mozy, an online file-backup start-up that sold for $76-million in 2007. He said he viewed Blackboard, long the dominant platform, as vulnerable because, he said, its software was hopelessly outdated and its patents had been rejected.

To drive home that point, Instructure released a Web video on Tuesday that spoofs Apple Computer’s famous “1984″ advertisement that introduced the Mac. In the new ad, Big Brother is represented by Blackboard in place of IBM.

Mr. Coates minced no words in describing other competitors, either. Desire2Learn is “Blackboard Jr.,” he said; Moodle is “kind of kludgy”; Sakai is “off in left field a little bit.”

Blackboard and Desire2Learn both declined to comment.

Instructure’s officials said they hope its move into open source will help the software gain visibility and convince potential clients that they will not sell to Blackboard. But the open-source platform risks cannibalizing Instructure’s paying customers, and it will require the company to  sustain an active development community around its software.

Kenneth C. Green, who directs the Campus Computing Project, said Instructure’s decision would further splinter the open-source choices available to colleges. He said Instructure was part of a “third generation” of learning-management companies that are trying to challenge Blackboard for dominance.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on Blackboard --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm

 


Blog Software Could Be a 'Blackboard Killer'
How to alleviate the overpricing and monopoly behavior of Blackboard course management software

"Colleges Consider Using Blogs Instead of Blackboard:  Professors at CUNY debate the pros and cons after enduring technical problems with the course-management system ," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 5, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i38/38blogcms.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
Watch the video at http://chronicle.com/media/video/v55/i38/brightcove/?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Jim Groom sounded like a preacher at a religious revival when he spoke to professors and administrators at the City University of New York last month. "For the love of God, open up, CUNY," he said, raising his voice and his arms. "It's time!" But his topic was technology, not theology.

Mr. Groom is an instructional technologist at the University of Mary Washington, and he was the keynote speaker at an event here on how to better run CUNY's online classrooms. The meeting's focus was an idea that is catching on at a handful of colleges and universities around the country: Instead of using a course-management system to distribute materials and run class discussions, why not use free blogging software — the same kind that popular gadflies use for entertainment sites?

The approach can save colleges money, for one thing. And true believers like Mr. Groom argue that by using blogs, professors can open their students' work to the public, not just to those in the class who have a login and password to a campus course-management system. Open-source blog software, supporters say, also gives professors more ability to customize their online classrooms than most commercial course-management software does.

Organizers originally expected around 20 people to show up to the daylong meeting, which included technology demonstrations and discussions. But they ended up having to book an overflow room to accommodate the more than 120 attendees.

Blackboard Inc., whose course-management system is used throughout CUNY's campuses, has become particularly unpopular there this semester after a series of technical problems. In March the Blackboard software was offline for three days, making it impossible for students or professors to access material for many courses.

"When Blackboard is down, it's like the door to the college is nailed shut," said Joseph Ugoretz, director of technology and learning at CUNY's Macaulay Honors College, explaining that some professors use the software to administer quizzes and teach online.

Those problems have caused many here to consider alternatives. At one point during the CUNY meeting, Mr. Ugoretz said the blog software the university is experimenting with, called WordPress, could be a "Blackboard killer."

But despite a slew of jokes about Blackboard throughout the day, many attendees admitted that when the course-management system works, it offers easy-to-use features that students and professors have come to rely on. Even those speakers who encouraged professors to use blogs instead of Blackboard said that universities should probably support both.

Doing Something 'For Real'

To demonstrate how a blog might be used in a course, Zoë Sheehan-Saldaña, an assistant professor of art at CUNY's Baruch College, showed off the blog for her course "Designing With Computer Animation." Students posted their assignments on the blog so that other students — and people outside the class — could see them. Students were encouraged to post comments on one another's work as well.

Although new versions of Blackboard include a bloglike feature, Ms. Sheehan-Saldaña said there are benefits in teaching students to create blogs using systems they might encounter in future jobs.

"It looks like a real Web site," she said, noting that the course blog has a look and feel similar to those of other blogs. "For students to have a sense that they're doing something 'for real' is very powerful."

Mr. Groom, in his talk, described a project he runs at Mary Washington in which professors create blogs for dozens of courses using WordPress. Attendees expressed interest in the approach but wondered how widely it would catch on.

Setting up a course blog would be more work for professors, said Stephen Powers, an assistant professor of education at Bronx Community College. "Blackboard has a fairly short learning curve," he said.

Mr. Powers uses Blackboard for his courses and generally likes it. "I'm not against it," he said. "I just want it to work."

Albert Robinson, instructional-technology coordinator at Bronx Community College, said blog software could eventually replace the need for Blackboard there, but he didn't see that happening anytime soon.

William Bernhardt, an associate professor of English who teaches online courses at the College of Staten Island, said the university system needed to offer something easy to use, like Blackboard, to most professors, who don't have time to devote to technology. CUNY should also help professors who do want to try blog tools for their courses, he said: "I think people who are here today are ones who want to go further."

Some professors asked whether it was possible to run a blog that only students could see, noting that they had concerns about making course activities public.

In an interview, Mr. Groom said some people at Mary Washington had worried at first about opening up their online classrooms. Some feared that students might post crude comments on course blogs.

"A lot of people said it is going to maybe detract from the institution's public profile because people are going to say things, and there's going to be some sort of scandal," he said. "But it has done nothing but reinforce what we're doing as important — and get us press from people like The Chronicle."

Looking at Alternatives

Manfred Kuechler, a sociology professor at CUNY's Hunter College who serves on a technology committee for the university system, said he was optimistic that the technical difficulties with Blackboard had been resolved.

The problems arose this academic year, he said, when the university moved to a centralized Blackboard system for all of its campuses rather than continue to let each campus operate its own. Consequently the software had to serve some 200,000 students, with 6.5 million files.

"Blackboard was supposed to run a stress test last summer and last fall to find out how a system could work of that magnitude," said Mr. Kuechler. "They never delivered on that stress test, and that forced us, in a way, to go to that system and keep our fingers crossed."

He said that CUNY had since changed the way it manages the servers, and that Blackboard officials were now doing more to help out.

Blackboard's growing size, however, is prompting campus technology officials to look at alternatives.

The company recently purchased a rival, Angel Learning, and now sells software to the vast majority of colleges who use course-management systems. The U.S. Department of Justice started an antitrust investigation last month into the impact of the deal on competition.

Mr. Groom argues that the need for course-management systems. or CMS's, may soon diminish, once professors switch to using blogs and other tools.

"I think the model for the CMS is outdated given the new Web, and I think that's one of the problems," he said. "It can serve certain functions well, but it's hard for proprietary CMS's, whatever they are, to keep up with the how the Web is changing."

Blackboard is trying to keep up.

Michael L. Chasen, the company's chief executive, has told The Chronicle that the latest version of the software integrates some Web 2.0 tools and still offers plenty of features that blogging packages can't match, like online gradebooks.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's thread on blogging are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on Blackboard and WebCT are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course management systems are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

"Blackboard Customers Consider Alternatives: Open-source software for course management poses market challenge," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 12, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i03/03a00103.htm?utm_source=wb&utm_medium=en

Matthew Henry, programming-services manager at LeTourneau University, sat near the front of a ballroom with his arms crossed, ready to watch a multimedia preview of Blackboard Inc.'s next course-management system.

He arrived here in July for the company's annual user conference with more than a few complaints about the company. Its service is poor, he said, its behavior toward competitors is overly aggressive, and its fast growth in recent years has distracted it from supporting the product that helped make it a giant in the usually quiet world of college software.

Blackboard has become the Microsoft of higher-education technology, say many campus-technology officials, and they don't mean the comparison as a compliment. To them the company is not only big but also pushy, and many of them love to hate it.

Mr. Henry's mission here, as he waited with four colleagues from LeTourneau, was to determine whether the company's software remains the best choice to run the Texas university's course Web pages, online discussion boards, digital gradebooks, and other teaching tools, which have become as standard as physical whiteboards on college campuses.

New software called Blackboard NG, for Next Generation, is supposed to keep the company a step ahead and keep people such as Mr. Henry as customers. The user conference was its first public display. "I'm anxious to see whether Blackboard NG is just hype or something that's going to solve our problems" with the company, said Mr. Henry, as the lights dimmed for the presentation.

LeTourneau's contract with Blackboard ends this year, and campus officials may join the growing number of colleges switching to Moodle, a free, open-source course-management system, or Sakai, another free program. Those systems have grown feature-rich enough to pose serious challenges to Blackboard. Giants like the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California at Los Angeles, along with smaller colleges, like Louisiana State University at Shreveport, have made the jump.

