Student Engagement, Social Media, Cloud Computing, Go, Lecture Capture, Copyright, Webinars, ESL, Grants, HEA Disclosure Requirements

Making Connections: Dimensions of Student Engagement
CCSSE Web site
November 2009, Community College Survey of Student Engagement
Executive Summary

This report focuses “on the importance of relationships among students, faculty, and staff, and with institutions themselves: how they evolve, the value they add, and the importance of building and sustaining these critical connections. The report offers data about the quality of community college students’ educational experiences and describes how colleges across the country are intentionally making connections with students online, in the classroom, on campus, and beyond.”

“Increasingly, colleges are using technology to reach out to students, and Making Connections offers new primary research on the use of Web 2.0 social networking tools. Additionally, recent data show significant growth in the use of online courses and support services, including online developmental education classes, orientation, and tutoring. While technology use was once the province of younger students, the age gap has closed to within one percentage point — upwards of 66 percent of all students now use technology to collaborate on meaningful educational activities.”

“Part-time enrollment is an acknowledged risk factor for low student engagement and dropping out of college. Making Connections also explores the role part-time status of faculty plays, focusing on the institutional approaches needed to support adjunct faculty success. The report also discusses the challenges colleges face as they work to foster connections among students, faculty, and staff and offers a self-assessment checklist for colleges: ‘Is Your College a Connected College?’ “

The Part-Time Impact
by David Moltz
Nov. 16, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

. . .“Through the years, CCSSE data have shown that students consider academic advising the most important student service offered them. This year, for instance, 62 percent of students said it was “very important”; financial aid advising came in a close second place with 61 percent. Still, data from the Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement — an accompanying survey asking faculty about their perceptions of student experiences — indicate that 42 percent of part-time faculty members do not spend any time advising students in a typical week. The report also notes that even when part-time faculty members have the same teaching loads as their full-time counterparts, they still spend less time with students outside of the classroom. Forty percent of part-time faculty members who teach between 9 and 12 hours a week never spent time advising students; only 15 percent of full-time faculty members who teach the same number of hours never did so.”

“The problem of individual student engagement is further confounded because part-time students — who are less likely to succeed than their full-time peers — are more likely to attend evening classes that are also more likely to be taught by part-time faculty. Forty-three percent of part-time students take evening classes, whereas only 12 percent of full-time students take them. The report stresses that, as a result, ‘these students have fewer options for certain kinds of interventions that strengthen engagement.’ “ . . .

“Another major topic specific to this year’s CCSSE is the effectiveness of using social networking tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, to interact with students. The survey found that students who use these tools to interact with fellow students and professors “about coursework” showed higher levels of engagement. Still, those same students who used these tools in a higher frequency “for any purpose” — including social and other non-academic purposes — were less engaged overall.” . . .

Social Learning Examples – Part 1: 100+ Ways to Use Social Media for Learning
by Jane Hart
Nov. 14, 2009, Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies

“I am constantly being asked, by those new to social media, for specific examples of how social media (Web 2.0) tools can be used for learning – whether it be for personal learning, informal learning or formal learning – in education or the workplace. So here are over 100 ways that different social technologies (and tools) are being used by learning professionals worldwide – compiled from the comments of those who have contributed their Top Tools for Learning. I will continue to add to this list on an ongoing basis.” . . .

Social Media For Learning Examples – Part 2: Using Social Media for Different Types of Learning
by Jane Hart
Nov. 15, 2009, Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies

“In the first part of this series I compiled a list of 100+ ways that different social technologies (and tools) can be used for learning. Here I am going to demonstrate the ways that social media TECHNOLOGIES can be used for different types of learning. Rather than use the broad terms of formal and informal learning, I am categorising them in the following five ways”

1. IOL – Intra-Organisational Learning – how social media can be used to keep the employees up to date and up to speed on strategic and other internal initiatives and activities
2. FSL – Formal Structured Learning – how educators (teachers, trainers, learning designers) as well as students can use social media within formal education and training
3. GDL – Group Directed Learning – how groups of individuals – teams, projects, study groups etc – can use social media to work and learn together (Note: a “group” could be as small as two people, so coaching and mentoring falls into this category)
4. PDL – Personal Directed Learning – how individuals can use social media for their own (self-directed) personal or professional learning
5. ASL – Accidental & Serendipitous Learning – how individuals, by using social media, can learn without consciously realising it (aka incidental or random learning)

Above-Campus Services: Shaping the Promise of Cloud Computing for Higher Education
by Brad Wheeler and Shelton Waggener
November/December 2009, EDUCAUSE Review

“Cloud computing has arisen as the in-vogue description for the massive aggregation of a wide variety of IT services delivered via fast digital networks — much like power generation and the electrical grid of a public utility. The idea is not new. In fact, the concept of today’s cloud computing may date back to 1961, when John McCarthy, retired Stanford professor and Turing Award winner, delivered a speech at MIT’s Centennial. In that speech, he predicted that in the future, computing would become a ‘public utility.’1 ”

“Yet for colleges and universities, the recent growth of pervasive, very high speed digital networks offers not simply access to more efficient computing but rather a new capability and an opportunity to rethink approaches for delivering IT services. These networks are catalysts that point toward an evolving discontinuity in the point of origin for essential IT services. Many institutions are particularly well positioned — principally from their collective investments in Internet2, National LambdaRail, and various Regional Optical Networks2 — to garner the anticipated economic benefits of cloud computing models, and such efficiencies are especially welcome in these extremely difficult economic times. Beyond cost-per-IT-unit benefits, however, these networks and cloud computing models renew important questions regarding the role of a particular institution among the community of scholars and students that compose higher education.” . . .

