News Update :: Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Most Wired Class Returns to Campus for 'Mob-learning'

A survey of the media habits of college students now returning to campus puts numbers to what’s readily apparent to anyone within a stone’s throw of a college campus: today’s students are perpetually connected, mostly wirelessly, to the global Internet. Though this they can pick and choose from a menu of video, audio, graphics, and text messaging and content 24 hours-a-day, 7 days a week.

A poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the media firm Alloy Media Inc., found that students are spending about 11 hours each day connected to a media device. They are also using desktop computers less – down 13 percent from last year – in favor of more mobile devices. About half of students returning to campus will have a laptop, up 8 percent from last year. The study also showed gains in cell phone usage: an additional 1.3 million students now have cell phones and are spending almost 20 minutes each day sending and receiving text messages. The surge in connectedness has given rise to an educational culture that pollsters characterized as “mob-learning.”

The role of “friends” has also evolved within the online student world, powered by the widespread adoption of social networking sites. Students claim to have an average of 111 friends across many profiles online. Fully 85 percent of students who visit social networking sites use them to see what their friends are up to and 70 percent participate in SN-based message boards to communicate with friends, the Harris Interactive poll found.

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Yale Management School Debuts Integrative MBA Curriculum

Yale School of Management opened its academic term by introducing a MBA curriculum that replaces traditional courses in finance and marketing with multidisciplinary courses that provide management education in what school leaders called “a richer, more relevant context.”

“Today, a successful manager must be able to identify and frame business problems and move across a variety of organizational, political, and geographic boundaries to solve those problems,” said J'el M. Podolny, dean of the school. “Our new curriculum teaches the integrated skills contemporary managers need.”

Courses in the new curriculum are taught in three segments: Orientation to Management, Organizational Perspectives, and the Integrated Leadership Perspective. The core of the first-year program is eight multidisciplinary courses structured around the roles a manager must perform in order to solve problems. These include internal roles such as the Innovator, the Operations Engine, the Employee, and Sourcing and Managing Funds (or CFO) – and external roles like the Investor, the Customer, the Competitor, and State and Society.

“No executive wakes up in the morning and thinks 'I’m going to do finance today,’ so it d'esn’t make sense for students to sit in a finance class and learn to crunch numbers absent of any context,” said Professor Sharon Oster, one of a number of senior faculty who worked on developing the new curriculum. “We are teaching them in a way that’s relevant in the real world.”

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Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, to Develop Tech for Elderly, Disabled

Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh received $15 million from the National Science Foundation to develop robotics and computer science technologies to help the elderly and disabled live more independently, the Associated Press reported.

The grant will establish the Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center, which will look to improve existing technologies, such as wheelchairs and walkers, and develop new technologies for the workplace to increase the employability of people with disabilities. “All of us are aging, and all of us will likely have disabilities as we age,’’ said Rory Cooper, a professor of health and rehabilitation sciences at the University of Pittsburgh who will serve as co-director of the center.

Cooper also said that the grant will fund 15 to 20 new research positions and will likely create more jobs as products at the center are spun off commercially. Private-industry partners include, not only big companies like IBM and Johnson & Johnson, but also small businesses. Researchers will test products in the laboratory as well as in homes, outside and in close coordination with elderly and disabled individuals.

Among products under development at the Center is GameCycle, a modified, hand-pedaled ergometer linked to a Nintendo GameCube. The device aims to make exercise more enjoyable for wheelchair users and increase their hand-eye coordination, according to Erica Authier, a Pitt graduate student in bi'engineering.

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Georgia Tech Device Would Block Unwanted Photography

Georgia Tech researchers have completed a prototype device that can block digital-camera functions in a given area. Commercial versions of the technology could be used to stymie unwanted use of video or still cameras. The device, produced by a team in the Interactive and Intelligent Computing division of the school’s College of Computing, uses off-the-shelf equipment – camera-mounted sensors, lighting equipment, a projector and a computer – to scan for, find, and neutralize digital cameras. The system works by looking for the reflectivity and shape of the image-producing sensors used in digital cameras.

Gregory Abowd, an associate professor leading the project, says the camera-neutralizing tech shows commercial promise in two fields – protecting against clandestine photography and stopping video copying in larger areas such as theaters. He also said the small-area product could prevent espionage photography in government buildings, industrial settings or trade shows, and could also stop amateur photography where shopping-mall-Santa pictures are being taken.

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U. Texas at Austin Ranked First in Top U.S. Gaming Colleges

The Global Gaming League, a video game tournament organizer, has named the Top 10 Gaming Colleges. Campuses conducive to gaming – those with super high-speed connections, dedicated servers, big-screen TVs in lounges, gaming-related classes, and social events centering around LAN parties – are becoming a recruitment draw, the group maintains.

The following schools were ranked according to the following factors: size of the student body; geographical location; student organizations; tournaments and LAN parties; tech-friendliness; Internet connections; and curriculum.

  1. University of Texas, Austin
  2. Penn State University, State College, Pa.
  3. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y.
  4. University of California, Los Angeles, Calif.
  5. Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Wash.
  6. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.
  7. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga.
  8. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
  9. University of Michigan, Dearborn Campus, Dearborn, Mich.
  10. Full Sail Real World Education, Orlando, Fla.

The University of Texas, Austin reached the top spot not only for “amazing” Internet dorm connections, the League said, but for two separate arcades on campus that “specialize in old school and new school games, such as Dance Dance Revolution.” Austin is also home to two “very active” LAN centers: TekRepublik and Cyberjocks. “If that’s not enough, The Texas Gaming Association is on hand to throw 100-man LAN parties, and numerous gaming organizations, such as the Texas Gaming Festival, exist outside the university.”

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