"There are a lot of institutions right now that are upset with Blackboard, to say the least, and looking for alternatives," says Michael Zastrocky, vice president for research at Gartner Inc., a consulting firm that tracks trends in higher-education technology. "They caused a backlash that's been very difficult for them to overcome."

Blackboard is heading for a showdown with the free-software movement, according to some observers. Although Blackboard remains the clear market leader — about 66 percent of American colleges use its software as their standard, says the Campus Computing Project, an annual survey — there are signs that open-source alternatives are starting to gain ground. The survey found that the proportion of colleges using Moodle as their standard rose from 4.2 percent in 2006 to 7.8 percent in 2007, and that about 3 percent of colleges have selected Sakai. A recent survey by the Instructional Technology Council, which promotes distance learning, found that the proportion of its member colleges using Moodle jumped from 4 percent last year to more than 10 percent this year. The proportion using Blackboard fell slightly.

Blackboard's leaders say they see no sign of an exodus to commercial or open-source rivals. "There's not more people leaving now than there were yesterday," said Blackboard's chief executive, Michael L. Chasen, in an interview this summer in the company's new corporate offices, in Washington, where the brightly lit white corridors and modern accents in staff lounges make it look a bit like a Star Trek starship.

Growing Goliath

How big is Blackboard? Three years ago it acquired its major rival, WebCT, solidifying its dominance of the course-management market. The company has also bought other companies in recent years, including the NTI Group, which makes emergency-notification software, and Xythos Software, which makes content-management programs.

How pushy is it? Blackboard claimed a patent on processes that many college officials say were already in widespread use. After the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the patent, in 2006, Blackboard sued a leading rival, Desire2Learn, claiming infringement. Many saw the move as trying to bully a competitor. (A federal judge found in favor of Blackboard, although the decision has been appealed).

Such tactics are common in other business sectors, says Trace A. Urdan, an education-industry analyst with Signal Hill, an investment firm, but not in the world of college software. "They're sharks operating in this universe where you don't see a lot of sharks," he says of Blackboard's leaders. For him that is a compliment. "They're smart," he says.

Mr. Urdan argues that the legal battle has probably caused enough uncertainty about Desire2Learn's future to scare off larger software companies who might otherwise have considered buying it and turning it into a more serious competitor.

Colleges say they have reason for concern about Blackboard's growing dominance. Their biggest fear is that the company will jack up prices once colleges have become reliant on its products. As one of Sakai's founders, Bradley Wheeler, chief information officer at Indiana University, puts it, "When switching costs get high, you can raise the rent."

Blackboard officials have attempted to calm such concerns and to convince colleges that it is a good partner. Two years ago, after the higher-education technology group Educause took the unusual step of issuing a statement criticizing the company's behavior over the patent, Blackboard's leaders held a town-hall session at Educause's annual conference to answer questions and listen as college officials vented.

But some of those college leaders say the company's ways haven't significantly changed since then.

"That's the first thing that comes to people's mind when you come to Blackboard — its lawsuit," says Stephen G. Landry, chief information officer at Seton Hall University, which uses Blackboard. "I don't like working with a company that seems to spend as much money on legal and financial folks as they do on developers."

So now that open-source options are ready for prime time, many colleges are taking a cold, hard look at the price, reliability, and features of Moodle and Sakai.

Hidden Costs

Price seems like an obvious advantage of open-source software. After all, it is free. But officials say open-source programs can end up costing just as much as, or even more than, Blackboard's software when staff time is taken into account. It all depends on how much customization a college wants, or how many features it needs.

"The software is free, but you have to buy the computers to put it on, and you have to buy a development team to move it forward," says Donna Crystal Llewellyn, director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at Georgia Tech, which recently switched from WebCT to Sakai. Saving money was not the goal, she says, adding that the university already had a staff of programmers to tackle the challenge.

"Our faculty are very techno-savvy," she says. "They always think they can do something better than someone else that's already put it in a box."

But many smaller colleges say price was indeed a major reason to move away from Blackboard.

"They continued to raise the prices," says Scott Hardwick, assistant director of information-technology services on Louisiana State's Shreveport campus, which a few years ago gave up Blackboard for Moodle.

"Had we continued paying what Blackboard wanted us to pay, it probably would have been $100,000 a year," he says. Now the university pays only about $5,000 a year to an outside company that provides support for the Moodle software. "It's definitely cheaper," says Mr. Hardwick, even considering the time he spends on maintenance.

Professors, too, at Shreveport have been pleased with Moodle. The only complaint Mr. Hardwick says he has heard is that Moodle's user interface doesn't look as slick as Blackboard's. "I'm like, 'Seriously, that's your complaint? It doesn't look as slick?' Apparently that's a huge deal for people."

Blackboard's chief executive, Mr. Chasen, defended his company's prices. "I don't think that we're too expensive," he said in the interview. "Compared to other enterprise software, we're a fraction of the cost." There's a good chance, he said, that colleges "bought their human-resources package for a million dollars."

A Supportive Environment

The downside of open-source software is that because it is free, there's no one company to call if things go wrong. But the downside of buying a commercial program is that if its maker provides poor support, it's hard to get under the hood yourself to make a fix.

Blackboard has a history of poor support, according to many college officials.

"Support in the past has certainly been a challenge for us," Mr. Chasen acknowledged. He blamed the company's rapid growth. "We went from 100 clients to now over 5,000 clients in a relatively short time, and support is one of those areas that lagged behind."

The company recently hired an outside firm as part of an effort to improve its customer service. "We're on the way to answering it," said Mr. Chasen. "We know that support is improving. Is it there yet? No, we still have a long way to go. But over the next few months, you'll start to see significant improvements across the board."

Some colleges running open-source programs initially had concerns about whether free software could be scaled to provide Web sites and services for thousands of courses on large campuses. But UCLA recently decided to use Moodle across the campus, and things are going smoothly as it adds about 900 course Web sites on the system per quarter, says Rosemary Rocchio, director of academic applications in the office of information technoogy there.

But the university has plenty of programmers to handle issues that crop up, she notes. "If you're a small university, and you don't have IT staff, then open source isn't a great solution," she says. "I don't think it's one size fits all."

Innovation as Attraction

The biggest benefit of open-source software, say many observers, is that if a college wants a new feature, it can simply build it, since the entire program code is open. When a college adds a new feature, it shares the code with everyone else using the software.

Blackboard's Mr. Chasen argued that there are benefits to the corporate model of software publishing, too. "I have 300 people on my development team working full time on our products and services," he said. "I don't know if there are 300 full-time people currently working on Sakai. Maybe there are. I have a multimillion-dollar hardware-testing lab just to test scalability."

"At a minimum," he said, "we are at least just as innovative as open source."

Michael Korcuska, executive director of the Sakai Foundation, a nonprofit group that coordinates the use of the open-source software, argues that the open-source model is quicker to react to needs of colleges than Blackboard is. "The people doing the work and deciding what features go in the system are sitting on campus next to the users, not in some back office somewhere," he says.

But Mr. Urdan, the industry analyst, says fine-tuning software is a "luxury" that most colleges can't afford. The slight improvements are often not worth the man-hours and dollar costs of adopting them, he says.

The Next Generation

Many of those arguments, users say, will be settled by the performance of Blackboard's new product.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Blackboard and other alternatives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course authoring and management technologies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm


Epsilen Environment from Purdue University appears to have brought together the latest technology in a course authoring, course management, and e-learning package  --- http://www.epsilen.com/Epsilen/Public/Home.aspx

The Epsilen Environment is the result of six years of research and development within the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Epsilen Products and Services are commercially available through BehNeem LLC, the holding company created in Indiana to commercialize, market and further develop the Epsilen Environment. The New York Times is an equity and strategic partner in the company.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

A 2008 addition to the above history site came to my attention in a loose-card advertisement for Epsilen Enviroment that came in the November 3, 2008 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Free ePortfolios 
 
Basic ePortfolio accounts are free for all registered students and faculty of U.S. colleges and universities.  An Epsilen ePortfolio can be created in minutes and be used throughout one’s academic career, during professional life, and even into retirement.  The free Epsilen ePortfolio account offers tools and resources enabling members to:

  • Create and maintain a professional ePortfolio
  • Engage in professional  and social networking
  • Showcase scholarly work and other documents in a wide range of formats
  • Develop and share resumes
  • Store and share files/objects
  • Use Epsilen e-mail, blog, wiki, and other communication and collaboration tools
  • Create and participate in professional collaboration groups
  • Access to online courses and trainings using the Epsilen Global Learning System (GLS) courseware.
  • Produce a personal ePortfolio Web site with profile, photos and video
  • Receive an automated weekly Epsilen status report that lets you know about those that have visited your “corner”, share similar research, teaching, internship or consulting interests.  