Cloud Computing in Plain English
by George Siemens
Nov. 12, 2009, eLearnSpace

“Common Craft explains Cloud Computing in Plain English ( . It’s a (very) broad overview of cloud computing, explaining it from the perspective of a business owner. But it seems unsatisfying and too simplistic. Most internet users have experienced some aspect of “the cloud” (in some ways, the cloud is a return to mainframe computing where storage and computation are not local) in their daily online interactions. Major software companies are pushing their data and software online — Google Docs is a great example…and Microsoft is releasing an online version of Office in 2010 (I initially thought would be MS counter to Google Docs, but the service only allowed users to upload and share documents, rather than collaboratively edit). Cloud computing is a nebulous concept — is it a service? a concept? a technology? a series of protocols?. Currently it basically means “whatever our software company is doing right now” — just like web 2.0 in the mid 2000’s.”

Good Communication: The Other Social Network for Successful IT Organizations
by Lisa Trubitt and Jeff Overholtzer
November/December 2009, EDUCAUSE Review

“Social networks of the electronic variety have become thoroughly embedded in contemporary culture. People have woven these networks into their daily routines, using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, online gaming environments, and other tools to build and maintain complex webs of professional and personal relationships. CIOs likewise have recognized the importance of building social networks, using not only these electronic tools but also the old-fashioned methods of face-to-face communication and relationship-building. Today, establishing these networks is more important than ever in order to manage changes in technology and expectations in the current economy. Sharing information and developing a common understanding with campus partners have become keys for success in IT organizations.” . . .

Meet Go, Google’s New Programming Language
by Scott Gilbertson
Nov. 11, 2009, Monkey_Bites

“Google has released a brand-new programming language it hopes will solve some of the problems with existing languages such as Java and C++. The language is called Go, and it was released under an open source license Tuesday. Google is no stranger to the open source world. The company has released the underlying code for several of its tools and services under open source licenses over the years. Just last week, Google released its Closure JavaScript tools for building Ajax web apps. And now Google has considerably upped its investment in free software with the release of Go, which is an entirely new programming language.” . . .

More Engaged
by Scott Jaschik
Nov. 9, 2009, Insider Higher Ed

“Although budget cuts have many educators this year worried about the quality of education students receive, an annual survey being released today suggests that institutions — large and small, public and private — can achieve significant gains. The National Survey of Student Engagement — whose acronym NSSE is pronounced “nessie” — doesn’t measure learning per se, but a series of qualities of student engagement that are widely believed to correlate with learning. Those qualities range from the rigor of assignments to faculty-student interactions to certain “high impact” experiences (such as capstone courses) that are praised as making students more engaged, more likely to stay enrolled and graduate, and more likely to learn more.” . . .

“Another area on which NSSE focused this year was the impact of learning technologies. The survey found positive impacts on learning both for the use of course management (or learning management) systems and for interactive technologies (such as course blogs, student response systems, etc.). While many colleges have the latter technology as part of the former, NSSE explored them as separate topics.”

“The use of course management software correlated most strongly, NSSE found, to stronger student-faculty interaction and to gains by students in their personal development. The use of interactive technologies corresponded most strongly with students’ self-reported educational gains and with students’ view that they had a supportive campus environment.”

Engaged or Confused?
by Scott Jaschik
Nov. 9, 2009, Insider Higher Ed

“With today’s release of the National Survey of Student Engagement, hundreds of colleges and universities will be studying their results, and considering whether they should change policies or approaches to better reach students. But a new study released Friday argues that NSSE (pronounced “nessie”) is seriously flawed, lacking validity for its conclusions and asking questions of students in ways that are sure to doom the value of the data collected.” . . .

Fans and Fears of ‘Lecture Capture’
Nov. 9, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “In 2008, 78 percent of undergraduate respondents to a University of Wisconsin at Madison study said they think having lectures available online would help them retain lesson material, and 76 percent said they believed it would help them improve their test scores. Meanwhile, two-thirds of the respondents to this year’s annual study on undergraduate IT habits from the Educause Center for Applied Research strongly disagreed that having lectures posted on the Web would encourage them to cut class.”

“Many professors, however, have been resistant to the technology. At Purdue University, which is attempting to put standard lecture capture technology in 280 classrooms by next semester, faculty members said they would not even be willing to press a button at the beginning of class to initiate the recording, according to David Eisert, the manager of emerging technologies there.” . . .

It Is About Time: Getting Our Values Around Copyright Right
by Lawrence Lessig
Nov. 5, 2009, Educause 2009

In this talk, Lawrence Lessig will review the progress of the “open access” movement in education. He will make a call for educators to finally resolve this issue in a way that enables the potential of technology for education.

Free Webinar: Stopping the Math Meltdown
Nov. 19, 2009 at 2:00pm Eastern Time
Presented by Ruth Rominger, MITE Director of Learning Design
Contact to register

“Learn more about this new developmental math series being developed as an open educational resource to be distributed through NROC. Generously funded with a $5M grant from The Gates Foundation, this project strives to dramatically increase the number of students that meet the required mathematics standards for admittance to desirable post-secondary educational programs and career opportunities. The series will cover four courses required by most remedial math sequences: Basic Math, Elementary Algebra, and Geometry/Intermediate Algebra integrated with Introductory Statistics topics.”

Free Webinar: Perspectives on Open Textbooks from Two WA Faculty Authors
Nov. 18, 2009 at 6:00pm Eastern Time

Part 1: “Open Textbooks from an Author’s Perspective” (30 min) – What motivates someone to write an open textbook? How much of the editorial and production process is within reach of an individual? How is the experience different from writing a traditional textbook? What is different about teaching from an open textbook? I will answer these questions with examples from my experiences writing and publishing a mathematics textbook, “A First Course in Linear Algebra.” Robert Beezer is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. He joined the faculty there in 1984 after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Besides advocating for open textbooks, he is also a developer for Sage, a comprehensive open-source program for mathematics.

