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News 06-19-2001

MIT Media Lab Co-Founder to Speak at Syllabus2001 July 23

Andrew Lippman, Founding Associate Director of MIT's internationally influential Media Laboratory, is inventing the future through research that spans media, communications, everyday gizmos, and the business and personal dimensions of life on the Net. In a keynote address to be presented July 23rd in Santa Clara, Calif. Lippman will discuss the ways in which students who have used computing from age 4 are now reconstructing their environments in many of the same ways that 1950's hot-rodders rebuilt their cars. In college, these students tend to lose focus when the distance between ideas, experience, and application increases. Lippman posits that "We seem to do education badly and backwards: We teach what we think is fundamental before the students understand its relevance; we think we are the masters of the classrooms when we are hopelessly out of date." The session will explore technological possibilities and certainties through the extrapolation of inventions that link up our bodies, provide global connectivity for our minds, permit desktop fabrication of the things we now have to mail, and transform our media from broadcasts to fireside chats. The implications of these shifts blur the line between educator and student and point to ways that universities can evolve to become the center of a society of learners rather than nodes for distance learning.

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

Wharton Establishes Mack Center for Technological Innovation

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced recently the creation of the William and Phyllis Mack Center for Technological Innovation. As the umbrella organization for all of Wharton's technology management initiatives, the Center will support the research and publishing activities of Wharton faculty members, create an endowed professorship, and support a student-run conference. The Center is being established with a $10 million gift from William L. Mack, president and senior managing partner of the Mack Organization, a national owner, investor, and developer of warehouse facilities.

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CLEO Lab To Advance Standard Definition

The Customized Learning Experience Online (CLEO) Lab, cofounded by NETg, will conduct focused, applied research on issues related to the U.S. Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) Sharable Content Reference Model (SCORM), an important compilation of e-learning interoperability specifications. CLEO Lab research is expected to suggest improvements to the ADL SCORM to enable learning experiences built upon a foundation of interoperable content. NETg is collaborating with a group of technology and learning industry leaders including Cisco Systems, Click2Learn, IBM Mindspan Solutions, and Microsoft to ensure prevailing standard initiatives meet not only compatibility concerns, but also provide a platform for engaging, productive learner experiences.

For more information, visit

Bluetooth Development Kit

Open Interface, a provider of connectivity software solutions for the PC market, recently introduced its new products, the Open Interface Bluetooth Development Kit (OBDK) series, a Windows-based development kit for device manufacturers developing Bluetooth-enabled devices. Bluetooth is an industry standard wireless communication technology that enables the connection of disparate devices such as cellular phones, personal computers, digital cameras, and other peripherals.

For more information, visit

Office XP Tour for Educators

Educators can get an online experience with Microsoft Office XP, the latest suite of Office applications, thanks to eCollege and Microsoft. The online seminar, delivered through an eCollege course shell, is available to faculty, teachers, administrators, and IT staffs through eCollege's and Microsoft's Web sites. During the online seminar, educators will experience Office XP in a narrated tour of an actual learning project titled "A Nautical Adventure." They will also experience eCollege's eLearning tools, and gain a better understanding of how they can use the tools to incorporate online supplements into their traditional classes, and to develop complete online courses. The seminar is free to educators, although connect charges may apply.

To register for the seminar, visit

Foundations Grant $11M to Launch Free MIT Materials on Web

The first phase of MIT OpenCourseWare, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's initiative to make nearly all of its course materials available free on the Web, will be funded by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The $11 million in grants, $5.5 million from each foundation, is for the 27-month, $12 million start-up and pilot phase of the project. The experience gained from the first phase will help determine the costs of the second phase, which is expected to take six years. The Web site for MIT OCW will include material such as lecture notes, course outlines, reading lists and assignments for virtually all MIT courses across the Institute's entire curriculum. MIT OpenCourseWare is expected to commence in Fall, 2002 with an initial goal of making more than 500 courses available on the Web over the next 2 1/4 years. The university will not give either college credit or degrees through MIT OCW.

Call for Proposals

The Mid Atlantic Teaching and Technology Support (MATTS) Conference 2002 is now accepting proposals in the following areas:

  • Evaluating and choosing technologies for teaching and learning
  • Faculty development
  • Structuring and staffing for seamless IT support
  • Student development and support.

The mission of MATTS is to provide a forum for instructional designers and technologists, faculty development specialists, student technology support staff, and instructional librarians to exchange ideas, network, and form collaborative relationships in order to enhance the quality of support for technology integration in higher education. The 2002 Conference will take place April 19-21 at The George Washington University. For more information or to submit a proposal, visit

Online Collaborative Environment for Authors, an online publishing initiative and Blue Barn Interactive (BBI) have created an online publishing environment that encourages the discovery and development of new writing talent and extends existing authors into the ePublishing market. Existing and aspiring authors can post content and solicit both quantitative and qualitative feedback, in a setting for authors with limited or no other outlet for their work. iPublish at Time Warner Books and Time Warner Trade Publishing engaged BBI to help strategize and develop its first publishing efforts on the Web and engage the community of readers, authors, and editors. Since its launch in late April, has provided a direct channel of communication to potential writers while working with an online literary committee to explore new avenues for e-publishing--production, distribution, and sales of literary material, via the Internet.

For more information, visit

WebTemplates Launches Online Web Page Builder

A new online service allows users to build Web pages quickly. The WebTemplates ( subscription service offers pre-made Web page templates, enabling subscribers to build, manage, and upload their Web pages from their browser. Each template includes art, and some have precoded features like Javascript rollover buttons. Other features of the site include a collection of Web art (backgrounds, buttons, and lines), and several tools for Web developers, including a Web-safe color picker, Web tips and design links.

netLibrary to Make e-Book Integration More Accessible

netLibrary a provider of e-books and Internet-based content and collection management services, recently announced that it will begin licensing a new specification for library automation systems vendors that will allow them to provide direct links from their online public access catalogs (OPACs) to the preview and checkout functions for netLibrary eBooks. A direct link to the "My eBooks" bookshelf where library patrons access previously checked out e-books, will also be available with this new specification. OPAC systems currently facilitate searching for e-books via MARC records. With implementation of netLibrary's URL API Specification, netLibrary e-books will be accessed more easily via direct links from the OPAC.

For more information, visit

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