K-12 Ed Tech Stats, NROC, Digital Textbooks. FCC Broadband, Last BTOP Grants, PowerPoint, Grants

NCES Releases Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools: Fall 2008
April 28, 2010

Selected findings on educational technology in public schools in fall 2008.

— An estimated 100 percent of public schools had one or more instructional computers with Internet access and the ratio of students to instructional computers with Internet access was 3.1 to 1 (table 1). Ninety-seven percent of schools had one or more instructional computers located in classrooms (excluding laptops on carts) and 58 percent of schools had laptops on carts.

— Of the computers in public schools, 91 percent were used for instructional purposes (table 2). Of these instructional computers, 98 percent had Internet access, 15 percent were less than 1 year old, 14 percent were laptops on carts, and 51 percent were located in classrooms (excluding laptops on carts).

— Public schools reported having wireless network access for the whole school (39 percent), or for part of the school (30 percent), or wireless connections only from laptops to carts (9 percent) (table 5).4

— Thirty-one percent of public schools reported having full-time staff in the school whose only responsibility was technology support and/or technology integration (table 7). Forty-seven percent of secondary schools reported having such staff compared with 27 percent of elementary schools. Thirty-five percent of schools with low poverty concentration6 reported having full-time technology staff compared to 28 percent of schools with high poverty concentration.

— Public schools reported the extent to which various staff helped school staff integrate technology into instruction. Teachers helped in 20 percent of schools to a major extent and in 47 percent to a moderate extent (table 8). School-level technology staff helped integrate technology into instruction in 29 percent of schools to a major extent and in 34 percent to a moderate extent. District-level technology staff provided technical support in 59 percent of schools to a major extent and in 27 percent to a moderate extent (table 9). School-level technology staff provided technical support in 42 percent of schools to a major extent and in 30 percent to a moderate extent.

— Opinions on the use of educational technology in the school differed by poverty concentration. A larger percentage of schools with low poverty concentration than schools with high poverty concentration agreed that “teachers are sufficiently trained in technology usage” (74 percent versus 62 percent), “teachers are sufficiently trained to integrate technology into classroom instruction” (67 percent versus 56 percent), “technical support for educational technology is adequate” (74 percent versus 60 percent), and “funding for educational technology is being spent in the most appropriate ways” (79 percent versus 69 percent) (table 10).

Open Courses for Community Colleges
by Steve Kolowich
April 28, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“President Obama’s original plan for community colleges included $500 million to create free online courses that individual institutions could then customize for their students. That money never materialized — it was left out of the student aid legislation in last month’s health care bill. But a foundation-supported effort with similar goals is actually growing. The National Repository for Online Courses (NROC) was hoping for that government money to help expand its existing vault of free courses, says Gary Lopez, the repository’s director. Still, with online education becoming mainstream and many community colleges experiencing enrollment booms beyond their physical capacity, NROC’s membership is on the rise. At the same time, the repository’s reliance on membership fees calls into question how ‘free’ its courses actually are.” . . .

“The repository, which initially bought its courses from the University of California’s vault of preparatory courses, is also beginning to invest in developing its own courses with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Responding to requests from its members, it is currently building a four-course developmental math sequence, which is designed to assess the abilities of students in real time, and adapt when certain skills need reinforcing — a popular feature of some commercial e-learning programs aimed at a similar audience.” . . .

“Individuals can sign into the HippoCampus and take the courses for free. But if an institution or system wants to deploy the repository’s content at scale, they have to pay an enrollment-based ‘membership’ fee, which can run from $3,000 to $50,000 per year (although the higher range generally applies to state education systems, not single institutions). If an institution or system wants to host the content on its own learning-management systems, it can cost more.” . . .

Education Should Be More Like World of Warcraft…. I Mean The iPad… or Facebook. The Quest for Silver Bullets through New Popular Media/Technology
by Clark Aldrich
April 28, 2010, On Simulations and Serious Games

“Here’s the best way to establish some cred as an education visionary: Take the newest example of consumer media/technology and argue that education should be more like it. I’ll even help you write your presentation. First, show some glossy pictures of the new media/ technology, preferably being used by children. Second, show some graphs displaying its rapid adoption. Third, show a few tentative examples of quasi-educational uses. Then slam schools. Finally, present a giant and impassioned call to action. Cut to applause. You are a visionary. You ‘get it.’ Plus the stuff already exists – you just have to figure out how to pay for it.”

“The critical flaw in all of this thinking is, let’s call, The Disneyland Effect. It is education based on consumerism. In all of these uses of new media, the participants are very carefully and successfully being managed to feel like they have control and relevancy, while in reality they are simply gobbling up more stuff. (Being in a flow state is important, but it also may be more addictive than crack.)” . . .

Florida State College Publishes Digital Textbooks
by Dian Schaffhauser
April 27, 2010, Campus Technology

“Five years after launching a project to develop low-cost and highly interactive course materials, faculty teams at Florida State College at Jacksonville have written 20 general education textbooks. The college has made the digital books available for sale through Follett Higher Education Group’s e-book Web site, CaféScribe. To serve distance learners who had intermittent or low bandwidth access to the Internet, the original initiative, called Sirius, was to replace traditional textbooks with low-cost alternatives–books with fewer than 150 pages that would include both a CD and online elements, such as study questions. Sirius has morphed into a program featuring sub-$50 interactive courses that include digital textbooks, among other components, along with interactive faculty development programs.” . . .

“In October 2009 the college won a $728,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to help adult learners and displaced workers complete college degrees and re-enter the workforce with updated skills and knowledge. As part of that, the Sirius project is working with 10 community colleges around the country to deliver online professional development training to faculty at these institutions. As part of the project participants will beta test the Sirius courses and help develop an additional 20 courses over the next three years.” . . .

Students Get Break On Books, Some College Titles Offered Free Online
by Scott Travis
April 26, 2010, Sun Sentinel

“Looking for a bargain on those expensive college textbooks? How does free sound? A new state initiative called Orange Grove Texts Plus will provide 120 textbook titles free if students go online to view them. Students can download and print the books, or they can buy bound volumes at about half the cost of normal textbooks. The Board of Governors, the policy-making body for the State University System, plans to announce this ‘open textbook’ initiative at a meeting today. The titles available are a small fraction of the thousands used by professors and students in the state, so it’s unlikely the initiative would make a huge dent in students’ textbook bills. But Florida officials hope professors will increasingly consider using these books.” . . .

FCC Needs to Step Up Regulation of Internet Broadband Service
by David Lazarus
April 27, 2010, Los Angeles Times

“A battle is about to erupt between federal regulators and telecom companies, and nothing less than the future of the Internet could be on the line. At issue is a seemingly benign question: Is the Net an information service or a telecommunication service? As it stands, high-speed Internet service is classified by the Federal Communications Commission as a “Title I” information service in the same way that Google is an information service. This means broadband providers such as phone and cable companies are only lightly regulated by the agency.”

“By reclassifying broadband as a “Title II” telecom service — like, say, phone service — the FCC would be able to more closely oversee providers’ actions and pricing, and would be better positioned to implement its recently announced 10-year plan to bring high-speed Net access to virtually every U.S. home. I know: This is wonky stuff. But the stakes couldn’t be higher, especially at a time when broadband Internet service is playing an increasingly vital role in a wide variety of areas, including entertainment, education and healthcare. ‘This could determine whether the FCC really has the power to act on its broadband plan,’ said Ben Scott, policy director with Free Press, a communications advocacy group. ‘It will define who really runs the Net.’ “ . . .

