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May 15, 2012

University of Wollongong Signs Deal with Netspot, Brings Open Source Learning to Campus

By Shawn Hebert, TMCnet Contributing Writer

The University of Wollongong (UOW) is raising the bar when it comes to learning online following a signing ceremony held this week between university and NetSpot representatives.

NetSpot will be partnering with UOW to provide enterprise-level services of open source e-Learning systems. The company has dubbed these services “Moodle” and “Mahara”. 

NetSpot integrates seamlessly with existing student systems, and its new Mahara platform includes an electronic portfolio that will be available to all students and staff for professional development purposes.

By using open source systems rather than proprietary systems, UOW is joining 16 other Australian universities that use Moodle at an enterprise level, with nearly 60 million worldwide registered users.

NetSpot’s Managing Director and founder, Allan Christie said he is delighted to see Moodle and Mahara adopted across the Australian higher education sector.“University of Wollongong’s choice of Moodle is further evidence of the premium level services that Moodle can deliver when combined with a trusted Moodle partner," said Christie.

Head of the Learning Design Unit in the Centre for Educational Development, Innovation and Recognition, Dr. Kate Bowles, said students working together online are developing key skills in digital knowledge management and professional social networking.

“The opportunities are now increasing for students to work together across our different campuses and institutions, and to build better bridges between their study on campus, their professional placements and their community roles,” Dr Bowles said.

She said UOW is committed to making sure that its online environment provided the same high quality experience for all its campuses so that staff and students could access the resources they needed, and could collaborate with others -- no matter where they were located.

The decision for University of Wollongong to select NetSpot as their premium learning management provider, followed an extensive evaluation involving staff and students from across the University.

While planning for the transition has begun, the extensive upgrade is not expected to be completed until late 2013.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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