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One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Univ. of Arizona and IBM to Unleash Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is coming to the classroom at Arizona University, and, eventually, to Global 1,000 businesses. The new program, for MIS and Marketing students, is designed to attract and train students in Web 2.0 technologies, and how they can be applied to business in the 21st century.

Wikis, blogs, social networking, tagging, and other popular technologies are destined not just to impact businesses, but to attract students to an MIS program with dwindling enrollment. By one estimate, enrollment in computer science programs is down a whopping 32% nationwide over the last four years. AU and Big Blue intend to reverse the trend, in part by offering a curriculum steeped in technologies the kiddies are already using online. The logic goes something like this: "the kids dig this stuff on their favorite sties; let's teach 'em how to build it and put some butts in the seats."

Of course, the ultimate effect on modern business remains to be seen. While companies such as YouTube (now GooTube), MySpace, and Digg show explosive growth in traffic, they have yet to establish clear monetization models. Perhaps the Econ department at AU should look at this program as well, offering tips not just in how to build Web 2.0 tools, but how to leverage them and make money.

The program at AU will probably be one of many efforts to build MIS enrollment across the country, but the partnership with IBM may well give it a technical and financial foundation that bodes well for success.

Cool, huh?

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