Industry Briefs

:: NEWS

THE SIMPLE LIFE

IBM is making campus life easier with a portfolio of speech-enabled Web applications for mobile phones. Currently being tested at Wake Forest University (NC) in a program called MobileU, the applications utilize IBM’s WebSphere technologies to facilitate everyday tasks. Students can speak into their mobile phone to ask when the next shuttle bus will arrive, whether there are washing machines free in their dorm laundry room, what their e-mail inbox contains—and through a combination of GPS data, multimodal Web applications, and voice recognition software, the answers are provided, helping to streamline students’ busy academic and social lives.

IT MAKES A VILLAGE

Nova Southeastern University (FL) is working with communications giant Siemens to implement multifunctional, campus smart card solutions as part of NSU’s “Academical Village” vision to use leadingedge technology to enhance the campus community. The new smart cards will provide NSU students, faculty, and staff with identification cards, access privileges, and the ability to pay for meal plans, printing services, and vending machine items— with more functionalities on the horizon—reducing the number of cards in use from five, to one consolidated, multi-application card.

TEACHING JAVA IN ITALY

Sun Microsystems, creator of Java, recently finalized an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research and the Java Italian Association to offer online access to Java training courses in Italian schools. The project, called “Java a Scuola” (Java at School), provides free access to CD-ROMs, online training programs, and free tutoring programs for IT teachers for 12 months, to equip the next generation of IT professionals with Java skill sets.

:: M&A, ETC.

NETWORK TEAM-UP

Digital entertainment network Ruckus has joined network application consortium Internet2 to develop new content distribution and authentication technologies. The pairing will provide Internet2 member universities with fast and legal intra- and inter-campus sharing of educational multimedia materials. In addition, Ruckus will leverage Internet2’s high-performance national backbone network to facilitate research and development of improved peer-to-peer networking, content delivery optimization, and the creation of personal libraries.

BUILDING ONLINE LEARNING

A new partnership between Sonic Foundry, a provider of high-performance rich media technology, and Blackboard, the course-management system provider, will help higher ed institutions put their lectures online. Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite Building Block integrates with Blackboard so that any Mediasite-recorded lecture, presentation, or meeting can easily be published to the Blackboard Learning System. That gives students access to rich media presentations from Blackboard-managed courses, including synchronized audio, video, and presentation materials—all though a Web browser with no special downloads or plug-ins needed.

:: PEOPLE

EXPANDING EDUCATIONAL CONSULTING

Margaret Andrews has joined Eduventures, the consulting and information services firm, as VP of Strategy and Marketing. Previously executive director of the MIT Sloan School of Management, Andrews will focus on advancing Eduventures’ role in the education market. “Andrews will be a significant contributor to our growth strategy and her experience will be an invaluable resource to our clients,” says Thomas Dretler, president and CEO of Eduventures.

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