Under Financial Overhaul, FTC Could Gain Enforcement Power Over Internet
by Cecilia Kang
April 27, 2010, Washington Post

“The Federal Trade Commission could become a more powerful watchdog for Internet users under a little-known provision in financial overhaul legislation that would expand the agency’s ability to create rules. An emboldened FTC would stand in stark contrast to a besieged Federal Communications Commission, whose ability to oversee broadband providers has been cast into doubt after a federal court ruled last month that the agency lacked the ability to punish Comcast for violating open-Internet guidelines.”

“The version of regulatory overhaul legislation passed by the House would allow the FTC to issue rules on a fast track and permit the agency to impose civil penalties on companies that hurt consumers. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz has argued in favor of bolstering his agency’s enforcement ability.” . . . “The proposal comes as uncertainty surrounds the federal government’s ability to regulate the Internet and oversee service providers. Spokeswomen at the FTC and FCC declined to comment. “Everyone is trying to figure out who is on first and what the game is here. Everything is a moving target right now,” said Art Brodsky, a spokesman for Public Knowledge, an advocacy group.”

Google On FCC Broadband Authority: We’re Staying Out Of It
by Cecilia Kang
April 26, 2010, The Washington Post

“Google will stay on the sidelines as others debate how the Federal Communications Commission should ensure its ability to regulate broadband services. In a blog post Monday, media counsel Rick Whitt explained that the search giant is more concerned about net-neutrality policies at the FCC than questions over the agency’s legal maneuvering to ensure its authority over broadband. That authority was cast into doubt after a federal appeals court sided with Comcast, saying the FCC overreached when it sanctioned the cable giant for net-neutrality violations.” . . .

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Investments to Expand Broadband Internet Access and Spur Economic Growth
Press Release
April 26, 2010, NTIA

“U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced nine American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare across the country. The investments, totaling more than $114 million in grants, will increase broadband access and adoption in more than a dozen states. The grants will fund projects that lay the groundwork to bring enhanced high-speed Internet access to thousands of households and businesses and link hundreds of schools, hospitals, libraries, and public safety offices to the information superhighway.”

“Today’s announcement marks the final grant awards from the first round of BTOP applications. All told, NTIA awarded 82 BTOP grants worth $1.2 billion that will expand broadband access and adoption through projects in a majority of states and territories. A total of 45 states and territories will be affected by this round of BTOP grants. NTIA recently began reviewing second round applications with the goal of making the first round two grant announcements this summer.” . . . See the grants awarded at http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint
by Elisabeth Bumiller
April 26, 2010, New York Times

“Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan.” . . . “Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat. ‘It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,’ General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. ‘Some problems in the world are not bulletizable.’ ” . . . “Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point. Imagine lawyers presenting arguments before the Supreme Court in slides instead of legal briefs.” . . .

Upcoming Grant Deadlines:

Public Education Programs Concerning the Anti-discrimination Provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act
Department of Justice

Application Deadline: May 27, 2010

The Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) announced grant funding available for public education programs that provide workers or employers with information about immigration-related employment discrimination under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The program is open to public service and other organizations that provide services to potential victims of immigration-related employment discrimination and/or employers. Recipients will assist discrimination victims; conduct seminars for workers, employers and immigration service providers; distribute educational materials in various languages; and place advertisements in local communities through both mainstream and ethnic media to educate workers and employers about their rights. In 2009, a total of $723,000 was awarded to 12 organizations serving communities throughout the country. The grants ranged from approximately $51,000 to $87,000.

Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Department of Education

Application Deadline: June 7, 2010.

The Rehabilitation Long-Term Training program provides financial assistance for:
(1) Projects that provide basic or advanced training leading to an academic degree in areas of personnel shortages in rehabilitation as identified by the Secretary;
(2) Projects that provide a specified series of courses or program of study leading to the award of a certificate in areas of personnel shortages in rehabilitation as identified by the Secretary; and
(3) Projects that provide support for medical residents enrolled in residency training programs in the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

K-12 Ed Tech Stats, NROC, Digital Textbooks. FCC Broadband, Last BTOP Grants, PowerPoint, Grants

Retention, Social Networking, Remedial Ed., iPad, Teen Texting, Accessible Broadband, Graying Workforce

Retention, From Beginning to End
by Doug Lederman
April 26, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “Kathi M. Baucom, associate provost for enrollment management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, described her institution’s efforts to recapture a group of students it had been unable to retain in the past — seniors who finished the vast majority of their course work but left without earning a degree.” . . .

“[The university sent] a survey to about 1,200 students seeking information about why they had left.” . . . “About one in 10 of the recipients returned the survey, offering helpful insights into their primary reasons for leaving: inability to get “the courses they needed at the times they could take them,” difficulty balancing school and life/work demands, inadequate advising, insufficient financial aid — and dissatisfaction with parking. More than 100 of the 133 also sent back an accompanying postcard asking the university to contact them about finishing their degrees.” . . .

Schumer Wants Info Sharing Guidelines for Social Networking Sites
by Jordan Fabian
April 25, 2010, The Hill

“Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Sunday asking the agency to provide guidelines to social networking sites on user’s private information. As the Associated Press reported, the New York senator wants to ensure that private information submitted to the websites is not given away improperly to third parties. The letter comes amid reports that Facebook has begun to provide user’s information to third-party sites that users used to be able to prevent from being shared.”

” ‘Hundreds of millions of people use social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter every day,” Schumer said. “These sites have helped reconnect old friends, allow families from far away to stay in touch, and created new friendships; overall they provide a great new way to communicate. As these sites become more and more popular, however, it’s vitally important that safeguards are in place that provide users with control over their personal information to ensure they don’t receive unwanted solicitations.’ “ . . .

For Web’s New Wave, Sharing Details Is the Point
by Brad Stone
April 22, 2010, New York Times

. . . “Too much information, you say? On the Internet, there seems to be no such thing. A wave of Web start-ups aims to help people indulge their urge to divulge — from sites like Blippy, which Mr. Brooks used to broadcast news of what he bought, to Foursquare, a mobile social network that allows people to announce their precise location to the world, to Skimble, an iPhone application that people use to reveal, say, how many push-ups they are doing and how long they spend in yoga class. Not that long ago, many were leery of using their real names on the Web, let alone sharing potentially embarrassing personal details about their shopping and lifestyle habits. But these start-ups are exploiting a mood of online openness, despite possible hidden dangers.” . . .

“There is no way to quantify the number of these start-ups, but they are the rage among venture capitalists. Although some doubt whether the sites will gain true mainstream popularity — and whether they will make any money — the entrepreneurs involved think they are on to something.” . . .

Students Addicted to Social Media – New UM Study
April 21, 2010, University of Maryland

“American college students today are addicted to media, describing their feelings when they have to abstain from using media in literally the same terms associated with drug and alcohol addictions: In withdrawal, Frantically craving, Very anxious, Extremely antsy, Miserable, Jittery, Crazy.” . . .

“The new ICMPA study, ‘24 Hours: Unplugged,’ asked 200 students at the College Park campus to give up all media for 24 hours. After their 24 hours of abstinence, the students were then asked to blog on private class websites about their experiences: to report their successes and admit to any failures. The 200 students wrote more than 110,000 words: in aggregate, about the same number of words as a 400-page novel.” . . .

