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Yahoo Internet Life Calls MIT America's Most Wired College


Greg Kuhnen--The Tech
With its many accessible computing resources, MIT was named most wired school by Yahoo Internet Life.

By Jennifer Lane
Contributing Editor

All those hours spent by MIT students logged on finally paid off. Yahoo Internet Life magazine ranked MIT first among the nation's most wired colleges in its May issue.

Northwestern University, Emerson College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Dartmouth College rounded out the top five.

Harvard University finished 64th, the California Institute of Technology placed 25th, and Stanford University came in 84th.

"We are pleasantly surprised by the ranking," said Director of Academic Computing Vijay Kumar. "As a general statement, it can't be far from the truth." However, "we don't know about the accuracy of the data."

Displeased with their low ranking, computing officials at Harvard have also questioned the validity of the rankings.

The survey put too much emphasis on having course-oriented World Wide Web pages, which may or may not be useful, and too little emphasis on access to the Internet, said Harvard Dean Harry R. Lewis in The Harvard Crimson.

The survey addressed 35 factors divided into four categories: student services, hardware and wiring, academics, and social possibilities.

Part of the reason that MIT scored high was that 80 percent of students owned their own computers. In addition, it had a 1-1 "port to pillow" ratio, meaning that there was an ethernet port for every resident student. MIT also offered unlimited Web access, automatic e-mail accounts, space on a Web server to house home pages, access to libraries, and online homework.

In addition, MIT was praised for its online registration system and access to "online gaming, chats, and dates" as well as holding themed multi-user domain sessions.

Perhaps more surprising than MIT winning first place was third-place Emerson, a liberal arts college, besting many engineering schools. Emerson boasted a high rate of student computer ownership and a lot of social Internet usage.

But what really set Emerson apart was its high rate of Internet use in academics, the magazine said. Seventy percent of courses utilized Web resources in teaching, and more than half allow students to access information online.

On the other hand, Stanford suffered in the rankings because of low reported use of the Internet by classes. Less than five percent of classes reported to use Web resources at all.

Complete survey results can be found at http://www.zdnet.com-/yil/content/college/intro.html.