Part 2: “Another Perspective on Authoring an Open Textbook” (30 min) – I’ll discuss my journey of writing an open textbook “Math in Society,” including my motivation, how existing open textbooks guided my decisions, using my students as guinea pigs, and my experience with the bookstore. I’ll share some general thoughts on openness and collaboration in textbooks that need consistency and accuracy, and some thoughts about license selection. David Lippman is a professor of mathematics at Pierce College Ft Steilacoom, a community college in Lakewood, WA, where he has been teaching since 2000. He is best known in the Washington community college math circle as the guy who created (aka IMathAS), a free, open-source online course management and math assessment system.

BBC: Learning English

“This clever website from the BBC aids people learning English, by offering help in the form of ‘Words in the News’, ‘Quizzes’, videos via YouTube, and English ‘makeovers’ in ‘General and Business English’. ‘Words in the News’, ‘The Teacher’, and ‘Keep Your English Up to Date’ help learners with their ‘Grammar, Vocabulary and Pronunciation’. In the ‘Quizzes’ section there are several different types, including ‘Quiznet’, ‘Crossword’, ‘Beat the Keeper’, and ‘Exam Skills’. None are so long that learners will get bored or frustrated. Visitors who teach English or English as a Second Language will find the ‘For Teachers’ section loaded with activities that accompany the many different features on Learning English. In the ?Downloads? section on the far right hand side of the page, learners can get the past seven days of audio, video, and text to take away. ‘Talk About English’ and ‘Ask About English’ are regular features of the site, and can be accessed on the week’s schedule at the bottom of the homepage.” – from the Scout Report

Grant Program: Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities
National Endowment for the Humanities

Application Deadline: Feb. 17, 2010

These NEH grants support national or regional (multistate) training programs for scholars and advanced graduate students to broaden and extend their knowledge of digital humanities. Through these programs, NEH seeks to increase the number of humanities scholars using digital technology in their research and to broadly disseminate knowledge about advanced technology tools and methodologies relevant to the humanities. The projects may be a single opportunity or offered multiple times to different audiences. Institutes may be as short as a few days and held at multiple locations or as long as six weeks at a single site. The duration of a program should allow for full and thorough treatment of the topic.

Today, complex data — its form, manipulation, and interpretation — are as important to humanities study as more traditional research materials. Datasets, for example, may represent digitized historical records, high-quality image data, or even multimedia collections, all of which are increasing in number due to the availability and affordability of mass data storage devices and international initiatives to create digital content. Moreover, extensive networking capabilities, sophisticated middleware applications, and new collaboration platforms are simultaneously providing and improving interactive access to and analysis of these data as well as a multitude of other resources. The Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities program seeks to enable humanities scholars in the United States to incorporate advances like these into their scholarship and teaching.

Secretary Vilsack Announces Almost $35 Million in Funding for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Projects
U.S. Department of Agriculture Press Release
Nov. 12, 2009

“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that 111 projects in 35 states have been selected to receive more than $34.9 million in grants to increase educational opportunities and expand access to health care services in rural areas. The funding will be provided through USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.” . . .

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $13.4 Million In Community Connect Broadband Grants
U.S. Department of Agriculture Press Release
Nov. 13, 2009

“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 22 projects in 10 states to receive $13.4 million in broadband community connect grant funds. . . . USDA Rural Development’s Community Connect program provides financial assistance to furnish broadband service in unserved, often isolated, rural communities.” . . .

Information Required to be Disclosed Under the Higher Education Act of 1965: Suggestions for Dissemination
Oct. 16, 2009, National Postsecondary Education Cooperative

“This report is the output of a National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC) Working Group on the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA).The purpose of the document is to help colleges and universities successfully identify and meet their obligation to disclose information as required under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended by the HEOA. It includes suggestions to help institutions make the HEA-required disclosure information more accessible and understandable to consumers and more comparable across institutions. A summary of HEA institutional disclosure requirements and a list of HEA-required disclosures by the required methods of dissemination are also included.” . . .

“Suggestion 2. Develop a single web page on the institution’s website that provides hyperlinks to the HEA disclosure information. We suggest that institutions develop such a portal page and position that page to maximize its accessibility to users. Using a single portal page ensures that institutions preserve their flexibility in collecting and managing their own information, while providing a distinct entrance point on an institution’s website for the HEA-required disclosure information.”

“Suggestion 3. Adopt a “3-click” approach. Another strategy to improve consumer access to the HEA disclosure information is to ensure that such information is placed “shallowly” enough to be found using a minimum amount of searching. We suggest positioning information so that it can be reached by clicking through no more than three web pages (starting from the institution’s home page) and that the information be situated in a university-wide “about” section rather than in a subunit’s web page (e.g., financial aid, Registrar, office of general counsel). The information should be accessible from a section of the website that applies to all the relevant audiences (e.g., information that is required to be available for both current and prospective students should not be placed solely under “Current Students”).” . . .

Funding and Access Issues in Public Higher Education: A Community College Perspective
by Stephen Katsinas and Terrence Tollefson
2009, Education Policy Center, University of Alabama

Findings from the 2009 Survey of the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges. “Our 2008 survey showed dramatic weakening of state funding for community colleges from the year before. This year, with unemployment rates zooming into the double digits in many states and regions within states, community colleges are challenged as never before to provide an open door to the first two years of baccalaureate education while simultaneously providing critically needed training programs for our nation’s workforce.” . . .

Student Engagement, Social Media, Cloud Computing, Go, Lecture Capture, Copyright, Webinars, ESL, Grants, HEA Disclosure Requirements

Cloud, Twitter, Technology Gap, Social Isolation, LMS 3.0, Cator, IT Budgets, FCC, Boggs, Spanish, Net Price Calculator

I was sad to see the announcement that George Boggs will be retiring as president of the American Association of Community Colleges, although I am happy for him and his family. He is truly a wonderful, thoughtful and overall-good person who has done a great deal to raise the awareness for and status of community colleges. I will personally miss working with him – he has been a strong supporter of ITC. I am glad we still have a year to work with him before he retires!

