Monday, March 02, 2009

UIS receives grant for Elluminate Vclass project

Ray Schroeder, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Services at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is the recipient of a grant in the form of a 50-seat Elluminate VClass for 2009. The grant, in the amount of $6,740 for the year, was awarded by Elluminate and the Sloan-C Consortium, a national organization comprised of more than 1,200 institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning.

Elluminate is popular software used in higher education for live web conferencing and to conduct online classes. Vclass is a product of Elluminate and is a virtual classroom for between 25 and 200 students. It is customizable for the instructor, and it offers full audio recording capability.

UIS has utilized Elluminate for five years. In Schroeder’s grant application, he proposed research on the use of synchronous and recorded online learning sessions to deliver inter-institutional workshops to academic librarians located at seven universities spanning the country. Through the awarded grant, a series of in-service workshops will be offered collaboratively through Elluminate by the academic libraries at the seven member institutions of the New Century Learning Consortium, which was created and is led by UIS through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Each institution will originate an ‘innovation’ or ‘best-practices’ session to be delivered through Elluminate interactively to librarians, faculty and students at the other six institutions. All sessions will be recorded and archived for further use and study, and topics will include areas such as library wikis and blogs, alternative search engines and more.

“By conducting this project across academic libraries at seven institutions, it is hoped that we will maximize the quality, breadth of topics, exposure, impact and future use of Elluminate at these universities located across the U.S.,” Schroeder said.

These sessions will be made available as Elluminate learning objects for classes in library and information science, information literacy, Internet in society and related topics. All content, outcomes and conclusions will then be documented and examined.

For more information, contact Ray Schroeder at 217/206-7531 or rschr1@uis.edu.

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