George Mason’s Most-Wired Ranking Rises

Posted: May 2, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Emily Yaghmour

Of the 100 “most wired” universities in the nation, George Mason University ranked 24 this year, up 56 places from its ranking last year at 80 out of the top 200 colleges and universities. For the past four years, the magazine Yahoo Internet Life has ranked colleges and universities on the extent to which they are using the latest computer and Internet technologies and making them available to their students, faculty, and staff. Each school’s ranking is based on survey information it provides the magazine.

According to Keith Segerson, executive director of University Computing and Information Systems, George Mason’s ranking improved so dramatically from last year to this year for several reasons. First, since the 1999 ranking, the university has replaced many older computers and updated software and networking resources. Second, every classroom at the university has been wired for an Internet connection. Third, a prototype application enabling students to register for George Mason classes over the Internet is now in place. And finally, the university has increased the bandwidth of the network link that carries Internet data and has acquired an additional Internet connection so that the university can remain connected to the Internet even if one connection is down. Not many institutions have redundant connections to the Internet, Segerson says.

Approximately 1,300 institutions responded to the survey this year, more than tripling the number of responses from last year’s survey. Rather than ranking all institutions together as in previous years, Yahoo Internet Life, in partnership with educational publishing company Peterson’s, divided participating institutions into four categories: universities/research schools (the category in which George Mason was ranked), colleges/baccalaureate schools, two-year institutions, and less selective baccalaureate schools.

The most-wired college ranking is growing in prestige every year, Segerson says. Schools who make the list are beginning to tout their rankings in admissions and recruitment brochures, he says. Segerson hopes that the university’s current initiatives, such as increasing the use of thin-client technology, which operates from a server rather than a computer hard drive; adopting Netscape e-mail as the university’s unified messaging system; increasing technical support; and enhancing the use of instructional technologies, will boost the university’s ranking even higher in the survey next year.

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