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UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 05 | Mar. 8, 2001

Pilot project to test virtual lifelong learning environment

Video, still images, 3D models among types of learning materials that will be made available

by Andy Poon staff writer

UBC has joined a $3.4-million, nationwide test project aimed at improving the access and usefulness of Canada's high-tech network infrastructure for educators and students.

The project -- dubbed BELLE for Broadband Enabled Lifelong Learning Environment -- is designed to make quality, peer-reviewed multimedia learning materials such as video, still images, three-dimensional models, and virtual environments at participating universities and colleges across the nation available to a broader audience.

"For example, the customized course packages individual professors have developed that are sold at university bookstores may be made available online," says Jim Tom, director, Networks, at UBC's ITServices.

UBC is among the 10 post-secondary institutions participating in the project in which each school is working to digitize, classify and make available current and new forms of multimedia learning materials on-line.

As part of the test effort, each institution will install and run a special workstation connected to the national high-speed research network, CA*net3, to allow students and educators across the country access to each school's multimedia learning materials.

Tom says that UBC has spent a year developing and building a system to store learning materials for this purpose.

"It's mostly printed materials at this point but we want to also be able to eventually share multi-media materials and to reuse and repurpose learning materials generated at one institution with another for greater efficiency and collaboration between universities," says Tom.

In addition to UBC, the participating schools include the Banff Centre for the Arts, McGill University's Faculty of Medicine, Northern Alberta Institute for Technology, Seneca@York, Sheridan College, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, and the Vancouver Film School.

The BELLE project is being led by Netera Alliance, a not-for-profit corporation charged with developing and managing Alberta's advanced Internet network. The project is supported by a $1.7-million grant from CANARIE Inc., Canada's advanced Internet development organization, with matching funds from the participating institutions.

The test project is due to wrap up in February next year.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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