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IBM Partners With UCLA, N.C. State on Web Development

In an effort to promote expertise in Web 2.0 application development among the next generation of IT professionals, IBM has teamed up with two universities--University of California, Los Angeles and North Carolina State University.

IBM plans to provide support for academic programs teaching programming using open technologies like Groovy and Java in conjunction with Eclipse and Ruby on Rails. IBM also will provide Lotus Mashups software free to the academic community later this year.

Project Zero Incubator at NC State
At North Carolina State University (Raleigh, N.C.), IBM's Project Zero is being used to teach business application development. Project Zero is an incubator project at IBM that focuses on Agile processes in Web 2.0 application development using service-oriented architecture (SOA) principles. Project Zero offers a development environment that includes a scripting runtime and APIs focused on producing "Representational State Transfer (REST)-style services, integration mashups, and rich Web interfaces," according to IBM.

N.C. State graduate students will work in the development environment this spring as a part of a computer science class in which they'll use Groovy and Java to develop business applications.

UCLA's 'Choose Your Own Adventure'
Meanwhile, over at UCLA, IBM has helped to launch a new project for the university's CS130 computer science course. Dubbed "Choose your own (technology) adventure," the project allows students to propose their own applications to develop and essentially shape their own coursework.

"'Choose your own (technology) adventure' is giving UCLA students a truly unique opportunity to learn software engineering skills from the best and brightest at IBM such as working in a team environment while learning collaboration, networking, rapid decision making," said Paul Eggert, the professor at UCLA who teaches the CS130 class. "Throughout the project, they are researching and evaluating technologies and connecting with open source developers and industry experts. This method is helping us attract more students to learning about these key technology areas by making things like Java and Eclipse extremely relevant to their areas of interest."

The program is now in its fourth quarter at UCLA. It has involved 50 students so far and 27 IBM mentors, who have provided collaborative support for Ruby on Rails and Eclipse-based projects.

Academic Initiative To Expand
The UCLA and N.C. State partnerships are part of IBM's Academic Initiative, which provides access to software, courseware and curricula, support, and discounts on hardware for colleges and universities.

IBM said it plans to expand its Academic Initiative this year, aiming for "double-digit growth" in the number of students reached over the previous year. The company said it will also increase the number of events it hosts for universities and businesses focused on open standards and middleware supporting IBM's System z and other large systems.

Lotus Mashups Free for Academics
As part of the announcement Feb. 14, IBM said it will release its commercial mashup software free for academic users.

IBM Lotus Mashups, which is expected to be released later this year (although no firm date has been set), provides a browser-based tool for assembling mashups blending enterprise and Web-based data. Lotus Mashups is designed to allow "non-technical users to easily create enterprise mashups." It includes a set of predefined widgets, a "catalog" for locating usable widgets and mashups, and a tool that allows users to build widgets that access enterprise data.

The company first unveiled Lotus Mashups at the Lotusphere conference in Florida in January, along with other Web 2.0 and collaborative tools, including Lotus Connections 2.0, a social networking tool, and an update to Lotus Quickr, a Web- and desktop-based collaboration environment.

About the Author

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

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