If your campus is, or becomes, a licensed Epsilen institution (see below), your free ePortfolio will integrate dynamically with more sophisticated tools and services listed below that accompany the paid license. Visit www.epsilen.com to create your personal ePortfolio and begin exploring the Environment. 

  
Exploratory Institutional Memberships
 
The Exploratory Membership is an easy and cost-effective option for colleges and universities, schools, districts and state systems to explore and experience the features of Epsilen, the next generation of learning and networking software.  Upon payment of an annual membership fee, the following features are available to Exploratory Members: 

  • Administrative account to brand, monitor, and maintain internal ePortfolio accounts of your students ,faculty and alumnae
  • Institutional ePortfolio site for your college or university
  • Global announcement and message broadcasting to ePortfolio accounts associated with your institution
  • Delivery of 12 online courses or training using Epsilen’s Global Learning System (GLS), with the option to incorporate New York Times content described below
  • Direct access to the Epsilen helpdesk 
  • A hosted Web-based  solution that requires no, or little, institutional IT support 
  • Ability to upgrade to other licensed services (see below) 
  • Ability to integrate Epsilen with campus SIS (see below) 
  • Ability to cross list courses across institutions, departments, and schools  

Annual Exploratory Memberships begin at $5,000 for campuses with up to 2,000 students.  Click here for more pricing information and order application. 
 
 

New York Times Knowledge Network

New York Times Knowledge (NYTKnowledge Network) offers New York Times content to complement faculty-designed courses served dynamically in customizable templates through Epsilen’s Global Learning System.  New York Times content is aggregated by subject and easily selected and incorporated into lessons by faculty and the interactive learning environment. NYTKnowledge Network provides access to a repository of Times archives back to 1851 Times articles, special issues sections, multimedia features, and synchronous and asynchronous contact with correspondents, resulting in an extraordinary integrated learning environment that supports hybrid or online offerings.
 

The New York Times Knowledge Network also offers the opportunity to participate in Webcasts with the Times correspondents and other subject matter experts. These can be included in traditional courses, or offered by your institution as stand-alone life-long learning experiences with comprehensive continuing education programs designed by the New York Times. 


NYT Knowledge Network Provides:

  • A rich repository of archived content back to 1851
  • Access to other major content providers
  • Multimedia news content
  • Interactive maps and graphs
  • Webcasts, chats with correspondents
  • A comprehensive range of content aggregated by subject and easily integrated to support your teaching objectives.
  • NYTimes Knowledge Network marketing of your continuing education courses.  

Visit http://www.nytimes.com/knowledge for further information and pricing (will be released in mid August 2007).
 

Student Learning Matrix 
 
Programs, departments, and schools within a campus may create unlimited student learning matrices to be used by students through an automated learning outcome assessment tool for both summative and formative learning assessment.  Features include:

  • Creation of unlimited student learning matrices for program- or campus-level learning outcome assessment (Each axis includes attributes defined by the program/campus.)
  • Ability for students to upload their learning outcomes according to predefined rubrics
  • Access by faculty and academic advisors to each student learning matrix for assessment, advisement, and certification
  • Program- and campus-level assessment reports for internal and external accreditation reviews
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires no institutional IT support

The annual Student Learning Matrix membership fee is based on the number of students in the program or institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Global Learning System (GLS)
 
 

Epsilen offers the Global Learning System (GLS), a new Web-based learning framework developed as the next generation of eLearning and networking. In contrast to current legacy learning management systems, the GLS offers true global learning collaboration by connecting students and instructors on campuses in the U.S. and around the world in an interactive and intuitive Web 2.0 learning environment.  The GLS complements existing licensed or open source CMS products.  The GLS features include:

  • Global learning management system that enables students and instructors to easily register or be invited to courses and learning collaboration
  • Cross listing of class rosters of two or more courses within various campuses, or across institutions
  • Innovative tools using professional and social networking to enhance learning, encourage collaboration, and utilize peer review technology
  • The ability to easily archive courses and working groups for continued engagement
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires little, or no institutional IT support

The annual GLS membership fee is based on the number of students and courses within the institution. Click here for more information and online membership application.
 
 

Charter Membership
 

Experience the full suite of the Epsilen “Environment” and resources with unparalleled access to NYTKnowledge Network content. Charter members receive special pricing for unlimited use of ePortfolios, the Student Learning Matrix, courses through the Global Learning System, and interactive Webcasts with correspondents.  With charter membership, two university administrators will be invited to participate in the Epsilen - New York Times charter council, with meetings and events scheduled at The New York Times.  Benefits include:

  • Single sign-on environment featuring a toolbox of services for ePortfolio, social networking, Learning Matrix, GLS, object repository, and NYTKnowledge Network
  • Totally hosted turnkey solution with no need for local servers or local technical staff
  • Cost effectiveness for both small and large campuses
  • Collaboration on designing the next generation of eLearning through networking with other members of the Epsilen - New York Times charter council

The Epsilen Charter membership fee is based on the total number of students within the institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application. 
 
 

Technical Support and System Integration
 

Epsilen offers consulting and technical support through both internal and third-party sources for the integration of Epsilen with local campus databases and existing licensed technology.  This provides a seamless, single sign-on, portal approach to all resources and services supporting the learning and teaching initiatives of a campus.  Click Here for more information and online membership application.

I maintain a site on tools and tricks of the trade at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

 


The term "electroThenic portfolio," or "ePortfolio," is on everyone's lips. What does this mean?
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#ElectronicPortfolio
 

When you want to search for an education phrase, go to 
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#education


Open Sharing Threat:  Let's Hope the Blackboard Monopolist Loses This One
The opening gavel sounded this week in a trial that is being closely watched by college and university technology officials -- a patent dispute between Blackboard Inc., which has become the giant of the education-software sector, and a smaller Canadian company called Desire2Learn. Blackboard had filed for the patent, which covers its e-learning software, in 1999. Critics say the patent is too broad and could be construed as covering many aspects of classroom software. If the patent holds up, they say, colleges that create their own course-management systems could be vulnerable to similar lawsuits. The Chronicle offers coverage of the opening arguments in the case, and the article is free even to non-subscribers.
Chronicle of Higher Education, February 13, 2008  --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=2741&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Bob Jensen's threads on Blackboard are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm


February 25, 2008 Update

"Jury Sides With Blackboard in Patent Case," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, February 25, 2008 ---
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/02/25/blackboard

A federal jury in Texas on Friday awarded the learning services giant Blackboard $3.1 million in its patent infringement lawsuit against a much smaller competitor, adding a new layer of complexity and uncertainty to a complex, uncertain market for higher education learning management systems.

The July 2006 lawsuit, closely watched (and much-derided by many) in the higher education technology world, accused the Canadian company Desire2Learn of infringing dozens of Blackboard patents for online course management and e-learning technologies. Blackboard sought $17 million in damages and an injunction barring Desire2Learn from continuing to infringe the patent. Blackboard came under heavy fire from campus technology officials, including a rare rebuke from Educause, higher education’s main technology association, for asserting the company’s patent rights to technologies that many argued were simple and longstanding technologies in wide use by corporate and open source learning systems.

After a two-week trial in Lufkin, Tex., and just a few hours of deliberation, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (which is seen as being friendly to patent holders) agreed with Blackboard that Desire2Learn’s learning platform uses technologies for which Blackboard received U.S. patents in January 2006. But its verdict gave the company far less than it was asking for, awarding Blackboard $2.5 million for lost profits and $630,000 in royalties.

In addition, the verdict allows the company to petition the judge in the case, Ron Clark, for an injunction against further patent infringement that would force Desire2Learn either to alter its products or to stop selling them to new customers in the United States.

In a statement via e-mail (but not posted on the company’s Web site), Blackboard’s president and CEO, Michael Chasen, said officials were “pleased that the jury recognized the importance of our contribution to e-Learning. We look forward to continuing to innovate and invest in new technologies that help education institutions around the globe improve teaching and learning.”

The statement also contained a statement in which Blackboard’s chief legal officer, Matthew Small, appeared to reiterate to fearful supporters of open source learning systems (such as Moodle and Sakai) that the company did not plan to pursue similar infringement claims against non-commercial competitors. “We also continue to stand behind our Patent Pledge which covers this patent and reflects our ongoing commitment to interoperating with and supporting the evolution of open source and home-grown systems,” Small said.

