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Release: July 31, 2002

Tippie College of Business students to develop PDA software

Microsoft has donated $15,000 to the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa to support a class where students will develop software for personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Warren Boe, professor of Information Systems in the Tippie College, will create a pilot class in spring 2003 in which 20 graduate and undergraduate Management Information Systems majors will develop programs that can be used by all students in the college. The PDAs will be equipped with wireless capabilities and students will develop wireless applications that will allow the college to offer more services via their current wireless network.

"This class will enhance students' education and equip them with tools they will be using in the working world after graduation," Boe said. "It will also help them complete their class work while they are still at the UI and give them a cheaper alternative to a laptop."

Students will work in groups of two or three in Boe's class to develop their ideas of how to enhance PDAs for use by their fellow business students.

"We can develop ways to synchronize course material with PDAs so that students will be able to walk into the Pappajohn Building and immediately synchronize the announcements and course outlines for all their current courses for that week or day," Boe explained.

The class also will be able to incorporate instant messaging into PDAs, so that with the help of wireless capabilities, students will be able to send instant messages to faculty, staff and other students in the building, thereby improving communications among all members of the college community.

Boe added that students will be able to investigate how PDA users can send messages, warnings, and updated information to groups of student users through instant messaging systems by customizing the system with special adaptive software.

The Tippie College currently has a wireless network that covers about 60 percent of the Pappajohn Business Building. The Microsoft grant will complete the network so that wireless PDAs may be used throughout the building. Microsoft will also cover the costs of some PDAs, some wireless network cards, and Microsoft publications about wireless networking and programming for PDAs.

Microsoft Corporation has generously supported numerous programs at the University of Iowa through gifts to the UI Foundation, the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the University.

For more information, contact Boe at or (319) 335-0889.