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Georgetown Cashes in on IT Boom

Georgetown University is offering a course in multimedia programming this semester. Students who complete the 15-week course will be fully certified as multimedia programmers--no transcripts or prerequisites necessary. The catch? Bidding for a seat starts at $10,000.

To test the appeal of the pricey class, Georgetown officials decided in October to sell three of the course's 16 spaces to the highest bidders through online auctioneer ReverseAuction.com. Students who don't win seats in the auction will pay $10,000 to take the course.

"We didn't know how much to charge for the course, since this is the first time we have offered it as a certificate," Christopher J. McDonald, director of Georgetown's Network Media Center, told The Chronicle of Higher Education. "So we thought the best way is to let the world decide."

McDonald says the $10,000 asking price is based on fees other institutions charge for similar courses. The auction is set up in a declining price format, meaning that the price can range between the starting price and an undisclosed minimum price until all seats are filled.

This isn't the first time the university has sold class spaces online. Last October, Georgetown officials auctioned seats for other computer courses on eBay.

A Link to the Library

For the Internet researcher, the challenge is no longer simply finding enough information online--it's finding the time to sort through the crushing volume of online books, periodicals and encyclopedias and other reference materials. Now there's a new breed of dot-coms providing that service for students and teachers.

The INET Library (www.inetlibrary.com) is a clearinghouse that features links to more than 70,000 educational sites including online encyclopedias, magazines, newspapers, audio and video resources and museum tours. The site also includes a homework help section.

"There's a new meaning to `I'm going to the library to study,'" says Dennis Jansen, founder and president of Innovative Communications, which developed the INET Library. The library primarily is funded through school and home subscriptions. Individual schools or districts can gain access for about 7 cents per student. Home subscriptions are available for $59.79 per year.

Students also can access INET Library's more than 145,000 school listings to conduct college searches and find information on admissions, financial aid and scholarships. The library has career counseling information and K-12 lesson plans that educators may find useful.

Matchmaking--for a Fee

For many students, the college search can be exhausting. A Connecticut-based Internet company saw strong business potential in a service that would help match students with potential colleges. …

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