Questions on Podcasts and GED Courses, Articles on RIAA, CSU-Colorado, Ordering Textbooks, Outsourcing E-Mail

Here are two questions from two ITC members – they will surely appreciate your contacting them if you are able to help in any way!! Please contact them directly by phone or e-mail. Thank you!! Here are also some articles that you might be interested in … Chris.

Do we have any members who have Podcast sites? If yes, do you think they would be willing to discuss how to build such a site and lessons learned to date?
– Sandy Cobb, Director, University Center/Instructional Technology Office, Mid-South Community College 870-733-6785,

We are trying to find a college or university that offers a GED prep course online. Thank you!
– Larry Carver, Director, Instructional Technology and Distance Education, Hutchinson Community College – 620.728.8180,

Antipiracy Lawsuits, Four Years Later
by Brock Read
Aug. 29, 2007, Chronicle of Higher Education

. . . “ ‘RIAA v. the People: Four Years Later’ offers a detailed recap of the recording industry’s lawsuits, which now total nearly 30,000, according to the group’s calculations. The report also profiles the industry’s shifting legal tactics, which have familiarized campus technologists with John Doe subpoenas and pre-litigation notices.” See

“But the report really gets interesting when it tackles the heart of the matter: Are the lawsuits actually acting as a deterrent to would-be music pirates? The EFF thinks not, and it brandishes peer-to-peer usage statistics compiled by BigChampagne, a digital-media research firm, to argue that file sharing is still on the rise. Most students now enter college realizing that much music downloading is illegal, the report concedes. But the recording industry’s problem is that many of those students go ahead and download anyway.” . . .

CSU Launches Online University: Initiative Targets Students Short on Time, Money
Aug. 24, 2007, The Coloradoan

“Colorado State University is launching a $12 million online university that will help students who don’t have the time or money to get a traditional on-campus four-year education. Called CSU-Colorado, and approved by the CSU Board of Governors on Friday, the online university will serve Coloradans and out-of-state students.” . . .

From the August 24 CSU press release:

. . . “To dramatically increase access to public higher education, CSU and the Colorado Community College System are working together to ensure that associate degree students have four-year and advanced degree options in their communities.” . . .

“CSU-Colorado expects to begin enrolling students as early as the second quarter of 2008 with classes beginning in the third quarter. Additional baccalaureate, master’s degree and professional development programs are scheduled to debut continuously. Courses will normally run eight weeks; high-enrollment programs eventually will begin every four weeks.” . . .

5 Ways to Save on Textbooks Now, 3 Ways to Lower Prices Long Term
Aug. 22, 2007, Make Textbooks

“With the new school year quickly approaching, students will soon be slammed with the high cost of textbooks. Textbooks cost students an average of $900 per year, which is a quarter of tuition at an average four year public university or three-quarters of tuition at a community college. With prices rising twice the rate of inflation, textbooks have become a major “tipping point cost” for students from middle and low-income families.” . . .

Five Ways to Save on Textbooks Now

1. Buy or rent textbooks online at;;;; Campus books; Textbookflix (a rental service similar to Netflix)2. Shop overseas. Many textbooks are available for less (ex. Try visiting the publisher’s Web site and click on another country. Note that shipping could take several weeks.

3. Swap. Look for used book groups on Facebook and search for students who have already taken the class. Try Craigslist and MySpace or Campus Book Swap

4. Check them out of the library

5. Ask professors about using an older edition or a version without any “bundled” items like CDs.

Colleges Outsource E-mail to Big Players
by Alison Go
Aug. 22, 2007, US News and World Report

“Maintaining internal E-mail systems has long been the bane of the university information-technology director. Servers are unwieldy and unreliable, and in the past several years, the number of student complaints (“It’s all junk,” says one) has grown exponentially as forward-moving providers like YahooMail, Hotmail, and Gmail have increased expectations of what E-mail should offer.”