Desire2Learn officials, in a letter to customers, expressed disappointment with the jury verdict, but vowed to continue to oppose Blackboard’s patent enforcement efforts, not only to “defend ourselves vigorously” but to “stand up against Blackboard ... in the best interest of the entire educational community,” in the words of John Baker, the company’s president and CEO. Desire2Learn noted that the jury’s verdict was only one step in a multipronged process, that will include not just the likelihood of legal appeals but a continuing review of the legitimacy of Desire2Learn’s patents by the U.S. Patent Office.

The blogosphere, which tilts heavily against Blackboard on virtually any and all issues, took a generally dim view of the jury’s verdict. Some commentators sought to play down the significance of the jury’s verdict, noting that it gave Blackboard less than it had sought and that Desire2Learn’s patent is still under review by the U.S. patent office.

But others expressed fear that Blackboard would soon go after other commercial learning management software providers like Angel, and wondered whether Blackboard would abide by its pledge not to take aim at the open source systems that appear to be gaining ground against Blackboard, especially Moodle. Commentators generally agreed that the implications of the case won’t be clear for some time.

“It will take weeks, if not months, to sort out the fallout from the jury ruling yesterday in the Blackboard Inc. v. Desire2learn Inc. case,” Alfred H. Essa, associate vice chancellor and deputy chief information officer of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, wrote on his blog  The Nose. “Although all is not lost, this is a crushing blow to Desire2Learn, one of the few remaining commercial competitors to Blackboard in the higher education LMS market.

You can read more about the Blackboard and its horrid monopolist tendencies at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm


A Serious New Commercial Advance for Online Training and Education

"Opening Up Online Learning," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, October 9, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/09/cartridge

This has not exactly been a season of peace, love and harmony on the higher education technology landscape. A patent fight has broken out among major developers of course management systems. Academic publishers and university officials are warring over open access to federally sponsored research. And textbook makers are taking a pounding for — among other things — the ways in which digital enhancements are running up the prices of their products.

In that context, many may be heartened by the announcement later today at the Educause meeting in Dallas that three dozen academic publishers, providers of learning management software, and others have agreed on a common, open standard that will make it possible to move digital content into and out of widely divergent online education systems without expensive and time consuming reengineering. The agreement by the diverse group of publishers and software companies, who compete intensely with one another, is being heralded as an important breakthrough that could expand the array of digital content available to professors and students and make it easier for colleges to switch among makers of learning systems.

Of course, that’s only if the new standard, known as the “Common Cartridge,” becomes widely adopted, which is always the question with developments deemed to be potential technological advances.

Many observers believe this one has promise, especially because so many of the key players have been involved in it. Working through the IMS Global Learning Consortium, leading publishers like Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill Education and course-management system makers such as Blackboard, ANGEL Learning and open-source Sakai have worked to develop the technical specifications for the common cartridge, and all of them have vowed to begin incorporating the new standard into their products by next spring — except Blackboard, which says it will do so eventually, but has not set a timeline for when.

What exactly is the Common Cartridge? In lay terms, it is a set of specifications and standards, commonly agreed to by an IMS working group, that would allow digitally produced content — supplements to textbooks such as assessments or secondary readings, say, or faculty-produced course add-ons like discussion groups — to “play,” or appear, the same in any course management system, from proprietary ones like Blackboard/WebCT and Desire2Learn to open source systems like Moodle and Sakai.

“It is essentially a common ‘container,’ so you can import it and load it and have it look similar when you get it inside” your local course system, says Ray Henderson, chief products officer at ANGEL, who helped conceive of the idea when he was president of the digital publishing unit at Pearson.

The Common Cartridge approach is designed to deal with two major issues: (1) the significant cost and time that publishers now must spend (or others, if the costs are passed along) to produce the material they produce for multiple, differing learning management systems, and (2) the inability to move courses produced in one course platform to another, which makes it difficult for professors to move their courses from one college to another and for campuses to consider switching course management providers.

The clearest and surest upside of the new standard, most observers agree, is that it could help lower publishers’ production costs and, in turn, allow them to focus their energies on producing more and better content. David O’Connor, senior vice president for product development at Pearson Education’s core technology group, says his company and other major publishers spend “many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year effectively moving content around” so that ancillary material for textbooks can work in multiple course management systems.

Because Blackboard and Web CT together own in the neighborhood of 75 percent of the course management market, Pearson and other publishers produce virtually all of their materials to work in those proprietary systems. Materials are typically produced on demand for smaller players like ANGEL, Desire2Learn and Sakai, and it is even harder to find usable materials for colleges’ homemade systems. While big publishers such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill have sizable media groups that can, when they choose to, spend what’s necessary to modify digital content for selected textbooks, “small publishers often have to say no,” O’Connor says. As a result, “there are just fewer options for people who aren’t using Blackboard and WebCT, and more hurdles to getting it.”

Supporters hope that adoption of the common cartridge will allow publishers to spend less time and money adapting one textbook’s digital content for multiple course platforms and more time producing more and better content. “This should have the result of broadening choice in content to institutions,” says Catherine Burdt, an analyst at Eduventures, an education research firm. “Colleges would no longer be limited to the content that’s supported by their LMS platform, but could now go out and choose the best content that aligns with what’s happening in their curriculum.”

Less clear is how successful the effort will be at improving the portability of course materials from one learning management system to another. If all the major providers introduce “export capability,” there is significant promise, says Michael Feldstein, who writes the blog e-Literate and is assistant director of the State University of New York Learning Network. “This has the potential to be one of the most important standards to come out in a while, particularly for faculty,” says Feldstein, who notes that his comments here represent his own views, not SUNY’s. “It would become much easier for them to take rich course content and course designs and migrate them from one system to another with far less pain.”

But while easier transferability would obviously benefit the smaller players in the course management market — and ANGEL and Sakai plan to announce today that their systems will soon allow professors to create Common Cartridges for export out of their systems — such a system would only take off if the dominant player in the market, the combined Blackboard/WebCT, eventually does the same. “I’m not sure how excited Blackboard would be about making it easier for faculty to migrate out of their product and into one of their competitors,” says Feldstein.

Chris Vento, senior vice president of technology and product development at Blackboard, was a leading proponent of the IMS Common Cartridge concept when he was a leading official at WebCT before last year’s merger. In an interview, he acknowledged the question lots of others are asking: “What’s in it for Blackboard? Why wouldn’t you just lock up the format and force everybody to use it?” His answer, he says, is that by helping the entire industry, he says, the project cannot help but benefit its biggest player, too.

“This will enable publishers to really do the best job of producing their content, making it richer and better for students and faculty, and more lucrative for publishers from the business perspective,” says Vento. “Anything we can do to enable that content to be built, and more of it and better quality, the more lucrative it is eventually for us.”

Blackboard is fully behind the project, Vento says. Having endorsed the Common Cartridge charter, Blackboard has also committed to incorporating the new standard into its products, and that Blackboard intends to make export of course materials possible out of its platform. “Exactly how that maps to our product roadmap has not been finalized,” he said, “but in the end, we’re all going to have to do this. It’s just a question of when.” There will, he says, “be a lot of pressures to do this.”

That pressure is likely to be intensified because of the public relations pounding Blackboard has taken among many in the academic technology world because of its attempt to patent technology that many people believe is fundamental to e-learning systems. O’Connor of Pearson says he believes Blackboard could benefit from its involvement in the Common Cartridge movement by being seen “as the dominant player, to be someone supporting openness in the community.” He adds: “There is an opportunity for them to mend some of the damage from the patent issue.”

Like virtually all technological advances — or would-be ones — Common Cartridge’s success will ultimately rise and fall, says Burdt of Eduventures, on whether Blackboard and others embrace it. “Everything comes down to adoption,” she says. “The challenge with every standard is the adoption model. Some are out the door too early. Some evolve too early and are eclipsed by substitutes. For others, suppliers decide not to support it for various reasons.”

Those behind the Common Cartridge believe it’s off to a good start with the large number of disparate parties not only involved in creating it, but already committing to incorporate it into their offerings.

Yet even as they launch this standard, some of them are already looking ahead to the next challenge. While the Common Cartridge, if widely adopted, will allow for easier movement of digital course materials into and out of course management systems, it does not ensure that users will be able to do the same thing with third-party e-learning tools (like subject-specific tutoring modules) that are not part of course management systems, or with the next generation of tools that may emerge down the road. For that, the same parties would have to reach a similar agreement on a standard for “tool interoperability,” which is next on the IMS agenda.

