DENVER, Oct. 19, 2004 — The University of Virginia (UVa), Thomson Learning, a part of The Thomson Corp., and Microsoft Corp. today announced that HP has agreed to participate in UVa’s groundbreaking collaboration to develop and deliver digital course material, allowing students to experience a first-of-a-kind multimedia classroom setting. In this innovative new learning environment, instructors are better equipped to help students learn and retain more. The project brings digital content and learning applications to students in biochemistry, psychology and statistics classes where students are writing with a stylus directly onto the screen of an HP Tablet PC; using the Microsoft® Office OneNote®
2003 note-taking program to annotate the professors’ lecture outlines; or clicking on Thomson’s interactive solutions platform to access simulations, animations and exercises that facilitate understanding of the course material. The program was launched with the fall semester and will continue through the spring 2005 semester.
“The academic environment has changed dramatically in the last decade as a result of numerous social, cultural and economic factors,” said Edward L. Ayers, dean of Arts and Sciences at UVa. “The rise of technology has affected how students learn, how instructors teach and how course materials are developed and presented. Greater numbers of students, as well as significant changes in the demographics of those students, necessitate new approaches and instructional models. With a long history of adopting innovative approaches to teaching and learning, UVa is committed to exploring how more traditional classroom approaches can be updated to better meet the needs of our students and faculty. With the help of HP, Microsoft and Thomson Learning, we’re charting a new course through the evolving academic landscape.”
The objectives of the UVa pilot program are in line with an August 2004 Eduventures Inc. report on higher institutions. The report, “Higher Education Survey on Leadership, Innovation, and Technology 2004,” identifies the following goals: to enhance teaching and learning, improve student learning outcomes, attract and retain faculty, and improve retention rates and fund-raising efforts. The UVa pilot program supports these goals by examining how traditional classroom instruction can be enriched through the application of innovative technologies, digital content and e-learning tools. It aims to increase instructor productivity through the new tools, transform traditional textbooks into interactive learning packages, and assess how technology can be used to address individual learning and teaching styles. A professor’s ability to gauge students’ comprehension of the course material immediately via their online performance rather than having to wait until a midterm exam to track progress may have a direct effect on student retention rates; at the same time, faculty will be attracted by the forward-thinking nature of this collaboration with the private sector.
“This project is aligned with HP’s goal of enhancing the teaching and learning environment through technology to better address individual and unique learning styles,” said Jim Weynand, vice president and general manager, HP US/Americas Public Sector. “By participating, we are enabling students and faculty to take full advantage of technology that creates an environment where one can productively transition from personal use to academics to work.”
The digital solutions for each course were developed by Thomson Learning, in consultation with university faculty. These online instructional solutions use Thomson’s interactive educational platform, iLrn, to deliver a range of course materials such as textbook content, experiments, animations, simulations, exercises and problem sets — all in one dynamic package. These media-rich Web sites also offer online quizzes and tests, diagnostic tools for personalized learning, customized learning plans, and assessments and direct links to reference material through Thomson Gale’s InfoTrac service. Instructors can perform course management functions through the platform, and students can tailor their learning experience with these fully integrated learning-centered course packages. Students and instructors can collaborate with one another in real time on campus and in wireless classrooms.
“Successful innovation requires a vision for the evolution of the learning environment that is supported by a collaborative effort between academic institutions and industry partners,” said Linda Zecher, vice president of the U.S. Public Sector Group at Microsoft. “The foresight of UVa’s faculty coupled with cutting-edge technology and content is a groundbreaking model and part of our commitment to help students and teachers realize the benefits of today’s learning tools.”
The solutions are being delivered to students via HP Tablet PCs running Microsoft Windows®
XP Tablet PC Edition software and OneNote (the Microsoft Office note-taking and management program), allowing students to take digital notes anywhere on the page. Microsoft OneNote templates are being used in two of the course packages for student exercises; the biochemistry lectures also are recorded in OneNote for students to use and review. The HP Tablet PCs allow students to experience a new level of productivity and are being used in a variety of in-class interactive exercises. The lightweight, streamlined nature of the Tablet PCs, and their ability to connect to the Internet, provide faculty and students with easy access to digital-rich content anytime, anywhere.
“This program is part of our ongoing effort to facilitate the creation of a more effective and efficient learning environment for instructors and students,” said Ronald Dunn, CEO, Thomson Learning, Academic and International Group. “This project is focused on using advanced technology and rich content to create the most compelling learning experience so students can get the most out of their time in school.”
To evaluate the success of the initiative, independent research firms have been hired to conduct a rigorous research study that will measure the impact this next-generation classroom environment has on teaching and learning.
About University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is distinctive among institutions of higher education. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University sustains the ideal of developing, through education, leaders who are well-prepared to help shape the future of the nation. The University is public, while nourished by the strong support of its alumni. It is also selective; the students who come here have been chosen because they show the exceptional promise Jefferson envisioned. In its 16th annual “America’s Best Colleges” issue (August 2003), U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Virginia the nation’s No. 1 public university (tied with Berkeley) and 21st among all public and private national universities. The College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is the largest School of the University, representing 12,000 of the University’s 16,000 students, and more than 700 faculty.
About The Thomson Corp.
The Thomson Corp. ( http://www.thomson.com ), with 2003 revenues of $7.44 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. With operational headquarters in Stamford, Conn., Thomson has approximately 38,000 employees and provides services in approximately 130 countries. The Corporation’s common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC). Its learning businesses and brands serve the needs of individuals, learning institutions, corporations and government agencies with products and services for both traditional and distributed learning.
HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company’s offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. For the four fiscal quarters ended July 31, 2004, HP revenue totaled $78.4 billion. More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft, OneNote and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
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