Hope or Hype on the Cloud
by Steve Kolowich
Nov. 5, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “When Melissa Woo, director of cyberstructure research at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and Michael Dieckmann, CIO of the University of West Florida, squared off in a debate over the merits of outsourcing campus tech systems to ‘the cloud,’ they weren’t talking about weather clouds.” . . . “Woo, who took the anti-cloud position, said that just because higher education is moving en masse toward outsourcing services such as e-mail and data management to external providers does not necessarily mean it is moving in the right direction. ‘I’m not sure why every conversation about cloud computing always has to do with ‘When?’ ‘ Woo said. ‘Why aren’t we asking, ‘Why?’ ‘ She cited recent Gmail outages and an anecdote from an organization she had advised who had said a cloud storage provider lost its data. ‘There are security risks, there are privacy risks — where is that student data being stored? Where is that research data being stored? …. How is the private sector going to feel when we can’t guarantee that our research data our faculty are generating for them is safe?”

“Dieckmann laid out the pro side first from an economic perspective, noting that economy has become a watchword as many IT departments seek to maintain a high level of service even as their budgets are pared down. ‘There are massive economies of scale that have evolved in cloud computing that are going to drive many of these cloud solutions to the most cost-effective way for us to provide services for our institutions,’ he said.” . . .

Tweeting in Class
by Steve Kolowich
Nov. 5, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

“Do Twitter skeptics really believe the popular microblogging service offers no educational value, or are they just afraid of it?” . . . “[Bruce] Maas, representing a more sober view of Twitter’s educational utility, pointed to studies indicating that young people have not been as active in the realm of microblogging as their older counterparts. He said the evidence that the site might prove more a distraction in the classroom than a resource was right there in the room — Maas gestured to the overwhelming activity on the session’s Twitter discussion thread (the number of comments approached 500 by the end of the 45-minute gathering).”

“But [W. Gardner] Campbell had a different take on the implications of audience members feverishly typing away while a presentation is still in progress. ‘That’s a godsend!’ he said. ‘Suddenly, I’m not just the one at the front just dispensing everything, and the students aren’t just sort of milling about doing their thing — we’ve actually got a team of people working together. And Twitter is the glue that holds the team together.’ It’s also a data-gathering resource. Live discussion threads, Campbell noted, give professors loads of data on the previously mysterious question of what exactly is going on inside the heads of students during a lecture. No longer is a student’s ability to participate in classroom discussions contingent upon whether he is willing to raise his hand and has the good fortune to be called on, he said.”

Twitter and Status Updating, Fall 2009
by Susannah Fox, Kathryn Zickuhr, Aaron Smith
Oct 21, 2009, Pew Internet and American Life Project

“Some 19 percent of internet users now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others. This represents a significant increase over previous surveys in December 2008 and April 2009, when 11 percent of internet users said they use a status-update service. Three groups of internet users are mainly responsible for driving the growth of this activity: social network website users, those who connect to the internet via mobile devices, and younger internet users — those under age 44.”

“In addition, the more devices someone owns, the more likely they are to use Twitter or another service to update their status. Fully 39 percent of internet users with four or more internet-connected devices (such as a laptop, cell phone, game console, or Kindle) use Twitter, compared to 28 percent of internet users with three devices, 19 percent of internet users with two devices, and 10 percent of internet users with one device. The median age of a Twitter user is 31, which has remained stable over the past year. The median age for MySpace is now 26, down from 27 in May 2008, and the median age for LinkedIn is now 39, down from 40. Facebook, however, is graying a bit: the median age for this social network site is now 33, up from 26 in May 2008.”

Technology Gap
by Steve Kolowich
Nov. 5, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

“Professors think they are doing reasonably well when it comes to using technology in the classroom, according to a survey released here this week by CDW-G at the annual meeting of Educause. Not everyone agrees with the faculty view of things. Consider these statistics from nationally representative samples of students and faculty members (at two- and four-year institutions, public and private). Asked about their use and their institutions’ support for technology, professors said the following:”
– 75 percent said that their institution “understands how they use or want to use technology.”
– 67 percent are happy with their own technology professional development.
– 74 percent said that they incorporate technology into every class or almost every class.
– 64 percent said that they teach in what they consider to be a smart classroom.

“Sounds like a technology savvy professoriate. But when students were asked whether their professors understand technology and have integrated it into their courses, only 38 percent said Yes. Further, when students were asked about the top impediment to using technology, the top answer was ‘lack of faculty technology knowledge,’ an answer that drew 45 percent of respondents, up from 25 percent only a year ago.” . . .

Social Isolation and New Technology
by Keith Hampton, Lauren Sessions, Eun Ja Her, Lee Rainie
Nov 4, 2009, Pew Internet and American Life Project

. . . “A widely-reported 2006 study argued that since 1985 Americans have become more socially isolated, the size of their discussion networks has declined, and the diversity of those people with whom they discuss important matters has decreased. In particular, the study found that Americans have fewer close ties to those from their neighborhoods and from voluntary associations. Sociologists Miller McPherson, Lynn Smith-Lovin and Matthew Brashears suggest that new technologies, such as the internet and mobile phone, may play a role in advancing this trend.” . . .

“This Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community survey finds that Americans are not as isolated as has been previously reported. People’s use of the mobile phone and the internet is associated with larger and more diverse discussion networks. And, when we examine people’s full personal network – their strong and weak ties – internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with more diverse social networks.” . . .

