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Coventry University Chooses WebCT Vista To Drive Online Learning on Campus; University Predicts Uptake of E-Learning to Rise to 60% across the Institution in 2004.

Business Editors/Education Writers/High-Tech Writers

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 2, 2004

WebCT, one of the world's leading providers of e-learning solutions for higher education, today announced that Coventry University has selected the WebCT Vista(TM) academic enterprise system (AES) to expand its e-learning facilities across the institution. The move will further increase the uptake of e-learning and enable University lecturers to deliver more sophisticated and innovative teaching to their students. It will also enhance the students' learning experience, encouraging a more flexible approach to education and providing greater accessibility to learning for disabled students.

Coventry University boasts a student population of 20,000, with 17,000 based on campus. It was one of the first UK pioneers of e-learning, and uses a blend of classroom-based and online teaching. Following a successful pilot of WebCT in the business school in 1998, virtual learning was extended to all its 2,000 modules by September 1999, including subjects as diverse as performing arts, physiotherapy and aeronautical engineering. WebCT has worked closely with the University since it first implemented online learning, helping drive usage and encouraging acceptance of e-learning institution-wide. As a result of an increase in demand for e-learning, the University made the decision to upgrade its existing system to WebCT Vista.

"We have seen student participation in online lessons grow each year and have witnessed more cohesive relationships developing between students and staff through the online tutor sessions and discussion groups," said Andy Syson, head of learning technology at Coventry University. "Our teaching staff is inspired by the students' positive reactions to the new lesson formats. Most importantly, the learning experience for students has been greatly enhanced through e-learning. The current uptake of online learning is 50%, however, by the end of this year, we anticipate it will rise to 60%."

"The flexibility of WebCT's online learning solution has also drawn more part-time applicants to Coventry and we have been able to meet the accessibility standards outlined in the 'Disability and Discrimination Act Part 4' ahead of time, reaffirming our commitment to widening participation in under-represented groups," Syson continued.

WebCT Vista is a virtual learning environment (VLE), also known as an academic enterprise system (AES), specifically designed to address the mission-critical challenges of enterprise-wide deployment with targeted course development, delivery, content and information management capabilities. Coventry University will be implementing WebCT Vista, the company's most advanced enterprise e-learning system, in June 2004, and aims to go live across all modules by September 2004, with staff training taking place throughout the summer.

The solution includes new features that simplify course development for teaching staff of all experience levels and will accelerate campus and system-wide e-learning deployment. It also provides an expanded set of web services interfaces, which will allow the University to customize the system to meet its unique requirements.

"We have worked closely with Coventry University for a number of years now, helping to enhance the learning and teaching experience for its students and lecturers through online learning. The new system has encouraged more student interaction with staff and enabled the students to study remotely, at a time that suits them. Coventry is committed to providing a first class educational experience and, through WebCT Vista, we are confident it will continue to equip its students with the skills they need to meet the demands of the information age head on, skills which are fast becoming a prerequisite for employment throughout the UK," concluded Carol Vallone, President and CEO of WebCT.

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.

About Coventry University

Coventry University is a single-site campus based in the heart of Coventry City-Centre, with all the advantages that city-centre living brings. An excellent communication network means that all parts of the UK are easily accessible. There are approximately 20,000 students studying for Coventry University qualifications across the globe, with 17,000 actually on campus. Over 4,000 new students join us each year. For more information, please visit www.coventry.ac.uk
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 2, 2004
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