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News Update 05/16/2003

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

U. of Zaragoza to Advance European Data Interoperability

The University of Zaragoza, Spain, is building a Web-based, national spatial data infrastructure that will enable public sector information to be tapped for applications supporting economic development and environmental management of the country. A key objective of the project is to improve interoperability of spatial data—reference geographic data, metadata, and diverse Web services—allowing scientists, businesses, and the general public to more easily and quickly locate and access spatial data. The project is being funded in part by GIS developer Intergraph Inc. and the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE). The project will also collaborate with INSPIRE (INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe), an initiative to create European legislation to guide national and regional spatial data infrastructure development.

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Kurzweil Higher Ed Group to Advise on Assistive Technology

Kurzweil Educational Systems Inc., which makes systems for people with reading and learning disabilities, said it formed an advisory board of prominent higher education experts in the field of literacy to foster new research and guidance into assistive technology. Among the board members are: Dr. Lynn S. Fuchs, professor in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University, specializing in classroom-based assessment and reading instruction; Dr. Lynda Katz, president of Landmark College and neuropsychologist focusing on learning disabilities; Dr. Charles A. MacArthur, professor at the University of Delaware's School of Education; and Dr. Richard K. Olson, professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado. The collaboration will focus efforts on developing the effective reading, writing, and testing technology for students with learning disabilities.

Latest Products, Services for Higher Education Community

COURSE MANAGEMENT—WebCT recently unveiled Vista 2.0, an update of its enterprise software to simplify course development for faculty of all experience levels and an expanded set of Web interfaces providing new options for users to customize WebCT for their requirements. The software provides a "friendly" homepage for course assembly allowing schools to deploy the enterprisewide solution to faculty of all experience levels. The WebCT Vista Software Development Kit has also been extended to include Web services interfaces for the Vista grade book, file manager, and assessments suite in addition to the calendar and mail functions that were Web-service enabled in prior releases.

ACADEMIC SERVICES—Test preparation giant Kaplan launched a Web-based practice tool for students taking the MCAT medical school admissions test. The MCAT Question Bank or QBank, will allow users to customize practice tests and drills based on their specific needs and performance. Students can adapt their study in response to the continuously updated on-screen performance feedback, graphically displayed by subject area, and receive Kaplan's answers and explanations after completing an exam session. Kaplan MCAT experts are also available for e-mail help.

Awards, Deals, Contracts in Higher Education Market

SECURITY SOFTWARE—Tulane University purchased Xythos Software to improve the security of file storage and file sharing on and off campus. At Tulane University, students have typically saved their assignments, research, and notes on floppy disks—Xythos will provide a secure location to store and access files. Students will be able to create their own Xythos folders or workspaces for class work, personal information, or even their own public Web pages and have complete control over who can access and use their information. The school plans to introduce the WebFile Server to all students, both undergraduate and graduate, beginning in the fall semester of this year. The company also announced a deal with the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign for the software.

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