Columbia Digital
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Columbia Digital Knowledge Ventures Builds Bridges Between Columbia and the Outside World

G. Todd Hardy

Columbia Digital Knowledge Ventures (Columbia DKV) is a University organization that collaborates with faculty and other Columbia organizations to gather, develop and deliver innovative learning resources built on the knowledge base of the University. Columbia DKV pursues its mission in three ways:

  • Working with Columbia faculty in the creation of e-seminars that enhance the teaching and learning process and bring Columbia scholarship to a broader audience via the Internet
  • Incubating digital media businesses that rely on the University's intellectual property or that are affiliated with Columbia's new media ventures
  • Transferring Columbia-developed digital media to the marketplace through content licenses and joint development projects.

While CCNMTL focuses on the delivery of digital media resources on campus, and Columbia DKV bridges digital media developments on campus with opportunities for the delivery of University content beyond campus, Fathom projects the scholarly content and expertise of the University and other Fathom members to a worldwide audience.

All activities of Columbia DKV support the University's core purpose of creating knowledge and extending that knowledge to the outside world.

"No matter what we are doing, whether it is digital media content development, incubating companies or licensing content, our mission is to bring Columbia to the outside world and bring the outside world to Columbia," said G. Todd Hardy, executive director and president of Columbia DKV. "We are the digital bridge between ideas developed on campus and the need for digital learning within a wider audience."

In all three key functions, Columbia DKV follows the University's long-standing tradition of collaborating with organizations within and outside Columbia in the development of innovative projects that meet the current needs of the scholarly community.

Columbia DKV is partnering with Columbia faculty to create a variety of online learning formats, including e-seminars -- three- to five-hour guided learning experiences that fully harness the digital medium in meaningful ways. To date, 21 e-seminars that incorporate faculty video narratives, readings, images and archival material in a variety of topics and subjects have been produced and more are in production. The internal production effort is headed by Jason Fox, managing director for production, whose group of designers, information architects, project managers and video crews will work on dozens of new e-seminars in the coming months. Columbia faculty who participate in the creation of e-seminars share in any revenues under Columbia's copyright policy.

Drawing from years of experience at Columbia University Press, Kate Wittenberg, managing director for content development, oversees e-seminar conception with a team of editors who have backgrounds in the social sciences, humanities, the sciences and medicine. As a part of her new role as managing director at Columbia DKV, Wittenberg will continue to act as director of the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC), whose projects include Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO), Columbia Earthscape and the Gutenberg-e online history project. Wittenberg sees e-seminars as a natural next step in the University's goal of advancing education.

"At EPIC, we are creating new models of scholarly publication that are being used for teaching and learning, and the development of e-seminars is a natural extension of this," said Wittenberg. "By taking what goes on in the University -- the development and dissemination of knowledge -- and applying it to a new medium through Columbia DKV, we are embarking on a big experiment in higher education, one that will further our core mission and affirm our presence in this new environment."

All e-seminars developed by Columbia DKV are free to members of the Columbia community, including students, faculty and staff. They are also available for less than $50 for people outside the University.

Columbia Interactive, developed by Columbia DKV, is a learning resource portal accessible from the University Homepage. It is the first organized University site to contain a full spectrum of digital content created by the University's schools, departments and faculty. It is intended to provide easier access to the breadth of Columbia's online content, which includes course Web pages, online research tools, online distance learning courses, new e-seminars developed by Columbia DKV in collaboration with faculty, Columbia dissertations, e-journals and newsletters produced by faculty and students, online scholarly publications developed by Columbia, faculty interviews, and links to University centers and institutes with additional knowledge online.

Virtually all of the content on Columbia Interactive is free to the general public. E-seminars and resources that it offers for a charge to people outside the University community are available at no charge to the Columbia community. Columbia students, faculty and staff can gain free access to e-seminars developed at Columbia by registering through a Columbia-network computer. Much of the content included in and organized by Columbia Interactive will reach a worldwide audience through Columbia's participation in the Fathom consortium.

Columbia DKV also links the University with the marketplace through its business incubator, 20,000 square feet of office space located at 330 Fifth Avenue. There, Columbia DKV maintains partnerships with entrepreneurs and budding digital media companies working to bring Columbia's intellectual content, ideas and quality digital educational products to a wider audience. Columbia DKV offers workspace, office and technical support services, and high-speed Internet connectivity to businesses that collaborate with Columbia organizations in the creation and marketing of quality knowledge on the Internet.

One Columbia spin-off incubated at Columbia DKV is Fathom, a source for quality online learning that brings authenticated knowledge from its 13 member educational and cultural institutions to a wider audience. Other businesses include TC Innovations and the London School of Economics Foundation and Centennial Fund.

Columbia DKV and Fathom have different yet complementary missions. Fathom is a source for quality online learning that projects the knowledge and resources of its 13 member institutions to an international audience. Columbia DKV keeps Fathom's educational channel robust through the development of online learning that relies exclusively on Columbia faculty and resources.

Columbia DKV also partners with businesses in the marketplace. A team headed by Alison Anthoine, managing director for business development, negotiates and maintains strategic alliances to deploy Columbia's intellectual resources, including e-courses, across a number of channels of distribution.

While Columbia DKV is funded by the University, it also seeks grants for additional support in the development of Columbia's digital initiatives. Grants and licensing income generated by the business development group at Columbia DKV will help sustain the organization's future operations.

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