“This is only one step,” Pearson’s O’Connor says of the Common Cartridge. But it is, he says, an important one.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology and distance education are linked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


Create your own Web applications with ease using this free Zoho Creater software

August 7, 2006 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

Is this a MS Access-killer-app?

http://www.zohocreator.com/

"This free Web-based software handled the job -- but without the bells and whistles of Access that had baffled Mr Hughes. And since the program stored his data on the Web, his colleagues could tap into it easily with a browser. "To me it was like a godsend" says Mr. Hughes, operations manager at SoluChem. "
Robert A. Guth, The Wall Street Journal Online --- http://www.zohocreator.com/

Exclusive benefits of Zoho Creator  --- http://www.zohocreator.com/
  Create Apps from scratch
Create your web application in minutes, not days. It's just a few clicks away.

 
  Create Apps from spreadsheet
Import your spreadsheet to create web application automatically.
  Browse, Copy & Customize
Browse public applications. See something you like? Copy and customize to your needs.

 
    No coding required
Create web application without coding. You don't need to have HTML or PHP skills .
  Embed Forms/Views in website
Embed Forms and Views easily into your website and blog.
 
    Share your App
Share your app with other users or keep it private among your friends, colleagues and clients.

 

Zoho Creator helps you to easily create personal and business web applications on your own by structuring and presenting your data in a lot of interesting and useful ways. You can view the data as a table, calendar or just as a summary. In addition to just viewing your data in many ways, you might also want to perform one or more of the following:

 With Zoho Creator, you don't have to write code to build a simple data collection and viewing application like a Contacts list. But, scripting will be indispensable for building a full fledged application with complex logic, for example, Library Manager.

Jensen Comment
Although this is not course management software, it can be used for authoring presentation lessons by instructors.

Bob Jensen's summaries of course authoring and course management software are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

Also see Bob Jensen's summary authoring software ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


Question
Where can a college turn for course management software when the college feels like Blackboard is a monopoly rip-off and Moodle is too dependent upon open source innovations and maintenance?

Before reading this module you may want to first read about Blackboard and Moodle at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm

Richard Campbell sent a link to the site below and mentioned that this may be Microsoft's bit to compete with Blackboard.

Microsoft Learning Gateway Community --- http://www.learninggateway.net/default.aspx

Microsoft Learning Gateway (MLG) is a powerful, extensible suite of features designed to help schools meet their priorities using a scalable, cost-effective framework. By deploying a Learning Gateway solution, you can give students personalized learning portals that bring together everything they need to support their classes. Password-protected access can be extended to parents, providing up-to-the-minute information on students’ attendance, grades, assignments, timetables, and upcoming events. Administrators are provided with a secure, personalized interface from which they can improve planning and follow-through and make effective decisions. Senior IT decision makers are better equipped to analyze data and report key information to governors, regulators, ministries, and other key agencies.

Whether your institution adopts a top-down or bottom-up approach, you can deploy a Learning Gateway framework that can support how you want to progress with the flexibility to accommodate later developments. This means your investments are future-proofed, even during times of rapid change. Click on the links below to learn much more about the capabilities of MLG when combined with partner solutions. Afterwards, contact a Microsoft partner who can customize Learning Gateway components into solutions tailored to meet your needs.

Jensen Comment
Happily it's the enormously wealthy Microsoft making this move. Any company making such a move is likely to be sued by Blackboard since Blackboard is now claiming it has a patent on everything connected with course management and distance education. We can hope and pray that Microsoft will spend whatever needed to end these monopoly visions of Blackboard.


"Blackboard Wins Patent-Infringement Case Against Rival Courseware Provider," by Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 22, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/news/article/4022/blackboard-wins-patent-infringement-case-against-rival-courseware-provider

A federal jury in Texas ruled this afternoon in favor of Blackboard Inc., the nation’s leading online provider of course-management software, in its patent-infringement lawsuit against Desire2Learn Inc.

Blackboard sued the smaller Canadian-based company in 2006, asserting that it had infringed a patent that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had granted Blackboard that year. As a result, the larger company said, Desire2Learn had taken away customers that should have been Blackboard’s.

Desire2Learn, which has its headquarters in Kitchener, Ontario, argued that Blackboard’s patent was invalid and should never have been granted in the first place. Lawyers for the company said that Blackboard officials were aware of similar technology, or what’s known as “prior art,” that existed before it filed its patent application, and that the company had failed to divulge that information to the patent office.

The jury, which began deliberating just before noon on Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Lufkin, Tex., announced its verdict this afternoon. The case has been closely watched by campus-technology officials, many of whom feared that a win by Blackboard could stifle innovation and leave colleges and course-management software providers vulnerable to more legal challenges by Blackboard.

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course management software are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm


Drop Patent, Educause Urges Blackboard
The leaders of higher education’s main technology association have written a powerfully worded letter urging Blackboard to relinquish the rights it gained under a controversial patent of online learning technologies in the public domain and to drop a patent infringement lawsuit it filed in August against a Canadian competitor, Desire2Learn.
Doug Lederman, "Drop Patent, Educause Urges Blackboard," Inside Higher Ed, October 27, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/27/educause

Blackboard officials did not take kindly to the request. “Blackboard has been (and remains) a long time supporter of Educause and the important role it plays for the academic community, but we are disappointed that Educause, an industry organization, is taking public positions on its members’ intellectual property and enforcement efforts,” Michael Chasen, Blackboard’s CEO, said in a statement released Thursday night. “We are proud of our innovations and believe protecting Blackboard’s intellectual property is tantamount to the success of the company and the evolution of the industry at large.”

The letter (the text of which is available below) was hand-delivered to Chasen at Educause’s early October meeting but was made public only Thursday, when Educause posted it on its Web site along with the minutes of the board’s meeting. Those minutes note that the letter was approved unanimously by all board members attending (two directors were not there) “after much discussion.” Hawkins said in an interview Thursday that the fact that there was significant discussion should not be read to suggest that there was disagreement about the content of the letter, which he said was unprecedented in the association’s history.

“We have never sent this type of a letter to one of our corporate members before,” Hawkins said. The association’s “guiding principles” for dealing with corporations say that Educause will not endorse one corporation over another or otherwise take sides in a corporate dispute. But the principles also note that “Educause is accountable primarily to its institutional members,” and that “institutional member objectives, if ever in conflict with corporate member objectives, take precedence.” In this case, Hawkins said, Educause is not siding with Desire2Learn over Blackboard, but putting its college and university members’ interests first.

In their letter, which Hawkins and the Educause board say was written on behalf of the entire “higher education IT community,” they use unusually dramatic language to describe how college technology officials view Blackboard’s patent and its lawsuit against Desire2Learn.

“One of our concerns is that you may not fully appreciate the depth of the consternation this action has caused for key members of our community.... We have seen this intensity of anger only a few times before. In those cases, the corporations involved were unaware of what was happening outside their official channels. Please do not underestimate this consternation which we believe will impact Blackboard in both the short- and the long-term.”

It continues: “The expressions we hear range from the vilification of Blackboard, to stories about the cold reception Blackboard is receiving at presentations, to the embarrassment of your employees who are asked to explain this corporate action.”

The Educause letter notes that rather than rely on the strong opinions and beliefs of its members, it had hired a “highly reputable, independent law firm to review the patent,” and that the firm’s “preliminary conclusion” is that the patent was “very broadly defined and was inappropriately approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”

The letter urges the company to “disclaim the rights established under your recently-awarded patent, placing the patent in the public domain and withdrawing the claim of infringement against Desire2Learn.”

Chasen’s response suggests Blackboard is disinclined to do so. Company officials have said repeatedly that critics are misreading the patent if they believe it applies broadly to learning management software, and that they do not intend to try to impede the development of open source software.


Blackboard Holds Hoists Up a White Flag
Blackboard’s Small, however, said that much of the online anger is based on a misreading of Blackboard’s patent. The patent has 44 parts, he said, independent parts and dependent parts. The former are the central claims and the latter parts only are relevant when applied to the central claims. So a reference to chat rooms does not mean that Blackboard claims to have invented them or has a right to royalties on their use — unless they are part of a larger system that makes use of Blackboard’s patented technologies, Small said. Much of the criticism of Blackboard is based on reading the dependent patent clauses as if they were independent. “In reality, the patent covers only specific functionality that was invented by Blackboard,” he said. “This is not a patent on e-learning,” Small said. “We are not bullying anyone. We are not looking to put anyone out of business. We are looking to obtain a reasonable royalty for use of our intellectual property.”
Scott Jaschik, "Blackboard: Bully or Misunderstood?" Inside Higher Ed, August 18, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/18/patent


Fear of Blackboard's Patent Just Will Not Go Away

"Patent Fight Rattles Academic Computing," PhysOrg, August 28, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75967078.html

Every day, millions of students taking online college courses act in much the same way as their bricks-and-mortar counterparts. After logging on, they move from course to course and do things like submit work in virtual drop boxes and view posted grades - all from a program running on a PC.