Foundation Giving $110 Million to Transform Remedial Education
April 20, 2010, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

. . . “To aid community colleges in developmental education reform, the foundation announced a commitment of up to $110 million to help research and scale innovative programs. These strategies will help under-prepared students spend less time and money catching up, and will lead to improved retention and completion. About half of the foundation’s commitment has already been given to colleges and programs. The remaining $57 million will be given as grants over the next two years and will be guided by lessons learned through the earlier investments, which are showing that good remedial education contains several key elements:”

— “It starts early with effective collaboration between middle schools, high schools and colleges that can prevent the need for remediation in the first place. For example, El Paso Community College partners with local school districts and the University of Texas at El Paso, which has dramatically improved graduation rates in just a few short years.”

— “It is tightly structured blending credit-bearing classes with enhanced academic supports. For example, Washington state’s I-BEST program blends basic academics and career training into a seamless accelerated program.”

— “It’s flexible and personalized to address specific skill gaps to ensure that students learn what they need. This can be accomplished through technology and other means to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of remedial education. Monterey Institute for Technology and Education, for example, will fund the development of remedial math courses that will be made available for free to colleges. The project aims to reduce the time and cost of remediation through interactive and adaptive multimedia and games.” . . .

IPad Too Much for Some Campus Networks
by Jenna Johnson
April 19, 2010, The Washington Post

“The iPad has been touted as the next big thing in higher education technology, especially as more textbooks make the digital conversation, but the Wall Street Journal reports that not all college campus networks can handle the mobile tablets.”

“George Washington University students and faculty members who sprung for an iPad can’t access the campus wireless network. Princeton University has blocked about two dozen iPads that were messing up the university network. Seton Hill University, which is equipping every student with an iPad, has had to quadruple its bandwidth and charge students a $500-per-semester technology fee. Cornell University is also seeing networking and connectivity issues, similar to what happened with the iPhone hit.” . . .

Teens and Mobile Phones
by Amanda Lenhart, Rich Ling, Scott Campbell, Kristen Purcell
Apr 20, 2010, Pew Internet & American Life Project

“Daily text messaging among American teens has shot up in the past 18 months, from 38 percent of teens texting friends daily in February of 2008 to 54 percent of teens texting daily in September 2009. And it’s not just frequency — teens are sending enormous quantities of text messages a day. Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. Older teen girls ages 14-17 lead the charge on text messaging, averaging 100 messages a day for the entire cohort. The youngest teen boys are the most resistant to texting — averaging 20 messages per day.”

“Text messaging has become the primary way that teens reach their friends, surpassing face-to-face contact, email, instant messaging and voice calling as the go-to daily communication tool for this age group. However, voice calling is still the preferred mode for reaching parents for most teens.” . . .

A Giant Leap and a Big Deal: Delivering on the Promise of Equal Access to Broadband for People with Disabilities
by Elizabeth Lyle
April 2010, Federal Communications Commission

[from the press release, “Today, the Federal Communications Commission issued the agency’s first-ever working paper addressing accessibility and technology issues. Part of a series of working papers released in conjunction with the National Broadband Plan, the paper considers the numerous barriers to broadband usage faced by people with disabilities, including inaccessible hardware, software, services, and web content and expensive specialized assistive technologies.  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-297711A1.pdf ]

“There are 54.4 million Americans who have disabilities, and 35 million Americans who have a severe disability.2 For those aged 15 and over, this includes 7.8 million who have difficulty seeing the words in ordinary newsprint; 7.8 million who have difficulty hearing a typical conversation; 2.5 million who have difficulty having their speech understood; 27.4 million who have lower body limitations; 19 million with upper body limitations; and 16.1 million with cognitive, mental, and emotional functioning disabilities.” (2005 US Census Report) . . .

“This paper will first consider numerous barriers to broadband usage faced by people with disabilities, including inaccessible hardware, software, and services, and inaccessible web content. It will also identify barriers related to specialized assistive technologies that people with disabilities use to gain access to broadband services as well as barriers faced by specific populations within the disability community. Next, the paper will discuss existing private sector efforts to address these barriers, including the advances made by industry innovation and collaborative efforts. It examines how government grant programs and legal and regulatory measures address these barriers as well.

“After identifying existing barriers and efforts, this paper next considers the gaps in current efforts to address accessibility for people with disabilities and the needs that must be met if we are to accelerate the adoption path for people with disabilities. Specifically, the government must
• Improve implementation and enforcement of existing accessibility laws;
• Gather and analyze more information about disability-specific broadband adoption issues;
• Coordinate accessibility policy and spending priorities;
• Update accessibility regulations;
• Update subsidy programs and ensure the availability of training and support; and
• Update its approach to accessibility problem solving.”

“Finally, this paper reviews the three broad recommendations from the National Broadband Plan which seek to address the range of disability access concerns and discusses how the recommendations address the needs identified above. The recommendations include: (1) the creation of a Broadband Accessibility Working Group (‘BAWG’) within the Executive Branch; (2) the establishment of an Accessibility and Innovation Forum at the FCC; and (3) the modernization of accessibility laws, rules, and related subsidy programs by the FCC, the Department of Justice (‘DOJ’), and Congress.”

A Graying Population, a Graying Work Force
by John Leland
April 24, 2010, New York Times

. . . “In an aging population, the elderly are increasingly being taken care of by the elderly. Professional caregivers — almost all of them women — are one of the fastest-growing segments of the American work force, and also one of the grayest. A recent study by PHI National, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of caregivers, found that in 2008, 28 percent of home care aides were over age 55, compared with 18 percent of women in the overall work force.”

“The organization projects that from 2008 to 2018, the number of direct care workers, which includes those in nursing homes, will grow to 4.3 million from 3.2 million. The percentage of older caregivers is projected to grow to 30 percent from 22 percent.” . . . See the study “Who are Health-care Workers” at http://www.directcareclearinghouse.org/download/PHI%20FactSheet3_singles.pdf

Retention, Social Networking, Remedial Ed., iPad, Teen Texting, Accessible Broadband, Graying Workforce

State Authorization, BTOP Awards, Ning, Enrollment Surge, Twitter, Remediation, FCC Broadband, Completion

Online Educators Balk at Proposal Requiring State Authorizations
by Eric Kelderman
April 18, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

. . . “For several years, the Higher Learning Commission has required all of its accredited members to be authorized to operate in all the states where they have students either in online or traditional courses, says Karen L. Solinski, the organization’s vice president for legal and governmental affairs. And such a requirement may eventually apply to all accredited institutions under a rule being developed by the U.S. Department of Education.” . . .

“Another problem is that even though accrediting agencies may require institutions to operate legally in a state, some states authorize an institution to operate in that state only if it has been approved by a federally recognized accreditor — a circular scheme that undermines the usual system of checks and balances, the department says. The proposed rule seeks to solve both issues by requiring institutions to be authorized in some fashion by the state in order to provide a certain level of consumer protection. The proposed regulation was one of the issues left unresolved during the latest round of meetings of a panel convened by the department to re-examine 14 rules regarding eligibility for federal student aid.” (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/integrity-session3-issues.pdf) . . .

“Traditional nonprofit colleges initially balked at the proposal, fearing an expansion of state regulations over how they operate. The department then made several changes to the regulation. Among them, it exempted public colleges and removed the requirement that states track the academic quality of institutions.” . . .

Commerce Announces Recovery Act Investment to Expand Broadband Internet Access and Spur Economic Growth in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas
Press Release
April 16, 2010, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investment to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and public safety in portions of Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The $28.6 million grant will increase broadband access and adoption by funding the build-out and deployment of more than 680 miles of a new fiber-optic network in 35 communities. The project intends to directly connect more than 70 community anchor institutions to the broadband network, including city halls, police stations, fire stations, libraries, schools, and a hospital.