LMS 3.0
by Kenneth C. Green
Nov. 4, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “There is no question that the campus community has become increasingly dependent on the LMS to support, supplement — and at times even shape — instruction. The LMS is widely deployed across all sectors of higher education. Data from the 2009 Campus Computing Survey indicate that 92 percent of institutions have standardized on a single LMS product for the entire campus; CIOs estimate that as of fall 2009, more than half (55 percent) of classes make some use of a LMS, up from 50 percent in 2007 and 34 percent in 2003.” . . .

“Yet the more significant transition in the LMS arena is what I would describe as the arrival of LMS 3.0. And over time this transition is less about code and accompanying costs – proprietary vs. open source – and more about extracting data, information, and insight from the transactional data that capture the student and faculty interactions with the LMS.” . . .

“LMS 3.0 marks the transition from the LMS as an instructional resource and service for students and faculty to a key source for critical transactional data about academic interaction and student engagement. And let’s be candid about what this means: although the analogy may be offensive to many in the campus community, the LMS is higher ed’s version of the supermarket scanner. The LMS records and stores valuable data about student interactions with academic resources, much the way the supermarket scanner records my purchases of (and preference for) bananas and dark beer.”

ED Announces New Tech Chief
by Maya T. Prabhu
Nov 4, 2009, eSchoolNews

“Karen Cator, former director of education leadership and advocacy for Apple Inc. and a long-time education technology leader, will serve as the new director of the Office of Educational Technology (OET) for the U.S. Department of Education (ED). . . . Cator served as chair of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills from September 2006 to September 2007. She also was in charge of technology planning and implementation in the Juneau, Alaska, school district before joining Apple in 1997.”

“OET is responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of ED’s education technology policies, research projects, and national technology summits. The office’s main goal is to maximize technology’s contributions to improving education. The announcement coincides with the development of a new National Education Technology Plan that will provide a vision for how information and communication technologies can help transform American education. The plan will provide a set of concrete goals that can inform state and local ed-tech plans, as well as inspire research, development, and innovation. A draft of the new plan is expected in early 2010. ( ” . . .

IT Budgets Take a Hit
By Steve Kolowich
Nov. 4, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

“Information systems may be growing increasingly mission-critical in higher education, but that has not shielded campus IT departments from the budget cuts that have swept college campuses in the wake of the recession. This according to the latest installment of the Campus Computing Survey, an annual study by the Campus Computing Project.” . . . “Nearly half of the survey’s 500 respondents — including more than two-thirds of public universities — have pared down their IT budgets in 2009. That figure represents a reversal from 2008, when about half reported budget increases. Only 21 percent put more money into information technology this year. For the first time this decade, financing information technology registered as one of the most pressing concerns among campus technologists.” . . .

“Moodlerooms on Tuesday revealed that it plans to challenge Blackboard on its own turf. The Moodle spin-off is rolling out a pay-to-play LMS product, called Joule, which Moodlerooms says will cost 75 percent less than Blackboard. ‘If [colleges] choose to drop Blackboard… that’s their option,’ said Moodlerooms CEO Martin Knott at Educause. ‘The market is craving for options.’ “

“Blackboard, meanwhile, has rolled out several new features. The company today announced it is collaborating with Microsoft to bring students alerts and allow them to access their Blackboard courses via their Web browsers, without having to log in to the system separately. It also unveiled a Blackberry-friendly version of its smartphone application, Mobile Central. Earlier this week, Blackboard said it was partnering with Google to let its customers access Google Apps for Education via their Blackboard accounts.”

FCC Seeks Comment on Broadband’s Role in Education and E-rate Reform
Nov. 3, 2009, Benton Foundation

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comment on various issues related to broadband access in education and on modifications to the schools and libraries universal service support mechanism (the E-rate program) to improve broadband deployment to meet the instructional and informational needs of schools and libraries. In addition, the FCC seeks comment on whether and how increasing broadband deployment to schools can affect or stimulate the adoption of broadband more widely in communities and whether and how the E-rate program can be structured to more effectively distribute available funding. Comments are due November 20; reply comments are due December 11.

Boggs Announces Retirement in 2010
Press Release
Nov. 3, 2009, American Association of Community Colleges

“George R. Boggs, president of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) for a decade and an ardent advocate for community colleges for more than 40 years, has announced his retirement from the association effective December 31, 2010. Boggs made the announcement in a letter to the AACC Board of Directors October 21.” . . .

Adios to Spanish 101 Classroom
by Steve Kolowich
Oct. 21, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

“After several years of experimenting with “hybrid” Spanish courses that mix online and classroom instruction, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has decided to begin conducting its introductory Spanish course exclusively on the Web. Spanish 101, which had featured online lessons combined with one classroom session per week, will drop its face-to-face component in an effort to save on teaching costs and campus space in light of rising demand for Spanish instruction and a shrinking departmental budget.”

“ ‘We were seeing that there was just a lot of demand on our resources, both monetary and space-wise, due to Spanish,’ said Larry King, chair of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department. Meanwhile, the department’s budget was slashed by $150,000 this year. It had been planning to shift its introductory courses online even before the recession hit, King said, in hopes of freeing up money to hire another instructor. Instead, the anticipated savings from the move have so far spared his department from personnel cuts.” . . .

Net Price Calculator
U.S. Department of Education

In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), by October 29, 2011, each postsecondary institution in the United States that participates in Title IV student aid programs must post a net price calculator on its Web site that uses institutional data to provide estimated net price information to current and prospective students and their families based on a student’s individual circumstances. To assist institutions in meeting this obligation, The National Center for Education Statistics, in cooperation with the Office of Postsecondary Education and IT Innovative Solutions Corp., has designed and developed a fully functional net price calculator available to all Title IV postsecondary institutions for use on their institutional Web sites.

