Virginia colleges use new info access tool

The Virginia Community College System will be using a new integration software tool to provide students, faculty and staff with access to information and services via the Internet.

VCCS is deploying the ActiveWorks Integration System from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Active Software Inc. as part of the Student Information System, which serves VCCS' 23 colleges.

VCCS is using the ActiveWorks solution to integrate existing SIS applications, including registration, e-mail and library functions. It is also being used to convert legacy SIS functions to PeopleSoft enterprise resource planning applications. VCCS also plans to use the technology as the platform for linking all of the schools' financial, human resources, data warehousing and distance education applications.

The ActiveWorks contract is worth more than $1 million, but the solution will be used statewide at all of the VCCS 39 campuses, making the expenditure more than worthwhile, said Larry Hengehold, vice chancellor for information technology services.

The solution provides what is known as message brokering, which allows information to flow freely between applications and in different formats, Hengehold said. "That way you don't have to keep the different systems in sync for the information exchange to go through," he said.

"From an institutional standpoint, we're using the latest message brokering technology in the classroom," Hengehold said. "Students can use this technology and know how it works. The software will also impact several projects as we move farther and farther into the distance education arena."

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