News Update :: Tuesday, November 7, 2006


EDUCAUSE to Blackboard: 'Intense Anger' on Lawsuit

EDUCAUSE president Brian Hawkins said a patent infringement lawsuit by campus systems vendor Blackboard Inc. against Desire2Learn, a developer of Web-based learning apps, “go beyond competition to challenging the core values and interest in higher education.”

In a letter to Blackboard chief executive officer Michael Chasen, Hawkins said he was speaking on behalf of the “higher education IT community.” EDUCAUSE is a non-profit association of higher education institutions. Earlier t his year, Blackboardwas awarded a patent for intellectual property within its course management system and then filed a lawsuit against Desire2Learn for infringement of the patent.

“One of our concerns is that you may not fully appreciate the depth of the consternation this action has caused for key members of our community,” Hawkins wrote. “Among those who have been most directly involved in the development and evolution of course management systems – customers whom Blackboard has relied upon for ideas and advice – these concerns are most pronounced.

“Their anger over the lawsuit is so intense that many are simply not communicating with Blackboard. We have seen this intensity of anger only a few times before. In those cases, the corporations involved were unaware of what was happening outside their official channels. Please do not underestimate this consternation which we believe will impact Blackboard in both the short- and the long-term.”

Hawkins asked Blackboard to “disclaim” the rights established under the patent, which he said was “very broadly defined” and “inappropriately approved” by the U.S. Patent Office...

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MIT to Collaborate With Singapore on Game Lab

MIT and Singapore’s Media Development Authority announced an agreement to establish the Singapore-MIT International Game Lab (SMIGL) to further digital game research globally, as well as to develop academic programs in game technology and establish Singapore as a hub of the game industry.

The SMIGL will be led by the directors of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program: Henry Jenkins, a professor of humanities, and William Uricchio, a professor of comparative media studies. SMIGL will have offices both in Singapore and at MIT. Jenkins and Uricchio will serve as the leading principal investigators in the collaboration.

Uricchio, a specialist in trans-national media distribution, characterized the lab as a “unique chance to reflect on games and to push them in new and unexpected directions, whether in terms of emerging technologies and interfaces, diverse cultural vocabularies, or important niches that have simply been neglected in the rush to seize the largest market share.” He described the price tag of the project as “very significant…I think it’s fair to describe it as the single largest investment in a non-military sector university gaming environment.”

Outcomes planned for SMIGL’s initial period include an academic and research program, publication of peer-reviewed research papers and production of digital games. Michael Yap, executive director of Singapore’s Interactive & Digital Media R&D Programme Office, said he expected “some 300 of our best talents from the industry and academia” to work with researchers at MIT...

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Survey: Prospects Like Social Networking Recruitment

Prospective college students are open to recruitment methods that use social networking technology, according to a study by higher education consulting firm N'el-Levitz; recruiting firm James Tower; and the National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA), a non-profit education research organization.

The group’s second annual “E-Expectations” report found that 43 percent of college-bound students have already created a profile on a college or university site – like those found on MySpace – and of those who did not, 46 percent would like to do so.

The study, which surveyed 1,000 college-bound high school juniors, found that 63 percent of respondents said they would read a blog written by a faculty member as a way to seek more information about students and faculty at a particular institution. Although only 9 percent said they have participated in online chat on a school Web site, 51 percent would if they could. Nine percent also said they have downloaded a podcast to their MP3 player, but 54 percent said they would if given the opportunity.

Eighty-two percent of prospective college students would consider reading/responding to an instant message from a college representative, 71 percent said they would consider sending an instant message to a college representative through the school’s Web site and 59 percent would consider taking a call on a cell phone from a college representative.

Students were evenly divided on preferring printed college brochures versus Web sites. Fifty-six percent said they preferred Web to print, while 44 percent said they preferred reading brochures in hard-copy...

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Georgia Tech Opens Advanced Computing Center

Georgia Tech has opened the Christopher W. Klaus Advanced Computing Building, a research facility that will house students and faculty members from Georgia Tech’s College of Computing and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The building, certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, was constructed with the support of a $15 million donation from Klaus, the founder of Internet Security Systems, Inc., and an alumnus of Georgia Tech. The 412,000 square-foot building will house the College of Computing’s work in robotics, computational media, and information security, areas that will benefit from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The building will contain over 70 laboratories, eight computer class labs, several large classrooms, a 200-seat auditorium, a 600-vehicle-capacity parking structure, and a walkway through the center of the building, allowing uninterrupted pedestrian traffic across campus.

“If you’re going to be successful in any kind of technology or knowledge-based work, you’ve got to have a collaborative environment as well as a collaborative culture,” said Klaus. “Having a building that represents that is important.”...

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Apple Reports Highest Higher Ed Back to School Quarter

Apple Inc. announced its best back-to-school quarter ever for its higher education division. Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said shipments of Mac portables increased 49 percent from last year within the sector. The increase was driven, he said, by sale of the laptops, which accounted for 61 percent of all Macs sold during the quarter, as well as back-to-school promotions.

Overall, Apple posted a $546 million profit on sales of $4.84 billion in the fourth quarter. Apple shipped 1.6 million Macs in the just-completed quarter, a record. The previous record quarter was 1.38 million Macs in the first quarter of 2000. Fifty-eight percent of the company’s revenue for the quarter came from Macs. For the fiscal year, Apple sold 5.3 million Macs. iPod sales for the year totaled 39 million units – just under 8.8 million iPods were sold in the fourth quarter...

For more information, click here.

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