Microsoft Unveils Road Map for Connected Learning Environments In Higher Education

ATLANTA, Oct. 2, 2002 — Today at EDUCAUSE 2002, the premier information technology gathering for higher education, Sherri Bealkowski, general manager of Microsoft Corp.’s Education Solutions Group, presented Microsoft’s road map for empowering colleges and universities to realize their potential through enhanced learning experiences, increased collaboration between faculty members and students, and better decision-making through access to more useful information.

“Technology can and should facilitate an environment that creates opportunities, connects and removes limitations for colleges and universities today and in the future,”
Bealkowski said.
“Using Microsoft® .NET, campuses can connect information, people, systems and devices for quick and easy access to relevant information, enabling administrators and faculty to deliver on their mission: teaching tomorrow’s leaders.”

.NET Enables Integration for Connected Learning

Microsoft .NET provides the necessary integration essential for higher education to easily connect an ecosystem of students, faculty members, administrators, peer groups, local community representatives and governing agencies. Cost-effective integration helps colleges save time and resources and boost productivity, giving students, faculty members, managers and administrators more time for teaching, research and publication; improved information management capabilities; analysis and decision-making capabilities; and richer interactions by connecting them to information resources through application integration.

.NET Empowers Higher Education Through XML Web Services

Fundamentally, Microsoft .NET represents the evolution of software from individual islands of applications, Web sites and devices to connected software, computers, devices, services and tools that work together over the Internet to provide seamless interaction between people and information. Built on open, industry-recognized XML Web service standards, .NET lets new and legacy applications connect with software and services across platforms, applications and programming languages, enabling colleges and universities to access information that can be seamlessly integrated into their daily practices.

Since the debut of .NET two years ago, Microsoft has made tremendous progress with it. Through the MSDN® developer program Academic Alliance, 815 colleges and universities across the country have access to Microsoft’s developer tools to update and write applications, modernize Web infrastructures, and develop XML-based Web services. The Microsoft .NET Server family includes SQL Server (TM) , BizTalk®
Server and Content Management Server.

Drexel University uses .NET for a mobile Web portal service that enables students to retrieve a range of personalized information from virtually any Web-enabled handheld device. With the new service, DrexelOne Mobile, students can retrieve campus news and personal announcements, check grades, and search the university directory using a cellular phone, a newer BlackBerry, a Pocket PC or other Web-enabled device. Access to DrexelOne Mobile is available through the same network connections as a cellular phone, pager or notebook computer. Drexel also is developing customized applications that enable access to class schedules and academic calendars.

“We needed a solution that embraced choice, allowing us to support multiple platforms and devices whether our students were on or off campus,”
said Kenneth Blackney, director of Core Technology Infrastructure at Drexel University.
“With Microsoft .NET, we can support multiple devices, including those used by our international students when on break anywhere in the world.”

.NET Addresses Needs of Colleges and Universities Today

During her presentation, Bealkowski also highlighted education solutions being built on Microsoft .NET technologies by Blackboard Inc., eCollege and SCT.

“.NET can fundamentally change the way that higher education shares data and services both within institutions and across institutions,”
said David Yaskin, vice president of Product Development at Blackboard.
“.NET addresses many of the hardest problems with which our clients struggle, creating Web services that are scalable, secure and interoperable with the Microsoft tools and servers they use every day.”

“The enabling technologies of .NET will provide a huge benefit to our client institutions through increased interoperability with other institutionwide systems, including both academic applications and administrative, back-office applications,”
said Mark Resmer, chief technology officer of eCollege.
“Further, we believe .NET will open new doors of opportunity for open standards-based Web services to the education community.”

“SCT recognizes the strategic role Microsoft plays in the institution,”
said Bob Moul, president of SCT Global Education Solutions.
“We have chosen to incorporate .NET technologies into our Microsoft-based products to support our vision of the e-Education Infrastructure. .NET supports SCT’s commitment to providing e-education choices; the ideal educational experience; and the unification of teaching, learning and administration integrated on a reliable platform over a multitude of devices.”

These education partners are building solutions using .NET technologies that address the needs of higher-education institutions for improved system interoperability, student data management, e-learning portals and research-based learning environments.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, MSDN and BizTalk are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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