UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 05 | Mar.
Pilot project to test virtual lifelong learning environment
Video, still images, 3D models among types of learning materials that will be
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
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.