“Microsoft, which owns Hotmail, and Google (Gmail) are the biggest players in the educational E-mail hosting market. Along with the neat-o peripheral gizmos like messaging, calendars, and collaboration tools, the outsourced systems are more stable, have better spam filters, and provide much more storage space than the typical university’s in-house system. At the University of Pennsylvania, its old E-mail service gave students 60 megabytes of storage, just 3 percent of the 2 gigabytes Windows Live now provides.”

“In return, Google and Microsoft get almost nothing, at least monetarily and in the short term. Microsoft’s Windows Live @ edu and the Google Apps Education Edition are free of charge for schools.” . . .

Questions on Podcasts and GED Courses, Articles on RIAA, CSU-Colorado, Ordering Textbooks, Outsourcing E-Mail

Wikis and RSS in the Classroom, More Wikis, Microsoft vs. Google

Nuts and Bolts #1 – Wikis in the Classroom
by Clarence Fisher
Aug. 15, 2007, Remote Access

[This site includes several examples of Wikis.] “Wikis are one of the easiest, most valuable tools I’ve used over the past several years. Easy to edit and track, they open up collaborative learning spaces in time and geography. We’ve worked in several spaces as part of our regular Social Studies curriculum and for our International Teen Life project. At the end of last school year we migrated our Social Studies space to Wikispaces and left it for this years class to work with, add to, and improve.”

“This is one of the most valuable things about wikis. They allow students to see what their peers have done over the past years as part of the mandated curriculum. Students make connections with students from the past and also build on their knowledge, seeing each other as legitimate sources of information and learning.” . . .

Nuts and Bolts #2 – RSS in the Classroom
by Clarence Fisher
Aug. 16, 2007, Remote Access

[Examples of RSS] “RSS is probably the most powerful web 2.0 technologies that have become available in recent years. The ability to subscribe to information, to design an information space, path, and portal that is personalized to your needs fundamentally changes our relationship with information and data. Unfortunately, RSS is also probably one of the most underused technologies out there.”

“Over the last two years, I’ve had my students sign up for accounts at Bloglines (although I think I am going to change to Google reader this year….). We begin with my giving them 4 – 6 information sources they must subscribe to. We call this required reading. I choose these blogs based on what we are studying currently in class and also based on information I feel it is important for the kids to be accessing on a regular basis.” . . .

Wiki Becomes Textbook in Boston College Classroom
by Heather Havenstein
Aug. 15, 2007, Computerworld

“At many colleges and universities, wikis are used mostly as a supplement to primary teaching tools like textbooks and labs, while other Web 2.0 technologies — such as social networking sites like Facebook — have become a staple of student life.  In one Boston College professor’s classroom, however, wikis have become a primary learning tool, replacing textbooks and allowing improved collaboration among students. The wiki is even used to let students submit possible questions for examinations, many of which actually appear on tests.”

“Gerald Kane, assistant professor of information systems at the Chestnut Hill, Mass., school, has been using a wiki from SocialText Inc. as the primary teaching tool in his classroom since October, relying on the technology to integrate content from other Web 2.0 technologies like social book-making tools, RSS systems, and Google for his “Computers in Management” courses.” . . .

Microsoft and Google Battle for Campus E-Mail
by Josh Fischman
August 17, 2007, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Google continues to sign up colleges for its e-mail and productivity program suite.” … “The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the University of Texas at San Antonio, Clemson University, Kennesaw State University, and Arkansas State University are the latest to subscribe to the e-mail, word-processing, and spreadsheet programs.”

“College officials seem to like the portability of the Web-based programs because students can use them wherever there is a Web connection. Another appealing feature is that students can keep their campus e-mail addresses after they graduate. That makes it easier to reach alumni—and ask for donations.”

“Microsoft, too, is getting into the higher-education e-mail business. Windows Live@edu is the company’s communication and productivity suite. Ball State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Indiana State University Alumni Association have signed up, some of the 300 or so clients now using the service. Chile’s education ministry plans to offer Microsoft accounts to seven million students in that country, too.”

