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University of Sheffield Extends e-learning Environment Through WebCT Vista; Sheffield to Increase Student e-learning Uptake 100 Percent by 2006.

Business Editors/Education Writers

LYNNFIELD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 17, 2004

WebCT, one of the world's leading providers of e-learning solutions for higher education, today announced that the University of Sheffield has selected WebCT Vista(TM) to expand its existing online learning capabilities in response to institute-wide demand. The WebCT Vista academic enterprise system (AES) will be centrally administered and will support the current and emerging academic environment, providing a single, robust and scalable platform which allows for pedagogical freedom and synergies across the campus. Sheffield anticipates the new solution will prompt a 100 percent increase in the number of students engaged in e-learning over the next two years.

With 23,000 students and 5,500 staff, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK's leading and most popular universities. Providing students with a networked learning environment is central to Sheffield's overall value proposition. E-learning has been an integral part of learning at the university for several years. Using WebCT Campus Edition(TM), Sheffield currently delivers 430 e-learning modules, which are accessed by 10,888 students, making up 45 percent of the student population. WebCT has worked closely with the University since it first implemented online learning, helping drive usage and encouraging acceptance of e-learning institute-wide. The increase in demand for both blended and fully online courses at Sheffield has prompted it to upgrade to WebCT Vista.

"We have witnessed a rapid uptake in e-learning over the three years since we began working with WebCT. In fact, it is now so embedded within our teaching methodology, many of our courses cannot be delivered without WebCT," said Dr. Christine Sexton, director of corporate information and computing services, the University of Sheffield. "With an increasing demand for online courses, and with new content constantly being added, WebCT Vista provides us with an enterprise-class solution that is centrally administered, fully scalable and extensive, allowing our faculties and departments to continue developing e-learning modules which meet our students' increasing needs. By deploying WebCT Vista, we will be better able to continue to provide an advanced educational environment for current and prospective students."

WebCT Vista is an academic enterprise system specifically designed to address the mission-critical challenges of enterprise-wide deployment with targeted course development, delivery, content and information management capabilities. WebCT aims to deliver pilot modules to Sheffield by September 2004.

With a fully extensible architecture and based on industry open standards, WebCT Vista will be integrated with the University's existing technology investments - including the student information system, portal and library system - and will be extended to other educational technologies as they emerge. WebCT Vista will also help promote synergies between research activities and teaching staff, improving collaboration across the institution and improving Sheffield's efficiency and responsiveness both internally and externally.

"Having worked closely with Sheffield for the past several years, we have witnessed firsthand the soar in demand for e-learning across the University. E-learning is deeply rooted in Sheffield's philosophy and, by upgrading to WebCT Vista, we are confident the University will achieve its goal of 100 percent increase in student e-learning in two years. Sheffield continues to provide a first class, modern learning environment that will continue to attract students on a global scale," said Carol Vallone, president and CEO of WebCT.

About the University of Sheffield

A member of the Russell Group of leading research-led UK universities, the University of Sheffield has 24,000 students, including international students from 116 countries, and 5,500 staff. It has achieved "excellent" teaching quality ratings in 29 subject areas, and 35 (73 percent) of its research areas are officially rated 5 or 5* - of international caliber. It has won three successive Queen's Anniversary Awards and boasts four Nobel Prize winners among its former staff and students.

About WebCT

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.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 17, 2004
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