With Budget Crunch Hitting IT, Time to Rethink Role?
by Andy Guess
Dec. 11, 2008, Inside Higher Ed
“Information technology, the backbone of colleges’ network and security operations, faces the same wave of cuts as any other line in the budget these days, at least at institutions imposing across-the-board cuts. But rather than lament the fewer resources they have to work with, some chief information officers see the latest economic downturn as an opportunity to rethink their role and, in the process, revive an ongoing debate about what exactly they should be doing to serve the mission of higher education.”
“As budgets tighten, some CIOs are asking themselves where, to use the economic parlance, their comparative advantage lies, and whether the cuts serve as a chance to offload services available elsewhere – by outsourcing e-mail and moving common tasks to the “cloud” of third-party, cheaply networked computers – and concentrating on developing applications specific to teaching and research.” . . .
White House Opposes FCC Free Wireless Internet Plan
by Amy Schatz
Dec. 10, 2008, Wall Street Journal
“Bush administration officials are trying to put the brakes on the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to encourage a free, national wireless Internet plan, which the agency could approve next week. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez sent a letter to the agency’s Republican chairman Wednesday afternoon expressing the administration’s displeasure with the idea. ‘The administration believes that the (airwaves) should be auctioned without price or product mandate,’ Mr. Gutierrez wrote. ‘The history of FCC spectrum auctions has shown that the potential for problems increases in instances where licensing is overly prescriptive or designed around unproven business models.’ ”
“Outgoing FCC Chairman Kevin Martin hopes to win approval for his plan next week, at one of the last FCC meetings he will chair. Mr. Martin has proposed auctioning off some airwaves for a new, national wireless broadband service next year. The winner of the auction would be required to offer free wireless Internet access across the country within a few years on a portion of those airwaves. The free, advertising-supported service wouldn’t necessarily be speedy – it would be faster than dial-up, slower than most cable broadband offerings — and would come equipped with a smut-filter to keep children 18 and younger from viewing porn and other racy fare. The winner of the auction could offer a higher-speed subscription service on the rest of the airwaves.” . . .
Obama Pledges Public Works on a Vast Scale
by John Broder, Peter Baker
Dec. 6, 2008, New York Times (summary provided by the Benton Foundation)
“President-elect Barack Obama promised Saturday to create the largest public works construction program since the inception of the interstate highway system a half century ago as he seeks to put together a plan to resuscitate the reeling economy. Obama’s remarks showcased his ambition to expand the definition of traditional work programs for the middle class, like infrastructure projects to repair roads and bridges, to include new-era jobs in technology and so-called green jobs that reduce energy use and global warming emissions. The plan would cover a range of programs to expand broadband Internet access, to make government buildings more energy efficient, to improve information technology at hospitals and doctors’ offices, and to upgrade computers in schools. Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House energy adviser, said, ‘He is advocating things like guaranteeing every American a college education, wiring the entire country for Internet, putting in a smart electric grid. If he can do it, these will be major systemic advantages for the United States in the competitive global economy.”
“In his weekly radio address, President-elect Obama said, ‘[M]y economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools. As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.
“In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the Internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the Internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”
Diverse Group Calls for National Broadband Policy
by Carol Wilson
Dec. 2, 2008, TelephonyOnline (summary provided by the Benton Foundation)
“On Tuesday, a diverse group of 55 signatories (including the Benton Foundation) released a call to action for a national broadband strategy aimed at making broadband deployment and adoption a priority for the Obama administration. The document, endorsed by parties as varied as AT&T, Verizon, Google, Free Press and municipal broadband players, seeks to find a middle ground on which all broadband players can stand and endorse the push to make broadband ubiquitous in the US. According to organizer Jim Baller, this is the first step in a process that will include a major event in the spring of 2009 to continue to focus on the need for broadband deployment and adoption. Past “a comprehensive national broadband strategy,” the groups called for 1) Open access to the Internet “to the maximum feasible extent” for all users, service providers, content providers, and application providers. 2) Rights for network operators to manage their networks “responsibly, pursuant to clear and workable guidelines and standards.” 3) A competitive Internet and broadband marketplace, to the greatest extent possible. 4) Broadband network performance, capacity, and connections that US citizens need to compete successfully in the global marketplace.”