See the grants awarded at http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/ (the tab is at the top of the page)

Report on Emerging Technologies for the Classroom
by Sarah Jackson
April 16, 2010, Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning

“Which digital tools will have the most impact on K-12 education in the coming years? A new report and toolkit released this week identifies the six most influential technologies educators should be watching out for. The ‘2010 Horizon Report K-12 Edition,’ released by the Consortium for School Networking and the New Media Consortium with support from HP, names six “emerging technologies or practices” likely to enter mainstream use by the educational community over the next one to five years. (http://wp.nmc.org/horizon-k12-2010/)

They are: one year or less: cloud computing, one year or less: collaborative environments, two to three years: game-based learning, two to three years: mobiles, four to five years: augmented reality, four to five years: flexible displays.

Ning Fails at Free Social Networking
by Eliot Van Buskirk
April 16, 2010, Wired

“Ning co-founder Marc Andreessen promised Ning network creators they would be able to port their networks elsewhere. Now, they may have good reason to do so. Ning, a brainchild of Netscape bazillionaire Marc Andreessen that was designed to let anyone make a social network about anything for free, won’t do it anymore. Each of the service’s 2.3 million networks’ users will disappear unless its creator either pays Ning or migrate the network to another platform.” . . .

“The service’s premium offerings include faster access to Ning’s support staff ($10 or $100 per month, depending on responsiveness), custom domain names ($5 per month), additional storage and bandwidth ($10 per month), removal of ads with the option to embed your own ($25 per month), and getting rid of the link at the bottom of every page that asks users to create their own social networks ($25 per month). The ability to roll your own social network has a powerful allure, and Ning’s conversion into a paid-only service could open the door for a free competitor to enter the space — perhaps without accepting the $120 million or so in reported investment that almost certainly pressured Ning to try to extract more money from its users.” . . .

Ning Alternatives, Collaboration, & Self Hosting
by Alec Couros
April 15, 2010, Open Thinking

“Ning announced today that it plans to “phase out its free service“. What this means for the educators who use Ning for free (or even pay for some services) is uncertain at the moment although it was stated that a detailed plan of the new services will be released within two weeks. . . . Seeing that Google Docs has gone real-time, I thought it would be great to collaboratively build a document with Ning alternatives, including examples and comments on services other have tried. I created a new Google Document and tweeted a call for collaboration.” . . .

Community Colleges Turn to Online Classes as Enrollments Spike
by Dennis Carter
Apr 16, 2010. eSchool News

“Distance-learning enrollment in American community colleges jumped by 22 percent during the 2008-09 academic year, an increase fueled in part by an influx of nontraditional students who require the flexibility of online courses, according to a survey conducted by the Instructional Technology Council (ITC).” . . .

“More students and faculty are more willing to embrace online college classes as technology evolves and distance learning is enhanced by streaming audio and video, for example, but community college instructors said the unprecedented enrollment spike during the economic recession has forced decision makers to find ways to expand class sections.” . . .

Twitter Loses Its Scrappy Start-Up Status
by Claire Cain Miller
April 15, 2010, New York Times

“Twitter’s first developer conference, held this week in San Francisco, served as a coming-out party for the four-year-old service. Twitter the start-up is becoming Twitter the big company, with more polish, controversy, competition and revenue. At the conference, called Chirp, Twitter announced several new features that will make it more useful, including geo-location services, a database of places and additional metadata for posts. It also offered details about @anywhere, a new service that lets people gain access to Twitter from elsewhere on the Web. These new features could expand Twitter’s reach, but it also pits the company against other popular Web companies, including Facebook and Foursquare.” . . .

Library of Congress to Preserve Twitter posts
The Associated Press
April 14, 2010, the Washington Post

“That Twitter message you just posted about your ham sandwich might now become part of history. Twitter is donating its archives of tweets to the Library of Congress, going back to the first one posted by co-founder Jack Dorsey on March 21, 2006. It wasn’t a profound moment, and Dorsey didn’t come close to Twitter’s 140-character limit for messages. He simply posted “Jack,” according to the Library of Congress’ archives. Twitter and the Library of Congress announced their partnership Wednesday.”

“The Library of Congress wants to store tweets to give researchers a better way to revisit discussions of significant events, including the tweets that occurred after President Obama’s election in 2008, during the protests in Iran last year and the earthquakes in Haiti and elsewhere this year. Only tweets meant for public viewing will be available, though. Accounts with more restrictive privacy settings won’t be included. There’s also another limitation: Twitter said the Library of Congress won’t be able to offer access to specific tweets until six months after they’re posted. That means the Library of Congress’ archive will always been missing billions of tweets, based on the 55 million daily tweets that Twitter says it’s now processing.” . . .

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Recovery Act Support to Repair Infrastructure, Finance Community Centers, Public Safety Buildings and Health Care Facilities
News Release
April 15, 2010, US Department of Agriculture

“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that rural communities in 32 states will benefit from loans and grants provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “These projects help rural communities build and upgrade essential infrastructure and demonstrate President Obama’s continued efforts to improve the quality of life for rural residents throughout the country,” Vilsack said. “We are seeing towns and communities across America receive significant benefits through the Recovery Act, even as these projects are putting countless people back to work.” . . .

Community Colleges: Our Work Has Just Begun
by Jill Biden
April 14, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

. . . “The reconciliation bill also sets aside $2-billion ($500-million per year over four years) to develop and improve educational and training programs at community colleges. Throughout the nation, community colleges will receive funds to help them serve students more effectively, and to help form partnerships with regional industry clusters so that graduates will be prepared to excel in the local work force.”

“This administration’s commitment to community colleges is a long-term one. The president has asked me to convene a national summit on community colleges in the fall. We will bring college presidents, instructors, and advocates together with business leaders and other stakeholders to share best practices and successful models for helping students gain the knowledge, training, certificates, and degrees needed to succeed. This will be a working summit, a setting where we can shine a spotlight on community colleges, highlight their utility to families and communities across the nation, nurture more collaboration, and generate additional policy ideas and goals for student success. As a community-college instructor, I am thrilled to be leading this summit and truly pleased to have the support of the administration.” . . .

Retooling Remediation
by David Moltz
April 14, 2010, Inside Higher Ed
[this article is not about distance education, but I thought it might be of interest. Chris]

“Six states that are trying to revamp remedial education are focusing as much on what happens outside of the classroom — in state policies — as inside. Among the targets for change are state funding formulas and individual course rules. The Developmental Education Initiative, a three-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education, recently unveiled the state policy framework and strategies that its six participating state partners plan to implement so that they can dramatically increase the number of students who complete college preparatory work and move on to complete college-level work. The six states — Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Virginia — were selected for this project because of their prior commitment to community college reform; institutions from these states were first-round participants in Achieving the Dream, a multi-year and -state initiative to increase the success of two-year college students.” . . .

Decoding Social Media Mysteries
by Steve Kolowich
April 14, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“[Hanson Hosein] wants find out how media will work — and how it can keep people and institutions honest — after the fall of 20th-century style journalism and the rise of the social Web. Hosein runs the Masters in Communication and Digital Media Program at the University of Washington, a gig he has held since 2007. In that time Hosein, a former correspondent for NBC and independent filmmaker, has sought to overhaul the program in light of the ascension of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other Web 2.0 mainstays — turning it from a training ground for the best practices to a vehicle for exploring what the best practices are.” . . .

