NEW YORK, NY–(October 31, 2006)–Creating podcasts for online college and high school classes just got significantly easier. Horizon Wimba, the leading provider of collaboration tools and software applications to the online education market, has released Wimba Voice Tools version 5.1 which most notably boasts two new voice tools–the Wimba Podcaster and the Wimba Voice Presentation Tool.

Building off the most recent Wimba release which introduced compatibility with iPods and iTunes, version 5.1 introduces the Wimba Podcaster, a tool which makes it easy for teachers to add audio files to their online courses to which students can then subscribe as podcasts. To subscribe, a student clicks a single button on the Wimba Podcaster interface to sign up for the podcasts in iTunes or other podcast-ready software. Once a student is subscribed, he or she will automatically receive any audio updates the instructor posts to the Wimba Podcaster. These updated podcasts and voice files will then be automatically sent to their iTunes podcasts lists, iPods, and/or other desktop media player. Each file can then be listened to via iTunes or on a users iPod or other mp3 player.

Now, instead of users having to constantly login to their Blackboard courses to check for new vocal or audio postings, students and instructors can have their iTunes podcast lists automatically receive every new voice file the moment ones posted.

Further, combined with the new import feature of Wimba 5.0, the Wimba Podcaster will also allow audio that has been recorded outside of the Wimba Voice Tools–such as a recording of a lesson, interview, or music file–to be distributed as a podcast.

The new Wimba Voice Presentation Tool allows instructors to harness the wealth of material on the web by adding their own vocal and text messages alongside URLs. For example, a foreign language instructor can post a vocal question asking about the content of a French website and then have his or her students respond orally by attaching comments to the Voice Presentation slide. Or, an instructor can post any web-ready multimedia content such as Flash or video to a server and annotate it with his or her voice. The Voice Presentation Tool is an ideal tool for authoring engaging online presentations with voice and visuals. The author can sequence and annotate a collection of webpages by simply clicking on the Compose button, specifying a URL, and speaking into a microphone.

Finally, version 5.1 enables users to move and reorder multiple messages within a Voice Board. “Creating a podcaster was a no-brainer,” said Tommaso Trionfi, CEO of Horizon Wimba. “iPods have become so universal that it made perfect sense for us to make our Wimba Voice Tools compatible with them, and as podcasting grows in popularity, we want to ensure that our software helps faculty easily create podcasts in their online courses. This is a natural fit.” Wimba Voice Tools version 5.1 currently integrates with the Blackboard Learning System 6.0+. WebCT Campus Edition 6.0 / Vista 4.0 integration will be available soon.

About Horizon Wimba

Horizon Wimba develops collaborative software applications addressing the diverse needs of the emerging online education market. Its software enables institutions to take advantage of the multitude of advances in the internet and internet-based technologies while also enhancing their course management systems. The Company’s virtual classroom solution enables educators to teach and meet live online, its vocal collaboration technologies add oral content directly into course content, webpages and assessments, its content authoring software allows users to quickly and easily convert Microsoft Word documents into webpages, and its test-generation and homework management tools allow faculty to create test, quiz, and exam questions. With simplicity and power, Horizon Wimba adds new dimensions to online, accessible education, enriching the learning experience for both students and instructors.

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