PC Magazine, in consultation with the Princeton Review, has published a list of what it calls "America’s top wired colleges"–and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) tops the list.
The magazine based its rankings on areas such as academics, student resources, infrastructure, and technical support. No. 1 UIUC earned its top ranking by offering courses on topics such as parallel computing and data mining; lending laptops to students; and offering 24-hour telephone tech support, among other reasons.
The magazine’s list suggests the technology landscape on college campuses has changed quite a bit in the last two years.
"Of our top 20 schools in 2006, only 8 made the list this year," it reports. "Villanova University, the former No. 1, dropped to 15th place. High-tech poster child MIT, the former No. 2, dropped to 20. At the same time, [UIUC] went from No. 6 to No. 1; other climbers included Pomona College (5), Eckerd College (7), and Stanford University (9)."
Rounding out the magazine’s top 10 wired schools are Kansas State University (2), the University of Utah (3), Bentley College (4), Boston College (6), Hollins University (8), and the University of Oklahoma (10).
The magazine notes that "advanced classes in technology are nothing new, but what schools offer today is getting more and more varied and eclectic." For instance, it says, "web design is offered at all the schools in the top 20, but game development, 3D animation, and robotics are finding a place in the curriculums of several. A few schools also offer classes on hacking and PC security."
Most of the schools offer at least some lectures online, the magazine notes, and "four schools even send out videos of lectures by eMail."
Wi-Fi is fairly pervasive on campus, too, with only a few colleges in the magazine’s top 20 saying they have less than full wireless coverage at the student union and libraries. Sixteen of the schools even have 100-percent coverage in their dining areas, it says.
"There’s a great divide in how much assistance college IT departments will handle," the report says. "But three schools–Pomona, the Catholic University of America (11), and Bowdoin College (19)–say they have a 24-hour, on-campus repair service."