To use or review the template, go to: For assistance using the template, please contact Ruba Nuwayhid of IT Innovative Solutions Corp. at (240) 252-1707, or

Cloud, Twitter, Technology Gap, Social Isolation, LMS 3.0, Cator, IT Budgets, FCC, Boggs, Spanish, Net Price Calculator

Google Voice, Broadband, Libraries, Enrollment, Social Search, U of Phoenix, LMS, Google Wave, Stats, Podcasts, Grant

This article is in the not distance learning, but “I found this Interesting” category, Chris.
Why Google Doesn’t Like Its Phone Bill
by Randall Stross
Oct. 31, 2009, New York Times

“When you call Grandma on her farm in Iowa, your long-distance phone company pays her local phone company an access fee. That’s fine. It’s much higher than elsewhere but few calls go to her and her neighbors, so the fees don’t add up quickly. And it’s a business-to-business transaction. You, the caller, aren’t even aware of the fees paid on your behalf. But Google is aware. It has entered the long-distance phone business, having introduced this year a service, Google Voice, that includes the ability to make free long-distance calls anywhere in the United States. It knows that access fees are a part of the phone business. But it quickly noticed that a few numbers in sparsely populated areas were accounting for a disproportionate percentage of Google Voice’s total costs.”

“In a company blog post last month, Google said some rural phone companies partner with “sex chat lines and ‘free’ conference calling centers to drive high volumes of traffic” in what is called “traffic pumping” in the telecom industry. . . . “For Google, traffic pumping was unbearably maddening. The company decided in August to block Google Voice calls to destinations that had high call volume and a small population.”

See Google’s Voice Is Silent In Some Rural Areas,” by Howard Berkes, Nov. 2, 2009, Morning Edition, .

NTIA’s Broadband Data Collection Efforts to Combine With Census Bureau Questions
by Rahul Gaitonde
Oct. 31, 2009,

“NTIA announced that the agency will be collecting large amounts of data through the Census Bureau that they would like to make more broadly available.” . . . “The Current Population Survey is one of the largest national surveys conducted by the Census Bureau in conjunction with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” The survey will ask the following five questions: “Do you/does anyone in this household use the Internet at any location? Who is that? Do you/does anyone in this household connect to the Internet from home? Do you currently access the Internet at home using dial-up or broadband? What is the main reason that you do not have high-speed Internet access at home??

Sudden Thoughts And Second Thoughts: A New Courseware Trend?
by StevenB
Oct. 29, 2009, ACRLog, Association of College and Research Libraries

“This news item caught my eye. It announces an agreement between Blackboard and NBC in which the former will now offer access to the latter’s content. It states: ‘Blackboard is providing academic users with access to historical multimedia resources from NBC Learn. The two companies today announced that that they’ve inked a deal to make historical and current events materials from NBC News accessible within the Blackboard Learn platform. Through NBC News Archives on Demand, college and university students and faculty will have access to thousands of video and audio files, as well as textual materials, covering a wide range of topics, from politics to health.’ ”

“The details indicate that there is only a free building block that enables access to the NBC News Archive. There is a fee for the content. But we’re already paying hefty fees for access to text and multimedia news content found in any number of library databases. I wonder if this is the start of some sort of trend where content providers of all types, including the traditional library database producers, will seek partnerships with Blackboard and other courseware vendors to integrate their content directly into the product. That would raise an interesting question about who would pay for it, and what access options would be possible. To some extent, academic librarians are working to integrate the library content into courseware. Perhaps this just takes it to the next level. The question is, as the traditional campus negotiator for and provider of research content, how do we fit into this scenario?”

College Enrollment Hits All-Time High, Fueled by Community College Surge
by Richard Fry
Oct. 29, 2009, Pew Research Center

. . . “The share of 18- to 24-year-olds attending college in the United States hit an all-time high in October 2008, driven by a recession-era surge in enrollments at community colleges, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Just under 11.5 million students, or 39.6% of all young adults ages 18 to 24, were enrolled in either a two- or four-year college in October 2008 (the most recent date for which comprehensive nationwide data are available). Both figures — the absolute number as well as the share — are at their highest level ever.”

“Enrollments have been rising over many decades at both two- and four-year colleges, but the most recent annual spike has taken place entirely at two-year colleges. In October 2007, some 3.1 million young adults, or 10.9% of all 18- to 24-year-olds, were enrolled in a community college.1 A year later, that figure had risen to 3.4 million students, or 11.8% of all 18- to 24-year-olds. By contrast, enrollments at four-year colleges were essentially flat from 2007 to 2008.” . . .

Social Media Accounts for 18 Percent of Information Search Market
by Brian Solis
Oct. 28, 2009, PR2

. . . “Nielsen released a new study that documents the extent of this shift and also captures an evolution in our online behavior as we augment traditional search engines with the search boxes within social networks. As such, Google is no longer the only hub for content discovery. The statusphere is introducing new channels that now serve as our attention dashboards and it’s the collection of streams of consciousness from those we choose to follow. Collecta, Twitter Search, Facebook News Feeds, FriendFeed, etc., serve as the gateways to insight and enlightenment.” . . .

“While traditional search engines accounted for 37 percent, the combination of search and online portals such as Yahoo, MSN, and AOL collectively represented 71% of the sites that serve as the sources for discovery. One of the more interesting results for the purposes of fueling this discussion is that social media sites such as Wikipedia, blogs, and social networks account for 18 percent of where searches begin, outperforming sites that are dedicated to publishing information specifically to help individuals find deeper analysis and details.”

“The study found that Socializers tend to trust what their friends have to say and use their online behavior (conversations, links, published experiences) as a form of information filtration. As Neilsen observers, ‘Social Media is becoming a core product research channel.’ “

Google Social Search

George Siemen’s writes, “Google just announced Social Search. The services helps you “to find publicly available content from your social circle”. Google extracts information on your social circle from three sources: Google Reader subscriptions, Google Profiles, and Google chat (GMail). They use the term “surfacing” connections to describe not only adding your friends, but one additional degree: your friend’s friends.”

