E-Berkeley, gateway to the virtual university, takes shape
Chancellor's new steering committee faces a slate of e-learning and e-business issues

By Diane Ainsworth, Public Affairs

01 NOVEMBER 00 | An expanded virtual university to enhance online learning and patronage among Berkeley's alumni and retirees touches on a myriad of issues now being addressed as part of the chancellor's cabinet e-Berkeley initiative.

A newly formed committee, chaired by Paul Gray, executive vice chancellor and provost, is charged with oversight of campus wide initiatives to help Berkeley develop a framework for its academic, public service and business pursuits online, and to embrace the many emerging "e-learning" technologies.

Working with the e-Berkeley Implementation Task Force, the steering committee will begin reviewing a broad range of technology, infrastructure and policy issues arising from Berkeley's progress so far in building the campus's new Web presence for employees, students and the public. Some of the issues currently under discussion include designing the campus's portal, its over-arching gateway to the Internet, and a comprehensive system for navigating Web courses and sites.

In addition, the committee will take up other topics on specific aspects of the Web project, such as determining the infrastructure for paperless processing, authentication and departmental operations and examining policies related to commercialism, privacy and protection of data, academic instruction and intellectual property rights.

According to Chancellor Berdahl e-Berkeley is one of five initiatives critical to the campus's future in "e-education," a multi-faceted strategy for using the Internet and other new technologies to transform services for students, faculty, staff, alumni, business partners and the general public. The chancellor's cabinet earmarked the initiative as a priority for the campus over the next two years.

His new oversight committee was named following release of a report prepared over the summer by Mark Price and Philip Brozenick of Deloitte Consultants, which partnered with Berkeley to develop its new online environment. Cisco Systems also was brought in to advise the campus on ways of coordinating this monumental project and establishing a web presence that would convey a uniform and recognizable campus image.

"The e-business revolution is fundamentally changing the world around us and transforming the way education and research are conducted, organized, communicated and managed," said the Cisco report, "Building e-Berkeley."

"The issue for Berkeley is not whether it should be part of this transformation, but what its leadership role should be. By taking an active leadership role, UC Berkeley can help shape the future and secure its own role in the e-education world."

To be a world leader in the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge in this e-revolution, the report recommended, Berkeley must address a variety of issues on many playing fields, including:

• providing innovative teaching methods, oenhancing and expanding learning opportunities,

• transforming methodologies, communication and access,

• extending university value into the community and enhancing the value of the educational process,

• maximizing the effectiveness of administrative support to staff, students and faculty,

• expanding the frontiers of delivering education beyond the campus boundaries,

• ensuring that the availability of technology is accessible to all members of the campus community.

In October, a roadmap for implementation of these strategies was presented to the e-Berkeley Implementation Task Force for consideration and future action.

"The boundaries defining the campus must be reexamined because the 'campus' is no longer just a physical, geographical 'place' in this new paradigm," the report cautioned. "Adapting to this new working environment and leveraging the technology to the university's advantage will require extraordinary flexibility and unprecedented collaboration."


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