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News 05-16-2001

Christopher Dede to Address Syllabus2001

Christopher Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor of Learning Technologies at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, will present a keynote address at the Syllabus2001 conference Tuesday, July 24 at 8:30AM in the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. Titled, "Anytime, AnyWear: A Forecast of Emerging Media for Distributed Learning," Dede's talk will focus on the impact of emerging technologies for learning on higher education. Wearable wireless devices and other emerging interactive media are giving both classroom and distance education instructors a growing array of information technologies from which to choose. The repertoire of pedagogical options has expanded to include tele-mentoring, shared virtual environments, collaborative learning, and small-group inquiry -as well as the potential to transform both formal teaching and just-in-time situated learning. Dede, an expert in emerging technologies for Internet virtual environments, predicts that the power of these instructional approaches is such that, within a couple of decades, refusal to use interactive media in teaching will be considered professional malpractice. Dede will describe key instructional design issues for distributed learning environments that combine the best aspects of conventional face-to-face instruction and distance education.

A respected expert in emerging technologies for Internet virtual environments, Christopher Dede's research spans technology forecasting and assessment, emerging technologies for learning, and leadership in educational innovation. Dede currently has grants from the National Science Foundation to develop educational environments based on cutting-edge immersive virtual reality technology and to develop shared virtual environments with digitized museum artifacts.

For complete conference information and an online registration form, go to

Report from Lumina Foundation Examines Technology Spending

A report from the Lumina Foundation for Education suggests that studies showing higher education technology spending between $2.7 and $4.4 billion per year may not fully capture the total cost of technology at colleges and universities. Based on a survey of state finance officers and experts and institutional representatives on technology financing, "Funding the 'Infostructure:' A Guide to Financing Technology Infrastructure in Higher Education" concludes that, because most colleges and universities lack appropriate plans and policies to finance technology, the amount of money spent on technology in higher education is unknown. Many colleges and universities fund technology as an add-on, not as an ongoing part of institutional planning. Written by Jane Wellman and Ronald Phipps, senior associates at The Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, D.C., the report suggests policies to help colleges and universities finance technology, provides a common language to describe the elements of the technology infrastructure, and presents innovative funding options to help institutions keep pace with rapidly changing technology.

For a complete copy of the report, visit the Lumina Foundation's Web site at Select the link for "Funding the 'Infostructure:' A Guide to Financing Technology Infrastructure in Higher Education."

CREN's Next Tech Talk with the Experts
Thursday, May 17 AT 4 PM

Are you starting to hear the call for Office XP? Want to know when it will be available? What the feature set is? Who is moving to this new version of Microsoft Office--and why? Listen to CREN's free Tech Talk on Thursday, May 17 at 4 PM EDT and hear Technology Anchor Bob Mahoney from MIT and Co-Host Judith Boettcher of CREN interview two experts from a school that is on the fast track to deploy Office XP: Oregon State University College of Business.

Send your questions to Greg Scott and Tony Saxman during the live Web cast or ahead of time using the address: [email protected]. More information is available at

Source Code to Virtual U Publicly Available

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has announced that the source code to Virtual U, the university management simulator, is available to the public on the Virtual U Web site at Virtual U, a simulation of the daily management of a university system, introduces managers and university administrators to the complexities of university management and helps them to assess their own approaches to the job. Said Jesse Ausubel, program director for Virtual U, "By opening the source code to our project we hope to share our collective knowledge and inspire new types of training and public policy tools." The first pass of the public source version is available at Academics and programmers can learn from the project's unique modeling engine. Virtual U will be published as public source under a license that provides free use of the source code for any purpose other than commercial projects without the Foundation's and developer's consent. Modifications to the code must be provided to the project's community.

Purdue Researcher May Increase Transmission Speed of Internet

Engineers at Purdue University may have discovered a way to make the Internet faster and more powerful: a device commonly used to untangle signals sent over fiber optic lines. Said Andrew Weiner, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, "This is the first time that anybody has realized this technology could be modified for a different function." The device can turn a single pulse of laser light into a rapid-fire burst of 21 pulses, each separated by only two trillionths of a second--at least 10 times faster than the transmission speed of each channel in state-of-the-art commercial optical communication systems. The implications of increasing the speed and capacity of optical fibers are tremendous, considering that optical fibers are replacing wires for transmitting Internet data over high-speed lines. Weiner and research engineer Daniel Leaird have demonstrated that the untangling device could dramatically increase the transmission speed and the amount of data that can be sent over a single channel. For more information, contact Andrew Weiner, [email protected].

E-Business Training Available through eCollege

ActiveEducation has joined eCollege's Developers Program, which enables content providers to put educational or training materials in the eCollege System to license to other institutions. The deal makes ActiveEducation's e-business technology courses available to institutions through the eCollege platform. ActiveEducation's e-business technology content could be valuable to institutions and corporations trying to meet the demands of their learners by having more courses available in the eCollege System that will aid in driving student enrollments. The first of ActiveEducation's e-business technologies eLearning courses to be available through the eCollege platform include three XML courses leading to certification, Java, HTML, and ASP+. Institutions interested in licensing the ActiveEducation content should e-mail [email protected].

University Of Illinois Uses AppWorx Job Scheduler

The AppWorx scheduler will play a role in the long-term plans at the University of Illinois to move to a pure distributed environment. Until now, application batch processing at the University of Illinois meant manually passing files back and forth from the mainframe to other platforms. Now, using one scheduling product, the school can integrate all of its systems.

For more information, visit

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