Microsoft, Universities to Bolster Academic Code

A select group of universities will work on enhancements to Microsoft's Assignment Manager software, a part of the company's Shared Source initiative.

Microsoft Corp. Tuesday announced the winners of a request for proposals (RFP) for projects to add extensions to Microsofts Visual Studio .Net 2003 Academic Edition.

Microsoft put out an RFP to universities to come up with enhancements to the Assignment Manager component of Microsofts Visual Studio .Net 2003 Academic system. Microsoft released the Assignment Manager to universities last February as part of its Shared Source Initiative, which delivers Microsoft source code to various classes of users.

Microsoft selected five universities after fielding 20 proposals from 17 universities around the world. The universities selected are: The Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil, Monash University in Australia, Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho in Brazil, the University of Hull in England, and Yale University.

The Assignment Manager enables faculty to manage courses, track assignments, notify students of grades as well as student modules. And the Visual Studio .Net Academic Tools Source Licensing Program gives academic users access to source code for the Assignment Manager Server, Assignment Manager Faculty Client and Assignment Manager Student Client.

Under the program, users can use, modify and redistribute source code for the Assignment Manager. In addition, the five universities selected have projects that will enhance the softwares support for various programming languages, deliver plug-ins to support faculty and student activities, and to scale the Assignment Manager system, the company said.

"Microsoft is committed to empowering the academic community," said Morris Sim, senior director of Microsofts Academic Developer Group in the companys Developer and Platform Evangelism Division, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, also in a statement, Zhong Shao, a computer science professor at Yale University, said, "We believe C# and Visual Studio .net have the potential to become excellent language environments for introductory programming courses."

Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum