Monthly Archives: June 2007

We might not have an iPhone yet, but we do have iTunes U

So I know the news of the day is the release of the iPhone, the IPHONE! But the news here at my desk is the very, very quiet… listen closely and you might hear it… oh so soft launch of Vanderbilt on iTunes U.

You might take a look at the page and say to yourself, “This? This is what you’ve been talking about for the past year?”

Yes. The beginning of it at least. What you won’t see is that 24 classes are in there already. That means students in those 24 classes will be able to download content intended just for them when they log in to OAK. Hopefully that number will explode in the coming year. This guy is going to help faculty get up and running. And that will be pretty exciting.

Also what you won’t see is the labor that went into creating the log-in piece that allows students and professors to access and post protected content while protecting their personal information. It is not built into iTunes U. Vanderbilt had to build it. Turns out we did such a nice job that over 26 universities have knocked on our door this week alone to ask if we’d like to share our building block. Of course we would, because we’re cool like that. Contact this person to find out more. Tip your hat to the good people at ISIS and this guy for making it happen. And a tip of that hat too to Apple for creating iTunes U and giving it away for free to all us.

What you will see is the public content, available to anyone and everyone. I’m grabbing all the Vanderbilt content that’s currently in the iTunes Music Store and on VUCast and throwing it in there (well, maybe not all of it. Since we’ve been podcasting since before that word really existed, we have oodles of podcasts online. To see the full archive go to VUCast). It’s taking a while but we’re getting there.

This is just a preliminary design – we’ll have a new header, a nice splash page and some nifty new icons soon.

What’s that? You want to know why we’re not listed with all the other cool kids under iTunes U in the Apple store? We’re working on it. Hopefully we’ll be there soon.

So with no more ado, I give you, Vanderbilt on iTunes U. Take a look. Send ideas.

See Aug. 7 update to this post


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New money man

The university announced today that Matthew Wright, 39, will be taking the helm of Vanderbilt’s $3.4 billion endowment starting July 30. Wright comes to the university from Emory, where he helped manage that institution’s $5 billion porfolio. “Matthew is one of the brightest stars in the investment constellation,” Chancellor Gee said about the new hire.

Did I mention he’s 39 years old? I’m only a few years younger and it still takes a good chunk of my energy to balance my checkbook. Color me humbled. Welcome aboard, Mr. Wright. Full story at VUCast.

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Heck no, he won’t go!

Reports out of Columbus, Ohio this weekend that Ohio State was seeking the return of their former president shook the nerves of Vanderbilt Gordon Gee fans, who are legion. Never fear; the chancellor replied that his commitment to the university is “unwavering and unshakable.” Phew. Nothing like a little excitement to shake off any summer doldrums…

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In the house

Today’s the day the Commodore 2007 champion bowling team makes its way to that big house, the White House, to meet President and Mrs. Bush. Not only are the ladies the first Vanderbilt team to be invited to the White House, they’re the first bowling team of any kind to visit it in 36 years. Go to this evening for photos of the visit. Let the good times roll!

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Bill Belichick, Tiger Woods, Phil Jackson, Tiki Barber, Gordon Gee

An unlikely group? Not according to Sports Illustrated, who included the Chancellor in a nifty online slide show highlighting the 26 “Best Brains in Sports.” Check it out, as well as SI’s downright glowing review of the changes Gee and Vice Chancellor David Williams have made to Vanderbilt athletics over the last few years. CBS weighed in recently too, as did the Huntsville Times. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

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Au revoir, Suzanna

Public Affairs’ own Suzanna Spring, graphic artist and chanteuse extraordinaire, is leaving Music City for the crunchier, cooler (I’m talking temperature, only) environs of Northen California. Creative Services feted Spring yesterday – even Chancellor Gee stopped by to bid her adieu. Best wishes Suzanna, you will be missed.

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The safety gap

Firearms and families – as American as apple pie, right? A new study from Vanderbilt pediatrician Dr. Shari Barkin has found that only 1/3 of firearm-owning Americans with children store their weapons safely. Barkin found that many owners of weapons such as rifles “hide” them, a risky approach – any parent whose ever had Santa’s identity revealed prematurely knows how ineffective hiding things from kids is.

“What we know is that having a gun stored in an unsafe manner increases the risk of injury or death. We also know that injuries and death are reduced if the gun is stored locked, unloaded and with the ammunition stored separately and locked as well,” Barkin said.

You do the math. Get the full scoop on VUCast.

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