News 03-20-2001

Syllabus Spring2001 Post-Conference Seminars: Issues in Distance Learning

Judith B'ettcher, Executive Director of the Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (CREN), will be offering two post-conference seminars on Issues in Distance Learning at the Syllabus spring2001 conference next month in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first seminar, "Web Courses and Web-Enhanced Courses," will be held April 7, and will focus on instructional design and development issues that faculty and administrators face in moving a campus-based course to the Web. Issues addressed will include types and levels of Web courses, strategies for student interaction and learning, selecting Web templates, and course management. The second seminar, "Programs and Curricula on the Web," will be held April 8, and will focus on issues in planning and budgeting for the delivery of a complete instructional program in the Web environment. Programmatic issues will include ensuring strategic fit, startup issues, sufficient faculty, support staff, financial resources, and institutional readiness. The two seminars are recommended to be taken as a sequence.

For more information about these and other offerings of the Syllabus spring2001 conference, visit http://www.syllabus.com. The conference will be held April 5-8 at the Albert B. Sabin Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

O'Reilly Network Provides JavaScript Web Resources

A new Web site provides developers with JavaScript and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) resources, enabling them to create richer and more sophisticated Web sites. The site is part of the O'Reilly Network, located at http://www.oreillynet.com, an online resource for open and emerging technologies. The Java Script and CSS site features JavaScript experts' practical articles linked to a library of useful samples of programming code, as well as out-of-box solutions for applications. It also includes an RSS JavaScript feed pulling content from a wide variety of sites and newsgroups, the O'Reilly JavaScript/CSS book catalog, reader "Talk Backs," and feature articles. Two additional columns are the JavaScript and Web Design column, and the weekly JavaScript and CSS column.

Increased Accessibility for Physically Disabled Computer Users

Gyration, a supplier of wireless, motion-sensing input devices, recently announced a new partnership with Boost Technology, a manufacturer of products for the assistive tecnology market. Boost Technology's signature product, a head-controlled computer mouse called the Tracer, will incorporate Gyration's GyroPoint Technology, a unique method by which an inertial motion sensor detects natural movement to control a cursor on a remote display. Users suffering from debilitating diseases and other physical conditions that make traditional means of cursor control difficult or impossible will enjoy precise control and a seamless user interface. The Tracer will also adopt Gyration's RF technology, providing reliable communication without line-of- sight limitations for the user.

For more information, visit http://www.boosttechnology.com/ or http://www.gyration.com.

Endnote Software Now Available On a "Rental" Basis

e-academy and ISI ResearchSoft recently announced that EndNote 4.0, a bibliographic management software product, is now available as part of e-academy's digital distribution system. Students and faculty across the U.S. and Canada will now be able to "rent" this software application for 6 months or a year rather than paying the full retail price for a perpetual license. Through the new e-academy temporary license program, students will be able to use the full version for six months at $29.95, or for one year at $49.95. The program covers all higher education institutions across North America. Those who wish to purchase the software can download it directly from the e-academy Web site at http://www.e-academy.com. An EndNote PDF manual is included with each purchase.

NextNet Wireless Proves Non Line-of-Sight MMDS System

NextNet Wireless, developer of a non-line-of-sight broadband wireless access system with self-installable indoor customer premise equipment (CPE), announced recently that it has successfully completed field trials of its Expedience system over MMDS frequencies owned by US Wirefree, in Olympia, Wash. NextNet reports that the field trials confirmed that the system is capable of delivering high-speed fixed wireless services over MMDS frequencies in densely populated and highly obstructed areas, such as the Pacific Northwest. Propagation and end-to-end performance tests were conducted using the Expedience MMDS broad band access platform and off-the-shelf network performance measurement software. Measurements were taken from more than fifty locations within a five-mile radius, through a proliferation of pine and fir trees, hilly terrain, and dense fog and rain.

For more information, visit http://www.nextnetwireless.com.

How to Create a Web Page

Sams Publishing recently announced the release of Teach Yourself HTML and XHTML in 24 Hours, Fifth Edition, the latest edition of a book written for new Web page authors who need to quickly and easily learn how to create Web pages for work, home, or school. This book has sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide. The best -selling tutorial has been updated to include expanded coverage of XHTML -- the next-generation Web publishing language that combines features of XML with HTML. All the examples used in the book are XHTMLcompliant, and it includes a new chapter on what XML is and how it is reshaping Web publishing.

