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October 16, 2005

Case Scores Top 10 Wireless Intel Campus

(Oct 17) Henry Gomez took umbridge to my winks on his column. I have sent him a short note. To anyone who might have taken offence, my humblest apologies. Have a good week. We're off to Educause tomorrow to participate in a panel on wireless at Case and OneCleveland.

Today (Oct 11), Intel issued its second annual most wireless campus list. For the second year in a row, Case scored in the top 10 (number 8 for 2005)in the nation. Later this month, Case will be extending the coverage of the wireless cloud in University Circle through a partnership with the Cleveland Institute of Art. Stay tuned.

In Sunday's (Oct 16) Cleveland Plaindealer, Henry "my fantasy is to be a gossip columnist" Gomez ;-) frames the Intel top 50 wireless colleges in the nation in an unfortunate manner.

When Henry called me on the 11th, I shared with him that I had already posted this short entry on my blog. I laughed and told Henry that I had no idea how or why Case was ranked #4 in the country last year and no idea how or why we were ranked number #8 this year. To the best of my knowledge, the team hired by Intel does not release its methodology nor does it have a formal team of peers review the data. That's actually ok with me. I laughed again and told Henry the delta was probably a matter for a team of forensic accountants. I think it is amazing that two universities in the same region are ranked so highly in a national survey for two years in a row. Akron was one of the first universities to offer wireless services to students and faculty. Case is proud of its pervasive cloud of wireless connectivity for its students, faculty, and staff. We receive solid grades from our campus stakeholders on our nomadic computing infrastructure. Even more exceptional is Case's commitment to leveraging our campus wireless infrastructure for vistors and guests to the university through our partnership with OneCleveland. I think it is fair to say that no other region in the country sports not one but two top 10 places in the survey. Given the rigor and robustness of the survey instrument, I'll settle for a top 10 anytime, even if it warrants a "knock down" headline from Henry.

If Intel was asking for my advise on an important set of indicators for their methodology section (and they have not), I would reject the silly notion that population size of the campus matters (as quoted in Henry's gossip column). The only post-deployment measures that make sense are how many people are using the wireless service and what are they using it for?

First, Case has deployed more than twice (1343 access points) as much wireless infrastructure as the #1 wireless school in the land (625 access points). I'm ok with that. Second, at any given time during the week more than 1700 simultaneous users are using Case's guest network! Year over year that represents a more than 100% increase over the same period in 2004. That's a good trendline for a campus that has, to paraphrase's Henry investigative journalism "lost it's lead." This year, nearly 85% of all of our first year students brought wireless notebooks fitted with gigabit network interface cards with them. That's another important measure.

Most important, what is the institution doing with its wireless infrastructure? While Henry and I were on the phone I did a quick check of the search engine on the BSU web site on "education and wireless" and I couldn't find any stories. I suspect there are lots of innovative examples at BSU which is an outstanding school. At Case our entire medical education offering is delivered through wireless infrastructure. Wireless is an integrated part of the curriculum delivery offering in most of our professional schools. All undergraduates are using their wireless notebooks to retrieve hundreds of searchable video streams related to their intro courses through mediavision courseware.

Knock down blows aside, wireless services are now a given at leading universities across this country. This is not a matter of deep discussion or debate. As many first and second year students have told me, "wireless is cool, but, like, we've already got it here. What are you going to do for me this year?". Akron, Case, and the other 20+ universities and colleges in Northeast Ohio are all working hard to continue to innovate and bring "top line" value to our respective institutions. Now, that's the story (IMHO).

For more juicy gossip ;-), see the continiung saga second only to "as the world turns" on Henry's blog.

Posted by lsg8 at October 16, 2005 08:45 AM and tagged Bytes 

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