All posts by Brock Read


Virtual Medical Training Comes to Second Life

Students have graduated, earned law credit, and held debates on Second Life. Now some universities are using the virtual world to train nurses.

Virtual medical training is nothing new — medical students have used CD-ROM’s and other interactive programs to practice diagnosis for years. And MyCaseSpace, a virtual medical-training program created by a professor at the University of Central Florida, will allow professors to create simulated cases to test students at Central Florida’s College of Medi…


Students May Not Be as Software-Savvy as They Think, Study Says

When it comes to basic computer applications, even members of the millennial generation may not know as much as they think they do.

A study by North Carolina Central University found that most students overestimated their skill levels when they were asked how they perceived their ability to complete certain tasks and then tested on those tasks.

Researchers surveyed 171 undergraduates, the majority of whom believed they had either an average or high skill level in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and…


Microsoft Releases ‘Trident’ Software to Help Scientists Organize Research

A new data-management tool unveiled today by Microsoft Research at its annual Faculty Summit will be available to colleges and universities free.

Project Trident: A Scientific Workflow Workbench is designed to help scientists in data-intensive fields such as medical research, astronomy, environmental science, and oceanography make sense of data more quickly in real time, using a better visual interface.

“The way it works right now in many cases is that these research universities are building ho…


IT Manager Worked at U. of Georgia While Facing Felony Charges

An information-technology manager at the University of Georgia who had access to students’ personal information worked in the registrar’s office for nearly a year after he faced felony theft-by-deception charges related to his data-handling position at a different organization.

William Ora Mullen pleaded guilty to those charges and accepted a 10-year prison sentence on April 28 – the same day he gave a letter of resignation to the university. The letter gave May 12 as his final day of employment…


Students at U. of Southern California Develop Summer-Education Site

When the Los Angeles Unified School District announced at the end of May that it planned to cancel summer school, the latest result of California’s multibillion-dollar cuts to education, it estimated 225,000 students would be without the courses they need to stay at grade level or get ahead.

Now some of those students are taking advantage of an alternative to summer school on the Web — SOS Classroom, a collection of free educational Web sites, videos, and games. Educators and others submit mater…


Students and Faculty Members Are Among Competitors for $30-Million Space Prize

Robots could roam the Moon within the next three years, thanks to scientists and students across the world who are vying for the Google Lunar XPrize, a $30-million international competition to collect data and images with robots and send them back to the earth.

“The Moon is the hottest real estate in the solar system right now,” said William Pomerantz, senior director of space prizes at the XPrize Foundation, which is sponsoring the competition. “Every major space agency across the planet is lo…


Brigham Young U. Lifts Ban on YouTube

YouTube will make its debut in classes at Brigham Young University this fall, after administrators decided to lift a nearly three-year ban on the video-sharing Web site.

As of last Friday, students and faculty and staff members could access YouTube from anywhere on the campus, said a university spokeswoman, Carri Jenkins. Previously, students could choose to view YouTube off the campus, but the site was restricted from all campus computers, including those connected to the Internet in campus hou…


Microsoft Unveils New Research Tools at Its Annual TechFair

A number of new technologies in computer graphics, online searching, and workplace collaboration — many of which may soon become available to colleges and universities — were on display Wednesday at the Microsoft Research TechFair 2009, in Washington D.C.

Many of the 13 projects on exhibit — all of which are under development in Microsoft’s six worldwide labs — involved workplace communication and research. Project designers say the tools could help make academic collaboration, either between st…


‘Twitterature’: Tweeting Classics on the Web

It isn’t uncommon to find literature rendered in the style of Twitter’s trademarked 140-character blasts. But it’s rare for such tweets to make their way into print.

Yet that’s the concept behind a new book penned by two rising University of Chicago sophomores, titled Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books, Now Presented in Twenty Tweets or Less. The project’s Web site calls it “a humorous retelling of works of great literature in Twitter format.”

Emmet Rensin and Alex Aciman, who both just c…


Indiana U. Press Releases Titles on the Web

Scholars, researchers, and students are now just clicks away from some of the most popular titles released by the Indiana University Press.

With the launch of IU Press Online, anyone with an Internet connection can read sections of books and themed journals for free and purchase full-text versions at a discounted price.

“It speaks to our mission to disseminate scholarship as widely as we can,” said Kathryn Caras, director of electronic and serials publishing.

The online portal is in its infancy…