Mary B. Harms, Business, (515) 294-5800
Michael Crum, Business, (515) 294-8105
G. Premkumar, Business, (515) 294-1833
Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University students, faculty and staff can get online help learning new computer technology that can complement classroom instruction or be used for independent study.

Iowa State's College of Business has teamed with Cargill Inc. to purchase a series of 250 SmartForce Computer Based Tutorials (CBTs), which cover areas such as hardware and software applications, programming languages, networking and database management.

Iowa State students, faculty and staff can access the tutorials at no cost and download the programming.

The tutorials were developed by SmartForce, a leading provider of computer-based training and technical certification based in Redwood, Calif., and funded with a $39,000 gift from Cargill Inc.

"CBTs are growing in popularity because of their flexibility, easy use, and the ability to reach a broad audience," said G. Premkumar, Union Pacific Professor of Information Systems. "CBTs offer students a competitive advantage by allowing them to learn software not taught in the classroom."

Businesses are extensively using CBTs as a cost-effective and convenient approach to training employees, Premkumar added.

The Cargill gift is part of a larger commitment made through Cargill's Higher Education Initiative, established in 1996 to create partnerships with key schools. Iowa State is one of five schools targeted for significant funding. Cargill Inc. is an international marketer, processor and distributor of agricultural, food, financial and industrial products. The gift made through the ISU Foundation.

"Cargill's partnership with ISU through the Higher Education Initiative is a true win-win-win situation. It benefits ISU students, ISU faculty, and the Cargill-ISU relationship," said Gary Hicks, senior I/T manager for Cargill Grain Processing/Oilseeds Crush. "The main goals of Cargill's Higher Education Initiative effort are to sponsor programs that reach a large number of ISU students and faculty, and that make a real difference in the college experience. The ISU-Cargill CBT Program, with its free availability from any PC with a web browser, accomplishes these goals."

The College of Business and Iowa State's Academic Information Technologies and Administrative Data Processing units also contributed to the project.


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