“Hosein, who serves on the journalism advisory board at the university, says that as social media brings citizens and institutions into more intimate contact, journalists will continue to be marginalized and institutions themselves will increasingly take on the role of trusted storyteller.” . . .

Despite Ruling, F.C.C. Says It Will Move Forward on Expanding Broadband
by Edward Wyatt
April 14, 2010, New York Times

“The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission told a Congressional panel on Wednesday that a recent court ruling that the agency lacked authority to regulate the Internet should not prevent it from carrying out its plan to broadly expand the country’s high-speed Internet service. But the chairman refused to say if the commission would try to reclassify Internet service as a utility similar to telephone service to overcome the court decision, a move that some Democratic senators supported but that several Republican senators strongly warned against.”

“Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, said in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee, that the agency’s lawyers were still considering the effect of the court case, Comcast v. F.C.C., on the commission’s effort, known as the National Broadband Plan. The broadband plan seeks nationwide adoption of high-speed Internet service, greater availability of high-speed connections for wireless devices and subsidies for rural broadband service.” . . .

Also see “Genachowski: Court Decision Notwithstanding, FCC Has the Broadband Power,” John Eggerton, April 13, 2010, Broadcasting & Cable: http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/451439-Genachowski_Court_Decision_Notwithstanding_FCC_Has_the_Broadband_Power.php?rssid=20065

Middlebury to Develop Online Language Venture
by Tamar Lewin
April 13, 2010, New York Times

“Middlebury College, a small Vermont college known for its rigorous foreign-language programs, is forming a venture with a commercial entity to develop online language programs for pre-college students. The college plans to invest $4 million for a 40 percent stake in what will become Middlebury Interactive Languages. The partnership, with the technology-based education company K12 Inc., will allow Middlebury to achieve two goals, said Ronald D. Liebowitz, the president of the college: It will help more American students learn foreign languages, an area in which they lag far behind Europeans; and it will give Middlebury another source of revenue.” . . .

Also see, “A Strategic Leap Online,” Steve Kolowich, April 15, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

How to Learn Something for Nothing
by Joanna Nikas
April 8, 2010, New York Times

Thousands of pieces of free educational material — videos and podcasts of lectures, syllabuses, entire textbooks — have been posted in the name of the open courseware movement. But how to make sense of it all? Businesses, social entrepreneurs and “edupunks,” envisioning a tuition-free world untethered by classrooms, have created Web sites to help navigate the mind-boggling volume of content. Some sites tweak traditional pedagogy; others aggregate, Hulu-style.

Academic Earth, Connexions, OpenCourseWare Consortium, Open Culture, ITunes U and YouTube.com/edu, Highlights for High School

Scholars Use Wikipedia to Save Public Art From the Dustbin of History
by Mary Helen Miller
April 4, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

. . . “Documentation of public art, particularly digital documentation, lags behind other art forms because it gets commissioned in so many different ways, and there is no one organization that documents it all, according to one of the project’s founders, Jennifer Geigel Mikulay. Much public art is done as temporary installations, and when they are gone there is little for scholars to work with. To solve this problem, Ms. Mikulay, an assistant professor and public scholar of visual culture at Indiana-Purdue, started the project, Wikipedia Saves Public Art, with Richard S. McCoy, an associate conservator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. They taught a course together last fall at Indiana-Purdue, in which they asked students to write Wikipedia articles with a local and art-historical context about pieces of public art on the campus. The students used a GPS tracking device to obtain coordinates for each piece so that article readers could find it in real life.” . . .

Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States
by John Bound, Michael F. Lovenheim, Sarah Turner
April 2010, National Bureau of Economic Research

“Time to completion of the baccalaureate degree has increased markedly in the United States over the last three decades, even as the wage premium for college graduates has continued to rise. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of the High School Class of 1972 and the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988, we show that the increase in time to degree is localized among those who begin their postsecondary education at public colleges outside the most selective universities. In addition, we find evidence that the increases in time to degree were more marked amongst low income students.”

“We consider several potential explanations for these trends. First, we find no evidence that changes in the college preparedness or the demographic composition of degree recipients can account for the observed increases. Instead, our results suggest that declines in collegiate resources in the less-selective public sector increased time to degree. Furthermore, we present evidence of increased hours of employment among students, which is consistent with students working more to meet rising college costs and likely increases time to degree by crowding out time spent on academic pursuits.”

8 Big Mistakes Online Students Make
by Kim Clark
March 25, 2010, US News and World Report

Teachers of online courses say students often fall victim to these common mistakes, which can cost them lots of money and hurt their academic records:

1. Not checking out the school.
2. Signing up for a course without budgeting at least 10 hours a week of study every week the course is in session — with no vacations!
3. Being unrealistic about your learning style.
4. Committing to an online course without first ensuring your technology matches the school’s.
5. Not checking out the teacher.
6. Taking on too much too soon.
7. Thinking that since it is an online course, it is OK to “copy and paste.”
8. Being unprepared or unwilling to cooperate with a virtual team.

Study: Ages of Social Network Users
Feb. 16, 2010, Pingdom

“How old is the average Twitter or Facebook user? What about all the other social network sites, like MySpace, LinkedIn, and so on? How is age distributed across the millions and millions of social network users out there? To find out, we pulled together age statistics for 19 different social network sites, and crunched the numbers. Full list of sites in this study: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Slashdot, Reddit, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, FriendFeed, Last.fm, Friendster, LiveJournal, Hi5, Tagged, Ning, Xanga, Classmates.com, Bebo.”

Google Brings the Damn Goats Back
by Jack McKenna
April 15, 2010, The Washington Post

“Google is bringing the goats back this year to keep the grass cut and to provide an excellent opportunity to show that they care about the environment. We made fun of them last year, and even tried to get PETA all riled up about goat’s rights.” In May 2009 MG Siegler wrote, “Google has . . . rented a herd of goats to replace the lawnmowers that normally cut the grass in the fields around its headquarters. This is Google’s ‘low-carbon’ approach to maintaining its property. Google is renting the goats from a company called California Grazing. Apparently, every so often a herder will bring about 200 of them to the campus and they’ll roam around for a week eating the grass. Not only that, these goats will fertilize the land at the same time — yes, that way.”

State Authorization, BTOP Awards, Ning, Enrollment Surge, Twitter, Remediation, FCC Broadband, Completion

Online Course Fund, Blackboard, Faculty Pay, Library Internet Access, Student Engagement, Social Media, Twitter, NSF Grants

Agenda for Open Online Courses Can Go Forward, Federal Officials Say
by Marc Parry
April 12, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Education Secretary Arne Duncan laid out the Obama Administration’s open-education agenda in Politico last year: an ambitious plan to spend $500-million on developing freely available, high-quality online courses. This great course giveaway attracted both buzz and skepticism in education-technology circles. It was all part of the president’s landmark push to invest $12-billion in community colleges, a sum that got drastically reduced in the legislative sausage-making process that ended with an overhaul of the nation’s student-loan system. So is the online agenda dead, too?” . . .

“As the White House blog accurately states, however, this legislation does enable us to move forward with our plans related to open online courses,” Mr. Plotkin said in an e-mail message. Exactly how this might happen, and how much might get spent, is fuzzy. [Hal Plotkin, a senior policy adviser in the U.S. Education Department] suggested some money for online courses could come from $2-billion that the reconciliation bill did include for community colleges. The money, which Mr. Plotkin said is intended to help dislocated workers, will flow through the Department of Labor.” . . .

