News 08-23-2002

Georgia Tech Certifies Accessible Web Design

Georgia Tech said will offer a certificate program tailored to web designers and managers on meeting Section 508 requirements, federal rules for providing access to public computer systems and property for people with disabilities. Section 508 applies to all federal departments and entities, and to all contracts and grants that they sponsor. States are following suit, passing similar legislation in increasing numbers. Upon finishing the three-part course, students will receive Georgia Tech's Wesley Center for New Media Certificate in Creating Accessible Web Sites. There are no prerequisites. Students should have a basic understanding of Web design with HTML, and a working knowledge of Macromedia Dreamweaver is also recommended. Some 50 million people in the U.S. have functional limitations that can affect their ability to use the web, according to the school.

For more information, visit: http://www.newmedia.gatech.edu

Sponsor: James Oliverio Featured Keynote Speaker at Syllabus fall2002 James Oliverio, Professor and Director of Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida, will lead off the first day of Syllabus fall2002's main conference as keynote speaker on November 4. Oliverio's interest in immersive collaboration and the use of visualization and multi-modal technologies to increase understanding and retention promises to be an enlightening, thought-provoking session. Syllabus fall2002 will be held November 3-5 at the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel in Newton, Mass with pre-conference seminars on November 3 and a vendor fair scheduled for November 4.

For further conference details and to register, go to http://www.syllabus.com/fall2002.

Kintera Exec Endows UCSD Engineering Chair

Harry Gruber, chief executive officer and founder of online solutions provider Kintera Inc., has endowed a chair in Computer Science and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Larry Smarr, the founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)2], has been appointed the first holder of the Harry E. Gruber Chair. In 1985, Smarr established the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, which contributed to the birth of the commercial Internet and the Web browser. "Today, the UCSD School of Engineering is indeed a national treasure," said Gruber. "I am proud to be able to help support the school with an endowed chair in its continuing quest for excellence." Gruber founded Kintera in 1999 as an Internet marketing services provider offering nonprofit organizations advanced web solutions.

eCollege Updates Course Management System

Education application service provider (ASP) eCollege launched eCollege AU+, the latest version of its course management system which the company claims will improve assignment management, math and science content authoring, and course calendars. eCollege chief Oakleigh Thorne said the company's ASP model, "make(s) it easy for us to automatically release new technology to all of our customers without putting them through the inconveniences of moving from one software version to another." Among the new features are: Assignment Dropbox, which integrates grade book functionality and course content; Equation Builder, which enables users to build and edit mathematic equations through the course-authoring environment; and Integrated Calendar, which integrates calendars across all of a student's courses, and can be downloaded to Microsoft Outlook and a personal digital assistant.

TI Pocket Calculator Celebrates 35th Birthday

Thirty-five years ago Texas Instruments unveiled the electronic handheld calculator, which swept through college campuses and forced educators to rethink their approach to teaching problem-solving and administering tests. Ironically, the company is now distancing itself from "the C Word." "The majority of our business is now with educational handhelds," said Tom Ferrio, a TI vice president for educational solution. "These are generations removed from what most people think of when they say 'calculator.'" The new handhelds are sophisticated descendents of the 70's-era calculator, with their own microprocessors and operating systems. They can be upgraded electronically as new versions are released and customized to add functionality for different curricular needs.

Awards, Deals, Contracts, in Higher Education

-- The Quilt, a coalition of regional research and educational networking organizations, said it picked Level 3 Communications and Qwest Communications as Internet providers for its members, who are regional networking organizations including the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, Educause, Merit Networks, NyserNet, and the Oregon Gigapop. The two companies were chosen for their ability to provide high performance network services to the organizations, who collectively consume over 4.5 gigabits per second of commodity Internet bandwidth.

-- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University won a contract from the U.S. Air Force Academy to provide introductory flight training to cadets and lieutenants who will become Air Force pilots. The $14.5 million, five-year contract calls for a 50-hour flight-training program resulting in a private pilot's license. Training will take place at the Air Force Academy airfield in Colorado Springs, Colo. The program will train up to 300 Air Force cadets in the first year and involve up to 540 students per year the remaining four years of the contract. The Air Force will provide advanced training to the cadets after they graduate from the academy.

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