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News 10-30-2001

Featured Sessions at Upcoming Syllabus fall2001

Featured sessions at Syllabus fall2001 are designed to appeal to a broad audience. We're excited to present two keynoters who are true movers in education technology with exceptional track records in IT on campus.

Carl Berger, of the University of Michigan, will examine the next "killer app" in higher education, and Kathy Christoph, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will talk about the transformation of teaching and learning with technology-on your campus.

A featured panel, moderated by MIT's Phil Long, will consider what Open Source means for higher education. And the TLT Group's Steve Gilbert will offer a featured track covering several facets of the digital realm in higher education. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Ferncroft in Danvers, Mass. November 29-December 2. Register online at

Northwestern Launches IT Development Laboratory

Northwestern University said it would launch an Information Technology Development Laboratory (DevLab) to turn promising promising university research prototypes into complete products. DevLab will be funded in part by Motorola, Inc., which will help spark innovative start-up companies. The first application coming out of the DevLab is a software search assistant called "Watson" that reads along with a user and immediately searches for relevant information while they are online. Kristian Hammond, DevLab director and professor of computer science at Northwestern, called the lab a "first step in creating a new model that builds a relationship between the academic community and today's global leaders in the technology industry."

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NSF Funds USC National Tech Network

The National Science Foundation awarded the University of Southern California a $600,000 grant to establish a National Technology Transfer and Commercialization Network. The project, estimated to cost $1.2 million, aims to spur innovation and commercialization of new technologies in the U.S. The network will partner MBAs with inventors to develop new products and to potentially become stakeholders in the resulting new commercial ventures. Network partners would have access to resources for rapid prototyping and commercial assessment, distance education in commercialization skills, conferences, and visual collaboration technology. In addition to several universities, charter members include: PricewaterhouseCoopers, research lab NASA Ames, and the National Collegiate Innovators and Inventors Alliance (NCIIA).

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Wisconsin Picks Instant Messaging Platform

The University of Wisconsin has licensed the Jabber Communications Platform to provide instant messaging (IM) applications for its 80,000-plus students, faculty and staff. Jabber, an IM applications developer, will provide the real-time communications platform, which can also be extended to provide messaging between students and users of other messaging services like Yahoo or MSN. The IM services will be delivered via the Jabber Instant Messenger client for Windows, developed to ensure the performance of widesrpead deployment of IM. Roger Hanson, a technologist with the University of Wisconsin, said the platform would provide "everything we think our students and faculty will need for spontaneous IM communications."

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Schools Go 'Cashless' for Off-Campus Purchasing

Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., have instituted "cashless" buying programs to enable students, faculty and staff to use their ID cards to purchase goods at select off-campus businesses. Currently students use the stored value cards to buy some products on campus, including vending machine snacks, cafeteria lunches, and books. The new program, being managed Student Advantage Inc., would create off-campus networks of businesses at which card holders could make cashless card purchases. The company said the program would "dramatically" decrease the use of cash on and off campus, thereby contributing to campus safety. It also helps cement the universities' relationship with their surrounding communities, officials argued.

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Student Consumers Targeted by Digital TV Companies

Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and the University of the Arts are being offered high-end digital cable television service that offers them up to 118 digital channels, access to premium channels, pay-per-view events, and the ability to customize channel line-ups over the Internet. The service, provided by Madison, N.Y.-based Falls Earth Station, Inc., would be delivered directly to a cable headend on the campus and fed through the campus's existing cable system, thereby eliminating the need for a satellite antenna on each dormitory building. Jerry Barnes, president of Falls Earth Station, said, "we recognize today's college student is a sophisticated and value-conscious consumer, and (the service) is designed to offer the variety, value and flexibility demanded by the higher education community."

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Michigan Provides Dow Jones Service to B-School

Dow Jones Newswires said it would provide its flagship equities information service, Dow Jones News Service, to the trading room at the University of Michigan Business School. The school's Trading Room is designed to give students a realistic view of operations on an actual trading floor. Students are required to manage a real investment fund, combining skills acquired in traditional courses with the latest financial technology to develop strategies for portfolio management. Dow Jones news service offers quick, in-depth reports on everything that affects the stock markets. Richard Sloan, a Michigan professor of accounting and finance, said "students now have the opportunity to analyze how security prices react to the release of new information using the same information source as the Wall Street professionals responsible for setting prices."

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McGill Forms Wireless Tech Research Partnership

McGill University has formed a research partnership with wireless technology developer InterDigital Communications Corp. to improve the efficiency of advanced wireless networks carrying large amounts of voice and data traffic, including multi-media services. The alliance between the company and McGill's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is focused on radio resource management techniques that support smart antenna solutions for 3G wireless networks. Such techniques will help develop applications that use the scarce 3G specturm more efficiently, the principals said.

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Blackboard, PeopleSoft Link Higher Ed Portals

Blackboard Inc. announced an expanded alliance with PeopleSoft, Inc. that would tie in the online enterprise education and administrative platforms of the two companies. The deal would activate Blackboard links in the PeopleSoft Campus Portal and PeopleSoft links in the Blackboard portal to simplify navigation between the platforms. The move is expected to give universities flexibility to select an institution-wide portal with single sign-on access to both academic and administrative information. PeopleSoft said the deal underlines its "commitment to e-learning." The two companies have already collaborated in integrating PeopleSoft with Blackboard 5 Level 3, which ensures basic data integrity between the two systems. Customers of either platform will now have access to both administrative and academic information at any time through the use of a standard browser.

Campus Pipeline Unveils Content Management for Higher Ed

Campus Pipeline, Inc. introduced what it called the first enterprise content management solution designed for higher education. The Campus Pipeline Luminis Content Management Suite 2.0 is the product of a collaboration between the company, Drexel University, Pepperdine University, and Documentum, a provider of enterprise content management. The software is intended to automate and administer the management of tens of thousands of Web pages, documents, and other digital resources, from multiple contributors, both inside the campus and in the public domain. Drexel chief information officer John A. Bielec said the collaboration allowed the school to "customize the first content management suite for higher education and help many universities address similar needs."

Don't Miss This Event from 101communications

Syllabus fall2001 "Next Steps: Moving Forward with Campus IT"
November 29-December 2
Danvers, MA.
Online registration available:

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