“This move by Google is a direct assault on Facebook. Facebook has emphasized social connections over content. Google has, to date, primarily emphasized information sorting, filtering, and ranking. Facebook’s model of emphasizing social rather than information connections is a problem for Google. What is unique in Social Search is the focus on aggregation rather than place-based interaction. In theory, Google emphasizes pulling together various pieces of online interactions through aggregation, whereas Facebook emphasizes housing interactions in their environment.” See the introductory video at

Helping Grandpa Get His Tech On
Oct. 28, 2009, New York Times

“Some of the highest growth rates in broadband use are happening among the elderly. The Pew Research Center found that broadband use for those 65 and older increased from 19 percent in May 2008 to 30 percent in April 2009. Since 2005, broadband use has tripled in that group. Although challenges remain for many older people, any number of products can help them become more involved in the digital age. Here’s a look at some of the most popular ones.” . . .

The Ever-Expanding U. of Phoenix
by Doug Lederman
Oct. 28, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

“In the world of for-profit higher education, and higher education in general, the University of Phoenix has historically been viewed as the 800-pound gorilla. As of Tuesday, it may be more like a 1,000-pound gorilla. As Phoenix’s parent company, the Apollo Group, reported its fourth quarter and annual earnings Tuesday, it announced that the university’s enrollment of degree-seeking students grew to 443,000 as of August 2009, up 22 percent from 362,000 in August 2008. The biggest growth in Phoenix’s enrollments, by far, came among students seeking associate degrees, which rose by 37 percent, to 201,200 from 146,500 in 2008.”

“About two-thirds of the university’s new students as of August are female, 27.7 percent are African-American, and about half are 30 or over. The university attributed the sizable increases to a range of factors, including increased efforts in retaining students, expanded marketing, and the “current economic downturn, as working learners seek to advance their education to improve their job security or reemployment prospects.” Many community colleges and several of Phoenix’s major peers in for-profit career education, including Kaplan Higher Education (21.9 percent) and Corinthian Colleges, Inc. (24.4 percent), have reported sharp upturns in student enrollments this fall.” . . .

NTIA, RUS to Delay Announcement of Broadband Bid Winners
by John Eggerton
Oct. 27, 2009, Broadcasting & Cable

“The naming of winning bidders in the broadband stimulus grant/loan program will be delayed by a month or so, according to the heads of the relevant government agencies. The self-imposed deadline had been early November, but NTIA head Larry Strickling said Tuesday: “We’re going to take a few more weeks here to get this right…I will not fund a bad application.” . . . “NTIA had been preparing in the next couple of weeks to announce the first winners in what will now be a two-step process of handing out billions in stimulus money for broadband mapping, adoption and service to unserved and underserved areas. That will now be pushed to early December. Adelstein cited the complexity of the program and the demands on the agencies, a point echoed by Goldstein.” . . .

E-Learning’s ‘Third Phase’
by Steve Kolowich
Oct. 27, 2009, Inside Higher Ed

“Though Blackboard’s critics have worried the company might monopolize the market for e-learning tools, competition continues to surface — notably from companies that once were more focused on the administrative side of campus computing.”

“SunGard Higher Education is today announcing plans to integrate Epsilen, a learning-based social networking platform, into its learning-management system. The partnership will give SunGard clients access to Epsilen’s collaboration and e-portfolio tools — as well as 158 years’ worth of digital archives of The New York Times, whose parent company owns the majority share of Epsilen.” . . . “Today’s announcement comes several weeks after the information-management company Datatel said it plans to collaborate with Moodlerooms — part of the open-source learning-management provider Moodle — to create teaching and learning tools for colleges. Earlier this year, the Norwegian learning-management company It’s Learning took aim at the U.S. market by opening up an office in Boston and touting its cost-benefit ratio as superior to those of both Moodle and Blackboard.” . . .

“This activity in the e-learning market comes at a time when many colleges may be open to experimentation in how they provide services. Results from a recent Campus Computing Project survey of online program administrators suggest that plenty of colleges are amenable to suitors: Nearly half of respondents said they are reviewing their learning-management system strategies, and more than a quarter are planning on switching to a new system within two years. Meanwhile, data from other Campus Computing Project surveys indicate that Blackboard has seen its market share fall from 80 percent following its acquisition of WebCT in 2005 to 56 percent last year.” . . .

New Federal Rules on Internet Piracy Will Not Add a Great Burden to Colleges
by Simmi Aujla
Oct. 28, 2009, Chronicle of Higher Ed

“New federal rules aimed at illegal file-sharing on college and university campuses will not force institutions to drastically change their approaches to reducing the activity. The rules, published on Thursday in the Federal Register, instruct colleges and universities to develop written plans to combat illegal file-sharing, educate their network users about laws regarding copyright material, and offer legal alternatives to downloading protected content. Though some university officials maintain the rules unfairly single out colleges while leaving large commercial Internet providers untouched, most said colleges would not be heavily burdened, because they already comply through existing programs.” . . .

7 Things You Should Know about Google Wave

What is it? Who is doing it? How does it work? Why is it significant? What are the downsides? Where is it going? What are the implications for teaching and learning? “Google Wave is a web-based application that represents a rethinking of electronic communication. E-mail is 40 years old, predating most of the technology that people today take for granted, and the basic model of e-mail remains unchanged. Other forms of electronic communication have emerged, such as instant messaging, chats, blogs, and texting, and many communication tools have also migrated to the cloud rather than running on local campus servers.”

