WebCT Announces Opening Creation of WebCT Performance Lab, Continuing Support for Tru64 UNIX Support

April 24, 2001

Lynnfield, MA and Vancouver, BC – WebCT, the world’s leading provider of integrated e-learning systems for higher education, has announced the opening of a state-of-the-art WebCT Performance Testing Lab.  The Lab will conduct benchmark testing for WebCT, the worlds leading course management system. The Company further announced that Compaq Computer Corp. has signed on as its charter partner, providing hardware support for the Lab.


Located at WebCTs Vancouver, BC, Canada office, the WebCT Performance Lab will test WebCTs course tools software performance on all WebCT-supported operating platforms.  To assist WebCT in its development and testing processes, Compaq is providing both Intel- and Alpha-based servers to the WebCT Performance Lab.


In addition, WebCT has refocused its support for Compaqs Tru64 Unix platform.  WebCT has dedicated its support for Tru64 Unix starting with WebCT Release 3.6, in both Standard and Campus Editions of the product.  We are extremely pleased to be working with Compaq, which has demonstrated its commitment to the higher education market and to WebCT as a charter partner in the Performance Lab, said David Rosenbaum, Senior Director of Product Management for WebCT.


The WebCT Performance Labs tests will establish benchmark performance characteristics of WebCT based on variances in configuration such as memory (RAM), number of processors, number of active users, and number of identical servers running in a load-balanced configuration.  WebCT will work with its customers to determine appropriate, real-world, usage scenarios for testing purposes.


The nearly 2000 colleges and universities worldwide using WebCT will be able to use the benchmark data to determine the optimal hardware/OS configurations to maximize WebCT performance at their campuses.  Maximizing campus-wide WebCT performance is an issue of considerable importance to the increasing number of higher education institutions that are scaling their systems this year.  The latest Chronicle of Higher Education subscriber survey (Chronicle of Higher Education 2000 Subscriber Study/June, 2000) shows that the majority of growth in the online courseware market will come from the expansion of existing e-learning programs.  Many of the 60+ percent of colleges and universities with existing e-learning programs plan to scale them campus-wide.  


The WebCT Performance Lab is the only benchmark performance testing facility dedicated to the testing of e-learning systems, notes David Rosenbaum, WebCTs senior director of product management.  By reporting on WebCTs performance in a variety of configurations, the Lab will be providing a critical service to our customers, who tell us educational technologies are their second most ‘mission critical system, second only to payroll.  Having solid benchmark data to help them optimize WebCTs performance on their campuses will be invaluable, especially as many of them scale WebCTcampus-wide. 


“Compaq offers a unique opportunity for WebCT to benchmark its educational products because of our focus on reliability and scalability,” said Michael Humke, Compaq’s Director of Higher Education in North America.  “Compaqs broad range of innovative products integrated into solutions enables colleges and universities to meet the considerable demands of todays e-learning environment.


The WebCT Performance Lab will conduct performance tests on each significant release of WebCT course tools, both pre- and post-release to determine the performance characteristics of that release. Lab staff will run tests on every OS platform supported by WebCT at time of product release. The Company will publish post-release performance results  — including test scenarios and full specification of the hardware configuration for each test on www.WebCT.com, and expects that the results will also be published by Compaq.


About WebCT

 WebCT is the worlds leading provider of integrated e-learning systems.  Nearly 2000 colleges and universities use WebCTs products and services to transform the educational experience for their students.  Consortia in 16 American states and four Canadian provinces, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and the Consortium of Distance Education have licensed WebCT for their member institutions, making it a de facto standard in higher education.


WebCTs academic heritage and philosophy continue to be reflected in new versions of its flagship course management system.  Both the Standard and Campus Editions of WebCT are user-friendly, give faculty members the pedagogical flexibility to teach their own way, provide tools to enhance interaction between students and faculty, and offer the broadest selection of quality course material and well-designed content from all of the major college textbook publishers.  The Campus Edition of WebCT also gives institutions a robust, scaleable product suitable for large-scale implementation across multiple servers as well as features for enhanced scaling and integration with campus portals and student information systems.  The company also offers a wide range of related consulting services, including implementation and technology planning, software training, faculty and course development, integration and technical consulting, premium support, all of which are customized to meet an institutions particular needs.  For more information, visit the WebCT site:  http://www.webct.com.