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George Washington U. CIO steps down

The departure of Chief Information Officer Loretta Early comes as dozens of technology staff are being laid off as part of the university's IT consolidation initiative. The university, which serves 27,000 students, employs about 6,000 faculty and staff. The total number of layoffs is expected to be in the "low hundreds," the university said. “With the technology landscape evolving at an exponential rate, the time is now to reassess GW’s objectives and corresponding structure with respect to the technology space,” Mark Diaz, the university’s chief financial officer, told the university's student newspaper. Betsy Foresman has the details.

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Ohio State launches app for blind students

Ohio State University announced a new service Thursday to assist blind and low-vision students navigate campus more easily by connecting them with remotely located assistants who can read signs and describe visual surroundings. “Using the camera of your smartphone, the agent can read to you any signage that you’re going to encounter and, in these days of COVID-19, signage on campus is going to become pretty important. It’s a big deal,” said Nolan Crabb, a university ADA director. The technology follows similar initiatives at other universities, such as an app for blind students attending Butler University and new accessibility updates to websites and the learning management system used by students at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Betsy has more.

UT Austin dives into machine learning

The University of Texas, Austin announced Wednesday it will create a new national institute focused on machine learning research. Funded by a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the institute will support researchers at UT Austin and higher education institutions across the country, including the University of Washington and Kansas’ Wichita State University, to develop new algorithms that will advance artificial intelligence technology and assist industries like transportation and health care in making predictions in complex environments. Get the full scoop.

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