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News 12-11-2001

Syllabus2002 Call for Papers Deadline December 15

Proposals to present at Syllabus2002 are due December 15, 2001. The annual summer conference will be held July 27-31 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in the heart of Silicon Valley, Calif. The conference covers a wide variety of topics relevant to technology in higher education.

Tracks include: New Technologies Update; Administrative Systems for the Academic Enterprise; Technology Infrastructure and IT Planning Issues; Standards, Interoperability, and Open Source; New Publishing Models and Intellectual Property; Web-Based Environments for Teaching and Administration; Evaluation and Assessment Strategies; and Faculty Innovation-Case Studies. Complete track descriptions are posted with a detailed Call for Papers on the Syllabus Web site.

Interested parties are encouraged to submit proposals online at <>

Pepperdine Launches Digital Democracy Laboratory

Pepperdine University, eNeuralNet, and IBM Corp. have joined forces to open the Murray S. Craig Digital Democracy Lab at Pepperdine's School of Public Policy. The lab is dedicated to promoting political accountability via the use of artificial intelligence software. eNeuralNet is donating its Minutes-N-Motion political accountability software, a 50-seat license, and an IBM server. Craig, the software's creator, will serve as a strategic advisor to lab director, Pepperdine professor Mike Shires, in developing curriculum and research applications.

For more information, visit: <>.

Pa. Schools Push Single Web Student Information System

Pennsylvania's 198,600-student state higher education system will convert to a single Web-based student information system. The 14-school system decided to build a comprehensive Web-based solution after a Gartner Group study concluded that replacing legacy systems would save $29 million over 10 years. The network will run on Sun Microsystems, Inc. servers. SAP will provide the application software. The $100 million project will start by implementing mySAP Financials, with student administration tools expected in spring 2002. Khalil Yazdi, vice chancellor for information technology, said, "ultimately, all of the students and faculty in our system will have access to resources across all of our universities."

For more information, visit: <>.

Employers Court Hearing-Impaired Techies at Job Fair

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology this week will hold a job fair for employers to interview some 500 deaf and hard-of-hearing people for high-tech jobs. The job fair will be held Dec. 11, between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., at NTID/RIT. Students and alumni will use sign language and interpreters to interview with companies, including IBM and Kodak, as well as engineering, financial services firms and government agencies such as the IRS and NASA Space Center. The day will start with an interactive workshop from 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. covering ways to integrate deaf employees into the workplace. All employers will receive a CD from the New York State Department of Labor containing each job seeker's resume.

For more information, visit: <>.

Seton Hall University Project Targets Digital Divide

Seton Hall University unveiled a program to provide technology resources and training to economically disadvantaged people. Project SHUTTLE, for Seton Hall University Technology Training for Lifelong Education, aims to provide technology education, resources and training to people without a personal computer or technological resources. The project will collaborate with the school's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and Upward Bound Program to provide laptop computers to participating high school seniors. The students receive training in laptop use and are encouraged to take the computers home for schoolwork and home use. EOP director Carol McMillan-Lonesome called SHUTTLE "a conduit for families to embrace lifelong learning through technology, understand the ... importance of higher education and achieve personal ... aspirations."

For more information, visit: <>.

Blackboard, CollegisEduprise Expand Partnership

Blackboard Inc. and CollegisEduprise, Inc. said they would bundle their respective tools and services to strengthen their offerings to the higher education market. The collaboration will blend the Blackboard 5 Learning System, software licensing, application hosting and integration services from Blackboard with education assessment, strategic planning, end-user help desk services, and faculty pedagogical training from CollegisEduprise. Clients of both companies include the Community College of Denver, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Montgomery Community College, New York Institute of Technology, Norfolk State University and the University of Baltimore.

Architecture Students Incorporate Latest Design Tools

The Program of Computer Graphics at Cornell University is using beta versions of Autodesk Architectural Studio and Autodesk VIZ 4 as part of an fall design studio for third-year undergraduates in the Department of Architecture. The program will integrate the use of traditional analog design tools with new media, including Autodesk Architectural Studio, a conceptual design tool to be commercially released in early 2002, and Autodesk VIZ 4, an advanced visualization tool for use in modeling, rendering, and lighting studies. The tools will make it possible for students to receive traditional design evaluations or "desk crits" remotely.Don Greenberg, professor of architecture, said, "we're embarking on a new way of teaching architecture in the 21st century."

For more information, visit: <>.

Pataki Announces Buffalo High Tech Research Center

New York Gov. George Pataki last week announced up to $150 million in private sector support for building a Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics in Buffalo, part of the governor's $1 billion plan to create public-private partnerships to build high-tech and biotech research centers throughout the state. Companies supporting the project include: Compaq, Dell, Sun, SGI, Veridian, InforMax and Stryker. Academic partners include the University of Buffalo, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute. N.Y. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "By building on our ... academic infrastructure, and by working with corporate partners ... we will continue this region's historic role as a place where academics and commerce come together to benefit not just residents of the region but all New Yorkers."

CSC Wins $229M Dept. of Education Contract Extension

Computer Sciences Corp. and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Student Financial Assistance (SFA) agreed to extend a student loan data center task order by an additional four-and-a-half years to the year 2011. CSC estimates the extension will add $229 million to the task order agreement. CSC and the agency also converted the agreement to a performance-based contract, as part of the SFA's strategy to focus on business results rather than delivery details. Since 1997, CSC has helped consolidate eight SFA legacy systems into a system for the office, students, and bank and university personnel. The Department of Education is currently modernizing the delivery of major federal student aid programs, including Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, which provide more than $50 billion a year to help students pay for the costs of college.

Northwestern, SBC, Launch Optical Networking Trial

Northwestern University has joined with Ameritech parent SBC Communications Inc. to build a experimental network to assess next-generation optical technologies and applications in metropolitan networks. The trial, dubbed OMNInet for Optical Metro Network Initiative, will provide a test bed for all-optical switching, high-speed technology such as 10 gigabit Ethernet(10 GE) and next-generation applications for healthcare, industrial design, finance and commerce. Applications being tested include high-resolution streaming video for telemedicine, 3D visualization for industrial design, financially focused large-scale data transfers, data mining for scientific and commercial use, and computational, data intensive science for high bandwidth applications.

For more information, visit: <>.

eCollege Says Courseware Exceeds Disability Standards

Courseware developer eCollege said the software it will release this month will exceed Section 508, the federal accessibility standard for information technology. The comany said its software targets student users as well as disabled faculty authoring online courses. It will also provide a support staff trained in assistive technologies. The software will be available without requiring a new version purchase, upgrade or implementatioin, the company said. Mike Gibson, coordinator of the Professional Training in Adaptive Technology Program at the Colorado Center for the Blind, said, "working with an e-learning company that is proactive in understanding and meeting the needs of the blind helps us to change what it means to be blind."

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