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News 09-17-2002


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NSF Enlists Undergrads to Write K-12 Software

The National Science Foundation awarded SRI International a $3.2 million grant to explore ways undergraduate students in education and computer science could help create educational software for K-12 students. The project, called TRAILS (Training and Resources for Assembling Interactive Learning Systems), will design course modules, publish on-line resources, and recruit experienced mentors. Starting in Fall 2003 at Stanford and the University of Colorado at Boulder, students from both education and computer science will work as teams to develop prototype educational software and pilot its use in local K-12 classrooms. The Math Forum at Drexel University, a math Web sites for K-12 students and teachers, will publish selected software created by TRAILS students.

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Featured Session on Wireless Networking and Trends at Syllabus fall2002

With the deployment of wireless networking, students and faculty alike are beginning to enjoy the freedom of roaming unfettered through campus with their notebook and handheld computers. Will wireless networking change teaching and course administration? What are the security issues? A panel discussion led by Judith B'ettcher, CREN, will present first-hand observations and studies of wireless usage on campus at Syllabus fall2002. This education technology conference, held Nov. 3-5 at the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel, includes keynote speakers, breakout sessions, a vendor fair and an opportunity to network with colleagues focused on technology in higher education.

For information and to register, go to

Study Says Rankings Have Little Impact on College Choice

As the US News & World Report rankings of universities hit newsstands last week, a study of factors that influence college choice concluded that rankings do not play a significant role in student decisions about where to apply and enroll. Instead, the study, done by StudentPoll, a newsletter published by educational consultants Art & Science Group, said other factors, including school web sites, campus visits, parents, and current students and alumni, all have more influence over students' decisions. "That some institutions make major educational policy and investment decisions on the basis of their hoped-for effect on the rankings is misguided, since the rankings have no major consequences for the recruitment of undergraduates," said Richard Hesel, publisher of StudentPoll.

UVa, WebSurg, Announce Online Medical Ed Credits

WebSurg, a virtual surgical university, and the University of Virginia School of Medicine announced a joint partnership to provides laparoscopic surgeons the opportunity to obtain continuing medical education credits online. "Surgeons will now have the opportunity to learn the latest and most advanced minimally invasive surgical procedures right from their desktops," said Edward Chekan MD, a board-certified general surgeon and chief reviewer of WebSurg content for the University of Virginia School of Medicine. WebSurg incorporates more than 100 operative techniques with photos and animated drawings, which provides accurate and clinically relevant insight into surgical techniques and is complimented by over 300 high-quality surgical videos, expert opinions, and clinical cases.

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Publisher Offers Customized Book Content Online

Publisher Kluwer Academic Publishers (KAP) launched Online Custom Books, a platform offering online users the ability to create individual customized books from KAP's electronic books collection. A six-step process lets scientists and researchers choose chapters they want, title their creation, and decide if they want the custom book delivered electronically or printed and mailed as a perfect-bound paperback. Using the Custom Book Builder, researchers can browse available subject areas, pick individual chapters from different books, preview and combine them in a desired order and specify a delivery format. Books delivered electronically are available in Adobe Acrobat eBook format.

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New Product: Assessment Platform for Apple Jaguar

Online testing and assessment technology company Vantage Learning made available the latest version of VanGuard for OS X, a secure online assessment platform. The updated version is designed to run within Apple's new OS 10.2 (Jaguar) environment, opening the door to schools that use Apple computers. The VanGuard 3.0 environment provides a "lock down" browser environment to enable delivery of high-stakes testing applications. Users can only access the assessment application delivered within VanGuard and cannot exit the VanGuard environment to surf the Web, or use other applications. Vanguard 3.0 also provides XML support for greater ease of use, as well as Math ML to offer functionality for mathematics applications.

Services: ASP Specializes in Campus Career Info

Arizona's Maricopa County Community College system has signed an agreement with an application service provider specializing in managing information on job opportunities to improve the 10-school system's network of campus career centers. The partnership with New York-based College Central Network Inc. will power the schools' central job board, enabling employers throughout the Ph'enix region to post to all system schools and search resumes without charge. CCN operates the employer job posting gateway, an entry-level job posting hub. Its virtual job/teacher/grad fair applications also host career events for more than 600 colleges.

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