The Open University Extends the Use of FirstClass® from Open Text for Virtual Learning
Best-of-breed Features, Flexibility and Scalability Lead to Selection as Core Component of Online Distance Learning Community of Up To One Million Students and Teachers
NECC Conference, Philadelphia, PA –
Open Text™ Corporation (NASDAQ: OTEX, TSX: OTC), the world’s largest provider of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software, today announced that The Open University, the UK’s largest university and a world leader in distance education, is developing a large-scale Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that extends its use of FirstClass, the leading collaboration and communications platform for academic institutions. The VLE will be one of the world’s most extensive and will accommodate up to one million users. Open Text announced the news at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in Philadelphia, which is underway this week.
FirstClass delivers a platform independent, cost-effective and feature-rich solution that enables academic organizations to create collaborative online communities connecting students, faculty, and administrators. FirstClass delivers a broad range of features including email, calendaring, instant messaging, collaboration and document sharing, web publishing and unified messaging. FirstClass is deployed in more than 3000 academic institutions and is offered by the FirstClass Division of Open Text.
“The Open University is pleased to be continuing its on-going and collaborative relationship with Open Text,” said Joel Greenberg, Director of Strategic Development, Learning and Teaching Solutions with The Open University. “In particular, we look forward to working with the FirstClass Division of Open Text to deliver components of the FirstClass system into our new Virtual Learning Environment based on interoperability standards.”
The Open University maintains one of the largest and most successful online learning communities in the world, currently supporting over 350,000 active students and associate lecturers -- each with licensed access to FirstClass. The University’s VLE is designed to enhance the online learning experience for both students and teachers by offering a collaborative, interactive community that facilitates:
• Teacher-to-student and student-to-student communications including email, instant messaging, online “meeting spaces” and areas for teacher-hosted course support;
• Information exchange via file upload areas, where instructors can “drag-and-drop” documents and course resources, with permission-based access by students;
• Discussion forums where students and teachers can discuss specific courses or topics;
• Online announcements to inform students of important course-related information;
• Remote access to personalized learning environments from any computer, at any time.
“We are thrilled that The Open University is extending its use of FirstClass for this strategically important project to create one of the world’s largest online distance learning communities,” said John Myers, General Manager of FirstClass, a division of Open Text. “The Open University is an example of how progressive academic organizations are moving beyond simple email or groupware applications, to more powerful solutions that enable collaborative learning communities for students and faculty.”
NECC Conference The FirstClass Division of Open Text will be exhibiting in Booth 2424 at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in Philadelphia this week, June 28-30, 2005, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. For more information on the conference, go to: http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2005/. For more information on FirstClass, go to www.firstclass.com.
The Open University is the UK’s largest university and a world leader in distance education. For more than 30 years, it has been at the forefront of global development in designing and delivering higher education programmes that make intelligent use of combining the latest communications technologies with traditional teaching methods. It has more than 200,000 students in more than 40 countries studying for a variety of degrees and vocational qualifications ranging from short courses to PhDs. More than 2 million people have used the OU to gain access to university study from their homes and workplaces – many of whom would have been denied access to conventional universities (the OU has no prerequisites for its undergraduate courses). But this successful mass higher education has been achieved while maintaining the same quality standards as leading conventional British universities. Independent authorities have consistently ranked the OU in the top five UK universities for teaching quality, and virtually all of its research areas have received ratings of national or international excellence. Employers also vote for the value of the university by sponsoring nearly 30,000 students a year to do OU courses, and a quarter of Britain’s MBA students are doing their degree through the Open University Business School. For further information, please visit www.open.ac.uk.
About Open Text
Open Text™ is the market leader in providing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions that bring together people, processes and information in global organizations. Today, the company supports almost 20 million seats across 13,000 deployments in 114 countries and 12 languages worldwide. For more information on Open Text, go to: www.opentext.com