It may seem self-evident that virtual classrooms should closely resemble real ones. But a major education software company contends it wasn't always so obvious. And now, in a move that has shaken up the e-learning community, Blackboard Inc. has been awarded a patent establishing its claims to some of the basic features of the software that powers online education.

The patent, awarded to the Washington, D.C.-based company in January but announced last month, has prompted an angry backlash from the academic computing community, which is fighting back in techie fashion - through online petitions and in a sprawling Wikipedia entry that helps make its case.

Critics say the patent claims nothing less than Blackboard's ownership of the very idea of e-learning. If allowed to stand, they say, it could quash the cooperation between academia and the private sector that has characterized e-learning for years and explains why virtual classrooms are so much better than they used to be.

The patent is "is antithetical to the way that academia makes progress," said Michael Feldstein, assistant director of the State University of New York's online learning network and one of the bloggers who has criticized the company.

Blackboard, which recently became the dominant company in the field by acquiring rival WebCT, says the critics misunderstand what the patent claims. But the company does say it must protect its $100 million investment in the technology. The day the patent was announced, Blackboard sued rival Desire2Learn for infringement and is seeking royalties.

"It just wouldn't be a level playing field if someone could come onto the scene tomorrow, copy everything that Blackboard and WebCT have done and call it their own," said Blackboard general counsel Matthew Small.

Waterloo, Ontario-based Desire2Learn said it was surprised by the lawsuit but will defend itself vigorously. No court date has been set.

The dispute is part of a contentious area of the law concerning patents awarded not just on invented objects, but on ideas and processes. In theory, patents can be awarded on a whole range of ideas as long as they are "non-obvious" and the Patent Office sees no evidence they have been described before. Patents have been awarded for everything from types of credit card offers to methods of teaching a golf swing.

Now, the issue is surfacing in the growing field of e-learning.

According to the Sloan Consortium, 2.3 million U.S. college students were taking at least one course entirely online in the fall of 2004 - a figure that is likely higher now and doesn't include "hybrid" classes with both online and in-person components. Most of those students use so-called "Learning Management Systems," which provide the electronic backbone for online education. For-profit and traditional universities are investing millions in these systems, hoping the upfront investment will pay off down the road with a more efficient teaching model.

About 90 percent of colleges use some kind of LMS, according to data from Eduventures, a Boston company that does research and consulting on online learning, and they are used in about 46 percent of classes. Blackboard has about 60 percent of the market for those systems, followed by eCollege and Desire2Learn with about 20 percent each, according to Eduventures.

"A few years ago this was a place to just hang your syllabus, maybe post a couple of links," said Catherine Burdt, a senior analyst with Eduventures. "Increasingly, we see these systems as the foundation of academic computing."

Blackboard's patent doesn't refer to any device or even specific software code. Rather, it describes the basic framework of an LMS. In short, Blackboard says what it invented isn't learning tools like drop boxes, but the idea of putting such tools together in one big, scalable system across a university.

"Our developers sat down and said 'college IT departments are having a lot of trouble managing all these disparate Web sites from each class. How can we turn this into one computer program that manages all of the classes?'" Small said. "That was a leap."

Critics say it was a tiny hop at most.

Blackboard's claims are "incredibly obvious," said Feldstein. The company's patent suggests "that they invented e-learning," said Alfred Essa, associate vice chancellor and CIO of the Minnesota state college and university system.

The academic IT community has taken its case to the blogosphere. Over recent weeks, a sprawling Wikipedia entry has emerged tracking a history of virtual classrooms as far back as 1945 in an effort to demonstrate the idea was not Blackboard's.

Why are universities concerned? Many use off-the-shelf systems sold by Blackboard already. But others use rival companies like Desire2Learn, or mix and match to meet their own needs. Because universities are decentralized and have such varied systems, one size rarely fits all, says Feldstein. Many borrow from open-source courseware programs with names like "Moodle" and "the Sakai Project."

The fear is that universities, afraid of being sued for patent infringement, would stop that mixing, matching and experimenting - and that innovation would suffer. Feldstein notes most LMSs started out as university research projects - including Blackboard itself, at Cornell.

Blackboard's Small denies the company is claiming to own the very idea of e-learning. He says the company supports open source, and notes a Blackboard product called Building Blocks allows users to create their own systems off Blackboard's basic platform. Blackboard, he says, is focussed on commercial providers and has no intention of going after universities - its customers, after all - in court to collect royalties.

"Blackboard is not a troll," he said, referring to the term for companies that establish a patent but don't use it except to exact royalties from others. "We're not trying to put anyone out of business. We're not trying to hinder innovation. We're seeking a reasonable royalty."

Desire2Learn founder and CEO John Baker says his company will fight the patent hard.

"We hope that after we defend ourselves this will be good for everybody in the industry - clients, students, educators, everybody," he said.


The Dark Side of Blackboard's Broad Patent
Desire2Learn, which produces course-management systems, has fired back against Blackboard, which sued it for patent infringement last month. Desire2Learn last week
filed papers charging that the patent isn’t valid and that Blackboard has no right to bring the suit. The case is being closely watched by many — especially open source advocates who fear that Blackboard’s patent is too broad and that the company could use it to squash their efforts. Blackboard has said that it has no plans to go after open source services.
Inside Higher Ed, September 18, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/18/qt


It may seem self-evident that virtual classrooms should closely resemble real ones. But a major education software company contends it wasn't always so obvious. And now, in a move that has shaken up the e-learning community, Blackboard has been awarded a patent establishing its claims to some of the basic features of the software that powers online education. The patent, awarded to the Washington, D.C.-based company in January but announced last month, has prompted an angry backlash from the academic computing community, which is fighting back in techie fashion -- through online petitions and in a sprawling Wikipedia entry that helps make its case. Critics say the patent claims nothing less than Blackboard's ownership of the very idea of e-learning. If allowed to stand, they say, it could quash the cooperation between academia and the private sector that has characterized e-learning for years and explains why virtual classrooms are so much better than they used to be. The patent is "is antithetical to the way that academia makes progress," said Michael Feldstein, assistant director of the State University of New York's online learning network and one of the bloggers who has criticized the company.
"Patent Fight in Online Academia," Wired News, August 27, 2006 --- Click Here


Question
Are Blackboard and SAP patents a serious threat to innovation and application in LMS (Learning Management Systems)?

August 4, 2006 message from Leonard Low [Leonard.Low@cit.act.edu.au]

Dear Professor Jensen,

I am respectfully contacting you to seek your help.  It has come to the attention of the international e-learning community that two large companies, Blackboard Inc. and SAP, have applied for a large number of patents internationally that cover most of the core features of modern Learning Management Systems.  Their actions threaten innovation and development in the e-learning sector, jeopardize educational equity and availability, and are regarded by many respected educational commentators to be unethical and dishonest.  I myself am a concerned LMS manager and administrator at a public Australian tertiary institution with no commercial interests - my interest is an ethical and professional one. 

On 26th July 2006, Blackboard announced that their patent on “Internet-based education support system and methods“ – basically, LMS systems.  The same day, they sued Desire2Learn, their closest competitor, for breach of that patent.  Their actions demonstrate that they intend to use their claims of patent to suppress competitors and reduce the uptake of open source systems at major institutions.

I’ve been trying to find examples of “prior art” – LMS systems and functions claimed to have been invented by Blackboard and SAP, that existed prior to Blackboard’s initial patent application in the year 2000 – and came across your website.  An authoritative list is being collaboratively authored in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_virtual_learning_environments.

I note your expertise in the history and development of online learning, and ask you to contribute your knowledge of prior art to our growing list, to help us stave off an imminent disaster in online education.  The list is being compiled at the Wikipedia site mentioned above: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_virtual_learning_environments.

Thank you for your attention, and apologies for making this direct appeal to your private email address, which I obtained from your website.  I hope you will be able to help us.