Adults and Video Games
by Amanda Lenhart Sydney Jones Alexandra Rankin Macgill
Dec. 7, 2008, Pew Internet and American Life Project
“More than half – 53 percent – of all American adults play video games of some kind, whether on a computer, on a gaming console, on a cell phone or other handheld device, on a portable gaming device, or online. Age is the biggest demographic factor in game play by adults. Younger adults are significantly more likely than any other game group to play games, and as age increases game play decreases. Independent of all other factors, younger adults are still more likely to play games.” . . .
In Google We Trusted and Now Our Project’s Busted
Dec. 5, 2008
“A heck of a great potential tool is about to go away on December 31, 2008. Google’s lively – while not perfect in many ways runs on a standard web browser and provides a way to create private rooms to teach in a 3d environment. So, my students have used Lively for Digiteen and have loved it. ( created scripts, did plays in Lively to teach digital citizenship, created rooftops and whole virtual schools. (See their action wiki.) We also created a wiki on which we recorded our ideas and opinions on the nine aspects of digital citizenship-literacy, access, etiquette, commerce, rights and responsibilities, law, communication, security and safety, and health and wellness. So, now, we’re at least trying to bring attention to two important things:”
“1) Corporate Digital Citizenship. As we study about digital citizenship – we also think that it should extend to companies. In digital citizenship we learn that we must respect others whom we interact with on the Internet. Lively goes away with no ability to download. Now, as we’ve looked into it, Lively is built on something called Gamebryo which we think has a license fee and perhaps that is why it isn’t going to be released as open source. However, we WISH that someone somewhere would provide some alternatives. We’ve only had 6 months to get familiar with this tool and I wasn’t able to take students into it until this fall. We barely got our avatar’s hair combed until we heard it was going away!” . . .
“2) The use of 3D worlds in Schools. We need free, usable 3D virtual worlds for schools. Teen second life is EXPENSIVE – we had it in our budget and now we’re looking at $2300 a year to maintain and keep an island — it is out of our league at this time. We don’t have that kind of money to build in Second life !! HELP! So, as we go on this journey and PROTEST the lively shut down, we’re also going to investigate new worlds and other alternatives and share it with you. After a class meeting, the students have formed a Digiteen Dream Team. They dream of teaching digital citizenship in a virtual world.” . . .
Ball State Launches $17.7 Million Emerging Media Initiative
by Joe Mandese
Dec. 7, 2008, MediaPost (summary provided by the Benton Foundation)
Ball State University unveiled a major initiative designed to advance the study of emerging media and to better prepare students for careers in a rapidly changing digital economy. The program, backed by $17.7 million in funding over the next five years from a combination of institutional and private sector sources, is another in a series of commitments the Indiana state university has made to become an area of academic excellence for the media industry. The emerging media initiative will be a combination of higher education and practical application. The goal is to attract and retain key faculty steeped with knowledge and understanding of emerging media, as well as fellows from within the industry. As part of that, the program will have an Emerging Media Faculty Fellows program, which BSU will provide incentives and start-up funding for the hiring of new faculty — across the curriculum — with expertise in the study and use of emerging media.
YouTube Videos Pull In Real Money
by Brian Stelter
Dec. 10, 2008, New York Times
“One year after YouTube, the online video powerhouse, invited members to become ‘partners’ and added advertising to their videos, the most successful users are earning six-figure incomes from the Web site. For some, like Michael Buckley, the self-taught host of a celebrity chatter show, filming funny videos is now a full-time job. Mr. Buckley quit his day job in September after his online profits had greatly surpassed his salary as an administrative assistant for a music promotion company. His thrice-a-week online show ‘is silly,’ he said, but it has helped him escape his credit-card debt.” . . .
