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News Update 04-29-2003

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USC School of Engineering Offers MS in CompSec

The University of Southern California (USC) School of Engineering will offer in fall 2003 a master's of science degree in computer science with a specialization in security. "We are working proactively to respond to a growing threat," said Dean C. L. Max Nikias of the new 18-month curriculum. "We perceive an environment in which computer systems and communications are under imminent threat, not merely from malicious teenage vandals and would-be thieves, but from terror groups and even nations with resources and know-how to do serious damage." Last year the school opened the Center for Computer Systems Security (CCSS). "Our new MS program is a natural continuation of this focus," Nikias said. Money to support students pursuing security specializations is available through the National Science Foundation's Federal Cyber Service program. The new program will also be available through the USC Distance Education Network, school officials said.

Sponsor: Syllabus2003 to Offer Special Day at Stanford

This summer's 10th annual Syllabus Education Technology Conference features a day of learning and exploration at Stanford University—a special day to see, feel, and experience the latest in technology for higher education. You'll learn about high-performance learning environments, including Wallenberg Hall and the Stanford Center for Professional Development, plus have the opportunity to select breakout sessions covering areas of strategic importance to higher education professionals. The day promises to be an insider's look at one of the nation's premier campuses and is limited to the first 500 registrants. Sign up now to attend Syllabus2003 July 27-31 at the San Jose Marriott and Stanford University. Early Bird discounts are available until June 27. To register or for more details, go to:

Gallaudet U. to Join in Video Relay Service for Deaf

Gallaudet University said it would partner with the developer of a video relay translation system to help improve interpretation services for the nation's 28 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people. The school, which offers over 50,000 hours of interpreting services every year, will work with Sorenson Media to offer a free video relay service. The system enables both deaf and hard-of-hearing users to place video relay calls through a certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter and broadband Internet connection. The call is placed using the Sorenson VP-100 videophone appliance and a TV or using a personal computer with Sorenson EnVision SL or Microsoft NetMeeting video relay software and a Web camera. The Sorenson VRS Call Center routes the incoming video relay calls to an available ASL interpreter. The interpreter then contacts the hearing user via a standard phone line and relays the conversation between the two parties. The system captures the facial expressions, gestures, and emotions that are vital in sign language communication.

Users can call (866) FAST-VRS toll-free to place a video relay call to deaf or hard-of-hearing people.

Online Grad Student Survey Reveals Shift in Job Focus

According to a new survey from, 35 percent of prospective graduate students say the war in Iraq has made them more interested in government or military jobs. In addition, more than one-third feel that opportunities with defense contractors, the military, and the government have increased since the war began. But at the same time, the war has not affected college students' plans to study abroad, even though it has influenced their choice of destination, according to in a just-released survey of students thinking of studying overseas. More than 1,300 students participated in the survey, which sought to identify how the war in Iraq has influenced students' interests in going to graduate school. Respondents were recruited through a link on the home page. "It's clear that world affairs have had an effect on both students planning to attend graduate school and those who are thinking of studying abroad," said Mark Shay, CEO of Educational Directories Unlimited Inc., the parent company of the research sites.

Noteworthy Products and Services in Higher Education

PUBLISHING—R.R. Bowker, a publisher of bibliographic information, introduced a Web-based subscription of Spanish language books, audiobooks, and videos available at The product includes features that have not been offered in the United States for Spanish language materials, including access to a database with in-print, forthcoming, audio, video, and out-of-print titles. Users will be able to locate Spanish language materials published in the United States, Spain, and Mexico that are carried by U.S.-based suppliers. "We see the primary user of to be the English-speaking collection development and book-buying personnel at public, academic, government, and special libraries, as well as bookstores," said Michael Cairns, president of New Providence, N.J.-based Bowker.

COURSE ASSESSMENT—eCollege is offering an Online Course Assessment application that was developed with input from the University of Dallas. The Online Course Assessment evolved from eCollege's one-on-one course auditing services. The product is structured as an online exam, providing faculty, instructional designers, course auditors, and an institution's review committee with an assessment guideline. Assessment results and specific enhancement strategies are presented in the Gradebook feature, along with links to "Best Practices" and "How-To" instructions. Additionally, institutions can modify the Online Course Assessment to include information specific to their school.

Latest Deals, Grants, Contracts in Higher Education

CONTENT MANAGEMENT—The School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University signed a deal to use Site Executive from Vision Multimedia Technologies to help implement its content management system. The product has modules for calendar items, spreadsheets, and drop-down tools, giving end users flexibility to create a Web site with advanced functionality and extensibility. Site Executive offers meta-tagging strategies, which will make the SAIS Web site more accessible to search engines. The solution will record all updates made to SAIS' Web content, and provide a reporting module that offers a comprehensive summary of activity in a format of their choice. Pricing for Site Executive starts at $25,000.

SMART FACILITIES—Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell last week announced a $2.5 million capital budget grant to Holy Family University for the construction of a new education and technology center at the University's Northeast Philadelphia campus. The new facility is designed to support teaching and research of the University as well as its educational partnerships within Philadelphia, especially with the city's school district. The new facility will include the application of new technology in the teaching-learning environment, including smart classrooms and interactive auditoria, new faculty offices, and new computer laboratories. The school, which specializes in the education of first-time teachers, ranks among the top institutions of learning for teachers, including teachers that go to work in the school district of Philadelphia.

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