WebCT Provides New Products and Services for Institutions Expanding Their E-learning Campus-wide
LYNNFIELD, Mass. and VANCOUVER, BC, Mar 27, 2001 — WebCT, the world’s leading provider of integrated e-learning systems for higher education, announced today the release of its newest e-learning platform, WebCT 3.5.
WebCT 3.5 is offered in two editions, Standard and Campus. Standard Edition is a continuation of the company’s current product line for institutions that require a robust course tools platform. Campus Edition has been developed to serve institutions that require a robust platform as well as tools for scaling their e-learning campus-wide and integration with campus portals and student information systems. WebCT 3.5 Campus Edition also includes turnkey integration with the company’s connected learning alliance partners: SCT and its education administration products, SCT Banner and SCT Plus; and Campus Pipeline Inc.’s Campus PipelineTM Web platform.
According to a study conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education, 92% of higher education institutions that already have an online-learning program plan to expand them in the next 12 months. A combination of a changing student population, competitive forces, and the mission of providing excellence in education have led institutions to commit to a widespread, consistent use of online learning across their campuses.
“We are excited to be able to release WebCT 3.5 with many important features for our customers,” said Carol Vallone, President and CEO of WebCT. “As more campuses seek to integrate their other campus systems with WebCT, and to expand their e-learning programs across the institution, we will continue to support them with strong, scalable software that maintains the pedagogical flexibility that has become our trademark.”
“WebCT 3.5 Campus Edition gives us much-needed features for initiatives we have underway here at the University of Maryland,” said Ellen Borkowski, Director, Technology Enhanced Learning. “We are creating the infrastructure that will allow us to move toward a single logon for our students to all services. WebCT’s support of LDAP authentication will allow us to tap into that infrastructure and make it simple for us to provide easy access to e-learning. In addition, the scalability of Campus Edition allows us to support our growth as we step up our efforts to support more and more students and faculty in e-learning.”
“We are planning considerable growth in our e-learning programs,” said Dirk Herr-Hoyman, IT Project Manager for the University of Wisconsin. “We’ll be offering e-learning through WebCT to the entire University of Wisconsin system and the scalability of Campus Edition will leave us well-positioned for that growth. We are also moving towards a single University directory and Campus Edition’s support of LDAP authentication will allow us to ultimately deliver a single logon for students to e-learning and all other services.”
WebCT 3.5 Campus Edition supports campuses that are scaling their e-learning programs campus-wide and integrating them with their other campus systems. Specific features include:
- Single Sign-on Support – Many institutions already provide personalized web resources to their students with a password. Now, they can include access to their WebCT courses. WebCT 3.5 Campus Edition supports user authentication from a centralized database using the integrated open LDAP protocol or the Kerberos protocol. This open source authentication system can link to a central campus password repository allowing one point of entry for users, limits multiple IDs and passwords, and further integrates WebCT courses with other secure student information systems.
- Integration with Other Campus Systems – WebCT 3.5 Campus Edition offers an IMS-compliant Student Data API so that institutions can integrate their WebCT courses with any campus system that also follows the IMS Enterprise specification. IMS is the leading consortium for developing and promoting open specifications so that campus systems can operate together.
- Reliable Scalability – WebCT 3.5 Campus Edition also supports improved scalability and load balancing through multiple servers, accommodating large traffic volume, substantially increasing capacity, speed and overall performance, and reducing risks associated with a single point of failure.
- Automatic Registration and Campus-Wide Sign-on – WebCT 3.5 Campus Edition supports the connected learning alliance of WebCT, SCT and Campus Pipeline with turnkey integration of the SCT Banner, SCT Plus and Campus Pipeline products. This provides students immediate access to their WebCT courses when they register using the SCT system and any changes in the information move seamlessly to WebCT. WebCT information – such as grades – automatically moves to the SCT student information systems as well. WebCT 3.5 Campus Edition also provides automatic single sign-on within a campus through the Campus Pipeline Web platform.
- Enhanced e-Pack Support – WebCT 3.5 also includes improved support for WebCT e-Packs, the publisher provided content that faculty can assign and students can use within their online courses. WebCT continues to be the market leader by providing the most extensive offering of e-Packs in WebCT-ready form. WebCT will offer at least 800 e-Packs in the upcoming fall semester.
- Implementation/Professional Development/Training Services — To support the deployment of campus-wide e-learning programs, WebCT has also developed a suite of services for institutions. WebCT’s implementation, consulting and planningservices utilize a proprietary implementation methodology for the deployment of campus-wide e-learning programs. The methodology addresses the five core areas to support a widespread rollout of e-learning programs, including: institutional policies; technical infrastructure; faculty development; course design; and faculty and student support. In addition, WebCT provides both basic and advanced training to systems administrators as well as both basic and advanced training for faculty members.
WebCT has also added a train-the-trainer program customized for each institution so that training can become a part of the institution’s core offering. WebCT will also provide a training program for the academic technology support center so that the institution can provide on-campus technical support.
The implementation, education and training programs offered by WebCT are conducted by a unique group of consultants that have deep field experience. Most have implemented WebCT on campuses where they were teaching or working, and have subsequently – since being employed by WebCT – have worked with many other institutions to implement e-learning.
WebCT is the world’s leading provider of integrated e-learning systems, serving nearly 2,000 higher education institutions. 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.
WebCT’s 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 institution’s particular needs. For more information, visit the WebCT site: http://www.webct.com.
Wheeler Baird Group
Brenda Wheeler, 973/762-8683
Greg Jarboe, 781/309-1163