News Update :: Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Finalists for 2007 Higher Ed 'Codie' Awards Named

The finalists for the Software & Information Industry Association’s annual Codie awards for best software were announced last week, with a diverse mix of newcomers and the usual suspects in the higher education categories.

In the category of Best Education Solution overall, the finalists were:

  • Jenzabar Non-Traditional System, Jenzabar, Inc.
  • Orchard Software 4.2, Siboney Learning Group
  • McGraw-Hill Higher Education Online Learning, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
  • netTrekker d.i., Thinkronize / netTrekker
  • Direct,

In the category of Best Postsecondary Course/Content Management Solution, the finalists were:

  • ANGEL Learning Management Suite, ANGEL Learning, Inc.
  • Learning Environment, Desire2Learn Inc.
  • Gettysburg College CMS/Portal Solution, Gettysburg College
  • Digital Commons, ProQuest Information and Learning
  • McGraw-Hill Higher Education Online Learning, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

In the category of Best Postsecondary Instruction Solution, the finalists were:

  • Autodesk Student Engineering and Design Community, Autodesk
  • 3,2,1 Calc! Comprehensive Dosage Calculations Online, Delmar -a division of Thomson Learning
  • Turnitin, iParadigms, LLC
  •, Neumont University
  • Evolve Learning System, Reed Elsevier Inc.
The peer-recognition-based Codie awards are now in its twenty-first year. Voting for the winners by SIIA members will take place in February, 2007. Winners will be announced at the Codie a awards event on April 17, 2007.

For more information, click here.

UMassOnline To Expand Blended Programs

The University of Massachusetts' online education center, UMassOnline, will expand its blended programs with the help of a new grant it received from the Sloan Foundation and the University of Massachusetts' five physical campuses.

The goal of the $650,000 Sloan grant is to expand access to the University of Massachusetts by developing, delivering and marketing new online blended services. UMassOnline, which launched five years ago, presently offers 69 online degree and certificate programs and enrolls some 22,000 students. Its programs come through the system's five campuses, which include Amherst, Dartmouth, Boston, Lowell and the Medical School in Worcester.

In a prepared statement, UMassOnline CEO David Gray said, "UMassOnline has established itself as a national leader in asynchronous online learning. Many of our students come from all over the world. Yet we know there are many prospective students and companies in our own backyard who recognize the value of a UMass education and consider access to campus research facilities and labs, for example, an added value. This grant will give us the opportunity to explore new elearning models and enable us to extend these resources locally to more prospective students and business partners."

With the new grant money, each of the five campuses will develop or expand two programs. Some of the initial programs will include: a bachelor of arts in individual concentrations in health and human services; bachelor of science for registered nurses; a humanities and social sciences degree completion program; a master's program in health management and policy; and a post-master's certificate in the nurse's education program.

The grant will be administered by UMassOnline in partnership with the Lowell campus.

--D. Nagel

For more information, click here.

Gallaudet to Host National Center for Visual Learning

Gallaudet University has been picked as the site of a national science of learning center devoted to researching visual language and learning. The National Science Foundation awarded a grant to Gallaudet of $3.5 million over two years to establish the center, dubbed the Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2).

The purpose of VL2 is to gain a greater understanding of the biological, cognitive, linguistic, socio-cultural, and pedagogical conditions that influence the acquisition of language and knowledge through the visual modality.

If successful, NSF will fund an additional three years of VL2 at a level of $4 million per year. At the end of the five-year cycle, VL2 could receive another five-year grant at the level of $4 million per year. The total funding for VL2 could be $35.5 million over the next 10 years. VL2 joins five other NSF Science of Learning Centers, three of which were funded in October: In addition to VL2, NSF funded the Temporal Dynamics of Learning, University of California, San Diego; and Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa. 

In addition to drawing on the expertise of campus researchers, VL2 will collaborate with researchers from Georgetown and Rutgers Universities, the Universities of California-Davis, New Mexico, and Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Boston University.

“This is a hugely significant grant, not only for Gallaudet University, but for the entire field of learning scientists, especially those who seek to understand processes of learning for visual learners,” said VL2 director Thomas Allen, who is dean of the Graduate School and Professional Programs. “Not only does VL2 have the potential to transform the science of learning, it will bring deaf researchers into the mainstream of scientific thought about learning and cognition, and, it will bring many esteemed hearing and deaf scholars to campus to interact with our community.”

--P. McCloskey

For more information, click here.

UCSD, Supercomputer Center, Target Girls' Science Ed

San Diego Supercomputer Center staff and the University of California at San Diego’s engineering faculty and students have launched an environmental education initiative to keep middle-school girls interested in science and engineering careers.

The UCSD teams will help San Diego county students monitor air quality, solar radiation and other environmental factors involving their schools and will use the environmental research concepts and techniques to create an online multiplayer science challenge game designed specifically for 12- to 15-year-old girls.

The UCSD Information Technology-Engineering and Environmental Education Tools project, dubbed IT-E3 Tools, is funded through a new three-year, $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant as part of its Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) award program. ITEST was created in response to the shortage of information technology workers in the US and is supported with income from H-1B visas awarded to professionals from other countries recruited to fill specialized jobs in the U.S.

"Despite the fact that information technology touches every aspect of our lives, women remain a minority in engineering enrollment at US universities and in technology careers," said Jeanne Ferrante, associate dean of the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering and principal investigator of the project. "There is a critical leak in the talent pipeline, when girls lose their enthusiasm for math and science in the vulnerable years between sixth and ninth grade. We know that one of the best ways to keep girls engaged is to show them how engineering and computing connects with issues in their own lives."

--P. McCloskey

For more information, click here.

ACM Names 41 Fellows for Contributions to Computing, IT

The venerable Association of Computing Machinery recognized 41 of its members, including those from the university and research community, for their contributions to the practical and theoretical aspects of computing and information technology.

Among the list of universities with ACM Fellows was Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Contributions from their recipients were made in the fields of dataflow computing and verification; algebraic specifications and abstract data types; and parallel and distributed computing. Stanford University's Fellows were recognized for achievements in network switching and queueing; and multiprocessor design. The Fellows from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada made contributions in computational complexity, and database management.

Other universities with 2006 ACM Fellows from the U.S. include: Rutgers; Purdue; Northeastern; Northwestern; Penn State; Penn; Michigan at Ann Arbor; Texas at Austin; Maryland; Brigham Young; Rochester; UC San Diego; UC Los Angeles; Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Colorado at Boulder; Portland State; and Brown.

"The breadth and depth of the contributions these computing scientists and professionals have made to our world and the way we live are remarkable," said ACM President Stuart Feldman. "Their work reflects outstanding displays of creativity and commitment to the computing community, which continues to drive innovation in industries and enterprises across the globe,” said ACM President Stuart Feldman.

--P. McCloskey

For more information, click here.

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