WebCT Releases WebCT Vista™, Version 1.0
WebCT announced the release of WebCT Vista, version 1.0, higher education’s first and only Academic Enterprise System (AES). The new release will allow colleges and universities to take full advantage of true enterprise e-learning, enabling them to access advanced teaching and learning capabilities, maximize technology investments, leverage educational content beyond course boundaries, and maintain a scalable, reliable, sustainable e-learning environment.
WebCT Vista is an enterprise-class e-learning system designed to mirror and support the existing structure, operations, and goals of higher education institutions. The system includes a broad range of course development and delivery capabilities, groundbreaking content management capabilities, and powerful learning information management capabilities – all supported by an extensible, state-of-the-art architecture.
WebCT Vista leverages the Oracle® Internet File System, a feature of Oracle 9i Database to allow institutions the unprecedented ability to create, store, tag, reuse, manage, and share content beyond course boundaries, facilitating more effective and efficient use and reuse of educational content. WebCT Vista’s content architecture enables all educational content to be stored and shared throughout the institution in a central database. Institutions have the ability to set role-based access to content, providing a simpler and more contextual way to control which privileges and resources are available to users across the institution.
Designed to run on industry-standard Sun Microsystem and Oracle technologies that support maximum scalability, WebCT Vista facilitates rapid, efficient growth of e-learning across the entire educational enterprise. For the first time, institutions have the ability to uniquely support multiple institutions (in the case of consortia or educational systems), or multiple colleges or departments, in a single installation. WebCT Vista’s architecture is fully extensible, giving institutions the ability to optimize their existing technology investments and seamlessly incorporate external content and tools that extend the power of the e-learning platform.
To date, 42 institutions have licensed WebCT Vista, including the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, the University of Ulster, Ireland, the University of Alberta, Canada, and the University System of Georgia.
“Going beyond the capabilities of course management, WebCT Vista has set the benchmark for what will become known throughout the higher education industry as the ‘Academic Enterprise System’,” said Thomas Gaylord, Vice President for Information and Instructional Technologies, Libraries, and Institutional Planning at University of Akron, “As colleges and universities align e-learning with their mission and goals, the need for well-designed, sustainable, enterprise-quality e-learning systems takes on paramount importance. Just as ERP vendors enable enterprise-level functionality in the administrative support realm of an institution, WebCT Vista will enable mission-critical e-learning capabilities in the academic realm.”
The feature set and capabilities of WebCT Vista were determined largely based on input from active customer groups across the educational spectrum, including the WebCT Product Advisory Board, a group whose primary mission is to shape the continuing evolution of WebCT’s products and services, and the WebCT Institutes (centers of excellence in e-learning). In addition, WebCT conducted extensive usability testing for WebCT Vista’s capabilities and interface to ensure superior ease-of-use for all constituents: faculty, students, IT, and administrators alike. The usability testing spanned a 6-month period and involved over 300 participants, including novice users, experienced users, and non-users of WebCT.
“The higher education industry has acknowledged the need for enterprise-class e-learning systems. However, until the release of WebCT Vista, there has not been a product available in the marketplace that truly lives up to the definition of ‘enterprise-class’,” commented Carol A. Vallone, president and chief executive officer of WebCT, “An enterprise-class e-learning solution requires much more than integration of campus systems: it demands the successful application of leading-edge technologies to address the enterprise-level challenges higher education institutions face today. Working in partnership with our customers to understand what they need from their e-learning systems, we designed WebCT Vista to provide higher education with a powerful framework to effectively scale e-learning, maximize the return on technology investments, and fully leverage educational content throughout the enterprise.”
WebCT is the world’s leading provider of integrated e-learning systems for higher education. Over 2,600 colleges and universities in over 81 countries worldwide are using WebCT’s products and services to transform the educational experience of their students. Consortia in 23 American states, four Canadian provinces, two Australian territories, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and the Consortium of Distance Education have licensed WebCT for their member institutions, making it the de facto standard in higher education. More information about WebCT can be found at http://www.webct.com/.