USM Extends Interactive Video Network to Maryland's Community Colleges

ADELPHI, Md. (September 24, 2007) - The University System of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System (UMATS) is now offering interactive video networking to Maryland's community colleges. The UMATS interactive video network (IVN) enhances distance-learning capabilities through expanded and affordable live, two-way interactive video. Twelve community colleges across the state of Maryland have signed up for the service.

"Previously, many community colleges were hampered by being part of a closed system that limited the number of sites to which they could connect for video conferencing," said Norwin Malmberg, acting director of UMATS. "Our system does not limit the number of sites and expands what community colleges can accomplish with this powerful educational tool."

The UMATS IVN permits community colleges to network with each other, with the institutions of the University System of Maryland (USM), and-using Internet2-through any similar IVN service throughout world. Its split-screen capability accommodates a view of the instructor on one screen and any educational materials, presentations, or visuals for the class on the other.

 "There has long been a vision to develop a Maryland Education Internet, which would facilitate advanced technology services among Maryland education institutions," said Donald Z. Spicer, associate vice chancellor and chief information officer for USM. "This agreement is a big step toward realizing that vision, with the hope that we can expand collaboration with Maryland's community colleges on further initiatives."

UMATS worked with the Maryland Community College Technical Advisory Board (MCCTAB) to implement this new service. Currently, 12 of Maryland's 16 community colleges have signed on to the IVN service, including: Anne Arundel Community College, Baltimore City Community College, Carroll Community College, Cecil Community College, Chesapeake College, College of Southern Maryland, Frederick Community College, Garrett College, Hagerstown Community College, Howard Community College, Prince Georges Community College, and Montgomery College.

Villa Julie College has also joined the network.

"Our system is not limited to community colleges alone," Malmberg said. "Other higher education institutions in Maryland are welcome to participate."

For more information on UMATS IVN, contact Norwin Malmberg at

Contact: John Buettner
Phone: 301.445.2719