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
by Jack Stripling
Dec. 9, 2008, Insider Higher Ed
“When the New York Institute of Technology went into business with a private online course developer in 2003, both parties expected a happy marriage. But the institute’s recent break-up with Cardean Learning Group, LLC, finalized in a summer court settlement, had the makings of a bitter divorce, with both sides launching harsh accusations in a custody battle over students.”
“The partnership between the institute – an accredited private, non-profit college – and Cardean, a for-profit company formerly known as UNext, was billed as a win-win situation. Cardean would help design and finance a new online branch campus for NYIT, and in turn NYIT would put Cardean on the path to developing its own freestanding, accredited university. The agreement between the two gave birth to Ellis College, an online NYIT venture that would eventually be phased out at the point that Cardean secured accreditation for Ellis University, an independent institution. In a strategic alliance between the two, a crop of online students would be ushered into NYIT – where they could receive financial aid from an accredited institution – and then transfer to the newly established Ellis University once it achieved accreditation on its own.”
“While Ellis University has been accredited, and officials say the student transfers are now under way, the process went anything but smoothly. The friction between the two has drawn the attention of Ellis University’s new accreditor, which is planning a focused on-site visit in January to ensure that Ellis is meeting the standards of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The story of Cardean and NYIT’s relationship (see timeline), as culled from court documents and interviews, is a veritable case study of the potential perils of increasingly common joint ventures between private companies and established nonprofit colleges looking for new revenue steams.” . . .
Blackboard Sues U.S. Patent Office
by Jeffrey Young
Dec. 2, 2008, Chronicle of Higher Education
“Just when you thought the patent fight over course-management software couldn’t get any more confusing, Blackboard Inc. went to federal court to sue the United States Patent and Trademark Office, seeking to overturn a recent decision concerning Blackboard’s controversial patent on course-management software. The issue at stake is who decides whether or not Blackboard’s patent is valid. Right now the patent is being challenged on two fronts:”
“- Front one is the courts. Blackboard sued its biggest competitor, Desire2Learn, arguing that the Canada-based company violated Blackboard’s patent with its course-management software. On that front Blackboard is winning. In march a federal jury in Texas awarded Blackboard $3.1-million, finding that Desire2Learn did infringe the company’s patent. Desire2Learn has appealed the decision, and it modified its software in response to the court decision.”
“- Front two is the patent office’s own review process. Desire2Learn has challenged the validity of Blackboard’s patent, and the office is working through a formal reexamination of it. On this front Desire2Learn is winning big. In an initial ruling issued this year, the patent office struck down all 44 claims in the Blackboard patent.”
“Blackboard clearly wants the final decision to rest with the courts, where it has received the most favorable verdicts. Its new lawsuit, filed late last month against the patent office and Jon W. Dudas, the office’s director, seeks to overturn the patent office’s recent decision to continue its review of the patent’s validity while the court challenge goes on. Blackboard argues that once a court ruling about a patent is issued, the patent office should end any reexamination of that patent. The patent office has ruled that its reexamination will only end once a final verdict in court is issued, meaning only after all possible appeals are pursued.” . . .
World Without Walls: Learning Well with Others: How to Teach When Learning is Everywhere.
by Will Richardson
December 2008, Edutopia
“Welcome to the Collaboration Age, where even the youngest among us are on the Web, tapping into what are without question some of the most transformative connecting technologies the world has ever seen. These tools are allowing us not only to mine the wisdom and experiences of the more than one billion people now online but also to connect with them to further our understanding of the global experience and do good work together. These tools are fast changing, decidedly social, and rich with powerful learning opportunities for us all, if we can figure out how to leverage their potential.” . . .