“It’s “not inconceivable” that some of the $2-billion could pay for online courses, said David S. Baime, senior vice president for government relations and research at the American Association of Community Colleges. ‘But it’s not at all the thrust of this,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t appear to be much the intent of this new program. And it’s certainly not at all what was envisioned in the $500-million open online program. Nothing like it.’ ”

Blackboard to Unveil New Learning Suite
April, 11, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

Blackboard plans to announce today the release of a new version of its widely used e-learning suite, with an emphasis on incorporating social networking tools such as wikis, YouTube, Flickr, and Slideshare. “We provided a very intuitive process to search for and add content from YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare to a course without ever having to leave the LMS,” said Stacey Fontenot, a Blackboard vice president, in an e-mail. “And this content can be leveraged not only as stand alone course content but used in different places like discussion boards posts and assessment questions to provide educators with more dynamic ways to engage and assess learners.” Version 9.1 also has tools that will help better organize and evaluate student contributions to course wikis, Fontenot said. Certain parts of the new version were designed “with WebCT clients in mind,” she added, as part of an effort to “create a familiar environment” for those campuses that used WebCT for their learning-management needs before Blackboard bought the competitor in 2005.

Study Finds a 1.2 Percent Increase in Faculty Pay, the Smallest in 50 Years
by Tamar Lewin
April 11, 2010, New York Times

“Academic pay has been squeezed by the recession, according to the annual salary survey by the American Association of University Professors (http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/newsroom/2010PRS/salary.htm). Over all, salaries for this academic year are 1.2 percent higher than last year, the smallest increase recorded in the survey’s 50 years — and well below the 2.7 percent inflation rate from December 2008 to December 2009.”

“The survey found that average salary levels actually decreased this academic year at a third of colleges and universities, compared with 9 percent that reported lower average salaries in the previous two surveys. Private and church-related universities reported shrinking average salaries more often than public institutions. And the academic pay situation may be even worse than the survey indicates, according to John Curtis, the association’s director of research and policy.”

Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries
March 2010, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older — roughly 77 million people — used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the past year, according to a national report released today. In 2009, as the nation struggled through a recession, people relied on library technology to find work, apply for college, secure government benefits, learn about critical medical treatments, and connect with their communities.” . . .

“Low-income adults are more likely to rely on the public library as their sole access to computers and the Internet than any other income group. Overall, 44 percent of people living below the federal poverty line used computers and the Internet at their public libraries.”

“The use of library technology had significant impact in four critical areas: employment, education, health, and making community connections. In the last 12 months:
— 40 percent of library computer users (an estimated 30 million people) received help with career needs. Among these users, 75 percent reported they searched for a job online. Half of these users filled out an online application or submitted a resume. — 37 percent focused on health issues. The vast majority of these users (82 percent) logged on to learn about a disease, illness, or medical condition. One-third of these users sought out doctors or health care providers. Of these, about half followed up by making appointments for care.
— 42 percent received help with educational needs. Among these users, 37 percent (an estimated 12 million students) used their local library computer to do homework for a class.
— Library computers linked patrons to their government, communities, and civic organizations. Sixty-percent of users – 43.3 million people – used a library’s computer resources to connect with others.”

Benchmarking and Benchmarks: Effective Practice with Entering Students
March 29, 2010, Center for Community College Student Engagement

Community and technical colleges across the country are struggling with entering student attrition. At the same time, today’s unprecedented economic challenges are driving more students to enter college. In response to this challenge, an increasing number of colleges are taking steps to examine the experiences of entering students, to discover why some succeed and others do not, and to find ways of improving entering student retention and outcomes. The report features data from 50,327 students at 120 participating community colleges in 31 states, and the Marshall Islands.

Benchmarking and Benchmarks is organized around six new benchmarks of effective educational practice with entering students. The SENSE Benchmarks of Effective Practice with Entering Students are: 1. early connections, 2. high expectations and aspirations, 3. clear academic plan and pathway, 4. effective track to college readiness, 5. engaged learning, and 6. academic and social support network. The report includes brief descriptions of each benchmark and a list of the survey items that compose it. “Examples of key findings related to the benchmark illustrate the kinds of actionable information that can be used in the benchmarking and improvement process, while student voices from the Initiative on Student Success provide context.”

The State of Corporate Learning and Development
by Mark Berthelemy
Mar 25, 2010, Learning Conversations

“Whatever we might like to think, our corporations are not isolated from the surrounding society. In the developed world the brand names, web sites, and tools shown as examples here are playing a major part in how our society operates, consumes, communicates and learns.” Key Trends in Society, Key Trends in Learning, Where Learning and Development are Headed.

Social Media Explained Visually
by Say It Visually
March 31, 2010, Learning

Video explaining social media.

Social Networks a Lifeline for the Chronically Ill
by Claire Cain Miller
March 24, 2010, New York Times

. . . “For many people, social networks are a place for idle chatter about what they made for dinner or sharing cute pictures of their pets. But for people living with chronic diseases or disabilities, they play a more vital role. ‘It’s really literally saved my life, just to be able to connect with other people,’ said Sean Fogerty, 50, who has multiple sclerosis, is recovering from brain cancer and spends an hour and a half each night talking with other patients online.”

“People fighting chronic illnesses are less likely than others to have Internet access, but once online they are more likely to blog or participate in online discussions about health problems, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation. . . . They are gathering on big patient networking sites like PatientsLikeMe, HealthCentral, Inspire, CureTogether and Alliance Health Networks, and on small sites started by patients on networks like Ning and Wetpaint.” . . .

“Not surprisingly, according to Pew, Internet users with chronic illnesses are more likely than healthy people to use the Web to look for information on specific diseases, drugs, health insurance, alternative or experimental treatments and depression, anxiety or stress. But for them, the social aspects of the Web take on heightened importance. Particularly if they are homebound, they also look to the Web for their social lives, discussing topics unrelated to their illnesses. Some schedule times to eat dinner or watch a movie while chatting online.” . . .

Twitter for Learning – 55 Great Articles : eLearning Technology
by Tony Karrer
March 24, 2010, eLearning Technology

“In a recent conversation, I was asked what I thought about twitter as a learning tool. Over the course of the past few years I’ve moved from saying “I don’t get it” – to feeling like it’s a good addition to my Learning Tool Set. But I also think that there’s a lot more help now around how to make effective use of Twitter as a learning tool. I thought it would be worthwhile to pull together these resources.” . . .

American Library Association outlines positions on National Broadband Plan
Press Release
March 17, 2010

“After conducting its initial analysis of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Plan, the American Library Association (ALA) supports several initiatives suggested in the plan, such as the National Digital Literacy Program and the modernization of the E-rate Program.”

“ ‘ Other proposals, including the Connect America Fund, Civic Engagement, and Training Teachers in Digital Literacy, are good concepts but call for additional measures to ensure the needs of all Americans — including vulnerable populations — are met,’ ” said Dr. Alan S. Inouye, director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP).”

