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Waikato wins American technological award

19 September 2006

University of Waikato wins American technological award for innovative use of portal technology

The University of Waikato's new online teaching and learning community, My Papers, has won an American technological award for its innovative use of portal technology to enhance e-learning and student-staff communication.

BEA Systems Inc, a San Jose, Calif-based world leader in enterprise infrastructure software, today named the University of Waikato as one of three winners of its Liquid Portal award for outstanding next generation portal deployment. Waikato University uses BEA's AquaLogic software to build iWaikato, its student and staff portal, and to manage My Papers, the University's newly launched online learning environment.

"It's really quite an achievement for this University to win this award in America," said Coralie Gibbison, portal project manager. "This project began with a small group of people at Waikato University who wondered how we could simplify things for students by providing one place to go to access online resources and information for every paper they are enrolled in."

My Papers is accessed through iWaikato, the University's secure online portal for students and staff. Launched in August 2005, iWaikato offers students and staff access to their email, University information and policies, and allows them to perform a range of administrative functions from booking leave to applying to enrol.

My Papers takes iWaikato a step further and allows 12,000 students and 800 faculty members access to 3,000 online communities - one for every paper the university offers, with membership granted only to students enrolled in that paper. Through My Papers, students will be able to access information and resources, submit coursework, and communicate with fellow students and faculty.

My Papers is what BEA calls a "liquid portal" - the number of communities and their membership changes daily depending on the status of papers and student enrolments. Community managers can tailor the community for their papers to meet their teaching needs.

My Papers went live in July.

Waikato University has been a leader in eEducation, launching a programme in 1996 that enabled school teachers based in remote schools and communities to gain a teaching qualification online. Since then, the University's online learning system has expanded enormously so that in 2006, almost all papers have web-based support and some students never come to campus.

What My Papers provides is a single portal framework for managing all papers online, thus reducing the cost of duplicate technology while at the same time helping students access information and faculty manage course requirements, Gibbison said.

The "My Papers' infrastructure means that teachers can concentrate on developing content that meet their specific needs and priorities, knowing that the issues of providing and controlling access to students enrolled in a particular paper are handled by the portal.

The other two winners of the BEA Liquid Portal awards are Cypress Semiconductor, of San Jose, Calif, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, of Culver City, Calif.


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