WPI Again Ranked Among Top in America's 100 Most Wired Colleges

Contact: WPI Media & Community Relations

Yahoo! Worcester, Mass. -- WPI is again ranked among America's 100 Most Wired Colleges announced today by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine's May issue and noted on their Yahoo! Internet Life website. WPI placed 23rd.

The Most Wired Rankings were created in 1997. This year's survey was far broader in scope than previous attempts. Last year only 571 colleges and universities were included. This year all of the more than 3,600 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. were asked to participate. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than 1,300 colleges participated.

This year the magazine divided the list into several groups including universities and research schools, colleges and baccalaureate schools, and community colleges. WPI is ranked under the universities and research schools.

The top university in the universities and research schools category was Carnegie Mellon University, followed by the University of Delaware, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Indiana University, Bloomington.

Yahoo! Internet Life noted that potential undergraduates are as interested in a college's Net resources as in its curriculum or social life. "Schools are as boastful of powerful network infrastructures as of celebrity professors," it said. "And prospective students are as likely to take a college tour virtually as in person."

The survey that determined the rankings consisted of eight parts: computer and printer availability and description; undergraduate personal computer use; e-mail usage and access; web space usage and access; networking; web-related courses and distance learning programs; educational and administrative uses; and miscellaneous. Fifty-one questions were asked. Questions ranged from how much free e-mail is guaranteed to each student to which undergraduate technology-related courses does the institution offer?

The collective online aptitude of all schools surveyed show that 98 percent allow prospective students to apply electronically. WPI was a pioneer in this effort. Eighty four percent allow students to reserve library books electronically while 68 percent offer web-based registration. Eleven percent of colleges stated they require students to own computers.

Amy L. Marr, web coordinator at WPI, noted that WPI continues to invest in information technology infrastructure. "The Internet2 Goddard GigaPOP implementation and The Campaign for WPI both aim to invest in the continued renewal and expansion of WPI's information infrastructure," she said.

Thomas J. Lynch, vice president for information technology at WPI, highlighted what sets WPI apart from other "wired" undergraduate institutions. "We've made significant investments in our on-campus network and external internetworking, such as the cited Internet2 Goddard GigaPop, outreach in bringing advanced networking to the Worcester community, and the deployment of Blackboard CourseInfoTM course management software, and the heavy use of the web by nearly 100 instructors, " he said. "Additionally, the number of faculty researching assessment of technology-mediated learning, and the equipping of all the student project teams and faculty advisors who travel off campus with laptop computers are helping us maintain a leading-edge program."