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News 11-26-2002

Sponsor: Announcing Syllabus Radio!

Log on to and listen to audio interviews with established leaders and creative thinkers in higher education as they discuss the good, the better and the best uses of IT on campus. This week, Judith Boettcher speaks with Michael Giordano, Instructional Designer and Manager of the Instructional Development Center at the University of New Hampshire, on using technology to create collaborative workspaces.

U. Maryland, NSF to Build Children's Digital Library

A partnership of government, non-profit, industry, and academic organizations have announced a five-year, $3.3 million plan to build a digital library of 10,000 children's books drawn from 100 cultures as part of a long-term research project to develop new technology to serve young readers. Built by The Internet Archive, the largest library on the Internet, and The University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab, a leader in children's interface design, the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) will serve children and libraries worldwide by providing a large-scale digital archive of literature for readers ages three to thirteen. "This is the beginning of a long-term project to provide children around the world with access to literature from different cultures in a way that is intuitive and accessible," said the ICDL's Director, Jane White. "This collaborative effort by government, commercial, academic, and non-profit organizations will change the way children learn about other cultures, and strengthen libraries worldwide."

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Microsoft Certification Recommended for Credits

Certifications for Microsoft Word 2002, Excel 2002, PowerPoint 2002, Access 2002, Outlook 2002—collectively, "Office XP"—and Microsoft Project 2002 have each been recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) for one semester hour of lower division college credit. The Project 2002 exam is also recommended for upper division credit. Students who hold or are pursuing Microsoft Office Specialist certification for Office XP (2002) applications or Microsoft Project may apply via the ACE Transcript Service for use as possible college credit. "With the advance of computer technology, Microsoft Office skills are now essential to enter and succeed in nearly every job market," stated Jo Ann Robinson, director, ACE College Credit Recommendation Service. "This college credit recommendation validates Microsoft Office Specialist certification skill requirements for Office XP and Microsoft Project as being equivalent to college-level skills needed to succeed in school and at work."

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Rice, HP to Build Texas's Fastest Supercomputer

Rice University's Computer and Information Technology Institute (CITI) and HP said they plan to build Texas' fastest academic supercomputer, the Rice Terascale Cluster (RTC). Scheduled to come online early next year, RTC is to be built on clusters of HP's Intel Itanium 2-based workstations and servers. RTC is expected to be the first computer at a Texas university with a peak performance of 1 teraflop, or 1 trillion floating-point operations per second. More than 30 researchers from fields as diverse as biochemistry, political science, physics and computational engineering have already booked time on RTC. The computer will be composed of 132 HP Workstations zx6000 and four HP Servers rx5670. "Since RTC is a shared resource, it has to have the flexibility to meet a diverse set of high-performance computing needs—be they computationally demanding, data intensive or mathematically complex," said Moshe Vardi, director, CITI.

ExxonMobil Will Spend $100M on Stanford Energy Project

ExxonMobil Corp. announced its plans to invest $100 million in a Stanford University project dedicated to researching new options for commercially viable technological systems for energy supply and use, which have the capability to substantially reduce greenhouse emissions. The Global Climate and Energy Project (G-CEP) will be led by Stanford University and involves research institutions and global companies, including ExxonMobil, General Electric and Schlumberger. The announcement comes as scientists have begun calling for a research effort as ambitious as the Apollo project to address both energy needs and emission reductions.

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Awards, Deals, Contracts in Higher Education

E-TRAINING—Arizona Government University signed a contract with TraCorp Inc. to convert the school's current instructor-led courses to Web-based training before Oct. 31, 2003. The school has launched an initiative to use the benefits of online learning in its training programs for over 42,000 state of Arizona employees. "eLearning is the wave of the future and Arizona wants to stay on the cutting edge," said Gregory Price, Dean of Academics at Arizona Government University.

E-PROCUREMENT—Scotland's University of Edinburgh has signed a multi-year license agreement for SciQuest SelectSite Advanced Procurement Application (APA) to improve purchasing processes and identify areas for cost savings. The initial implementation will include users in the Science & Engineering, Medicine & Veterinary Medicine colleges. After this successful pilot phase, a campuswide implementation of up to 4,000 users is planned. SelectSite APA is a Web-based sourcing, procurement, and catalog management application designed for research-intensive organizations.

Corrections: New Dell OptiPlexTM SX260 Pricing

Due to a production error, the price of Dell's new OptiPlexTM SX260 small computer mentioned in Friday's newsletter was inaccurate. The correct starting price for the computer is: $699. Here is Friday's item in its entirety:

DELL SMALL COMPUTER—Dell Computer Inc. introduced the smallest computer in its history. The OptiPlexTM SX260 weighs under 8 pounds and is 50 percent smaller by volume than the existing OptiPlex small form factor computer. It can be mounted horizontally or vertically underneath a desk, to a wall or behind the optional SX260 flat panel monitor. The system's hot-swappable media bay accommodates any module from any Dell Latitude notebook. The SX260 system has no PCI or AGP slots, meaning greater image stability and standardization. Prices start at $699.

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