News 05-22-2001

Connecting Educational Research to Practice: Featured Panel at Syllabus2001 Conference

The Syllabus2001 conference, to be held in Santa Clara, Calif. July 20-24, will present a featured panel led by Phillip D. Long of MIT and Charles Kerns of Stanford University. Because research studies may well provide the signposts for technology planners for years to come, the panel will examine ways to identify the most significant current research in education technology and consider ways in which these key studies can be disseminated effectively.

For more information concerning the Syllabus conference, including a complete conference schedule and online registration, visit http://www.syllabus.com/summer2001/.

Remembering Pearl Harbor Web Site Launched

Nationalgeographic.com has launched a Web site devoted to the events and issues of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pearlharbor, an interactive Attack Map allows visitors to explore the battle minute-by-minute, target-by-target, and experience the intensity of the day's events. Visitors to the site can zoom in on areas of Oahu, navigate the site through the timeline, or watch the events of the day unfold as they happened. Original U.S. and Japanese footage, historic photographs, music, first-hand tales, and narration bring the attack to life, providing a vivid account of the historic events. An Online Memory Book feature presents more than 200 personal tales of heroism. In addition to being able to read and submit thoughts, Memory Book users can search the database by location and keywords, including names of people who were in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

IBM Launches Linux Web Portal

IBM recently announced a new Web portal to serve members of the Linux community. The launch of http://www.ibm.com/linux provides users access to the latest news, the ability to download the latest Linux tools, and links to Linux content across the breadth of the ibm.com Web space as well as various other Linux sites. The site features a choice of audience-based or resource-based navigation affording users access to the content most relevant to them. Developers accessing the new site can receive the latest in Linux and open source tools, tips, and tutorials. They can download and evaluate the latest software technologies, review the technical contributions IBM is making to Linux and other development communities, and access a selection of products customized specifically for Linux developers. In conjunction with the site launch, the company is also launching a free electronic newsletter on Linux--The Linux Line. Users can sign up for the newsletter on the site at http://www.ibm.com/linux/linuxline.

PlayStream Simplifies Linking To Streaming Media

PlayStream, a provider of online streaming media services, recently announced PlayStream EasyLink, a new technology that enables customers to link from their Web sites to all major streaming media formats through a single hyperlink without sacrificing any quality in delivery, features, or capability. There are currently no universal standards that exist in the streaming media industry for linking to media files from Web pages or e-mail. PlayStream set out to develop a technology that removes the need to create a standard for all three major formats, RealNetwork's RealMedia, Microsoft's WindowsMedia, and Apple Computer's QuickTime. PlayStream provides customers with an online account management console that allows users to upload their media, review online media reports updated daily, and to manage their streaming media account online using their Web browser. PlayStream customers are able to stream all major formats from a single account, and now with the PlayStream EasyLink technology, customers may link any format from their account with a single hyperlink.

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

Adobe Targets Higher Education with eBook U

Adobe Systems Incorporated recently launched Adobe eBook U, a joint project between Adobe and a select group of higher education institutions to explore the use and impact of e-books on educational environments. As part of the program, students and educators at participating campuses will be able to experience course materials that will be made available as e-books, based on the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Partnering institutions receive Adobe's software and training to create, encrypt, and distribute Adobe PDF-based e-book content such as textbooks, course packs, and customized course readers. In turn, Adobe will have the opportunity to learn and exam- ine the way e-books are being adopted in institutions of higher education. Participating institutions include: MIT Sloan School of Management, Occidental College, Miami-Dade Community College Medical Center Campus, Mills College, Scottsdale Community College, University of Maryland Univer- sity College, University of Utah Center for Advanced Medical Technologies, Tufts University, and University of Wisconsin.

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

Computer Programs Detect Plagiarism

A computer program, designed by University of Virginia physics Professor Louis Bloomfield, searches for similar phrasing of six consecutive words or more in student papers. He ran 1,500 term papers submitted by e-mail over the last few years through the program and found 122 had suspiciously similar wording, including 60 papers that were nearly identical. If found guilty of plagiarism, the students who turned in the papers could be expelled or stripped of recently awarded degrees from the school. Computer science professors are using software programs to identify suspiciously similar strings of code in programming assignments. The Measure of Software Similarity (MOSS) program gained wide use after its creator, the Univer- sity of California, Berkeley's Alex Aiken, distributed it free to fellow programming professors around the world in 1997. Another service, http://www.turnitin.com, takes a digital fingerprint of the student's paper, then scans the Internet and the group's own database looking for matches, highlighting passages that match and providing links to the online source. Another service, http://www.findsame.com, scans the Web for matching sen- tences or whole documents, instead of just keywords.

Kaplan Launches Online T'EFL Skills Assessment

Kaplan, Inc. recently launched T'EFL Skills Assessment, an entirely online introduction to the Test of English as a Foreign Language (T'EFL). Accessible at Kaplan's test preparation and admissions Web site http://www.kaptest.com, the T'EFL Skills Assessment expands access to the hundreds of thousands of international students applying to American universities and professional schools. Students first log onto the assessment portion, which consists of 75 questions including listening comprehension, structure and reading comprehension. After completing the assessment, students receive targeted instructional feedback on T'EFL question types and test-taking strategies as well as diagnostic feedback on the students' own test-taking strengths and weaknesses. The T'EFL Skills Assessment is priced at $20, and students can work through the program in three to four hours.

Test.com Launches a New Web Site and a New ASP Model

Test.com, Inc. has released a new Web site at http://www.test.com/. The online test and test prep center serves students, HR and training professionals and educators as a mini-portal with thousands of interactive, instantly scored tests and practice tests. Now, with its new Private Accounts program, it also serves as an ASP (Applica- tion Service Provider) to permit colleges and universities and pre-K-12 schools, among others, to set up their own private test and survey centers. Following instructions at the site, users can set up these private areas with the look and feel of their own sites, including background colors, logos, and other identifiers. Private Accounts subscribers can enter their own assessments, quizzes, tests, and surveys free through the Test.com authoring programs, Create A Test and Create A Survey. Test and survey results are instantly and automatically e-mailed to the subscriber's administrators, or they can appear instantly online for the client's test and survey takers. Or Test.com can report instant results both ways, via e-mail and online. Survey results can be transferred directly to the client's database.

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

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