News Update :: Tuesday, September 19, 2006


YouTube Launches Edu-Only Site; Fordham Law Debuts Vlog

The battle among hosted video services for the rapid-eyeball-movements of U.S. college students is in full swing. Video sharing site YouTube has launched a service exclusively for U.S. college students. Colleges on YouTube will allow students to share videos that can only be viewed by other college students or faculty with .edu e-mail addresses. About 100 colleges are currently listed on the site, with another 20 in the queue.

Bloggers view the move as strike at Facebook’s franchise among college lonely hearts. Although Facebook says it has no plans to incorporate video into the service, their position may not ultimately withstand the steady march of technology and student narcissism.

In another foray into the higher-ed video space, video blog (vlog) producer has developed a vlog for the Fordham University School of Law. The mission of the vlog, which contains informal video presentations by Fordham Law faculty and students, law blogs, e-mail posts, and educational sources, is “to showcase the clinical community and provide a place for one piece of our ongoing conversation about legal education, justice, community, equality, the rule of law, and so much else.”

For more information, click here.

D'E Funds Higher Ed Institute for Petascale Data Storage

The U.S. Department of Energy (D'E) awarded a five-year, $11 million grant to researchers at three universities and five national labs to find new ways of managing the data torrents expected from the coming generation of supercomputers. The money will fund a new Petascale Data Storage Institute, to include researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan, and the D'E’s Los Alamos, Sandia, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Berkeley, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories.

The work of the Institute will help solve critical data problems that accompany the steadily rising performance power of computer hardware. Challenges include how to build reliable systems on a vast scale and handling huge amounts of data at high speeds.

“In these giant supercomputers, you’ve got many thousands of hard disks all working in parallel to provide as much data as possible to as many processors as possible,” said Darrell Long, professor of storage systems research at UCSC. “The file system feeds data to the processors, and if you want to increase speed by adding more processors, the file system has to be able to scale up too and feed the processors at a higher rate.”

Garth Gibson, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist who will lead the Data Storage Institute, said petaflop computers will require many more hard disks to handle the data required for simulations, provide fault tolerance, and store the output of the experiments. “With such a large number of components, it is a given that some component will be failing at all times,” Gibson said.

For more information, click here.

G-town, IBM Develop Curricula to Address IT Skills Shortage

Georgetown University and IBM Corp., together with George Mason University and the College of Charleston, are collaborating on developing two academic programs to address the demand for information technology skills. Both programs – one for IT professionals and one for undergraduates and graduates – will teach all students about service oriented architectures (SOA), a way of using a company’s existing technology to more closely align with business goals.

In making the announcement, the partners noted that in spite of the fact that IT is among the fastest growing sectors in the economy, the U.S. suffers from a shortage of qualified IT workers. Meanwhile, they said the market for SOA skills is rising with the Aberdeen Group reporting that nine of ten companies are adopting SOA.

The SOA Curricula is expected to start in the spring 2007 semester and will include courses covering both IT and business skills to help support participants’ career goals. Guest speakers from real-world SOA implementations will share their experiences and students will tackle hands-on assignments using the leading SOA tools and techniques.

For more information, click here.

Three Virginia Schools Honored for IT Innovations

Virginia higher education institutions took two out of the seven Governor’s Technology Awards handed out annually for technology innovators in the state. George Mason University took an award in the “Creation of the Trusted Environment” category for its “seven-step approach to safely securing the IT assets of the university, while fostering an open environment for teaching, learning, and research.” The award recognizes the innovative use of technology to ensure consistent, anywhere, anytime service levels.

Two schools shared the award in the category of “Innovation in Higher Education, according Secretary of Technology Aneesh P. Chopra. Blue Ridge Community College won for a video-based veterinary distance education program, which “allows students in multiple locations to take classes from an accredited program, take the licensing exam, and ease the veterinary technician shortage at minimal cost to the Commonwealth.”

The Institute for Advanced Learning & Research also won, “for their robust series of online graduate level courses, developed in partnership with several Virginia institutions of higher education and designed to greatly enhance educational opportunities in Southside Virginia through maximum flexibility in student access.”

For more information, click here.

Seton Hall Issues ‘Listening Skills’ Download to Incoming Frosh

Seton Hall University equipped more than 1,100 incoming freshman with a digital audio download of U.S. P'et Billy Collins reading his work. The recording is part of a mobile learning initiative by the school to “demonstrate the importance of listening as a building block to literacy.”

The digital audio p'em was published by Random House Audio and will form the core of the university’s “Progressive Freshman Reading Program.” The download was provided by Audible Technology, which distributes digital spoken word recordings.

For more information, click here.

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