Power In Numbers: How Wiki Software is Reforming Bloated Bureaucracies and Changing the Face of Communication
by Jessica Bennett
Aug. 6, 2007, Newsweek International

“The United Nations, notorious for endless deliberations, is trying a technological quick fix. Its Global Compact Office, which promotes corporate responsibility, has embraced a once fringe social technology—the wiki—in hopes that it will help staff in 80 countries share information and reach consensus with less deliberation and more speed.”

Wikis and RSS in the Classroom, More Wikis, Microsoft vs. Google

New Grant Program: Digital Media and Learning Competition

Digital Media and Learning Competition

HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) and the MacArthur Foundation are mobilizing the field of Digital Media and Learning through a $2 million open call competition, supporting all generations of educators, learning entrepreneurs, and communicators.  The Competition is designed to support pioneers who use new technologies to envision the future of learning. We seek innovators developing formal and informal educational environments that inspire creative thinking while informing and providing context to the digital learning styles of people today.

Innovation Awards will support learning pioneers, entrepreneurs, and builders of new digital learning environments for formal and informal learning.  These innovations might range from a teacher add-on for MySpace that allows for safe assigning of a class group discussion, to a platform co-developed by teachers and students to facilitate digital literacy and peer-mentoring between college students and high-school drop-outs earning their GED degrees, to a digital learning festival for the leaders of a worldwide youth environmental campaign.  The sponsors will present up to eight awards of $100,000 or $250,000.

Knowledge Networking Awards will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around digital media and learning.  For example, a team of teacher bloggers who already reach hundreds of thousands of readers may now seek to provide multimedia coverage and translation of MIT Professor Henry Jenkins’ recent white paper on media literacy.  The sponsors will present approximately 12 awards of $30,000-$75,000.

Deadline: Oct. 15, 2007
Eligibility: The competition encourages applications from individuals as well as nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and corporations. Applicants are strongly encouraged to include a partnership with formal or informal learning or community-serving institutions, when relevant to the proposal.
Press release (Aug. 14, 2007): 

New Grant Program: Digital Media and Learning Competition

Videos in Plain English, Rural Broadband, Use of the Internet, New Ways Universities Reach their Students

Commoncraft Videos in Plain English

This consulting company has some terrific short online videos:
RSS in Plain English
Wikis in Plain English
Social Bookmarking in Plain English
Social Networking in Plain English

Rural Broadband Providers Look Skyward
by Tim Catts
August 14, 2007, BusinessWeek

“Just after nightfall on Aug. 14, a new state-of-the-art satellite owned by Hughes Communications (HUGH) will blast off from Kourou, French Guiana, into an orbit more than 22,000 miles above earth. The satellite, Spaceway 3, is part of the company’s bid to reach a bigger slice of a sizable but untapped U.S. broadband market that remains beyond the reach of cable or DSL Internet service providers.” “For years, as major telecom and cable operators such as Comcast (CMCSA), AT&T (T), Verizon Communications (VZ), and Time Warner (TWX) have rolled out a bevy of new bundled telephone and Internet packages for urban centers, many rural regions languished with dial-up access as just about the only option for Internet access. For the most part, investments in the hinterlands bear considerable risks: Absent the economies of scale that come with densely packed customers, providers are forced to hope that their services are widely adopted. If not, such investments may never pay off.”

“That leaves a potentially huge market without high-speed Internet access. Hughes Chief Executive Pradman Kaul estimates there may be as many as 15 million homes and small businesses in areas deemed too remote for cable modem or DSL connections. With a current subscriber base numbering about 353,000, that leaves plenty of room for Hughes to grow.”

One Fifth of Americans Never Use the Internet?
by Matthew Lasar
Aug 13 2007, Lasar’s Letter on the FCC

“Over 20 percent of subjects in a major survey told Nielsen Media Research that they have no access to the Internet. The findings come from a recent study Nielsen completed for the Federal Communications Commission, one of ten sponsored on behalf of the agency’s media ownership proceeding.

Web Users Now Spend Half Their Time Visiting Content, Far Outpacing Time Spent With Search, Communications and Commerce
Press Release
August 13, 2007, Online Publishers Association

“Internet users are spending nearly half their online time visiting content, a 37% increase in share of time from four years ago, according to the Online Publishers Association (OPA).” . . .

