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Good news from Distance Learning


In the midst of the budget situation, Andy Casiello came into my office yesterday [Oct. 3] and said, "Tuesday was the best day of my life." We discussed the significance of Oct. 1 to our organization, and I later thought about the conversation. I would like to share a bit of positive news.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, we originated the first uplink of the Federal Training Network under a contract that will allow us to use some of our excess satellite capacity while recouping costs to operate the entire network. We also received news that we - in partnership with Northrup Grumman - received a $1.2 million contract to produce training materials for the military sector.

And, we hosted the Department of Defense Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Co-Lab group which offered our staff a workshop (never done before on a college campus) leading to the goal of developing a skill in the creation of SCORM-compliant learning products. Without going into the details of SCORM, let me say that it will allow us significant flexibility in the integration of instructional materials into technological systems that support teaching and learning.

Like the Northrup-Grumman contract, which already required a SCORM-compliant product, future contracts with significant federal funding will require this ability. As the only Virginia university to become a member of the ADL Co-Lab, we have become uniquely positioned to contribute to the university effort to be known as a significant research university. So yes, Tuesday, Oct. 1, was a good day.

I would like to add that Tuesday occurred because: during the NIA effort, Bob Ash brought folks around a table that are linked to these government agencies; Margaret Byrne ( now employed by Northrup Grumman) did an excellent job on a small grant last year; Andy Casiello brought contacts with him to the job at Old Dominion; Dick Whalen has pursued opportunities to raise our visibility among the military sector; and lots of folks on my staff and elsewhere who understand the significance of SCORM and other factors relating to teaching and learning have the vision to seek out these opportunities.

The results of this combined effort will be an ability for us to continue to move forward using government dollars to backfill some of our budget reduction.

- Anne Savage
Vice Provost for Distance Learning




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