Army awards $453 million contract for education portal

Army awards $453 million contract for education portal

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

DEC. 14'The Army today announced a five-year, $453 million contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. of New York for a Web portal to deliver college courses to 80,000 soldiers. Service officials said the students will be able to begin enrolling in mid-January at Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Hood, Texas.

Army Secretary Louis Caldera in July proclaimed the pioneering effort as 'the largest education portal in the world' [http://www.gcn.com/vol19_no20a/news/2486-1.html], but its scale has shrunk from the original estimate of a million soldier-students. The contractor will offer a range of courses from accredited higher-education institutions, including historically black colleges and tribal colleges as well as those that already provide Army degree programs.

Under the indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract, students will each get a Compaq Computer Corp. notebook PC and a printer from Turbotek Computer Corp. of Manchester, N.H. They also will receive a software suite, a browser, Internet connectivity through Fiberlink Communications Corp. of Blue Bell, Pa., and 24-hour technical support from Precision Response Corp. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Saba Software Inc. of Redwood Shores, Calif., will manage the online courses and evaluations. PeopleSoft Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., is responsible for the student administration system. Blackboard Inc. of Washington will host the virtual classroom environment.

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