The OPA found a number of other important factors behind the changes, including:
– A more accessible, and much faster, Internet is driving increased overall time spent online.
– The increased popularity of video is leading to more time being spent with online content.
– The improvement in search allows consumers to more easily and quickly find the exact content they are looking for, increasing the likelihood they will engage more deeply with that content.
– The Web simply offers far more content than it did even four years ago, increasing content’s share of time.
– The rise of instant messaging (IM) as a key communications tool has been a factor in communication’s reduction in share of time. IM is a more efficient communications vehicle than email.

Welcome to My World
by Tim Johnson
March 2007, University Affairs

“ ‘I get so much junk on there that I barely ever check it, and once I do, anything that might have been useful I already know, anyway,” says Nathan Burnett, a first-year history student at Trent. He says that he will go weeks without checking his university e-mail account and, in talking with friends, he knows it’s the same for many of them. “The messages usually aren’t crucial to their lives.’ “

This is an interesting article about how some Canadian universities are using the new technologies to reach their students.  Here are some highlights.  Chris.

– The University of Calgary aims to “ensure the e-mails are relevant to students. ‘If the material they’re getting from the institution is seen as relevant, they’ll read it and pay attention to it.’ So the U of C is trying to keep students tuned in by cutting down on the number of mass messages sent out.
– “Beginning last summer, the school also rolled out two dozen electronic bulletin boards, which are programmed to display both broad messages (in public areas) and targeted messages (in residences and other private areas). And they are also working on a plan to send pressing information – notices about cancelled classes or emergency situations, say – via text message.”
– “The University of British Columbia is experimenting with ways to reach students right where they live, through IM technology. They have run a number of pilot projects, including a successful orientation program this past autumn, where new students could ask questions and have them answered immediately via IM.”
– “Dr. Burk [at Carleton University] has recently expanded into Facebook, setting up a group for his first-year class that has attracted about 150 of his students. He has used the group to start discussion threads focused on science and chemistry.”
– “Students love their iPods, so Queen’s has created downloadable iTunes with school material. Right now it’s just lectures and historical content, but Mr. Seres hopes to use the technology in the future for daily or weekly informational podcasts.”
– “The University of Manitoba has created what it calls the Virtual Learning Commons, a social networking site complete with message board and personal profiles. The site was launched in September, and in the first three months more than 1,500 users logged in to give it a look, says Peter Tittenberger, acting director of the university’s Learning Technologies Centre and the person who led the site’s development.”

Videos in Plain English, Rural Broadband, Use of the Internet, New Ways Universities Reach their Students

Bb v. Turnitin, Latest Twist in DE, An Unreal House, Free CC Tuition, Leasons from Bb, Digital Preservation

Update on Blackboard v Turnitin
by Michael Feldstein
Aug. 8, 2007, e-Literate

“Update: immagic has several more documents available (one, two, three, four) on what is apparently an outgrowth of a long-running conflict between iParadigms, the company that owns Turnitin, and Sciworth, the company that owns the Safe Assignment anti-plagiarism technology licensed by Blackboard.”  . . .

“Apparently, Blackboard is not threatening Turnitin with a patent. Turnitin is threatening Blackboard with their patent. Blackboard is pro-actively filing suit in response to the threat, claiming that

…well…there are some very strange twists to this one, folks … 

“As you might imagine, the spat is over Blackboard’s new anti-plagiarism features that compete directly with Turnitin’s flagship product. Turnitin apparently claims to own a patent on this stuff, and theirs lawyer have informed Blackboard’s lawyers that they believe Bb infringes.”

Latest Twist in Distance Ed
by Elia Powers
Aug. 9, 2007, Inside Higher Ed

“Violeta Ettle wasn’t sure what to expect when American University offered its first fully online course four summers ago.  The associate provost for administration was confident there would be interest, but from whom? That’s the question facing many college administrators as they develop distance education strategies. The typical targets: students (not necessarily from that institution) from all over the world, and those (enrolled at the college) who are living on campus but want the online option so they can take courses whenever they want.”