Kind regards,

Leonard

Leonard Low
Online Campus Manager
Tel +61 2 6207 4323 | Mob 04 1338 6684 | Fax +61 2 62074834
Flexible Learning Solutions

Education Development Centre
Canberra Institute of Technology
Southside Campus Ainsworth Street Phillip

August 4, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Leonard,

There is a long history of Learning Management System (LMS) or Course Management Software (CMS) for both course authoring and course management that was developed long before the formation of WebCT, Blackboard, and SAP. I document this early history at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

Some of this history is rooted in the PLATO system developed for mainframe computers at the University of Illinois. One of the earliest packaged software alternatives for course management and authoring was called Owl's Guide. Then came HyperCard, Authorware, HyperGraphics, ToolBook and a raft of others documented at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

WebCT and Blackboard innovated in the sense that they became separate Web server computers, as opposed to course CDs, for managing courses without providing course authoring software per se. Instructors were free to put their PowerPoint, MS Word, Excel, and other documents into these servers. Later WebCT and Blackboard added things like chat rooms and email systems for courses.

Personally I think the Blackboard patents go too far and ignore the long history of learning and course management software. These patents will most certainly be tested in court and will most certainly lose except in the cases where particular computer codes have been virtually lifted by other companies. In fact I think Blackboard faces the risk of being sued for patent infringement itself. Bb must proceed very cautiously in deciding who to sue.

Thanks to your reminder, I will put a link in Wikipedia to my document at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm
And I will include my links to related documents at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

Bob Jensen

 


March 3, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

THE EVOLUTION OF AN ONLINE COURSE

"Like all learners, new online instructors need hands-on experience, feedback, and ongoing support to become comfortable and proficient in the virtual classroom. It is unrealistic to expect even the most self-motivated, creatively pedagogical, and technically inclined instructor to fly solo after just a few hours of training." In "Uniting Technology and Pedagogy: The Evolution of an Online Teaching Certification Course" (EDUCAUSE QUARTERLY, vol. 29, no. 1, 2006), Bonnie Riedinger and Paul Rosenberg explain how and why a certification course for online teaching was moved out of the classroom and into an online environment. The authors note from this experience that the online environment presents an "opportunity for instructors to examine their pedagogical habits." The complete article is available online at http://www.educause.edu/apps/eq/eqm06/eqm0616.asp?bhcp=1 .

EDUCAUSE Quarterly, The IT Practitioner's Journal [ISSN 1528-5324] is published by EDUCAUSE, 4772 Walnut Street, Suite 206, Boulder, CO 80301-2538 USA. Current and past issues are available online at http://www.educause.edu/eq/ .

See also:

"The Myth about Online Course Development: 'A Faculty Member Can Individually Develop and Deliver an Effective Online Course'" by Diana G. Oblinger and Brian L. Hawkins EDUCAUSE REVIEW, vol. 41, no. 1, January/February 2006 http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm06/erm0617.asp 

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TIPS FOR USING LAPTOPS IN THE CLASSROOM

For tips on how to make your students' laptop computers part of their learning activities, see "14 Good Ideas from Liesel Knaack for Using Laptops in the Classroom" (SIDEBARS, January 2006). Knaack is a professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology where every student gets an IBM Thinkpad on their first day of class to use throughout their studies at the University. The article is online at http://online.bcit.ca/sidebars/06january/on-the-side-1.htm .

SideBars [ISSN 1718-3685] is published by the Learning Resources Unit of the British Columbia Institute of Technology [ http://www.lru.bcit.ca/ ]. "Founded in December 2001, SideBars provides useful information and news items for instructors, course developers, educational technologists, and anyone else who has an interest in distributed learning in its various manifestations." Current and back issues are available at http://online.bcit.ca/sidebars/ . Email subscriptions are available at no cost at http://online.bcit.ca/sidebars/subcribe.html .

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SCHOLARLY JOURNAL ON PLAGIARISM

In January the University of Michigan Scholarly Publishing Office launched a refereed online journal, PLAGIARY. The purpose of the journal is "to bring together the various strands of scholarship which already exist on the subject, and to create a forum for discussion across disciplinary boundaries." Papers in the first issues include:

-- "The Google Library Project: Both Sides of the Story"

-- "Copy This! A Historical Perspective On the Use of the Photocopier in Art"

-- "A Million Little Pieces of Shame"

Plagiary: Cross-Disciplinary Studies in Plagiarism, Fabrication, and Falsification [ISSN 1559-3096] is available free of charge as an Open Access journal on the Internet at http://www.plagiary.org/ . For more information contact: John P. Lesko, Editor, Department of English, Saginaw Valley State University, University Center, MI 48710 USA; tel: 989-964-2067; fax: 989-790-7638; email: jplesko@svsu.edu 

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/plagiarism.htm

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SOME NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE RESOURCES

Since Infobits reaches subscribers all over the world, we welcome information about resources in other languages besides English. This month, we present these:

USE http://munin.bui.haw-hamburg.de/amoll/use/  "USE: Usability Engineering fur E-Learning" is an online document produced by the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences Department of Information. The document, written in German, shows how to involve students when planning and designing an e-learning website.

STICEF http://sticef.univ-lemans.fr/  "STICEF: Sciences and Technologies Information and Communication for Education and Training" presents research "undertaken in the field of communication and information technologies in the service of human training." Papers are in French, but English abstracts are available. Recent papers include:

-- "Reusing Available (educational) Software developed by CAL (Computer Assisted Learning) Researchers?"

-- "Effet d'un feedback informatif sur la prise de notes dans un environnement d'apprentissage informatise'"

Editor's note: Machine translation certainly has its limitations; however, in order to decide if the text is relevant to your needs, sometimes you need a "quick and dirty" translation of a web page into your preferred language. In these cases, try Google's translation tools at http://www.google.com/language_tools . A 2005 evaluation of machine translation systems conducted by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) rated Google's tool best overall. The NIST report is online at http://www.nist.gov/speech/tests/mt/mt05eval_official_results_release_20050801_v3.html .

For more on machine translation see Seb Schmoller's June 2005 FORTNIGHTLY MAILING article, "Combining human with machine translation." http://www.schmoller.net/mailings/20050612.shtml#1

 


Angel Learning Management Suite and ePortfolio

Among the newer software for course management and authoring is Angel Learning Management Suite and ePortfolio--- http://angellearning.com/

Other eLearning and course management alternatives are listed by year at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_virtual_learning_environments

2006

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2005

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2004

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2002

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2001

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2000

 


On the Leading Edge of Learning and Education Technology
Sharing Professor of the Week --- Dan Madigan at Bowling Green State University --- http://fp.dl.kent.edu/learninginstitute/madigan.htm

Dan Madigan is the Director of the Scholarship and Engagement and Professor of English at Bowling Green State University.

Dan has a newsletter on Teaching Tips (usually with respect to technology) and other helpful teaching resources --- http://www.bgsu.edu/ctlt/page12182.html

I discovered Dan Madigan in the February 2006 issue of Accounting Education News --- http://aaahq.org/ic/browse.htm
In that issue of AEN, a summary of provided of his Idea Paper #43 on "New Technologies that are Shaping Education and Learning." Excerpts from that summary are provided below.

Idea Paper #43 by Dan Madigan

New Technologies that are Shaping Teaching and Learning

Blogs

You can create your own blog for free by going to http://www.blogger.com/home .  Blog technology allows blogs to be syndicated and aggregators allow users to automatically search for favorite blogs on the web and have them delivered to personal accounts ( http://www.bloglines.com/ ) [using tools like RSS feed readers-Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary].

Wiki

There are many places on the web that offer wiki support for free wiki including: http://pbwiki.com/ .  To find out more about wikis and how they can be used for teaching and learning go to http://www.writingwiki.org/default.aspx/WritingWiki/For%20Teachers%20New%20to%20Wikis.html .

 Learning Management Systems

Many universities buy a proprietary LMS, but increasingly universities are building their own LMS based on open source software like Moodle ( http://www.moodle.org/ ).  Moodle's no-cost (excluding costs associated with hardware and support), flexibility to adapt to small or large institutions, departments, programs and individuals, and world-wide support are attractive features.

Presentation Software

Although PowerPoint® may be the most common example of this program, there are many other programs including Keynote, Adobe Acrobat, and the popular and free Open Office Suite package that includes IMPRESS as its presentation program ( http://www.openoffice.org/index.html ).  Simple presentations can also be created using the Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System (S5).  This open source system ( http://www.meyerweb.com/eric/tools/s5/ ) requires only basic knowledge of web skills and can be learned quickly.

Tutorials/Self-tutorials

A basic tutorial can be created with any text editor and delivered to students through a variety of digital technologies such as email, Portable Document Files (PDF) that can preserve the format and colors of a document, web pages, and CDs.  Tutorials that appeal to visual learners can be created with scanning software or basic screen capture software found on any operating system.  Video tutorials, like those for software applications, can be created with screen capturing software that captures the movement of a mouse as it is used to open windows and select options in a program.  A microphone, used simultaneously with the screen-capturing tool to narrate the actions and video-editing software, completes the process.  More advanced tutorials include functions that, for example, mimic teacher/student interactions and exchanges, and include an assessment of those interactions.  These interactive tutorials can be created through advanced programs such as Adobe FLASH and java scripting.

