News Update December 13, 2005

CT News Update:
An Online Newsletter from Campus Technology

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News for Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005

* Boston College Plans Thorough Administrative IT Overhaul

* Princeton Center to Blend Technology, Public Policy Studies

* Virginia College Scrambles to Train IT Workers for Region

* Solution: Hosted vs. Installed Tech Support at Florida State

* Web-based Textbook Reseller Offers UPS Shipment Tracking

* 'Podcast' Beats 'Rootkit' as Dictionary "Word of the Year"

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Boston College Plans Thorough Administrative IT Overhaul

Boston College is planning a wholesale replacement of
its administrative computer systems in an effort to
meet what it considers the state of the art in information
services among top universities. B.C.'s "Core Systems Task
Force" is developing a strategy to revamp online student
systems, according to the campus newspaper, including
admissions, advising, dining, the directory, student
accounts, grades, degree audits, records, registration,
and housing.

The plan is being spearheaded by Michael Bourque, associate
vice president of information technologies, and Rita Owens,
associate academic vice president. The task force is gathering
feedback from focus groups, defining the scope of the project,
and outlining its strategy. "Ancient technology," must be
replaced to avoid falling behind other top institutions. "We
are lagging behind other colleges and universities, when we
used to be a leader in the '80s and '90s," Owens told The
Heights newspaper. All core systems, including financial
aid, student development systems, and employee and student
identification systems will be changed.

The Task Force said the overhaul responds to mounting
pressure from academic departments requesting improvements,
as well as recent security breaches that have underscored
the need to improve handling of confidential data.

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Princeton Center to Blend Technology, Public Policy Studies

Princeton University named computer science professor
Edward Felten as director of its new Center for Information
and Technology Policy (CITP). The Center will bring faculty
and students from the engineering and Wilson public affairs
schools together with experts from outside the university to
study the integration of technology and public policy.

Felton told the Princetonian newspaper the new organization
would "provide a center of mass in ... this important area,
and it will recognize and bring together people on campus
already working in this area." The Center is expected to
focus on topics including spyware, electronic voting, medical
privacy and Internet governance, Felten said.

Engineering Dean Maria Klawe said cybersecurity will also
be emphasized, partly because, "many of the laws that were
created before the digital age simply don't make sense at
this point." Electrical Engineering Professor Ruby Lee agreed:
"Anybody proposing solutions to breaches of security in
cyberspace should be concerned with policy, economic and
societal issues in addition to technology issues," she told
the Princetonian.


Virginia College Scrambles to Train IT Workers for Region

The University of Virginia's College at Wise is scrambling
to find funding for a new software engineering major to help
supply workers to two big information technology companies
that are planning to relocate to the region.

In October, integration firm CGI-AMS said it would build a
software development center in Russell County, Va., that
would provide 300 well-paying IT jobs. Then, Northrop Grumman
also announced it would build a backup data center bringing
in more than 400 jobs.

School administrators and local politicians are now working
with Virginia Governor Mark Warner's office to allocate part
of the state's budget for the new degree program. The courses
the college offers now don't give students sufficient education
to get jobs with either company, Sim Ewing, vice chancellor for
finance and governmental affairs at UVa-Wise, told the local
Bristol Herald Courier newspaper. "We're ramping up our program
to coincide with the (information technology) developments taking
place in Southwest Virginia," he said.

Supporters hope to encourage Gov. Warner and the General Assembly
to give the college more than $800,000 to add the program to its
curriculum. The money would be used to pay for five new faculty
positions, four technology staff positions, and equipment. Warner
plans to announce his final budget on Dec. 16.


Solution: Hosted vs. Installed Tech Support at Florida State

Florida State University has deployed a hosted solution to handle
technical support calls and maintenance from its user-base of 38,000
faculty, students, and administrators. Michael Barker, director of
user service at FSU, said the solution, from Parature, Inc., offered
a faster set-up time and lower operating costs than its previous
installed solution. "Had we continued with our previous solution,
we would have been responsible for installing the software on each
computer and hiring an administrator to maintain each department's
separate database," he said.

FSU installed Parature in its enterprise resource planning office
last year, and recently added nine other departments, including
human resources and payroll. "All we did was request additional
seats and in a matter of weeks our other departments were up and
running," said Barker. The new system enables departments across
campus to share data and track end user behaviors. "By creating a
centralized solution, we saved time by eliminating cross-departmental
redundancies," Barker added.

In addition to providing support to the campus, the solution is
working as an internal employee communication tool. Employees are
using the support portal to get information on payroll, leave requests,
travel expenses and other internal processes.


Web-based Textbook Reseller Offer UPS Shipment Tracking

TextbookX.com, a peer-to-peer electronic marketplace for buying
and selling used college textbooks, said it will offer UPS
Online Tools to track shipments between buyer and sellers.
The Web-based tools enable students to print labels, compare
prices, and arrange shipments from their personal computers.
Brian Jacobs, president of TextbookX.com parent company Akademos,
said tracking is important because when students buy textbooks
online, they need to know they will get them on time. "Many
textbooks are required reading before exams, and a late or
lost book can have a serious impact on a student's coursework,"
he said.

The UPS services will also give sellers confidence they will
be paid promptly for delivered packages, he added.

Jacobs, a former Cornell University professor, said he
started the business to use the Internet to "democratize"
opportunities for students in higher education. He noted
that according to the Government Accountability Office,
college textbook prices tripled from 1986 to 2004, going
up by more than twice the rate of inflation.


'Podcast' Beats 'Rootkit' as Dictionary "Word of the Year"

Editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary have picked
"podcast" as the "Word of the Year" for 2005. Podcast, which
the dictionary will define as "a digital recording of a radio
broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet
for downloading to a personal audio player," will be added to
the next online update of the New Oxford American Dictionary,
due in early 2006.

Erin McKean, editor in chief of the dictionary, said: "Podcast
was considered for inclusion last year, but we found that not
enough people were using it, or were even familiar with the
concept. This year it's a completely different story. The word
has finally caught up with the rest of the iPod phenomenon."
Technology words are normally up for consideration as Word of
the Year, as they often gain public awareness quickly. Among
this year's runners-up were: "ICE," an entry stored in one's
cellular phone that provides emergency contact information;
and "rootkit," defined as software installed on a computer
by someone other than the owner, intended to conceal other
programs or processes, files or system data.

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