IBM Academic Initiative

Building skills for a Smarter Planet

Membership, renewal, and profile FAQ

Find the answers to common questions about membership and renewals in the Academic Initiative program.

All about memberships

  • - Who can join the Academic Initiative?

    IBM Academic Initiative membership is open to faculty and research professionals at accredited institutions of higher education and to IBM employees all over the globe. Membership is granted on an individual basis. There is no limit on the number of members at an institution that can join.

  • - What is an accredited institution?

    An accredited institution is one that is publicly or privately funded and can be defined by one the following:

  • - What does it cost to join the Academic Initiative?

    Academic Initiative membership and the majority of its benefits are available at no charge. This includes the capability to download selected IBM products, technology, and courseware, plus discounts on selected IBM professional certification tests, remote access to certain hardware systems, participation in technical webcasts, and much more.

  • - What are the benefits of joining?

    The IBM Academic Initiative provides its members with access to IBM software and courseware materials for teaching, learning, and non-commercial research. Members can download a wide variety of IBM and open source products and technologies, at no charge. Members can also access a wealth of information to learn about these products and technologies, incorporate them in your curricula, and connect with others members who are using them.

  • - How can I join the IBM Academic Initiative?

    You can join the IBM Academic Initiative by completing a two-step process described in Becoming a member.

    Step 1. If you haven't already, create your universal IBM user ID and password that will enable you to become a member of the Academic Initiative.

    Step 2. Submit the IBM Academic Initiative membership application form that provides more information about you and your institution. (You need to complete Step 1 and have an IBM user ID and password before proceeding with this step.) In some countries, a hard-copy application is required to be printed, signed, and mailed in. After you complete this step, most applicants will receive an e-mail from IBM granting provisional membership. Some applicants may receive a second e-mail requesting more information.

    Be sure to read and understand the IBM Academic Initiative program agreement for your country. You must agree to the program agreement as part of the membership application and terms of the program.

  • - How long does it take for my membership to be approved?

    In many countries, after you submit your application in Step 2, you will quickly be granted provisional membership into the program, subject to validation of your role at your institution. If we need additional information from you to validate your role, we will contact you.

    Some countries also require an additional review or require a hard copy of the signed agreement. In these cases, it will take longer for your membership to be approved. If you are applying in one of these countries, you might be contacted by an IBM Academic Initiative representative for additional details. The countries that require a hard copy of the signed agreements are indicated with an asterisk (*) next to the country name on the Program agreement page.

  • - Is there a limit to how many members per institution can join?

    There is no limit to the number of authorized members per institution that can join the Academic Initiative.

  • - How long does a membership last?

    Membership in the IBM Academic Initiative is active for one year. At the end of your membership year, you will be prompted to provide information to renew your membership for an additional 12-month period.

  • - What do I do if I applied for membership but I am still unable to access protected sections of the site?

    One of two things might be causing this:

Membership renewals

  • - How do I renew my membership?
    • 1. To renew your membership, log in and go to your Academic Initiative membership profile.
    • 2. Check the Your Activities status. If you see a red exclamation-point icon, you need to create, confirm, update, or remove your activities.
    • 3. Click Your Activities, and create or update questionnaires to submit your activities about what you are teaching or researching (see the FAQs under Membership profiles for more details). You must have at least one current activity. When all your activities have green checkmarks, you are ready to proceed to renewal.
    • 4. Click Your membership status. The membership renewal form appears. Complete the form, updating any outdated information, and click Submit.

    Upon approval, you will receive an email indicating that your membership is extended for an additional 12 months.

    If you need to make membership updates within 90 days of your latest update, email Academic Initiative Membership.

  • - Can my Academic Initiative membership be cancelled?

    You may cancel your membership at any time by notifying IBM by e-mail.

    IBM may cancel your membership if it is determined that you no longer qualify for the offering. If you or IBM cancels your membership, you may continue to use the products you have received under this initiative according to the terms under which you enrolled. You will not be eligible for membership renewal, software upgrades, or technical support.

Membership profiles

  • - What is my Academic Initiative profile, and how do I access it?

    Your Academic Initiative profile is new feature as of September 2014. Your profile is a page that displays your membership information all in one place. You can access your profile from the right side of most pages on the website by logging in with your membership ID and password and then clicking Access your Academic Initiative profile.

    You'll find the following information on your profile:

  • - How do I update the information on my profile?
  • - How do I get my activities ready for renewal?

    Follow this guide for how to update your activities before a renewal. Once all your activities listed at Update Your Activities on your Academic Initiative profile show a green checkmark icon, you can proceed to renewal.