Upcoming Webinar from Magna Publications

Changes in Federal Distance Ed Policy: How You Can Respond
Thursday, April 15, 2010 – 1:00-2:00pm Eastern Time, Magna Publications
Cost: $238 for ITC and WCET members
Register at 800-433-0499 or support@magnapubs.com

Presenters Fred Lokken, chair of the Instructional Technology Council and associate dean of TMCC WebCollege at Truckee Meadows Community College, and Russell Poulin, associate director, WCET, will discuss recent developments on the federal level. Enormous increases are in the works for distance learning funding. The Obama Initiative could potentially result in a huge influx of funds for distance education — will you be ready for the new opportunity? New rules for distance education. The rules from the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) have been completed. But how specifically will they impact you? Financial Aid fraud has become a hot topic on Capitol Hill. A few high-profile fraud cases have become the subject of congressional testimony. Will the backlash affect your program? The accreditation process for distance learning may be affected. Recent comments from the Department of Education could impact the accreditation process. Can you expect changes at your institution? Universities and community colleges both in play. The potential changes are so wide-ranging, that many institutions will feel their impact. Find out how this can be a challenge and an opportunity.

Upcoming Grant Deadlines

National STEM Education Distributed Learning (NSDL)
National Science Foundation

Letter of Intent Deadline: April 24, 2010
Full Proposal Deadline: May 26, 2010

NSF anticipates that approximately $10.75 million will be available in FY2010 for awards made through this solicitation. The program expects to make approximately 24-37 awards, depending on the availability of funds and the quality of proposals received.

Through the NSDL program, NSF seeks to enable the discovery, collaborative selection, organization, and effective usage of quality learning and teaching resources appropriate for educators and learners at all levels. The NSDL network of learning environments and resources should readily provide reusable, shareable, and interoperable learning objects that enable teachers and learners at all levels to select, use, and evaluate materials suited to their needs, both within and across traditional STEM disciplinary boundaries. Such materials should include assessment and evaluation tools and results from user tests. They should harness new understandings about pedagogy, curriculum, and the processes of learning that are founded on a solid research base. The resource collections, services, and infrastructure of NSDL should facilitate the development and dissemination of new tested materials and methods, recommend systems that leverage the aggregated data from all users’ experiences to recommend related resources, customize guidance systems that profile individual users, and support continual improvements in STEM education at all levels.

To realize this vision, the NSDL program began first by supporting projects focused on the development or enhancement of resource collections, implementation of digital library services, and a small set of targeted research investigations. In more recent years, the program introduced the concept of Pathways projects that take responsibility for stewardship for the educational content and services needed by a broad community of learners, e.g. in disciplines, such as mathematics or biology, or in educational sectors, like community colleges. While projects focused on collection development or stewardship are still appropriate, this solicitation especially invites projects to investigate the relationship between design of collections and their utilization by instructors and students. Projects that enable testing of the impact of collections and resources for instructors on teachers’ activities, and that investigate the impact of the resources in the collections on student learning are especially welcome.

Cyberinfrastructure Training, Education, Advancement, and Mentoring for Our 21st Century Workforce
National Science Foundation

Application Deadline: April 27, 2010

NSF plans to support 6-7 Demonstration Projects (up to $250,000 each), and 3-6 Implementation or Diffusion Projects (up to $1,000,000 each).

The CI-TEAM program supports projects that position the national science and engineering community to engage in integrated research and education activities promoting, leveraging and utilizing cyberinfrastructure systems, tools and services. CI-TEAM awards will 1. Prepare current and future generations of scientists, engineers, and educators to design and develop, and adopt and deploy, cyber-based tools and environments for research and learning, both formal and informal. 2. Expand and enhance participation in cyberinfrastructure science and engineering activities of diverse groups of people and organizations, with particular emphasis on the inclusion of traditionally underrepresented individuals, institutions especially Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), and communities as both creators and users of cyberinfrastructure.

There are three types of projects. The Demonstration Project is exploratory in nature and may be somewhat limited in scope and scale. Demonstration Projects have the potential to serve as exemplars to effective larger-scale implementation and diffusion activities in the future. The Implementation Project is generally larger in scope or scale and draws on prior experience with the activities or the teams proposed. The Diffusion Project is expected to engage broad national audiences with research results, resources, models, and/or technologies. Implementation or Diffusion Projects are expected to deliver sustainable learning and workforce development activities that complement ongoing NSF investment in cyberinfrastructure.

Online Course Fund, Blackboard, Faculty Pay, Library Internet Access, Student Engagement, Social Media, Twitter, NSF Grants

TeleCampus, Virtual Sit-In, FCC Broadband Agenda, Net Neutrality, iPad, BTOP, Bundled Ed, Student Enrollment

Texas Kills Its TeleCampus
by Doug Lederman
April 9, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“The University of Texas System announced Thursday that it would shutter its pioneering UT TeleCampus, laying off 23 employees and reconfiguring the online education entity into a smaller operation within the system’s central office. You’d be forgiven for not having noticed that rather stunning development, though, if you glanced only casually at the university press release announcing the news. Its headline was “UT Institutions Use Distance Education to Teach More Students, Improve Graduation Rates,” and the news release focused on how the university’s various campuses had developed their own distance education expertise that, with support from the as-yet-to-be-defined smaller office, would be allowed to flower.” . . .

“ ‘Moving from a centralized model to a decentralized model may be the logical outcome of a successful organization like the UT TeleCampus, making it a victim of its own success,’ he said. ‘But you can’t move from a centralized to a decentralized model without due attention to what that actually means — making sure that there’s coordination among the campuses, that there’s a continuing focus on improvement, that there continues to be encouragement to the campuses. Those kinds of things don’t just happen naturally, and just as much care and attention needs to be given to this transition’ as was given to building the TeleCampus in the first place if Texas is going to build on its legacy, Garrett said.”

Virtual Sit-In
by Steve Kolowich
April 9, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“On March 4, as thousands of students and faculty across California took to the streets to protest budget cuts and tuition increases across the state’s university system, Ricardo Dominguez, an associate professor of visual arts at the San Diego campus, engineered a demonstration of a different kind. Dominguez arranged for hundreds of students to register for a “virtual sit-in,” which involved logging on to the Office of the President portal on the system’s Web site and prompting the page to reload over and over. The idea was to jam the site, making it difficult for other visitors to enter — in essence, occupying the president’s virtual office, instead of his physical one, in order to make a statement.” . . .

FCC Announces Broadband Action Agenda
Press Release
April 8, 2010, Federal Communications Commission

The 2010 Broadband Action Agenda announced today explains the purpose and timing of more than 60 rulemakings and other notice-and-comment proceedings the Plan recommends for FCC action.

The 2010 Broadband Action Agenda focuses on four key goals:
1. Promote World-Leading Mobile Broadband Infrastructure and Innovation
2. Accelerate Universal Broadband Access and Adoption, and Advance National Purposes Such as Education and Health Care
— Carry out a once-in-a-generation transformation of the Universal Service Fund over the next ten years to support broadband service. This will be achieved by converting existing subsidy mechanisms over time from “POTS” (plain old telephone service) to broadband, without increasing the size of the fund over the current baseline projection.
— Upgrade the E-rate program, which has successfully connected public libraries and K-12 classrooms, to benefit students and others across the country by making broadband more accessible.
— Reform and upgrade the Rural Health Care Program to connect more public health facilities to high-speed Internet facilities and to foster telemedicine applications and services. Create a Health Care Infrastructure Fund to support deployment of dedicated health care networks to underserved areas.
— Create a Connect America Fund to extend broadband service to unserved areas of the nation and to ensure affordable broadband service in high-cost areas where support is necessary.
— Create a Mobility Fund to bring all states to a baseline level of “3G” (or better) wireless coverage.
3. Foster Competition and Maximize Consumer Benefits Across the Broadband Ecosystem
4. Advance Robust and Secure Public Safety Communications Networks

Court Rules for Comcast over FCC in ‘Net Neutrality’ Case
by Cecilia Kang
April 7, 2010, The Washington Post

“A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to force Internet service providers to keep their networks open to all forms of content, throwing into doubt the agency’s status as watchdog of the Web. The FCC has long sought to impose rules requiring Internet providers to offer equal treatment to all Web traffic, a concept known as network neutrality. But in a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the agency lacked the power to stop cable giant Comcast from slowing traffic to a popular file-sharing site.”

