About four years ago, the UW Department of Engineering Professional Development (EPD) approached Web Courseworks about hosting a Learning Management System (LMS). As a private sector partner, we were chosen by UW Engineering because of our attention to the workforce learner as opposed to supporting technology for on-campus learners.
Since 1949, the UW EPD has offered more than 300 continuing education courses to help engineers learn new technology, solve problems and network with others in their industry. Web Courseworks is a proud vendor and host of several instances of the Moodle LMS for various Department online initiatives.
Collaborating with EPD has created innovative uses of technology, including moving toward using Moodle 2.1. Through this partnership, Web Courseworks has learned more about uses for the open source Moodle platform and gained access to experts in the University’s Department of Information Technology (DoIT). This private sector/public educational institution collaboration is the embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea resulting in a Win/Win!
The 2011-2012 school year marks the 100th anniversary of The Wisconsin Idea, which signifies a general principle: education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom. One of the philosophies behind The Wisconsin Idea is Educating Young and Old. It opens doors to students of all ages, with many programs designed specifically to engage pre-college students, working professionals and retired people.
The strongest distance opportunity offered through the Department of Engineering Professional Development (and hosted on our server) is the 2-year Master’s in Engineering Professional Practice (MEPP) program. This Internet-based program is ranked No. 1 in the nation by The Sloan Consortium and features:
- Knowledge and skills you can use immediately
- Project-based learning with experienced engineers
- Award-winning distance learning design
- World-class faculty and a highly respected institution
Year of the Wisconsin Idea
The Wisconsin Idea’s roots begin in 1904 when former UW President Charles Van Hise declared, “I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every home in the state.” He created the university’s extension division and forged closer ties between the university and state government. Faculty experts consulted with legislators to help draft many influential and groundbreaking laws, including: the nation’s first workers’ compensation legislation, tax reforms and the public regulation of utilities.
However, this concept did not have a formal name until 1912, when Charles McCarthy coined wrote “The Wisconsin Idea,” which hailed the progressive era reforms enacted by the 1911 session of the state legislature, many of which were developed by or in consultation with UW professors.
The Year of the Wisconsin Idea will provide a thematic link for a continuous stream of events and activities informing about and reflecting upon the Wisconsin Idea. An interactive Year of the Wisconsin Idea website debuted early this month, featuring more than 1,000 examples of the Wisconsin Idea in action, a history and timeline of the development of the Wisconsin Idea, a calendar of events, Twitter feed (@WisIdea), and a page on which UW staff, students and the public will be able to upload a personal statement about what the Wisconsin Idea means to them.
One Celebration event is the 10-day Forward Technology Festival, which kicks off Thursday, August 18th. This festival will bring the technology and start-up communities together to learn, share, and have some fun. It includes: the Ruby Conference, Sector67 meetup and open social with Capital Entrepreneurs.
Web Courseworks is only one example of how the Wisconsin Idea has enhanced private sector businesses, and are thankful to have the opportunity to work with the brilliant people at the UW, including the DoIT department’s great research and development.
I’ve had about a week to settle back in after giving a presentation at Training 2009 on the open source LCMS, Moodle. As I mentioned last week, I had a packed audience but received mixed reviews. We have been utilizing Moodle for over two years for several client projects. The Moodle pedigree stems purely from higher education, so it was not designed for corporate use as a generic LMS. Moodle.org seems to have little interest in adapting to fit the needs of companies that want to train thousands of employees using hundreds of courses (see threaded discussions on the site-wide grouping feature). Nevertheless, there are many specific corporate training initiatives that Moodle is perfect for. Click here for my presentation. Read more…