Posted: October 31, 2006

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Tekne Awards honor key innovators in Minnesota technology industries

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has received a 2006 Tekne Award for developing Minnesota Online, the system's gateway to more than 4,700 course sections and 150 programs offered via the Internet.

The Tekne Awards recognize Minnesota's technology users and developers in innovation, development, education, commercialization and management of technology in Minnesota. They are presented each year by the Minnesota High Tech Association and Minnesota Technology, Inc., in partnership with LifeScience Alley.

"This year's recipients have truly proven their leadership and dedication to technological development, which ultimately improves the quality of life for Minnesotans and helps secure Minnesota's place as a global player in technology-based markets," said Kate Rubin, president of the high tech association.

Minnesota Online is the state's largest public provider of online education and is growing rapidly. During 2005-2006, 42,120 students took Minnesota Online courses from one of the system's 32 institutions. That's up by more than 11,000 students over the previous year.

"Instead of competing with each other, the system's institutions developed a collaborative framework through Minnesota Online to provide online learning, support, accreditation services, faculty communities and training for its students at an affordable price," said Chancellor James H. McCormick. "This is a more efficient use of the system's resources and allows faculty and administrators to concentrate on developing high-quality online courses and services. This initiative fits beautifully with the system's drive for innovation to meet educational needs efficiently and effectively."

For example, a student can take an online Chinese language course at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and bundle it with an online Chinese civilization and culture course at Lake Superior College in Duluth, more than 100 miles away, to enhance learning in both courses, said Gary Langer, associate vice chancellor for academic innovations.

Begun in 2002, Minnesota Online is hosted and supported by the system office, which also frees the system's 32 colleges and universities from much of the cost and labor associated with providing hardware, software and support staff. Minnesota Online also provides student support, pre-admissions planning and advising seven days a week through e-mail, Ask a Question, Live Chat and a toll free number, 1-800-456-8519. Minnesota Online also provides a wide range of services and training programs for corporations and businesses.

Judges for the Tekne Awards named winners in 17 categories that represent many facets of technological innovation. A list of recipients and finalists is available online at . In addition, two students - Ben Roberson, who attends Minnesota State University, Mankato, and James Kolles, a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College - each received $2,000 scholarships. Both students intend to become math instructors or professors.

The Minnesota High Tech Association accelerates the growth, sustainability and global competitiveness of Minnesota's technology-based economy through public policy advocacy, member collaboration and education, and community outreach. A not-for-profit organization, Minnesota Technology collaborates with the federal government to stimulate business and economic development in the state's manufacturing sector. LifeScience Alley is a not-for-profit trade association serving the life sciences industry in Minnesota and the surrounding region.