Connecticut higher education systems collectively select WebCT Vista, forming one of the Northeast’s largest e-learning collaboratives and saving the state $200,000
Their single shared license for WebCT Vista will support rapidly escalating e-learning activity across the three independent systems and their 72,000 students. “This will be one of the largest
e-learning initiatives in the Northeast as students begin 2004,” said Allan Cole, co-founder and executive director of the New England Learning Association, a Boston-based association that brings together professionals in industry and educational institutions for the purpose of advancing the successful adoption of technology for learning. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the vitality and ongoing adoption of e-learning technology in today’s higher education landscape.”
The state of Connecticut expects immediate savings of more than $200,000 by sharing a single software license, technology architecture, administration, training programs and, in the near future, a repository for the learning objects – such as Web pages, media clips, or curricula – that can be used to create online courses.
“This is a precedent-setting, far-reaching initiative to share information technology on a broad scale,” said Ed Klonoski, executive director of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC) and the lead negotiator on the contract. “WebCT Vista has a tremendous impact on education, and this license-sharing agreement will yield significant cost savings through collaboration on course development, technology administration, services sharing and licensing fees. These are the economies of scale that taxpayers and tuition payers look for and the cutting-edge technology that Connecticut students deserve. Moreover, the implementation is expected to expand over time to include private institutions and K-12 schools in the state.”
WebCT Vista will enable each institution within the three units to develop a unique online identity with a distinctive look and feel. Yet students moving through several institutions – for example, a community college graduate enrolling at a university – will experience a familiar basic system as they move from school to school, eliminating the need for retraining. Students will have online access to course materials, assignments and assessments, and they will be able to use tools such as e-mail, chat and threaded discussion. Currently, students use WebCT’s software for homework assignments, discussions among class members, reading assignments, quizzes and tests. The system allows teachers to track the number of times students post discussion items, determine whether assigned readings have been done, and communicate with students between class meetings.
The three Connecticut higher education units have been using their own licenses for the WebCT Campus Edition(tm) course management system since the late 1990s. A single license for WebCT Vista will now support all their e-learning on the same platform and enable the institutions to integrate their student information systems with ease. Integration lets student information systems automatically exchange registration information and grades with WebCT Vista. WebCT Vista will also enable every school to maintain its own branding identity and autonomous control of teaching and learning. In addition, WebCT Vista offers collaborative options for creating, storing, sharing and managing content as well as for sophisticated role-based access to content, tools and student learning data.
“Very large e-learning undertakings like Connecticut’s give both the customer and the industry the opportunity to experience the full impact of enterprise-scale e-learning,” said Carol Vallone, WebCT’s president and CEO. “This is our forte and an area where our customers have enjoyed unprecedented success. We look forward to supporting the success of Connecticut’s new
e-learning initiative, and watching other states and regions follow suit.”
About the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium
The Connecticut Community College System, the Connecticut State University System, and the University of Connecticut are members of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium. This unique association of public and independent collegiate institutions is creating an interactive
distance-learning community to meet the needs of 21st century students. This community uses technology to enhance the quality of learning, increase access to higher education, and share academic resources. The Consortium operates as a learning collaborative that enables participating colleges and universities to fulfill their institutional missions while sharing in and contributing to the combined learning resources of the Consortium. For more information, please visit www.ctdlc.org.
WebCT has set the standard for e-learning systems in higher education. Based in Lynnfield, Mass., WebCT provides a highly flexible e-learning environment that empowers institutions across the educational spectrum with the ability to achieve their unique objectives. Thousands of colleges and universities around the world – from community colleges to large university consortia – are using WebCT to expand the boundaries of teaching and learning. For more information, please visit www.webct.com.