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News 12-20-2002

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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 Boettcher about leveraging academic cultures to sustain technology on campus. Click on to for this interview and others with established leaders and creative thinkers in higher education.

CSU Internet Admission Applications Up 50 Percent

California State University said the number of admissions applications it received via the Internet increased 47.5 percent during the 2-month fall enrollment period of October 1 through November 30, 2002. "Students are sending a loud and clear message that they prefer the convenience and flexibility of learning about CSU and applying to its campuses online," said Allison Jones, the CSU's assistant vice chancellor for student academic support. CSU worked with the Xap Corp. to design and host the admissions application, which is called CSUMentor. On November 30, the busiest day of the enrollment period, CSUMentor received 25,359 applications; more than 2,000 applications were submitted during a single hour.

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Kansas State Builds Course-Management Application

Kansas State University has launched K-State Online, a course management application that will provide its students Web-access to live and recorded lectures, multimedia presentations, homework assignments, tests, and virtual office hours. The system, which was built on the BEA WebLogic Enterprise Platform, is being used by three-quarters of the student body this semester. "We know it's seen as a valuable resource by instructors because so many of them are using it even without a mandate from the university," said . Rob Caffey, KSU’s director of information systems for the Division of Continuing Education. KSU has 340 professors now using the application for about 1,000 courses, which includes more than 100 professors who are teaching distance courses.

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Central Michigan U. Funded for Nanotech Research

Central Michigan University said it would use $3.5 million it will receive as part of the 2003 Defense Appropriations bill signed by President Bush in late October to fund research into nanotechnology and biotechnology. The school’s Center for Applied Research & Technology will use the funds to research into dendrimers, a tiny molecular structure that interacts with cells, letting scientists probe, manipulate, diagnose or cure them on a nanoscale. Dendrimers can also be used to manipulate and change the properties of materials, creating, for example, stronger steel, smaller wires in computer chips or water that conducts electricity more effectively. Dendrimers were invented by scientist Donald Tomalia, who holds more than 100 patents for the technology.

MIT Enrolls in Design Software Beta Program

A design seminar being offered by the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at MIT, is using design software to help students optimize their semester projects. The software, ISight from Engineous, was applied to a diverse set of class projects, including the design of micro-aerial vehicles, lightweight portable wing optimization, automotive vehicle platform optimization, a multidisciplinary framework for stakeholder decision-making, and wind turbine optimization. Based on the feedback from MIT, the company said it would launch an academic beta program. Program participants, like Georgia Tech and MIT, will ensure the functionality meets the needs of students and faculty. The full version of iSight Academic is targeted to launch in mid 2003.

Deals, Awards, Contracts in Higher Education

DESIGN TECH—The University of the Arts in Philadelphia signed a deal with graphics and design software company Corel Inc. to integrate Corel applications into the school’s curriculum. Corel Painter 7 , Bryce 5, KnockOut 2 and KPT effects will be deployed on the university's 600 computer systems. The value of the tools is estimated at more than $132,000. Harris Fogel, chairman of the Media Arts Department at the university, called the deal "a major coup," that enhances the "creative potential" of the school.

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