University of Maryland B-School gives Nextel BlackBerry 7510 handhelds to MBA students
COLLEGE PARK, Md., Aug. 26, 2004 -- The University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business today announced that it will provide Nextel BlackBerry 7510(TM) wireless handheld devices to all of its full-time MBA students at the start of the fall 2004 semester. The objective of the groundbreaking initiative is to encourage Smith School MBAs to explore the potential of "always on" technology and to teach them how to leverage such technology in the educational experience.
The BlackBerry(R) devices will utilize Nextel's all-digital national voice and data network to provide Smith MBAs with wireless access to the Web; wireless access to their e-mail, calendar and address book; task and memo pad functionality; and Nextel's Direct Connect(R) digital walkie-talkie service, all of which can be used by students to complete coursework. In the near future, students will be able to obtain course assignments, grades, class rosters and other school information - from anywhere on the Nextel National Network at anytime - through an online course development tool.
"In order to succeed as business executives in today's digital economy, business students must learn how to leverage 'always on' communication and manage 24/7 access to data and people," said Howard Frank, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. "By using these devices, inside and outside the classroom, our MBAs will gain a greater understanding of how information technology can be maximized to create innovation and drive business growth. Nextel is providing our students with an exciting opportunity to explore new and innovative ways to enhance business education."
The first-year MBA students received their devices and participated in training during orientation, on Aug. 18, 2004. The second-year students will receive the devices and participate in training during their first week of class, on Sept. 3, 2004.
"Nextel's wireless network, devices and services provide educational institutions --from primary school systems to universities--with the tools they need to get work done wherever and whenever necessary," said Chris Hackett, Nextel's vice president for Education. "The BlackBerry 7510 from Nextel is an extremely powerful tool and we are pleased that the Smith School is bringing it to future business leaders so they can reap the benefits of increased productivity."
About 400 BlackBerry devices will be distributed to the school's first and second-year MBA students, as well as to various faculty and university staff. The Smith School will incorporate the use of the BlackBerry devices in select MBA courses during the fall 2004 semester. The use of the devices may eventually be required in all of the core MBA courses.
"The Nextel initiative presents an enormous opportunity to enhance the MBA learning experience," said Cherie Scricca, associate dean for masters programs and career services at the Smith School. "An immediate benefit will be to enhance the MBA team experience and atmosphere, but the ultimate benefits of this initiative are yet to be explored and discovered."
The Nextel initiative also includes a significant research component. Smith School faculty members are currently developing research proposals based on the initiative. One such project, led by faculty with the school's Center for Human Capital, Innovation, and Technology, will explore team dynamics, virtual group behavior, and the creativity of community members who have the same technology tools available to them.
About the Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research for the digital economy. The school offers cross-functional study options in its six academic departments, which include accounting and information assurance; decision and information technologies; finance; logistics, business and public policy; management and organization; and marketing. More information about the Robert H. Smith School of Business can be found at www.rhsmith.umd.edu.
Nextel Communications,(NASDAQ:NXTL) a FORTUNE 200 company based in Reston, Va., is a leading provider of fully integrated wireless communications services and has built the largest guaranteed all-digital wireless network in the country covering thousands of communities across the United States. Today 95 percent of FORTUNE 500(R) companies are Nextel customers. Nextel and Nextel Partners, Inc. currently serve 296 of the top 300 U.S. markets where approximately 253 million people live or work.
Robert H. Smith School of Business Jeff Heebner, 301-405-9469 firstname.lastname@example.org or Nextel Communications Scott Sloat, 301-951-2816
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