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Blackboard's Social Bookmarking Service, Scholar, Enables Global Information Sharing Across Academia
Users Can Connect and Share Resources Across Institutions and Regions
"If you're working on the Web, of course you've got external links," said Kate Boardman, e-Learning Manager of the Centre for Learning and Quality Enhancement at the University of Teeside (UK). "Think what rich resources you have in your Favourites. What if you could share these collected starting points with your students? And hey, wouldn't it be magic if you could describe, tag and search these resources? You can.
That's how we've moved from where we were before by incorporating Scholar."
Launched in February 2007, Scholar is built on the principles of Web 2.0, delivering cuttingedge functionality through a rich user interface. It enables users to organize and manage their own collection of online educational resources they find valuable, share them among other Scholars and discover more relevant and valuable resources through them. It is also integrated directly into the Blackboard(R) course environment, allowing instructors to supplement course material with rich, dynamic information, while also enabling students to contribute to the course content.
"The great benefit of Scholar is the integration into your Blackboard course," said Willem van Valkenburg, e-Learning Technology Consultant at the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. "Scholar enables students to easily share their online discoveries and those they find from other Scholar users across the globe, with the rest of the (students in the) course."
Scholar recently incorporated new social networking functionality so that users can connect in new ways and build relationships and networks within the site. With this new functionality, users can create and manage networks of Scholar Friends, Scholar Favourites and Scholar Fans to share information and resources.
"Before Scholar, the academic community didn't have an efficient way to share information with each other unless they had a formal established relationship outside of the teaching and learning environment. Now, educators, administrators and students can easily share information and develop new relationships with others who have similar interests around the world," said Michael Chasen, President and CEO of Blackboard. "The global connectivity Scholar encourages and facilitates will significantly deepen and improve the sharing of educational information by teachers and learners everywhere."
Scholar is the first offering from the Blackboard Beyond Initiative(TM), announced in 2006. A series of centrallyhosted Web properties, the Blackboard Beyond Initiative leverages Web 2.0 technologies to empower the Blackboard(R) community with innovative tools to pioneer the next generation of teaching and learning.
Scholar is available for Blackboard Learning System -- enterprise clients at no cost and is delivered via a Blackboard Building Block(TM) or Blackboard PowerLink(TM) found on the Behind the Blackboard(TM) client support site. Scholar comes preinstalled with Release 7.3 and higher of the Blackboard Learning System -- Enterprise License.
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