Grad students developing GPS project for visually impaired

A GPS-based project would help blind students travel easily around college campuses.

At 356 acres, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) can seem like a mini city where one can easily get lost without a map. If you are blind or visually impaired, finding your way about the campus and its more than 100 buildings can be daunting without a guide.

Graduate students Robert Sweetman and Trudy Bowden-Callahan, both earning master’s degrees in assistive technology, are hoping to change that.

The pair received a $20,000 grant from the Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation to develop a global positioning program that would not only help blind and visually impaired students navigate the CSUN campus, but provide them with information about what’s inside the buildings they are passing, as well as what lies ahead.…Read More

How to grow campus technology amid shrinking resources

Baker led CSU Northridge's conversion to Gmail, which saved the university $160,000 annually.
Baker led CSU Northridge’s conversion to Gmail, which saved $160,000 annually.

Being an IT official at a California university today requires a close look at any measures that can save the campus cash. But Hilary Baker, vice president for IT at California State University Northridge, has found ways to maintain—and even improve—technology services despite massive statewide budget cuts.

Baker, who came to the Northridge campus in 2006, said budget planning has taken on new significance during the country’s economic slump as university technology officials brace for a 5-percent budget cut this year and another 5-percent reduction next year.

“They probably are worse than any of us thought they would be,” Baker said, adding that open IT positions will be left unfilled this year as a cost-cutting measure.…Read More