Technology Happenings in Higher Education

Campus + Industry

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS is developing a systemwide presence in Second Life, with an archipelago of more than 50 regions.

:: NEWS

FOUR PERCENT MORE APPLICANTS. In support of its efforts to increase national and international enrollment, create a more diverse student body, and raise the profile of incoming classes, the University of San Diego has implemented the Banner Relationship Management solution from SunGard Higher Education. With the new system, the university has been able to increase the number of contacts made with prospects, automate invitations and responses for events, and provide better follow-up with event attendees. As a result, applications have increased by 4 percent and the university is experiencing a higher ratio of enrolled-to-admitted students.

EFFICIENT SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT. To replace an aging and buggy combination of manual processes, scripts, and applications, North Georgia College & State University has selected Matrix42’s Empirum suite of systems management products to deploy, maintain, and service the university’s fleet of 2,000 desktop and mobile computers. In addition to computer and software deployment, the IT department will gain unified patch management and software management capabilities for computers across multiple campuses and networks. Faculty and staff will benefit from the included Personal Backup for all their data, as well as Remote Control for instant onscreen assistance from the help desk. The new systems management suite will free two full-time equivalent positions for redirection to areas of greater need.

SECOND LIFE SYSTEMWIDE. Linden Lab has announced a year-long project to bring The University of Texas System’s 16 campuses into the Second Life virtual learning environment. UT’s virtual world presence will consist of an archipelago of more than 50 Second Life regions, which students, faculty, and staff will use for meetings and educational collaboration. Each campus will develop its own Second Life project plan according to its needs and priorities. Throughout the project, evidence-based research data will be collected and shared with the Second Life education community, on best practices for holding classes and building campuses in the virtual world.

CONTINGENCY CLASS CAPTURE. Class capture provider Tegrity has introduced Tegrity Emergency Response, a contingency service enabling institutions to continue course delivery in the event of emergencies that force campus closure. Schools pay a reservation fee (plus a one-time setup fee) during periods of normal operation; if disaster strikes, the system is switched on instantly, and a primary usage fee is incurred. Instructors then can quickly create a course online, invite students to participate, and record class material. Students receive an e-mail invitation that allows them to access the recordings and other course materials online, enabling them to continue their learning even if the campus is closed.

NETBOOK GROWTH. The worldwide netbook market is growing at twice the rate of notebook PCs, according to the DisplaySearch Q3’09 Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report. In Q2’09, the netbook market grew 40 percent over the previous quarter, while notebook PCs posted a 22 percent growth rate.

FROM TECH TO TEACHING. In a new program called Operation Reboot, the College of Computing at Georgia Tech is helping unemployed technology professionals shift into teaching careers. The initiative pairs IT professionals with computing teachers, to teach at least two high school computer science courses together for one year. The IT workers will become familiar with classroom teaching environments and will receive a teaching certificate and computer science endorsement. The program kicked off Sept. 1 with an initial set of 30 technology workers; it is funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

:: PEOPLE

Matt MandalinciNEW CUSTOMER-FOCUSED ROLES. SunGard Higher Education has announced the appointment of Matt Mandalinci as president and chief customer officer, a new role focused on the customer experience. Mandalinci most recently served as president of SunGard’s Energy Solutions business. In addition, SunGard veteran Jack Kramer has been named as senior vice president of customer satisfaction.

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