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Wimba’s Modern Marvels

Ten Online Courses You Won’t Believe

NEW YORK – July 29, 2008 – Under the category, “Who Knew?” comes Wimba’s Modern Marvels. Wimba® Inc., the education technology company that helps people teach people, today announced its inaugural list of the Top 10 Unique Online Courses, which utilize Wimba’s collaborative solutions.

10.) Hedge Your Bets with Casino Management: Students at The University of Southern Mississippi hit the jackpot when they enrolled in a three credit online Casino Resort Management course. The course provides students live online access via Wimba Classroom™ to professional casino managers including Michael Cray, Director of Table Games at the Isle of Capri Casino, who guest lectures from the casino’s boardroom.

9.) COMMCERT – Dalhousie’s own “Canadian Idol”: Today’s MySpace generation of students are all about multi-media and ‘putting it out there.’ That’s why students flocked to professor Phil O’Hara’s extra credit course in which they were asked to submit online presentations a la “American Idol” – presenting everything from poetry readings to piano recitals. Unprepared for the 200 students who signed up, O’Hara also assigned some students to the roles of Simon, Paula and Randy to judge performances and used the polling feature in Wimba Classroom for student to cast their votes. Some notable performances include the witches from “Macbeth,” “Who’s on First, What’s on Second,” a bagpipe performance, and a display of bugs.

8.) Arctic Wildlife in Singapore: Students at the Singapore American School studying Antarctic animals made life-size replicas of these animals, set up their classroom like a museum, and then created their own podcasts with the Podcasting feature of Wimba Voice™ to describe their displays.  Their parents came in later that evening and listened to their children’s podcasts as they walked through the exhibits. 

7.) Take A Minute for English: Reese M. Heitner teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) at Drexel University, preparing his students – from across the globe – for the TOEFL exam, an international test which verifies a student’s proficiency in English speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills.  The test requires students to spontaneously produce speech samples in response to a series of computer-prompted questions. By using Wimba Voice, Heitner’s students are able to simulate the TOEFL test environment, posting their speech samples within the pre-defined one-minute window before the built-in timer runs out! It’s a one-of-a-kind way to allow students to maximize their test preparation.

6.) Kindergarten – ALL Day Long: Kindergarten students in the Rose Tree Media School District outside of Philadelphia no longer enjoy the luxury of a half-day.  Now, thanks to Wimba Classroom and Wimba Voice, they extend their half-day program with a thematic online course as they learn 21st century technology skills.  Students play games and engage in other learning activities to augment literacy, numeracy, technology, and science standards. Sorry kids, naptime not allowed.

5.) Photography Around the World: With photography students based in England, the United States, Turkey, Mozambique, Greece, Sweden and Italy, University of the Arts London, London College of Communication - Europe’s largest education centre for design, communication, and the arts - uses Wimba Classroom to provide a collaborative and interactive Web 2.0 feel to its online photography courses. Though students can’t take pictures of their classmates on the other side of the globe, they can share photographic techniques and annotate each other’s pictures in real-time.

4.) PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) – Taking K-12 Students Into the Arctic Virtually: This program, run by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) and funded by the National Science Foundation, allows K-12 teachers to participate in polar research as a pathway to improving science education. During their participation in the program, PolarTREC teachers and researchers use the real-time chat and audio features in Wimba Classroom to show slides and communicate with classrooms and the public across the globe to present their research directly from the Arctic and Antarctica during “Live from International Polar Year (IPY)!” events.

3.) Learning English by Watching Friends and Home Alone: Megan Ritchie, an instructor in the English Languages Program at the University of Pennsylvania, puts TV and movie clips from YouTube into the Wimba Voice presentation tool for her Vocabulary Development class. In one lesson, her non-native English speaking students watch an airport scene from “Friends,” in order to hear English travel terms like, delay, bump up, and first class. In another lesson, students watch a clip from the movie “Home Alone,” where the family races through an airport. It gives her students a fun and practical way to practice speaking and listening to English.

2.) The Genographic Project – a Journey Through Humankind: This two-credit course offered by Southern State Community College in Ohio is the only one of its kind and is based on an unprecedented five-year research project being conducted by National Geographic. It takes students on a landmark study of the human journey – where we came from and how we got to where we live today – through genetic and DNA analysis. A highlight of the course is an online connection to Dr. Spencer Wells, scientist, geneticist, author and documentary filmmaker, who is project director for the Genographic Project at National Geographic. You can find more information about the Genographic Project at www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic.

1.) History, Education and Guidance of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Introduction to Instructional Methods for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: These award-winning online courses, offered by Dr. Samuel B. Slike and Pamela D. Berman at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, feature a sign-language interpreter and closed-caption text to accompany slide presentations, as well as audio of lectures for hearing students. These courses are prerequisites to the only graduate program in Pennsylvania – and 70 in the nation – for training teachers of the deaf. These online courses broaden access to students interested in this field.

“As online courses become a mainstream part of K-12 and higher education offerings, faculty are recognizing that the sky is really the limit when it comes to subject matter,” said Yancy Oshita, Chief Marketing Office and SVP of Wimba. “Technology in education is really as transparent as it is in so many other aspects of how people live – it is merely the vehicle to provide greater flexibility and options for everything from shopping and making travel arrangements, to teaching, communicating, and learning.”

The Wimba Collaboration Suite™ offers a rich array of collaborative tools that allow faculty to retain the highly personal and lively nature of traditional classroom instruction. Wimba solutions integrate seamlessly within existing university course management systems/virtual learning environments (CMS/VLE) such as ANGEL® Learning, Blackboard® and Moodle. With this combination, Wimba offers institutions the flexibility they need so that instructors never need a new username or password, and never have to leave their familiar online course environments

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