Web 2.0 in Education (UK) Home
“Hello and Welcome to the Web 2 in Education Wiki. This site is designed to provide teachers with a directory of free webtools along with some suggestions as to how they may be used in the classroom. I have searched over 2000 websites and listed 194 tools, that’s 194 opportunities for you to use ICT in your classroom and all for free! Where possible I have included a brief review and a screenshot or working example of the tool. If you come across any other tools that are not on my list please let me know. Alternatively, if you use one of these tools in the classroom why not let me know how you got on by becoming a member and joining the discussion forum. In the meantime check out the list of tools on the Site pages to the left of this page or have a look at the Glog below which showcases some of the best tools around today!”
“Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet” by Christine L. Borgman
Book Review by Ibironke Lawal, Virginia Commonwealth University
Winter 2008, Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
“Christine Borgman starts her book by bringing to the forefront, the enormous impact of the Internet technologies on scholarship. It is needless to say that the original use of the Internet was for communication of research findings among scholars, information that was scholarly and free. At that time, the network was used and controlled by a closed community of researchers and their staff. With advances in technology and increase in bandwidth, the Internet is now used for various purposes including commerce. Online information today is more than scholarly information. It consists of what Borgman calls ‘stuff,’ verifiable and unverifiable data and web sites. Some of these still contain valuable information for scholarship. Sites such as those of daily newspapers around the world, preprint servers, scholarly online journals available even before the print is released, mailing lists and blogs enable rapid and free access to important information to support scholarship.” . . .
by Mark Bullen
“This blog is dedicated to debunking the myth of the net generation, particularly as it relates to learning, teaching and the use of technology. By using this forum I hope to start a conversation around this issue and promote an informed discussion of strategies that postsecondary institutions can use to harness the power of Web 2.0 and other learning technologies that is based in fact not rhetoric.”
In his November 28 post Bullen writes about a recent study, “Two British researchers have just completed a study of undergraduate students that found ‘many young students are far from being the epitomic global, connected, socially-networked technologically-fluent digital native who has little patience for passive and linear forms of learning.’ Instead, the study found that students use a limited range of technologies for both formal and informal learning and that there is a ‘very low level of use and familiarity with collaborative knowledge creation tools such as wikis, virtual worlds, personal web publishing, and other emergent social technologies.’ ”
Education Attainment Levels for the States
This Web site from the Lumina Foundation shows county-by-county data on the educational levels of the adults in their jurisdiction. It also compares the education levels in each state with those in other countries.
Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2007, and Salaries of Full-time Instructional Faculty 2007-08
by Laura G. Knapp, et. al., Research Triangle Institute
Dec. 11, 2008 – Web release, National Center for Education Statistics
This report presents information from the Winter 2007-08 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) web-based data collection. Tabulations represent data requested from all postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal student financial aid programs. The tables in this publication include data on the number of staff employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in fall 2007 by primary function/occupational activity, length of contract/teaching period, employment status, salary class interval, faculty and tenure status, academic rank, race/ethnicity, and gender. Also included are tables on the number of full-time instructional faculty employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in 2007-08 by length of contract/teaching period, academic rank, gender, and average salaries.
Breadth of Adjunct Use and Abuse
by Scott Jaschik
Dec. 3, 2008, Inside Higher Ed
“The use of adjuncts is well known among academics, but many believe that these instructors are utilized primarily in certain areas (such as the humanities) or certain types of institutions (such as community colleges). But a report being released today by the American Federation of Teachers suggests that the breadth and depth of adjunct use is greater than many realize – such that they are teaching a majority of public college and university courses, and are a major force in a wide range of disciplines.”
“The report – ‘Reversing Course: The Troubled State of Academic Staffing and a Path Forward’ – is designed to publicize the extent of adjunct use with a mind toward encouraging more colleges to either improve the pay they offer adjuncts or shift more of their positions to the tenure track. Along those lines, the AFT is releasing a new tool that allows colleges to calculate the costs of changing staffing policies. The goal is to show that modest changes may be possible – even in tight budget years like this one – and that over time, such changes could have a meaningful impact on the makeup of faculties and the compensation of adjuncts.” . . .