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News 09-27-2002

INS to Kick Off Program to Track Foreign Students

The federal Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has developed a program, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), to track information about students and faculty from foreign countries. Institutions in the United States are required to begin submitting data to SEVIS by the end of January 2003. The INS said the first phase of the initiative calls for providing real-time data exchange over the Internet. Though institutions do not require a special system to participate, they will be required to log on to the SEVIS Web site directly and enter data manually, including source data for student visas. E-learning company SCT said it has released a version of its SCT Banner application that connects to SEVIS, enabling clients to track SEVIS data in their SCT Banner student and human resources systems.

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Sponsor: Featured Session on Wireless Networking 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 Boettcher, 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

Programming Contest Encourages Tech Generation

The annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) got underway last week, part of an effort to recruit the next generation of technology talent. IBM Corp. also said it would extend its sponsorship of the contest until 2007. The contest challenges students, working in three-person teams, to rely on their programming skills and creativity during a five-hour battle of logic, strategy and mental endurance. Students solve complex problems using both traditional and new software development tools. Last year ICPC drew nearly 3,100 teams from 67 countries during the preliminary rounds, and organizers anticipate even more participants this year. Sixty-four teams will be selected to compete at the 2003 World Finals, to be held March 22-26, in Los Angeles. The regional contests began last week with competitions in Australia and New Zealand. North American regional contests will begin in October.

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Services: College Board Delivered 30K e-Tests Daily

The College Board this fall delivered more than 1. 7 million electronic tests to place entering college students in appropriate courses for the fall semester. The organization's Accuplacer program delivers more than 4 million tests annually to support accurate placement of students into college courses. The program uses the Vantage Learning Platform to deliver the tests online. More than 30,000 tests per day were delivered on average during the month of August. Entering students completed their assessments in several subjects, including reading, writing and mathematics and received immediate feedback on their performance online. Many responded to essay-type questions and received immediate feedback using Vantage's IntelliMetric AI scoring engine.

Grants: Sun Donates Office Software Suite Globally

Sun Microsystems donated more than $6 billion worth of its officed suite StarOffice 6.0 to academic institutions reaching 240 million students throughout the world. Donations have already been made to ministries of education in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Chile, valued at more than $5.7 billion and reaching more than 200 million students. This week, the company starts on its next wave of donations in France, Germany and Sweden. The total will reach an additional 18 million students with planned donations across Africa.

Wireless Reference Tool for Med Students Debuts

Skyscape, Inc., a provider mobile solutions for the healthcare community, unveiled smARTrain, an application that would enable medical residents, students, nursing students and physician assistant students to access medical reference information from a wireless handheld device. The company said more than 90 schools have taken advantage of this program, including Tulane University, University of Chicago, Abbott Northwestern, Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts Medical Schools. The program lets students to go online wirelessly to get enhanced versions of leading medical reference books, which can help them check symptoms, make diagnoses and prescribe drugs. Medical references are available that are suited for general medicine as well as for a variety of specialties.

Ohio Library Consortium Signs Licensing Deal

OhioLINK, a consortium of Ohio's college and university libraries and the State Library of Ohio, signed a deal with Consortialink, a service which negotiates electronic subscriptions and access to research publications via a single Web interface. OhioLINK, which serves more than 500,000 students, faculty and staff at 80 institutions, has purchased electronic access to 129 journals from 12 publishers, with an option to add another 131 journals next year. Launched last December, Consortialink connects libraries and publishers of academic and professional research. The service is specifically geared to providing access to research content produced by small-to-medium-sized, quality publishers who want to satisfy consortia demand, but have limited sales resources.

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