“Turns out, the American program is somewhat of a hybrid. While the university marketed that first course, about terrorism and the legal system, to all sorts of groups in an effort to gauge outside interest, all but two of the 27 students who took the class were its own. Many of the students were away from Washington for the summer, living abroad or at home.”

A House That’s Just Unreal
by Seth Kugel
Aug. 9, 2007, The New York Times

“From the roof deck of Sherman Ochs’s Mexican-style villa atop a breezy bluff, the entire island of Jalisco, population about 20, spreads out below. It is a picturesque place of palm trees, lush lawns and near-cloudless skies. And, of course, there are the perfect sands around the lagoon, where residents grind their perfect bodies together in an N.C.L., or Naked Conga Line. It is not exactly real, of course: Mr. Ochs is Don Ainsworth, a 57-year-old retired music teacher who lives in Ventura, Calif., and Jalisco is a sim (for simulator), a plot of land in Second Life, the virtual world introduced in 2003 by Linden Lab, a San Francisco company.”

Dodd’s Plan Calls For Free Community College
The Associated Press
Aug. 7, 2007,

“Democratic presidential hopeful Chris Dodd’s plan to make higher education more accessible includes promises of free community college education for every American — so long as states agree to foot half the cost.  The plan by the Connecticut senator to make community college free relies on a 50-50 deal with states, matching state tuition subsidies dollar for dollar up to half the cost of in-state tuition.”

Lessons from Blackboard?
by Jim Farmer
Aug. 5, 2007, e-Literate

“Blackboard’s Second Quarter financial reports and conference call (edited mp3 audio) may say more about eLearning in higher education than it did about Blackboard. And they say a lot about Blackboard. There are hints of increased outsourcing of eLearning, expansion of an academic “suite” of integrated applications, and an Outcomes System to encourage public support of higher education based on accountability.” . . .

“At MoodleMoot Savannah (2006) and Albuquerque (2007) the Moodle Partners reported sharp increases in hosted Moodle—increases in the number of clients of 5 to 20% per month (and quoting prices of US$1 per student per year). These observations and Blackboard’s performance suggest colleges and universities are selecting hosting for mission-critical eLearning systems.” “Data from Educause’s Core Data collection suggests a possible reason: Lack of information technology staff supporting instruction. In 2003 and 2004 there three supporting administrative systems staff for every IT staff member supporting instruction.” “If Chasen’s examples are representative, students who cannot attend classroom instruction and those students who prefer “distance learning” over classroom-based instruction are creating demand for online learning. In November 2006 the Sloan Consortium reported “There has been no leveling of the growth rate of online enrollments; institutions of higher education report record online enrollment growth on both a numeric and a percentage basis.” This growth suggests a sharp increase in the need for rich online content—a reading list and syllabus is not sufficient for online courses, and may no longer be sufficient for blended learning.”

“There is a concurrent sharp increase in students using online services of publishers. Now more than 30% of faculty are assigning publisher-based online materials to students. In 2006 Pearson reported 2.5 million enrollments using their online services; Thompson Learning reported 1.5 million.”

Digital Preservation Program Makes Awards to Preserve American Creative Works
Library of Congress, Aug. 3, 2007

The Library of Congress’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program announced eight partnerships as part of its new Preserving Creative America initiative to “address the long-term preservation of creative content in digital form.”  The eight partners will “target preservation issues across a broad range of creative works, including digital photographs, cartoons, motion pictures, sound recordings and even video games. The work will be conducted by a combination of industry trade associations, private sector companies and nonprofits, as well as cultural heritage institutions.”

The eight award recipients include the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Society of Media Photographers, ARTstor, BMS/Chace, Stock Artists Alliance, Universal Press Syndicate, UCLA Film & Television Archive, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bb v. Turnitin, Latest Twist in DE, An Unreal House, Free CC Tuition, Leasons from Bb, Digital Preservation