SOURCE: Wimba

May 13, 2008 10:07 ET

Wimba Powers US-Brazil Higher Education Program Bridging Miles, Languages and Cultures

Program Nominated as Finalist for IMS Learning Impact Award

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 13, 2008) - Wimba®, the education technology company that helps people teach people, today announced its involvement in a cross-continental higher education program, connecting students and faculty across four universities. The U.S.-Brazil Consortium enables global collaboration among teachers and learners at The University of Georgia (USA), Utah State University (USA), Universidade Federal do Ceará (BR) and Universidade Estadual Paulista, Bauru (BR). The program is a finalist for the IMS Global Learning Consortium Learning Impact Awards, which will announce the winners this week at the annual conference. Wimba's technology is used to bridge differences in culture, language and distance of participating students and faculty.

Daniela Maestro of the Universidade Estadual Paulista, Bauru, and Myra Blackmon of UGA are graduate students enrolled in the program. Maestro also works full-time for the Brazilian education technology company MStech, and appreciates the 24X7 access to lectures and course materials provided by Wimba.

"With the Wimba Classroom technology I can access the content anytime," Maestro said. "It makes it possible for me to study, communicate and work on assignments any time of day and from any location."

Blackmon is switching careers and pursuing a Masters degree in Education Technology while working. She says Wimba allows her the flexibility to go back to school and maintain a full-time job.

"I take all my collaboration classes in the evenings from my home office using Wimba Classroom," Blackmon said.

The consortium is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the Brazilian Ministry of Education's Fundacao Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (CAPES). Through the program, instructional technology professors at all four of the participating universities teach courses to students on both continents using Wimba Classroom™ and other learning technologies.

Enrolled students spend time on-site in both the United States and Brazil, over the span of three semesters plus one summer month, while also participating in distance learning courses. The blended educational approach, where students learn in face-to-face and online classrooms from both locations, enables them to be fully immersed in both cultures and languages.

University of Georgia (UGA) Associate Professor Michael Orey serves as principal investigator under the FIPSE/CAPES grant and teaches Learning Theory, Introduction to Instructional Technology, and the doctoral seminar for the consortium.

"For the core, recurring distance classroom components of our program, we rely exclusively on Wimba Classroom to enable our continual collaboration," said Orey. "Wimba provides a vital part of our program and is truly making higher education more accessible to more students."

"Participants in this program will gain invaluable experiences by connecting with students from different regions, and backgrounds," said Steve Kann, Co-founder and Senior Vice President of Engineering at Wimba. "We are pleased that Wimba is helping facilitate new ways for students and teachers to learn and interact."

Wimba enables 24X7 access to archived classroom lectures and materials, supporting the varied needs of the consortium's instructors and students. Participants in the U.S.-Brazil Consortium program are gaining new experiences and knowledge about how educational technologies can connect people across cultures and locations. This information can help them to further break down learning barriers tied to geography, language, and culture. Wimba Classroom provides a vital part of the infrastructure supporting this powerful education endeavor.

About Wimba

Wimba® is a leading provider of collaborative learning software applications and services to the education industry. Our collaborative software applications for the online and blended education market enable institutions to bridge technology and pedagogy by supplementing course management systems with many of the proven disciplines of in-person learning environments. Wimba's intuitive solutions enable educators and students to quickly and easily teach and learn live online, engage in live chat and instant message exchanges, benefit from oral content being added to text-based course content, and more. Instructors can also use Wimba solutions to convert Microsoft Word documents into accessible web pages and to create and administer tests, quizzes, and exams. Our focus on education and collaboration with educators fuels our product development. For more information, please visit www.wimba.com or send an email to info@wimba.com.

Wimba. People Teach People. www.wimba.com

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