“Although the Comcast case centered on the issue of network neutrality, the court’s ruling could hamper other initiatives, including the Obama administration’s ambitious plans to expand high-speed Internet service nationwide and the agency’s enforcement of new truth-in-advertising rules on broadband speeds promised by carriers. . . . The court’s decision could prompt the FCC or Congress to write new rules or laws to more concretely establish the agency as a regulator of Internet services. The FCC has intentionally kept its authority over broadband vague, in hopes that looser regulation might spur growth in the market for Internet services. Tighter oversight — which consumer groups have urged — would be strongly opposed by companies that operate Internet networks.” . . .

Also see “U.S. Court Curbs F.C.C. Authority on Web Traffic,” by Edward Wyatt, April 6, 2010, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/technology/07net.html?th&emc=th

Getting More Older Americans Online
April 6, 2010, The Benton Foundation

“The Federal Communications Commission’s Blair Levin provided introductory remarks at an event sponsored by a group whose mission is to increase broadband adoption among older Americans, called Project GOAL (Get Older Adults Online). He noted that the National Broadband Plan proposes a Digital Literacy Corps. ‘The program would employ young Americans to go out into their communities and teach digital skills — promoting both digital literacy and pointing their communities to relevant content on the Internet. It would have the added benefit, I should add, of providing Corps members job skills for a lifetime. The Plan also proposes specific ways to develop and support local adoption efforts.’ “ (see http://blog.broadband.gov/?ArticleTitle=Getting%20more%20older%20americans%20online)

Visual Artists to Sue Google Over Vast Library Project
by Miguel Helft
April 6, 2010, New York Times

“As Google awaits approval of a controversial settlement with authors and book publishers, the company’s plan to create an immense digital library and bookstore may face yet another hurdle. On Wednesday, the American Society of Media Photographers and other groups representing visual artists plan to file a class-action lawsuit against Google, asserting that the company’s efforts to digitize millions of books from libraries amount to large-scale infringement of their copyrights.” . . .

iPad – Is It Any Good for the Classroom or Learning?
by David Hopkins
April 6, 2010, eLearning Blog Don’t Waste Your Time

[David Hopkins has compiled a great compendium of articles on the iPad from various bloggers and writers.]

“I had said on Twitter that I wouldn’t blog about it until I actually had one (and I’m still thinking about it) but I have read quite a bit over the weekend about and wanted to bring together the various threads of thoughts and ‘research’ already out there on whether it will be good for students, and the classroom, or not.”

Commerce Announces Continued Demand for Funding to Bring Broadband to More Americans
Press Release
April 7, 2010, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

“The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that it received 867 applications requesting $11 billion in funding for proposed broadband projects reaching across the United States. These applications are for the second round of NTIA’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding aimed at expanding broadband access and adoption to help bridge the technological divide; expand economic opportunities; create jobs; and improve healthcare, education, and public safety. NTIA allocated approximately $2.6 billion for the second round of its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).”

“Applications came in from a diverse range of parties including state, local, and tribal governments; nonprofits; industry; anchor institutions, such as libraries, universities, community colleges, and hospitals; public safety organizations; and other entities in rural, suburban, and urban areas.” . . . See the applications database at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/applications/search.cfm

Get Started with Twitter in Three Easy Steps
by Rick Broida, PC World
April 9, 2010, The Washington Post

“Twitter may have become a household name, but it remains a mystery to many people. Perhaps even most people. For the next few days, I’m going to put on my teacher’s cap and show you how to set up a Twitter account, how to put that account to good use, and how to read your incoming “tweets” (i.e. messages) from just about anywhere.” . . .

The Specialists
by Steve Kolowich
April 5, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Is the ‘bundled’ model of higher education outdated? Some higher-ed futurists think so. Choosing the academic program at a single university, they say, is a relic of a time before online education made it possible for a student in Oregon to take courses at a university in Florida if she wants. Since the online-education boom, the notion that students could cobble together a curriculum that includes courses designed and delivered by a variety of different institutions — including for-profit ones — has gained traction in some circles. ‘As it has with industries from music to news, the logic of digital technology will compel institutions to specialize and collaborate, find economies of scale and avoid duplications,’ journalist Anya Kamenetz wrote last week in an op-ed. ‘Excellent [course] content,’ noted the author and higher-ed innovator Peter Smith in an interview earlier this month, ‘is increasingly commodified and available.’ Leaders in the liberal arts community recently nodded at the idea that even small colleges could soon teach from open courseware ‘modules.’ “ . . .

“Much of the talk about this imminent unbundling has come from colleges that predict that students might want to transfer credits from other colleges that might have different missions. But the competition may also come from entities that do not even offer degrees.” . . .

Enrollment in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2008; Graduation Rates, 2002 and 2005 Cohorts; and Financial Statistics, Fiscal Year 2008
by Laura G. Knapp, Janice E. Kelly-Reid, Scott A.Ginder
April 2010, National Center for Education Statistics

Characteristics of Enrolled Students
— In fall 2008, Title IV institutions in the United States enrolled a total of 19.6 million graduate, undergraduate, and first-professional students; 62 percent were enrolled in 4-year institutions, 36 percent were enrolled in 2-year institutions, and 2 percent were enrolled in less-than-2-year institutions.

Revenues and Expenses of Title IV Institutions
— Four-year public institutions received 18 percent of their revenues from tuition and fees, compared to 36 percent at private not-for-profit institutions, and 88 percent at private for-profit institutions.
— At public 4-year institutions, 26 percent of expenses were for instruction, compared to 39 percent of expenses at public 2-year institutions.

Graduation Rates
— Approximately 57 percent of full-time, first-time bachelor’s or equivalent degree-seekers in 2002 attending 4-year institutions completed a bachelor’s or equivalent degree at the institution where they began their studies within 6 years.
— Institutional graduation rates of full-time, first-time students in 2004 nearly doubled from 19 percent to 37 percent at 2-year institutions when the time students were tracked was extended from within 100 percent of normal time to program completion to within 200 percent of normal time. At less-than-two year institutions, graduation rates increased from 47 percent (at 100 percent of normal completion time) to 71 percent (at 200 percent of normal program completion time) (table 7).

Student Financial Aid
— During 2007-08 academic year, institutions reported that 76 percent of the 2.9 million full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates attending Title IV institutions located in the United States received financial aid.
— Proportions of full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates reported by institutions to be receiving aid varied by institution sector: 77 percent of those attending public 4-year institutions; 86 percent of those attending private not-for-profit 4-year institutions; and 76 percent of those attending private for-profit 4-year institutions received some type of financial aid. [62.6 percent of those attending public 2-year institutions].
— Institutions reported that approximately 48 percent of full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students borrowed through an education loan program during the 2007-08 academic year. Borrowing varied by institution sector: 45 percent of those attending public 4-year institutions; 60 percent of those attending private not-for-profit 4-year institutions; and 69 percent of those attending private for-profit 4-year institutions borrowed through an education loan program during the 2007-08 academic year. [18.7 percent of those attending public 2-year institutions]

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