Fathom and Prometheus Partner To Provide Free Online Learning

July 18, 2001

NEW YORK — July 16, 2001 – A series of free online seminars from

renowned institutions including Columbia University, the London

School of Economics and Cambridge University Press are being made

available today by Fathom, the premier source for online learning,

and are being delivered on software by Prometheus, the leader in

open architecture courseware from the George Washington


The Prometheus-Fathom partnership marries next-generation

technology with the most respected educational content. For the

first time, online seminars from leading universities, museums

and libraries will be made available for free to an international

audience through Fathom (www.fathom.com), a company founded by

Columbia University. Utilizing Prometheus software, the seminar

material is presented in a variety of media, including text,

images, audio, video and animation. Following this “virtual

lecture,” participants can join discussion boards, take a self-

assessment test or learn more through related educational links.

Examples of the coursework to be made available for the first

time this summer include, “Women’s Health: Not for Women Only”

from Columbia University, “The Globalisation Debate” from The

London School of Economics and Political Science, “How to Read

Joyce” from Cambridge University Press, “The Lindisfarne Gospels”

from The British Library, “Heading West: Mapping the Territory

1540-1900” from The New York Public Library, and “The

Theatrical Baroque” from The University of Chicago. The free

seminars are expected to take between a half-hour and two hours

to complete.

“Columbia is pleased to provide its faculty with an additional

opportunity to project their teaching and research to

intellectually curious students of all ages,” said Michael Crow,

Executive Vice Provost of Columbia University. “The format for

these seminars provides an engaging and structured environment to

share knowledge and encourage student interaction.”

“The LSE online seminars illustrate the excellence of our

academic resources, and demonstrate our commitment to developing

high quality online learning for an international audience via

Fathom,” said Stephen Hill, Pro-Director of the LSE.

“Online seminars from The New York Public Library like ‘Heading

West’ allow participants to interact with the work of the

library’s expert curators in a unique but structured manner while

exploring some of the Library’s amazing treasures,” added Rodney

Phillips, Director of the Humanities and Social Sciences Library

at The New York Public Library.

“These free online courses allow access to world-class

professional and enrichment education anytime, anywhere to

provide a quality learning experience,” said Ann Kirschner,

President and CEO of Fathom. “Prometheus’ academic affiliations

gives it unique insight into the needs of educational

institutions and was a major factor in our decision to partner

with them. Its open architecture software will provide our

member institutions with the ultimate in customization and

flexibility as they develop online courses according to their own

teaching methods.”

“With the support of Columbia University, Fathom has built up an

impressive network of elite educational institutions that offer a

variety of unique learning experiences,” said Bo Davis, Managing

Director, Prometheus. “As an extension of the George Washington

University, we are delighted that Fathom, with the support of its

member institutions, has chosen the Prometheus platform for these

online seminars,” said Mr. Davis.

The series of free online seminars is one of the first of a

number of publicly-available online learning projects underway at

Fathom’s member institutions. Columbia University has been

offering “Liberty and Slavery in the Early British Empire,” an

online course developed with the BBC, and all Fathom member

institutions are in the process of developing a variety of online

lectures, seminars, courses and knowledge centers.

About Fathom Knowledge Network

Fathom (www.fathom.com) is the leading source for online learning

for professional development and lifelong learning. Fathom

brings together lectures, interviews, articles, and exhibits by

faculty and experts from some of the world’s leading

universities, libraries, museums, and disseminators of research.

Online courses and seminars representing the best in online

education are available through Fathom, as well as books and

other products. Unique reference content spans all disciplines

and fields of study. Fathom’s member institutions include

Columbia University, London School of Economics and Political

Science, Cambridge University Press, The British Library, The New

York Public Library, The University of Chicago, the University of

Michigan, American Film Institute (AFI), RAND, Woods Hole

Oceanographic Institution, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science

Museum (UK), and The Natural History Museum (UK).

About Prometheus

Prometheus is a community-based, open architecture software

platform that meets the online needs of educational institutions

and is backed by The George Washington University in Washington,

DC. In 1997, a team at GW began to develop their own online

learning software because the available software was not as easy

to use, flexible, or scalable as faculty and students at a major

university needed. As a result, the team created Prometheus, a

scalable software based on proven technologies such as leading

databases from Oracle and Microsoft as well as an open source

code application built in ColdFusion. Other leading institutions

that have adopted this proven, scalable technology include The

Wharton School, Teachers College at Columbia University, The New

School, The University of Wisconsin Learning Innovations,

University of Michigan College of Engineering, and United States

Open University. For more information on Prometheus, visit

www.prometheus.com or call 202.994.9384.


Anne Rollow




Marina Ein