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North East university is "online'' for top award

Date 3 Oct 2006

A North East university has been named one of the top three most IT enabled organisations in the UK by the journal Computing. Northumbria University faced stiff competition to be short-listed alongside Honda Formula One and the International Development Agency for this prestigious award.

The top prize will be awarded to the organisation that has shown the most initiative in using IT to deal with challenges, to achieve successes and to position itself apart from the crowd.

Northumbria was shortlisted in recognition of its functional, resilient and innovative IT infrastructure which underpins and enhances every aspect of university life.

Staff and students across the University benefit from the organisation's innovative 'desktop ANYWHERE' initiative which provides web access to email, files and software from potentially anywhere in the world.  This has enabled the University to offer much greater flexibility for those working off campus, a significant advantage in the competitive world of e-learning. 

Students across the world are able to communicate, access course materials and meet as virtual discussion groups using the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Northumbria has the highest European use of this type of VLE, with overseas connections stretching as far as India and China. 

Other major IT successes include the wireless network which allows users to connect their personal laptops to any one of 130 wireless hotspots in the University. This is one of the most extensive wireless networks in the Higher Education sector, recording around 110,000 sessions by staff and students between last September and May of this year.  

Vice Chancellor Professor Kel Fidler said: "This is good news for the University and especially for our IT Services people who deserve to be congratulated for their success in being shortlisted for this award." 

The Computing Awards for Excellence will take place at Battersea Park Arena on 25 October. 

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