    Getting your activities ready for renewal
    If... Then...
    You have no existing activities Create at least one new activity, whether you used Academic Initiative resources or not. You can create as many activities as you like. Remember that you will need to confirm or update all activities before each renewal.
    An existing activity with your specific course, project, or support description in the title requires updating Either confirm that the information is still accurate, update the information, or remove the activity. To change an activity from using resources to not using resources, remove the activity and create a new one.
    An activity with a generic title such as Update existing entry: Course development requires updating Either confirm that you are still not using Academic Initiative resources, or remove the activity. To change an activity from not using resources to using resources, remove the activity and create a new one.
  • - How do I create a new activity if I used Academic Initiative resources for a course or project?
    • Go to Update Your Activities in your Academic Initiative profile.
    • Click one of the questionnaires based on whether you develop courseware, complete research, or support faculty. Complete the fields according to the table below, and click Submit. Required fields apply only if you have used resources, and they are indicated with an asterisk (*).
    Questionnaire fields and actions
    Field name Action
    * Have you used Academic Initiative resources? If you used Academic Initiative resources this year, click Yes. If you did not use resources, click No and then Submit to complete this activity.

    * For which of your activities (such as your course name or project title)?:* Enter a unique coursename or project title so you can identify this activity for which you used Academic Initiative resources. A time period might also be useful for you to recognize this activity later. Some examples include Computer Skills and Applications 101 Fall 2013, Spring 2013 Big Data for the Healthcare Industry, or Mobile Applications in Fall 2013.

    * Select the teaching topic and subtopic that best relate to this course's content (or project's content or how you support faculty) Click the down arrow on the right to select the teaching topic that best fits this activity. Once you select a teaching topic, you are prompted to select its subtopic. You must make both these selections for this required field. If this activity spans multiple topics or doesn't apply to any of the listed topics, select the closest match.

    Select the product that best relates to this course's content (or project's content or how you support faculty) Click the down arrow on the right to select the product category that best fits this activity. Once you select a product category, you are prompted to select the specific product. This is not a required field. If this activity spans multiple products or doesn't apply to any of the listed products, select the closest match.

    * For a course development activity, how many students enroll in this course each semester?

    Click the radio button for how many students on average enroll in this course each semester.
    * For a course development activity, how many times have you taught this course in the past year?

    Click the down arrow to select how many times you've taught this course in the past year.
    * For a research project activity, what is the date that this research project is scheduled to be completed?

    Type the approximate date that this research project will be complete. Use the format YYYY-MM-DD.
    * For an IBM employee activity, which institutions have you supported in the past year? Type which institutions you have supported the last year with this activity. List each institution on a separate line. Use the full institution name as it appears on the membership application, if you know it (avoid acroynms like ASU). Create separate activities for each teaching topic or product you used significantly.

    Please share any additional information about how you are supporting faculty members

    Type any additional information about using Academic Initiative resources in the freeform textbox.

    Click Refresh when prompted. Only after refreshing will you see this activity added to your profile page, the counter beside the Update Your Activities heading display the accurate number of your activities, and your membership status and activities status icons updated.

    Your profile now shows the three Create new activity questionnaires always available for you to create new activities followed by any activities you've added. Create separate activities for each course, project, teaching topic, or product you used.

  • - How do I create an activity if I didn't use any Academic Initiative resources for a course or project?

    To create an activity if you didn't use any Academic Initiative resources this year, follow these steps:

    • 1. Go to Update Your Activities in your Academic Initiative profile.
    • 2. Click the appropriate questionnaire that starts with the words Create an activity based on whether you teach courses, perform research projects, or support faculty.
    • 3. For the question Have you used Academic Initiative resources?, click No. The other questions are then disabled.
    • 4. Click Submit to complete this activity, and click Refresh when prompted. Only after refreshing will you see this activity added to your profile page, the counter beside the Update Your Activities heading display the accurate number of your activities, and your membership status and activities status icons updated.

    Your profile now shows the three Create new activity questionnaires always available for you to create new activities followed by any activities you've added. An activity with no resources has the name of the generic questionnaire following the words Update existing activity. For example, if you select the questionnaire Create new activity: Research project and then submit that you did not use any resources, your activity title is Update existing activity: Research project.

    You can add only one activity for each questionnaire to indicate that you are not using resources.

  • - How do I update or remove an activity?

    To update or remove an activity, follow these steps:

    • 1. Go Update Your Activities on your Academic Initiative profile.
    • 2. Click the activity that starts with the words Update existing activity that you want to update or remove.
    •  -- To update, change the needed information, and click Submit/Confirm.
    •  -- To completely remove the activity from your list, click Remove. You will not be able to retrieve this activity once you remove it. We still have it in our database records, though, so you can remove your activities when you are no longer teaching the course or when your research project is over.
    • 3. Click Refresh when prompted. Only after refreshing will you see the activity updated or removed from your profile page, the counter beside the Update Your Activities heading display the accurate number of your activities, and your membership status and activities status icons updated.
  • - What if one of my activities has no changes since my last update?

    To simply confirm an existing activity, go to Update Your Activities in your Academic Initiative profile, click the activity that starts with the words Update existing activity that you want to confirm, and click Submit/Confirm. Yes, it's that easy.

    A popup message appears that prompts you to click Refresh. Only after refreshing will you see your current membership and activities status icons.

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