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News 12-16-2002

Sponsor: Syllabus
Syllabus Radio is on the Air!

This new feature from Syllabus allows you to log on and listen to education technology experts from around the country. This week, Gerard Hanley, Senior Director of Academic Technology Support in the Office of the Chancellor at California State University and Executive Director of MERLOT, speaks with Judith B'ettcher about leveraging academic cultures to sustain technology on campus. Click here for this interview and others with established leaders and creative thinkers in higher education.

USC Report: Messaging Drives 2003 Internet

A report by the Center for Telecom Management at the University of Southern California concludes that new products and services that evolve from e-mail, messaging, and voice applications will drive 2003 mobile Internet growth in the U.S. The Telecom Outlook Report (TOR) on Wireless projects 2003 to be a boom year for short message services (SMS)—text messaging between mobile phones or to an e-mail address—propelling continued growth of mobile wireless. The TOR expects that 34 percent of all SMS would be accessed through mobile devices next year. Also, nearly 30 percent of multimedia message services (MMS) conveying animation, photos, and audio and video files will be accessed via mobile devices in 2003. But researchers warn that the success of the mobile Internet depends on partnerships between network players "No one company is equipped to offer end-to-end service," said USC's Elizabeth Fife, the report's author. "Partnerships are a strategic component in the development of wireless applications and services that will find a broad market."

For more information, contact Elizabeth Fife at (213) 740-0980.

U. Pittsburgh Medical Center Opens Digital OR

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center last week a Digital Operating Room and learning center for orthopedic surgery. The 2,500-square foot surgical suite uses voice-activated and digital surgical equipment to reduce operating room time and increase the surgical team's efficiency and control of the overall operating room. With an adjoining observation room and simulation lab that are both linked to the operating room by image routing technology, the new Digital OR provides state of the art training for orthopedic surgery residents. The Digital OR was built by Smith & Nephew Endoscopy. Pittsburgh will be one of the first hospitals to use the company’s Hermes digital image management system, which allows surgeons to control endoscopic surgical equipment through voice activation.

For more information, visit:

CCs Awarded Community Development Grants

Five Pennsylvania community college programs that use technology to promote workforce development are the recipients of grants totaling $230,000 from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the phone company. The grants are designed to help college-age and adult students prepare for the workplace. The grant recipients include:

—Cambria County Area Community College: $50,000 to establish a wireless mobile laptop computer lab in the six-county southern Alleghenies region to expand the capabilities of information technology.

—Lehigh Carbon Community College: $50,000 to provide courses in computer and work place skills for women, minorities and people with disabilities in Lehigh, Carbon and Schuykill counties.

—Luzerne County Community College: $50,000 to establish a wireless, portable computer lab for the online GED (general equivalency diploma) connection at the college's Hazelton and downtown Wilkes-Barre centers. The online GED connection is designed to help the Adult Learners Training and Assistance Program address the needs of Hispanics and other minority populations in these communities.

—Montgomery County Community College: $50,000 for the Regional Center for Excellence in Workforce Education and Training to provide customized educational and training programs to meet workforce development needs in the Pottstown region.

—Northampton Community College: $30,000 to create a Technology Tool Kit with computer applications and classroom learning activities for minority students in Monr'e, Pike, Wayne and Northampton counties.

For more information on the foundation, visit

IBM Launches University Middleware Roadshow

IBM is visiting universities from Beijing to Paderborn, Germany, to promote its open infrastructure "middleware." The computer giant said its "University Days" middleware roadshow, designed to help software programming students create open-standards-based e-business software, is expected to reach nearly 10,000 students in 22 universities by year’s end. The program showcases IBM's resources for open technology, including XML, Linux, Web Services, as well IBM's WebSphere, Lotus, DB2, the eServer family of servers, Tivoli and pervasive software. "Our strategy is to demonstrate the value of open software, which provides businesses with greater flexibility and productivity," said Gina Poole, Vice President, Developer Marketing and Web Communities.

Technology, Products, Services for Higher Ed

FILE SHARING MONITOR—Universities are resorting to software appliances to help reduce the hold that peer-to-peer file sharing applications such as KaZaA, Morpheus, and Grokster have on their primary administrative networks. Rockefeller University, for example, used software called PacketHound to interfere with the peer-to-peer traffic. James Matthes, a network security specialist at the university, said the application successfully blocked staff access to KaZaA and monitored the network for abusive users of file-sharing programs. It also was able to quantify that file-sharing traffic accounted for between 40 percent and 50 percent of traffic on the staff’s network.

COURSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM—Course Management System provider Blackboard Inc., has teamed with two international education services companies to help the development of teachers in rural schools throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Under the partnership, training firm World Links Inc. will offer teacher training in the use of technology and the Internet to improve teaching and learning via the Blackboard Learning System ML, the multi-language edition of the company's market-leading course management system. In addition, LearningMate, Inc. a Mumbai, India-based eLearning company, will use Blackboard’s Building Blocks technology to develop a tool that provides offline access to Blackboard course content.

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