For more information, contact Sams Publishing at (800) 428-5331.

Open Source Service Discovery Protocol Enables Bluetooth Users

RidgeRun recently announced that it has successfully added support for Bluetooth Service Discovery Protocol (SDP) to the OpenBT Linux Bluetooth stack sponsored by Axis Communications. SDP will be incorporated into RidgeRun's upcoming distribution of DSPLinux, which is focused on Texas Instruments' Digital Signal Processors(DSPs). RidgeRun's Bluetooth Piconet Neighborhood application enables users to find services such as printing, file sharing, e-commerce, or e-mail. RidgeRun has released the new SDP application code to the Open Source community as part of the OpenBT project at http://sourceforge.net/projects/openbt. A Bluetooth piconet constitutes the units sharing a common channel. Up to eight interconnected devices can be supported on a single piconet, consisting of one master and up to seven slave devices.

NASA Telescopes to Locate Planets

Proving that two telescopes are better than one, NASA astronomers have combined starlight from a pair of Hawaiian 10-meter (33-foot) telescopes, creating an "optical interferometer" with the resolving power of a huge single telescope 85 meters wide. This successful test at the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea makes the linked telescopes, which together are called the Keck Interferometer, the world's most powerful optical observing system. The project will eventually search for planets around nearby stars and help NASA design future space-based missions that can search for habitable, Earth-like worlds. Testing will continue for the next several months. Limited science operations, including the search for planets, are expected to begin this fall. Scientists around the world will soon be invited to propose studies they would like to conduct using the Keck Interferometer. Their proposals will undergo a formal review and selection process.

For more information, visit http://www.science.nasa.gov.

Compactly Integrated Optical Channel Level Controllers for DWDM

NTT Electronics Corporation (NEL) has developed design technology required to create an all-in-one AWG (arrayed-waveguide grating) module that can be integrated with an array of on-board VOAs (variable optical attenuators) - important elements for building and stabilizing wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) systems, which enable optical signals of varied wavelengths to be efficiently bundled and transmitted over a single optical fiber. By employing this technology, NEL has created a compact, low power-consumption optical channel level controller that it will begin marketing worldwide from March 21, 2001.

The new product incorporates electrical circuits for the digital control interface, setting attenuation levels, and controlling temperature into a module board. Onto it can be mounted VOA and AWG optical devices chosen to meet customer specifications for such variables as number of channels, channel spacing, and their wavelength range. Since this all-in-one module is made possible by connecting each wavelength channel between VOAs and the AWG via 8-fiber ribbon cables, its wiring cost can be greatly reduced.

For more information, visit http://www.nel-world.com/.

Medical Review Tools Now Available Online

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins has announced the launch of medrevu.com, an Internet education resource for medical students and medical schools worldwide. The site, located at http://www.medrevu.com, combines reliable content from a leading medical education publisher with interactive, personalized technology, to provide online review and study tools for medical students. The site features irevu, an interactive database of nearly 6,000 review questions to facilitate personalized preparation for both the United States Medical Licensure Exams (USMLE) Steps 1 and 2 and medical school course review. The irevu questions are written in the same format as those in the USMLE, and students can choose questions by subject area or system, complete timed tests and reviews, receive scoring, and track their progress. Users have immediate free access to 50 sample USMLE-style review questions, and the full content of the site is available by paid subscription. Single purchase mock examinations, structured to simulate Steps 1 and 2 of the USMLE exam, are also available for individual purchase.

Report Rates E-Learning Course Publishers

Lguide, an independent e-learning research and consulting firm, announced the release of its research report: "E-Learning Course Publishers: A Comparative Analysis and Industry Directory." Report features include comparative evaluations of business skills, desktop applications, and professional IT training; rankings by content and delivery quality, analysis of which publishers excel at different aspects of e-learning courses, and future trends; publisher evaluations for 25 top e-learning publishers; and an industry directory listing company and basic catalog information for hundreds of e-learning publishers.

For more information, visit http://www.lguide.com.

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