SOURCE: Wimba

May 13, 2008 10:03 ET

Wimba Unveils Pronto in Europe

The Only Academic-Centric Instant Messaging Platform Enhances Real-Time Collaboration for Students, Faculty and Administration

NEW YORK, NY and MANCHESTER, UK--(Marketwire - May 13, 2008) - BbWorld™ Europe - Wimba®, the education technology company that helps people teach people, today unveiled the new Wimba Pronto™ to an international audience, at Blackboard's annual European Users Conference, BbWorld® Europe. Wimba Pronto is the only academic-centric, instant messaging platform designed specifically to advance and promote learning through a unique set of tools. Featuring pre-populated classmates tab, online tutoring and office-hours mode, and rich communications tools, Wimba Pronto is unique from other basic messenger platforms.

Hundreds of academic institutions are already using the initial basic version of Wimba Pronto, introduced in early 2007, including many leading colleges and universities in Europe:

--  City College of Norwich
--  Dublin Institute of Technology
--  University of Bristol
--  University of Durham
--  University of Salford
--  University of Ulster
--  University of Wales Swansea
    

Just one month since the domestic launch of the new Wimba Pronto, Grand Rapids Community College, a nationally recognized institution serving over 26,000 students, is implementing the platform across the college.

"After testing Wimba Pronto Basic, we quickly recognized how much instant messaging technology could benefit our community, enabling students to informally collaborate with each other and faculty anytime and from any location, in ways that were simply not possible before," said Garry Brand, Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies at Grand Rapids Community College. "The new Wimba Pronto is especially important for enhancing engagement with our student population who do not live on campus and are often juggling work and family, while taking courses."

Wimba Pronto's Unique Academic-Centric Features

The new Wimba Pronto is enhancing collaboration among students, faculty and across institutions with a suite of unique features including:

--  Instant Access to Campus Services: Institutions can bring services
    online in real-time including the IT Department, Registrar, Financial Aid
    office, and Library to create a 21st-century campus for the 21st-century
    student.
    
--  Queued Chat for Tutoring and Office Hours: Teachers can control the IM
    environment to enable a focused setting in which students "line up" for
    individualized help.
    
--  Automatic Population of Classmates and Courses: Students' contact
    lists are automatically populated with their courses and classmates to
    facilitate and expand collaboration.
    
--  Application Sharing: Students can share any application on their
    desktop in real-time with their classmates and teachers.
    
--  Blended Audio and Video Conferencing: Students and teachers can
    interact in a group setting using their preferred media; whether that be
    just audio or Wimba's follow-the-speaker video.
    

With 84% of undergraduate students using instant messaging on a daily basis(1), Wimba Pronto enables institutions to bridge the gap between how students live and learn, by replicating informal learning settings in the online environment.

"Online and blended classes are integrated into the educational experience for most students today; it is crucial to provide an online environment that fosters informal discussion and collaboration where learning so often takes place," said Yancy Oshita, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Wimba. "Wimba Pronto was developed specifically to harness the power of these informal learning settings, similar to interactions that take place in campus hallways, the student union and library, to bring together students, faculty and staff in a familiar setting that is secure, safe and comfortable."

Wimba Pronto is part of the Wimba Collaboration Suite™ which facilitates the use of online video, voice, instant messaging, content authoring, application sharing and white boarding. The Wimba Collaboration Suite works seamlessly within existing online courses enabling convenient single sign-on for instructors and students to access the collaborative elements from within their course environment. The Wimba Collaboration Suite integrates with the most widely used course management systems including the Angel, Blackboard and Moodle platforms. For more information on Wimba Pronto, please visit www.wimba.com/products/wimbapronto/

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 easily convert Microsoft Word documents into online course content 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

(1) The 2007 Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR) Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology

Contact Information

  • Wimba PR Contact
    Melissa Chotiner
    DBC Public Relations
    +1.202.292.4572
    Melissa@dbcpr.com