IBM, Bryant College, Meredith College and University of Idaho Write the Book on Untethered Learning

In a Post-Napster World, Wireless is the New Killer App on Campus

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - 15 May 2003: IBM today announced that Bryant College, Meredith College and the University of Idaho are providing students with ThinkPad notebooks and secure, wireless connectivity to remove classroom boundaries and build stronger bonds between students and faculty.

Using smaller, lighter, and more powerful notebook computers with wireless access, students can research online while in class, pull down notes, outlines, data and images prepared by professors, participate in on-line, real-time discussions with professors regardless of their location, and access assignments from any hotspot on campus. A new report from Market Data Retrieval stated that 61 percent of schools now have wireless networks, up from 45 percent in 2001. Further, Gartner research showed that the rush in the late 90s to be the most "wired" university has evolved into the rush to be the most "wireless."

"With Wi-Fi standards in place, access point prices decreasing, and more secure wireless technology, wireless now makes sense," said Bob Galush, vice president of marketing, IBM Personal Computing Division. "Implementing wireless networks on college campuses is easier than hard wiring old buildings, gives students the greatest mobility and provides education institutions with a very good return on investment."

Bryant College - Improving Student Access to Campus Resources
Bryant College, located in Smithfield, Rhode Island, is a private university, offering academic degrees for diverse interests including business administration, applied psychology, communication, information technology, and liberal studies. The college adopted wireless technology with IBM ThinkPad notebooks to improve student access to campus resources and extend its leadership among undergraduate business schools.

Bryant's Personal Productivity Software (PPS) course helps students acquire the computing skills they need to produce quality, college-level work. This course provides instruction in the various uses of the laptop computers that Bryant provides to all incoming first-year students. They learn how to access elaborate research databases, develop e-portfolios to highlight the skills acquired during college, and gain familiarity with various software programs.

To make the evolution to wireless technology, school administrators physically transformed its traditional book-driven library into a digital age resource center - the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology, a $27 million, state-of-the-art, multimedia center with wireless LAN connectivity, a cyber-cafe and a mock trading floor. This interactive information center provides easy access to the resources students need to meet their academic and professional goals.

"We are preparing our students to fully utilize available technologies when they move into their professional careers," says Arthur Gloster, vice president for information technology, Bryant College. "By incorporating cutting-edge technology into their everyday experiences, we believe we can enhance the academic environment and support students' individual learning styles."

Meredith College -- Preparing Students for the Creative Use of Technology in Their Future
Meredith College, the southeast's largest private women's college, has created the Meredith Technology Initiative, a campus-wide program to establish national technology leadership in higher education. As a part of MTI, the college created a secure, wireless campus to improve the overall daily experience of Meredith students while preparing them for the creative use of technology in their future.

For example, students in Beth Mulvaney's art history classes can wirelessly pull down class notes and images, which are not available in textbooks, while in class. Mulvaney, an associate professor of art, uses a software application that helps students create discussion boards, review images, pick up assignments, and receive messages from their professors.

Other innovative MTI applications at Meredith include the use of technology to administer English and foreign language competency examinations, connect music with background contextual information, create textile patterns and prints, and analyze psychological implications of voice inflection.

"Since many students attending college today grew up with computers, Meredith's combination of IBM ThinkPad notebooks and the Blackboard application allows professors to communicate in an environment that is comfortable and easy for students," Mulvaney says. "The flexibility and dynamic character of a wireless solution has improved the teacher/student relationship and energized many students, improving their learning experience."

All freshmen at Meredith receive new wireless ThinkPad notebooks prior to their first class. New ThinkPad models are provided two years later, which students may use for the remainder of their college career and after graduation. While at Meredith, students are encouraged to use their notebooks in class, to conduct independent research, and for extracurricular activities. Secure wireless access points on campus provide students with greater access to information and a stronger connection to peers and professors. Conversations between students and faculty that once took place primarily in professors' offices can now be supplemented with e-mail or instant messaging, providing increased flexibility and tools for better time management.

University of Idaho - Connecting Students With Worldwide Resources
Business students at the University of Idaho next fall will use wireless ThinkPad notebooks to get connected to worldwide knowledge sources, interactive networks and the spreadsheets, market quotes and other capabilities required of today's business professionals.

UI's College of Business and Economics will issue the wireless ThinkPad notebooks to all first-semester juniors enrolled in the college's innovative Integrated Business Curriculum (IBC), and by fall 2004 all upper-division business students will have notebooks. The technology initiative is meant to enhance student access, promote independent learning and encourage greater student-faculty communication and collaboration. It is the first such program in a public university in Idaho.

"The program fits perfectly with what the college is trying to achieve and is a natural extension of the collaborative learning environment that we have developed in the IBC," said Jack Morris, associate dean of business and economics. He said developers of the program visited other campuses with mandatory notebook programs to discern advantages and identify best practices. They found improved classroom learning and students' technology skills.

Wireless Applications on IBM ThinkPad
IBM's wireless strategy for the ThinkPad line of notebook computes includes four elements: flexibility and choice, ease of use, superior wireless performance, and enhanced security. IBM has led in the development of wireless hotspots and Wireless Wide Area Networks worldwide and uses the multi-band, dual-diversity Ultraconnect antenna design to offer excellent wireless performance in either the 11a or 11b wireless bands, depending on the wireless protocol supported by the notebook. IBM ThinkPad notebooks offer an array of wireless solutions to choose from, including dual-band Wi-Fi 11a/b models (1) and solutions based on Intel Centrino, Cisco Aironet, Atheros Communications, and Bluetooth Wireless Technology. Tools such as IBM Access Connections make wireless easier to use, helping users switch between wired and wireless network connections. And the IBM Embedded Security Subsystem enables ThinkPad notebooks to provide the most secure wireless connectivity in the industry on select models. These solutions, called IBM ThinkVantage Technologies, are the central component of IBM's Think strategy of innovation for business advantage.

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IBM, ThinkPad, and ThinkVantage Technologies are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. Intel and Centrino are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

(1) Based on IEEE 802.11a and 802.11b.