The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

UI professor wins grand prize in Microsoft competition for 'virtual' tour

IOWA CITY -- The director of a new University of Iowa project to create a CD-ROM that will introduce new students to campus while teaching them how to navigate the World Wide Web has won the grand prize in Microsoft Corp.'s 1997 Innovators in Higher Education Challenge.

Bob Boynton, professor of political science, was honored for the project, "Online at Iowa," a pilot initiative to help first-year students get acquainted with campus while beefing up their computer skills.

Awards in the competition were announced Tuesday, Aug. 26.

As grand-prize winner, Boynton will receive a Compaq Presario ES laptop computer loaded with Microsoft Office 97 and FrontPage 97.

Under the pilot program, about 120 students testing the new CD-ROM will take an interactive tour of the UI. With the click of a mouse students can follow maps to buildings such as Old Capitol and the Pappajohn Business Administration Building. They also can "tour" the Main Library, or find out information about campus offices and programs.

The disk also includes electronic communications software that gives students access to the Internet. By following the tour, students learn how to find and visit sites on the World Wide Web and how to send email.

The students will earn one semester hour of credit if they complete the program.

Organizers hope the CD-ROM will be available by the fall of 1998 to each of the approximately 3,000 freshmen who come to campus each fall.

"The idea is to introduce students to the campus as a place of electronic communication," Boynton said in introducing the program earlier this month. "Students will learn how to use the electronic tools that they will need to function well at the university and outside the university, but in the process, they will learn specific information about the university."

Boynton is one of 22 professors, staff members and teaching assistants at colleges and universities around the country who were cited for the innovations in using new technology to improve education for college and university students.

Microsoft honored them for developing outstanding original projects, courses or programs using Microsoft® Internet Information Server, the Windows NT® Server network operating system, Microsoft Office, the FrontPage® Web site creation and management tool, the NetShow server or NetMeeting conferencing software.

A panel of college students selected the winners from more than 100 entries. Judges rated projects on innovation, usability and scalability across platforms, appropriateness to theme, clarity, grammar and writing style.

A complete list of winners and other information is available on the Microsoft Web site at



Editors note:

For more information on the competition, press only, contact: Lisa Collins, Marcy Monyek and Associates, (312) 263-2135,; or Joelle McGinnis, Marcy Monyek and Associates, (312) 263-2135,