Army E-Learning Project Enlists PeopleSoft, Smarthinking

PeopleSoft Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., and Smarthinking Inc. of Washington announced this week they have signed contracts to provide services under PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Army's global distance learning network. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers won the Army's five-year, $453 million contract in December 2000. The online learning portal it has developed could ultimately provide college courses and technical certification training to 1 million soldiers around the world.

The portal serves about 5,000 users and could expand to 15,000 users this year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In addition to course work, vendors such as PeopleSoft and Smarthinking provide critical services for student education, all in one click, said Jill Kidwell, management consulting services partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Smarthinking announced May 8 that its tutorial services will be used within the portal. Under the agreement, soldiers enrolled through Army University Access Online will receive one hour of online tutoring for every course they take.

Smarthinking's system saves tutoring sessions so students can refer back to them and teachers can review them.

"We share the vision of the Army and PricewaterhouseCoopers of creating a learner-centric educational experience," said Christopher Gergen, president of Smarthinking.

PeopleSoft announced May 9 that its student administration software will handle student records and course registration on the portal. Ron Sullivan, general manager and vice president for federal at PeopleSoft, called the contract a great opportunity to work with contacts in education and government while providing unprecedented educational opportunities to Army soldiers.

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