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Press Release

For immediate release:
August 23, 2004

Carnegie Mellon University: Welcome to the Future

Below are just a few examples of the innovative ways that Carnegie Mellon University is using technology to improve how students learn. For more information, call the information officers listed below.

Students Are on the Case with Virtual Chemistry Labs
With a price tag of $1 million, many schools can't afford the latest spectrometry equipment to help students conduct experiments, like detecting the presence of cocaine in a hair sample or determining the composition of a polymer. So researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh have developed the first virtual mass spectrometry system. This is one of several Internet tools Carnegie Mellon has developed to make chemistry education more effective, affordable and accessible to college and high school students. The Virtual Chemistry Lab, for example, is an award-winning, networked laboratory simulation in which students can select from hundreds of standard chemical reagents and combine them in any way they see fit. More than 7,000 students in lecture and laboratory courses have entered the Virtual Lab at Carnegie Mellon and at least four other universities (University of British Columbia, Florida Atlantic University, West Virginia University and Monterrey Tech in Mexico).
Contact: Lauren Ward at 412-268-7761.

Carnegie Mellon Helps Students Point and Click Their Way to High Test Scores
Carnegie Mellon has developed a Web-based computer tutoring system to help middle-school students prepare for standardized mathematics tests like those required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The "Assistment" system aims to solve a dilemma for teachers: how to prepare students for tests without sacrificing quality instruction time. The system is designed to quickly predict a student's score on a standardized test, provide feedback to teachers about how they can adapt their lessons to address students' problems and provide individualized tutoring to suit each student's needs. The system is being tested in Massachusetts with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, but it can be easily adapted for use in other states. In developing Assistment, researchers have drawn upon the proven success of Carnegie Mellon's popular Cognitive Tutor®, a comprehensive secondary mathematics curricula and computer-based tutoring program that is in use in 1,500 schools nationwide.
Contact: Jonathan Potts at 412-268-6094 or Anne Watzman at 412-268-3830.

Coming Soon to a Computer Near You—A Carnegie Mellon Education
Carnegie Mellon is on the forefront of developing Web-based courses, curricula and class materials to make education more widely accessible, ease classroom overcrowding and afford students more freedom to learn at their own speed. Programs include the Open Learning Initiative, in which five introductory level courses will be offered free online, and Language Online, which offers Web-based instruction in French and Spanish. In addition, professors in computer science and other departments capture all their lectures in digital format (including PowerPoint, video and blackboard images) and archive them on the Web, where students can view them at their own pace. Similar technology has allowed courses at Carnegie Mellon to be offered in real time to students abroad.
Contact: Jonathan Potts at 412-268-6094 or Anne Watzman at 412-268-3830.

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