News Update :: Tuesday, May 30, 2006

News

Dark Horse Wins ‘Codie’ Award for CMS Software

The Codie awards, given by the Software & Information Industry Association to honor the best software products of the year, went to several firms targeting higher education. These included Angel Learning Inc. for the best solution in the category of postsecondary course or content management. In a niche often dominated by far bigger players, Angel won for its Angel Learning Management Suite 7, and was cited for its “technology-rich learning environment and powerful simplicity.” According to the citation, Angel “simplifies the complexity of a full-featured LMS without compromising feature depth and powerful impact.”

Keeping the focus away from the biggest firms, a Codie went to Jenzabar’s Internet Campus Solution in the category of best postsecondary education enterprise portal solution. Jenzabar, the judges said, offers campuses “flexible, customizable, and scalable infrastructure – the elements of a successful portal…to help manage the demands of the 21st-century campus.”

Other higher ed awardees were:

  • Best Postsecondary Education Instructional/Curriculum Solution: Columbia's Final Mission, Harvard Business School
  • Best Education Reference or Research Service: Answers Corp. Answers.com
  • Best Education Technology Solution for Productivity/Creativity: Blackboard Backpack

For more information, click here.

Humanities Computing 'Wizard' Honored for Scholarship

The National Humanities Center, a private institute for advanced study in the humanities, awarded Willard McCarty its 2006 Richard W. Lyman Award in recognition of McCarty’s contribution to the field of “digital humanities.” The $25,000 award honors Richard Lyman, who was president of Stanford University from 1970-1980.

McCarty is a reader in humanities computing at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King's College London. He is a theoretician of the area of “digital humanities” and founder of the "Humanist,” a Web site that brings together scholars working on the confluence of computing and the humanities. In his latest book, Humanities Computing, McCarty makes the case for elevating the field as a separate academic discipline. “We tend to construe computing in the humanities in terms we understand – as an efficient helper or mechanical aid to existing fields like history, literature, or philosophy," he said.

James O'Donnell, provost of Georgetown University and chair of the award selection committee, called McArty, “a d'er, a thinker, and perhaps a wizard.” O’Donnell added that McArty’s “explorations in the practical and theoretical dimensions of the application of information technology to the problems of humanistic learning have made him a widely recognized international leader."

For more information, click here.

Harvard to Create School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Harvard University plans to create a School of Engineering and Applied Sciences by the end of the fall, elevating the status of what is now a division of the university. Harvard will add 30 faculty members to the 70 already in its Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The move is considered to be a way to beef up the status of engineering scholarship at the university by broadening its base with other academic disciplines.

Harvard President Lawrence Summers said the move marks Harvard's recognition of the “profound importance of technology and applied sciences.” In an editorial last week in the Harvard Crimson, Harvard undergrad Adam Goldberg called the development mostly “cosmetic.”

“A school is a whole lot easier to sell than a division,” Goldberg wrote. “Harvard seems to be taking the bait. Nonetheless, new money and fresh blood will doubtless improve Harvard’s engineering and applied science programs, and at the graduate level, this ought to be applauded.”

Michael Rutter, an engineering spokesperson at Harvard told InsideHigherEd.com that “engineering is becoming a liberal art. It’s much more broadly connected with law, finance, economics.”

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Hackers Besiege Ohio U. Computers; Alumni Files Stolen

A hacker broke into computer systems of Ohio University's alumni relations office and stole biographical information of more than 300,000 people, including 137,000 Social Security numbers. In e-mails extending "deep regrets" to its alumni, a school administrator said the breach "dates to March 1, 2005, or prior.” Molly Tampke, interim vice president of university advancement, said in an e-mail that "during this period intruders had control of the system and uploaded and downloaded large quantities of data. The data didn't include credit card or bank information.”

This is the third significant computer break-in the school has had in as many months. On April 21, the FBI told the university that a server in its Innovation Center containing office files had been compromised. Data on the server included e-mails, patent and intellectual property files, and 35 Social Security numbers associated with parking passes. On Thursday, May 4, the university discovered a computer system in its Health Center had been compromised. The system contained personal information on approximately 60,000 current and former students, as well as some faculty and staff.

For more information, click here.

MIT Deshpande Tech Incubator Names New Boss

The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT named Leon Sandler, a technology consultant, as executive director of the technology business incubator. The Center, launched three years ago with $20 million in start-up capital from Jaishree and Desh Deshpande, tries to be a catalyst for leading MIT research from the lab to the marketplace.

In the last three years the center has funded 51 projects with about $6 million in grants. Nine projects have developed into independently funded companies, having collectively raised more than $40 million in financing from top-tier venture capitalists. Each spring and fall, the Center awards $50,000 Ignition Grants to fund proof-of-concept explorations. It also awards Innovation Grants, which range from $50,000 to $250,000, to MIT research teams that want to assess risks associated with their inventions.

Sandler has spent several years with MIT through work with the MIT Venture Mentoring Service and MIT Enterprise Forum. He is the inventor of the Texas Instruments Financial Investment Analyst calculator and a recipient of the Wall Street Journal Finance Award.

For more information, click here.

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