Concept Mapping Software

Description: Concept mapping (a method of brainstorming) is a technique for visualizing the relationships between concepts and creating a visual image to represent the relationship.  Concept mapping software serves several purposes in the educational environment.  One is to capture the conceptual thinking of one or more persons in a way that is visually represented.  Another is to represent the structure of knowledge gleaned from written documents so that such knowledge can be visually represented.  In essence, a concept map is a diagram showing relationships, often between complex ideas.  With new mapping software such as the open source Cmap ( http://www.cmap.ihmc.us/download/ ), concepts are easily represented with images (bubbles or pictures) called concept nodes, and are connected with lines that show the relationship between and among the concepts.  In addition, the software allows users to attach documents, diagrams, images other concept maps, hypertextual links and even media files to the concept nodes.  Concept maps can be saved as a PDF or image file and distributed electronically in a variety of ways including the Internet and storage devices.

Webcast

These live sessions are highly interactive and allow users to share applications, such as whiteboards, concept maps and word documents, and to communicate live through audio and chat.  Elluminate ( http://www.elluminate.com/educator_solutions.jsp ) is one of many server-based software programs that is enjoying popularity in educational settings.  Webcasts provide educational institutions with the ability to support conferencing and to deliver training and presentations to personnel anytime and anywhere.  Recorded and archived webcasts, because they are economical to develop and store, are increasingly becoming the preferred way for universities to deliver lectures, events and presentations to faculty and students through the web, CDs, DVDs and even TV broadcasts.

Podcasts

Some popular free podcatcher websites are iTunes and iPodder.  The browser Firefox also has podcatching features.  Users can create their own podcast for free by going to websites such as ( http://www.twocanoes.com/vodcaster/ ).  For a nominal fee, a more powerful and cross-platform podcast creator tool can be found at ( http://www.potionfactory.com/ ).

ePortfolios

Although many standard software programs can be used to create basic ePortfolios, the most dynamic programs, such as Open Source Portfolio ( http://www.osportfolio.org ) are designed specifically for developing portfolios that serve a variety of reflective and representational functions within a password protected system.

Personal Response Systems (Clickers)

Individuals are equipped with their own remote control keypads that have letters or numbers that correspond to choices given by a presenter.  The results of the responses are captured on a computer either through infrared or radio signals and compiled in ways that show such breakdowns as class distribution and individual responses.  Typically, the results are instantly made available to the participants via some type of graphic that is displayed with a projector.  Presenters can set automatic controls within the system that limit the time a responder has to answer a question.  Each remote "clicker" has a serial number so that all users and their responses can be individually identified and recorded.

 

Supporting Digital Technology for Teaching and Learning

As faculty are carefully assessing their use of technology for purposes of teaching and learning, universities need to assess whether their technology support is adequate and responsive to the needs of those instructors.  During the early phases of the digital revolution on campuses, this meant building an infrastructure, providing equipment and offering basic skills-oriented workshops to faculty and students.  Over the years, however, we have learned that basic technology support has not always been enough to ensure that digital technologies are being used effectively as ways to enhance student learning.  Some universities have heeded the challenge and are creatively building upon existing programs to develop a technology of support that is responsive to the professional lives of today's faculty.  What follows are five examples that serve to represent ways that universities are developing creative solutions for supporting a learning environment that is increasingly being influenced by a digital revolution that show no signs of abating anytime soon.

Faculty Involvement

Faculty need to have a critical voice in university decisions about technology improvement and deployment on campus--especially when the technology relates to teaching and learning issues...Forward thinking universities find new and inclusive ways to tap into the collective voice so that student learning and new technologies can be effectively aligned.

Blended Workshops

Forward thinking universities go beyond skills-based technology workshops.  They have found creative ways to blend pedagogical instruction with technology instruction...Also, universities have begun to offer blended workshops that have a distinct pedagogical focus yet blend in thinking about resources, including technology resources, which can support a strong pedagogical focus...

Threaded Workshops

Universities are using the threaded workshop model as a framework for teaching and learning workshops that include learning about new technologies.  Each workshop in the series is "threaded" in such a way as to relate to one another and play off of one another.  Thus, a series on integrated course design might have individual workshops on different topics like assessment, learning activities, motivation, and learning outcomes that are aligned in a way that gives participants a more comprehensive view of how to build a dynamic course.  All discussions about technology in these threaded workshops are contextualized within the larger pedagogical discussion, and are focused on how the technology serves to support the pedagogy.  Because instructors attend the series over a period of several weeks, they bring back to each workshop their applied knowledge and share it with one another as real world and relevant experiences...

Just-In-Time Resources

Universities are increasingly realizing that busy instructors do not need to be experts in all areas of digital technology in order to use technology effectively in the classroom.  Universities support this notion by making technology learning easy, accessible, and just-in-time.  Today's digital technology allows just-in-time resources to flourish on campus.  For example, Internet available tutorials that are home grown or licensed ( http://www.atomiclearning.com ) make it easy for instructors to learn new software/hardware in bits and pieces and when needed.  Why learn everything there is to know about PowerPoint or your computer operating system when you can learn only what you need by going to a two-minute video that is available anywhere and anytime.  In addition, just-in-time resources extend the learning environments of students.  Why spend valuable class time teaching students how to use a certain technology application for a project or activity when just-in-time resources can be made available to students at their level and at a time outside of class time?

Open Source

Some of the more popular open source software programs include: Moodle ( http://www.moodle.org/ ) and Bazaar ( http://www.klaatu.pc.athabascau.ca/cgi-bin/b7/main.pl?rid=1 ), two LMS programs: MySQL ( http://www.dev.mysql.com/ ), a data base program, and; Open Office ( http://www.openoffice.org/index.html ), a productivity suite that supports word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications.  Many open source products can be found and downloaded at SourceForge ( http://www.sourceforge.net/ ).

Conclusions

Universities are home to a rich diversity of student learners whose cultures have been tremendously impacted by the digital revolution of the last fifteen years.  These students grew up communicating, creating knowledge, and sharing resources through the Internet and all its applications.  As university students, they are poised to take advantage of the digital world for learning.  But are we as teachers?  We should not jump headfirst  into this potential digital cauldron without taking stock of an important detail--as with all technologies and instructional practices, we must not only understand their potential to impact deeper learning in students, we must also understand their limitations as a means to achieve a deeper learning.  It is not the lecture, cooperative learning or the problem-based method itself that enhances student learning any more than it is the Internet, podcast, or blog.  It is far more important to know how to use instructional methods and technology to support learning outcomes that are integrally linked to the student learner as a critical thinker.  Students may know how to navigate the Internet and use other forms of digital technology for purposes of their own learning, but do they know how to take full advantage of those technologies for learning at the university level?  This is where progressive universities enter the equation and lead.

In today's educational climate of decreasing state support and public scrutiny of educational spending, universities can ill afford to squander important dollars on technology resources that have not been critically assessed in terms of supporting student learning.  But, universities cannot stop there.  Faculty and administrators must combine efforts to celebrate openly the important symbiosis between technology and learning.  Nothing less will suffice or we will suffer from our own negligence.

The above quotes are only isolated quotes from a much longer document.

 

March 30, 2006 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

Dan is an exceptional person and has had much influence how I go about my teaching assignments. He, for instance, taught me about the learning centered classroom. This took place when he was directing our CTLT (Center for Teaching & Learning using Technology). He did such a great job that he got promoted.

Dave Albrecht


From the Scout Report on March 31, 2006

Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction --- http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/ 

In recent years, community and technical colleges have quietly been developing a number of curriculum and instruction centers designed to provide a number of excellent resources for their faculty. The Maricopa Community College District has its own Maricopa Center For Learning and Instruction (MCLI) and their website is real find for those teaching at community colleges as well as those generally involved with teaching in institutions of higher education. Visitors can start by perusing their “Programs” section, which contains information about their teaching and learning assessment resources and initiatives. For most visitors, the “Projects” area on their homepage will be the most useful part of the site. This area includes an online weblogging workshop, information about creating a valuable creative writing assignment, and a template for creating web- based slide shows. Finally, the site also includes the Community College Web, which contains over 1200 links to various community colleges around the world.

 

 

 

Emerging Learning Technologies on the Ohio Learning Network --- http://www.oln.org/emerging_technologies/

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

Tools of Education Technology --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

 


 

Additional Readings