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News 02-25-2003

Hear the Latest Techniques from Colleagues on Syllabus Radio

Syllabus Radio features interviews with established leaders, creative thinkers, and education technology experts in higher education. Log on to and hear Betty L. Black of North Carolina State University discuss pilot programs using wireless handheld computers to increase interaction among students in large, lecture-based classrooms. Log on and listen to this interview and others covering the hottest technology issues on campus.

U. Miami, Top Spanish U., Sign Joint IT Research Pact

The University of Miami (UM) signed an alliance with the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (UPV), one of Spain's leading universities, to conduct joint research in engineering and information technology and to pursue joint grants, research faculty exchanges, and student exchanges. The schools plan to write joint proposals to international funding agencies, both in the European Union and the United States, for research dollars that they expect will improve their research projects, as well as increase the economic impact in their communities. With a budget of about $1.1 billion, UM has a substantial economic impact on Miami-Dade County; UPV has a similar impact on the city of Valencia.

Sun Offers $1B Software, Support to Ed Community

Sun Microsystems Inc. this week announced a basket of low-cost licensing packages and software discounts for the education community that the company estimated was worth a total value of more than $1 billion. The Sun Education Software (EduSoft) Portfolio constitutes a single software license, streamlined ordering processes, and discounted support and training for certain Sun software products. In making the announcement, Sun vice president for software Jonathan Schwartz said it is "giving back" to the education community, "the genesis of Sun and most technology companies today."

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U. Wyoming Tests Content-Aware P2P File Sharing

The University of Wyoming is testing a prototype network designed to manage peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing based upon the content and ownership of specific files being traded. The system, which its developer, Audible Magic Corp., calls the first of a new generation of "content-aware" applications, will provide the university with detailed information that allows legitimate P2P application traffic while addressing industry concerns about illegal transfers of copyrighted material such as movies and songs. The system generates reports that present detailed information about the trading activity of specific files, and holds the promise of a solution that selectively manages and allows non-infringing P2P activity instead of prohibiting all P2P applications. "The proliferation of P2P file sharing is a real concern for us," said Robert Morrison, director of telecom services at the university. "The bandwidth utilization of file trading activity grew to over half of the university's network traffic … In addition, as a university we are sensitive to the issue of protection of intellectual property. We realize a solution that satisfies all the parties involved needs to be more sophisticated than what exists in the market today."

GIS Group Seeks Comment on Proposed Web Mapping Spec

The Open GIS Consortium Inc., a group of companies, government agencies, and universities that want to develop open standards for sharing spatial data, have asked for comments on a proposed Web Map Context Documents Implementation Specification. The standard describes an approach to enable the capture and maintenance of the context -- or state information -- of a Web Map Server (WMS) request so that this information can be reused easily in the future user session. Information typically includes: window size and placement, bounding box (in a common Earth coordinate reference system), URLs, and other details that could be used by another client to generate a similar map. Those interested are invited to comment at:

Students Spend More Time Inebriated than in Class

More than three-quarters of the 27,900 college students who took a recent online alcohol prevention course indicated that they regularly drink enough alcohol to be under the influence more hours per week than they average in the classroom. The online course, AlcoholEdu, from Outside The Classroom, also found that 78 percent of the students indicated they consumed an average of 9.72 drinks per week during the previous two weeks. That's enough to register discernible blood alcohol content levels for an average of more than 18 hours per week per student—more than the roughly 15 hours per week spent in class by most college students. Other findings: 23.7 percent said that at least once in the previous two weeks they had attended a class with a hangover; and 18.4 percent said they had experienced memory impairment at some point while they had been drinking at least once in the previous two weeks.

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