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News 04-08-2003

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U.S. News Rankings: MIT Tops in Computer Engineering

MIT took first place in the annual ranking of undergraduate computer engineering programs by U.S. News and World Report. Rounding out the top five in the category, which listed schools with doctorate programs, were Carnegie Mellon University in second place, followed by Stanford University, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana. In the category of schools without doctorate programs, the top five computer engineering schools were: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Ind.), Rochester Institute of Technology; Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo; Harvey Mudd College (Calif.), and Cooper Union College (N.Y.). The magazine says their rankings consider student selectivity, faculty resources, research activity, and reputation.

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Penn State Online Net Targets Training, Pro Development

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education launched its online university, the Keystone University Network, with a slate of workforce-training and professional-development courses targeting healthcare, maintenance technology, and government workers. The network said it would make available to learners 24-hour access to online content subject matter experts provide via KnowledgePool, an online tutoring service. In addition, a learning management system from KnowledgePlanet Inc. will provide consistent tracking of student progress courses, even when completing programs from the variety of learning providers accessible through the network. Keystone said it also launched online adult basic-education programming. The curriculum, developed by PLATO Learning, includes course levels from early childhood to post-secondary and prepares individuals for GED testing.

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Ball State Provides Live Video Health Consultations

Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., is making available to students a service that will provide medical consultations with students via their dorm PCs. Using the interactive "iSeeTV" technology, students will be able to consult with an onscreen nurse, while speaking by phone. A nurse can show customized multimedia content to the student. Because the nurse cannot see the student, privacy is maintained, which is crucial to teens who might not seek needed treatment otherwise. iSeeTV, created by UK-based Media Logic, is a service that enables audio, visual, and multimedia contact between an organization's call center adviser and an end-user, who converse by telephone. The consumer sees the adviser and personalized content on TV or PC. Unlike broadcast, which delivers one signal to many homes, iSeeTV is narrowcast, delivering one signal to one home device.

Upcoming Key Conferences on Higher Education and Technology

The SIGGRAPH 2003 Educators Program will explore the interdisciplinary use of computer graphics and the teaching of computer graphics, conference organizers said. The monster computer graphics show said its educators’ program will carry the theme, "Building Bridges," and will feature sessions on the use of computer graphics in art, art history, museum exhibitions, theater design, mathematics, and computer science. The show will be held July 27-31 at the San Diego Convention Center.

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The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) will host its annual conference this week in Charlotte, N.C. The conference will focus on issues affecting higher education, including librarian recruitment, funding, and technology issues. The program will also tackle student assessment, online privacy, and how to teach students to find the best resources in print and on the Web.

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New Products of Interest to Educators, Administrators

DESKTOP MANAGEMENT—Apple Computer Inc. announced last week an update to Apple Remote Desktop, which includes the ability to remotely install software to groups of Macs, as well as the ability to set a remote server as the start up disk for a group of Macs. The desktop management features include the ability to scan the screens of up to 400 student desktops from the instructor’s computer, and the ability to help individual students using chat, as well as the ability to broadcast the instructor’s screen to the student desktops. Network administrators can use also use the software to manage hundreds of clients over the network.

SEARCH WARS—Microsoft Corp. said it is taking aim at privately held Google Inc., the Web-search company. "We do view Google more and more as a competitor. We believe that we can provide consumers with a better product and a better user experience. That's something that we're actively looking at doing," said Bob Visse, director of marketing for Microsoft's MSN Internet services division. Visse said the company was making some significant investments in developing a better search engine. Microsoft would not be the first Web portal provider to step into the Web search segment. Last month, Internet media company, Yahoo Inc., closed a $235 million purchase of Internet-search company Inktomi Corp.

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