“With these trends in mind, Google is developing an application that has elements of existing communication tools but is built around a different model of how communication — and collaboration — take place. With Wave, users create online spaces called “waves,” which may include multiple discrete messages and components — “blips” — that constitute a running, conversational document. Users access waves through the web, resulting in a model of communication in which separate copies of multiple messages are not sent to different people; instead, the content resides in a single space. People go to a wave to access the content, respond to it, change it, replay it, send it to a blog, or add new material or attachments.”

Managing Online Education: The 2009 WCET-Campus Computing Project Survey of Online Education
by Casey Green
Oct. 22 2009, WCET Conference Presentation

– Online Education Programs Marked by Rising Enrollments
– Unsure Profits, Organizational Transitions
– Higher Fees, and Tech Training for Faculty

EDUCAUSE Core Data Report Highlights Trends in Campus IT, Significant Changes Made This Year
by Pat Arroway and Bhawna Sharma
Oct. 28, 2009, Educause

This report is based on a survey of nearly 930 colleges and universities which provided detailed information about their IT environments and practices in fiscal year 2008.

Faculty and Student Computing
– Respondents reported that only two to six percent of institutions offered 24 x 7 help desks in 2008, except for the 20 percent of doctoral institutions with them; there are slight upward trends in this area in all classes over the last five years, though.
– Because many students rely on personal e-mail accounts, some campuses have stopped issuing institutional student e-mail addresses or are considering it.
– In 2004, only 1-2 percent of campuses considered this, but by 2008 nearly 10 percent of associate’s, baccalaureate, and master’s institutions and 25 percent of doctoral institutions were thinking about doing so.
– About two-thirds of campuses say they provide “intensive support” for faculty who are heavy technology users, including “opportunities for users to share experiences” (70-90 percent of institutions, depending on type), seminars (80-90 percent+ of campuses, and training on request (almost all campuses).
– To address unauthorized file sharing, some institutions offer students a campus-negotiated service for online music and movies. From 2004 to 2007, there was some increase across all classes of institutions in the percentage offering such a service, but sharp decreases from 2007 to 2008. In 2008, only 2 percent of community colleges, about 10 percent of baccalaureate and master’s institutions, and 25 percent of doctoral institutions offered this service.

Networking and Security
– Relatively few institutions across most categories have bandwidth to the commodity Internet of 200 Mbps or better (about 25 percent of master’s and 10 percent of baccalaureate and associate’s).
– About 70 percent of all campuses reported having conducted a campus IT security risk assessment, and the trend toward campuses conducting such assessments generally increased across each institutional category from 2004 to 2008.

Information Systems
– Institutions use many strategies to acquire information systems. In 2008, open-source applications were definitely in that mix, with 70 percent of doctoral institutions, 67 percent of baccalaureate institutions, 54 percent of master’s institutions, and 39 percent of community colleges reporting use of an open-source product (in most cases, a course management system), with or without customization.
– Purchasing a commercial product and implementing it with or without customization was the primary means of meeting information system needs in 2008, with rates ranging 72-88 percent across institutional categories.
– The percentage of institutions reporting that they had outsourced at least some of their information systems needs generally increased over the last five years, approaching or exceeding 20 percent of institutions in each category in 2008.
– Over the last five years, the use of homegrown systems declined for all institutions and for all system types surveyed, except library information systems, which have not had a history of homegrown development. Homegrown systems are still used most often for grants management, while homegrown course management systems seem to be disappearing.

The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009
by Shannon D. Smith, Gail Salaway and Judith Borreson Caruso
Oct. 22, 2009, Educause

“The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 is a longitudinal extension of the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 studies. It is based on quantitative data from a spring 2009 survey of 30,616 freshmen and seniors at 103 four-year institutions and students at 12 two-year institutions; student focus groups that included input from 62 students at 4 institutions; and review of qualitative data from written responses to open-ended questions. In addition to studying student ownership, experience, behaviors, preferences, and skills with respect to information technologies, the 2009 study also includes a special focus on student ownership and use of Internet-capable handheld devices.”

How I Create and Publish Podcasts
by Wesley Fryer
Oct. 23, 2009, Moving at the Speed of Creativity

“I published my first podcast on August 3, 2005, and since that time have utilized a variety of different podcasting tools and websites. Rather than share an exhaustive list of all those links (some of which are included in my Intro to Educational Podcasting wiki page and Intermediate/Advanced Topics in Podcasting page) I am going to attempt to share briefly the software, websites, and other resources I utilize now to podcast, as well as an outline of the steps I follow in podcasting today.” . . .

Grant Program: Student Support Services (SSS) Program
CFDA# 84.042A

Application Deadline: Dec. 7, 2009
Estimated Range of Awards: $220,000-$360,000
Estimated Number of New Awards: 871

The purpose of the SSS Program is to increase the number of disadvantaged low-income college students, first generation college students, and college students with disabilities in the United States who successfully complete a program of study at the postsecondary level. The support services provided should increase the retention and graduation rates for these students and facilitate their transfer from two-year to four-year colleges and universities. The support services provided should also foster an institutional climate supportive of the success of students who are limited English proficient, students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths, students who are in foster care or are aging out of the foster care system, and other disconnected students. Student Support Services should also improve the financial and economic literacy of students.

This is in the not distance learning, but “What?!?” category, Chris.
Banner Ads Attached to Flies Defy Gravity and Logic
by Ben Parr
Oct. 29, 2009, Mashable, the Social Media Guide

“Eichborn’s “smallest commercial gimmick in the world” was simple: attach physical banner ads to actual flies. Yes, they somehow tied small red Eichborn banner ads to flies and let them loose in the Frankfurt Book Fair. The result was flying advertising that nobody could miss.”

Google Voice, Broadband, Libraries, Enrollment, Social Search, U of Phoenix, LMS, Google Wave, Stats, Podcasts, Grant