Microsoft, Google CloudCourse, 1996 Telecom Act, Focus, Online News, Harassment, Mobile Tips, Libraries, E-Rate

Competing in the Cloud
by Steve Kolowich
May 24, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “Microsoft, for one, is rushing to meet higher education in the cloud. It has trumpeted the resources it is pouring into its cloud platform, Windows Azure. In a podcast interview with Inside Higher Ed this week, Cameron Evans, the company’s top technology officer in the United States, talked up the features of Microsoft SharePoint 2010, which it is marketing to the academic crowd along with its newest version of Microsoft Office. The new version of Office integrates with SharePoint such that far-flung collaborators can work together in Power Point and other Office programs.” . . . “Evans was not shy about criticizing Google, one of Microsoft’s biggest competitors in the market for cloud computing in higher education. ‘Microsoft defined productivity,’ he said. Google, by contrast, is merely ‘a great company at search.’ ”

Is Google Getting in to the LMS Business?
by Matt Crosslin
May 24, 2010, EduGeek Journal

“The new Google CloudCourse project hasn’t gotten that much chatter online. At first glance around the project page, you can easily see why. There are only a handful of functions that basically just do what Google employees have found helpful around the office (because apparently the whole thing started as an internal project). This basically spells ‘yawn’ for most educators. CloudCourse does have a few things going for it: Open-source: we may see more interesting functions arising… if the right people get involved. Part of the Google family: we might see connections to Google Docs, Wave, etc. It already connects to Google Calendars.”

“Right now, it really is a management system and not much more. Add in a grade book and the ability to embed or import content from other sites and you pretty much have all you need for an Open Learning Environment. Connect it with a Google Reader-like system for aggregating tags and RSS feeds, and you have the New Vision ideas we have been kicking around here at EGJ. Sounds like just a few easy steps, but that will only happen if we have educators jump into the development of the project to wrestle it away from the business training mindsets that seem to rule it now.” . . .

Update: Key Dem lawmakers call for rewrite of 1996 Telecom Act
by Cecilia Kang
May 24, 2010, The Washington Post

“Key Democratic lawmakers said Monday that they are seeking to update communications laws, a move aimed at clarifying murky interpretations over federal oversight of the Internet.” . . . “The lawmakers said that starting in June, they will invite stakeholders to participate in bipartisan meetings to address issues and concerns over federal oversight of Internet services and businesses. They said their offices would release a list of topics for discussion and details on how they will go about updating the 1996 Telecommunications Act.” . . .

Communications Law to be Reviewed
by Edward Wyatt
May 24, 2010, New York Times

“The issue came into focus in April when a federal appeals court ruled that the F.C.C. had overstepped its authority in applying a portion of the Communications Act to an Internet service provider. In response, the F.C.C. announced a plan this month to reclassify broadband Internet service, which is now lightly regulated as an information service. Under the change, it would be classified as a telecommunications service, similar to basic telephone service, and would therefore come under more scrutiny by the agency.”

“The reclassification would give the commission the authority to implement portions of its recently released National Broadband Plan, as well as to enforce net neutrality, the concept that Internet service providers must provide consumers with equal access to all types of content and applications. Internet service providers have generally opposed the proposed reclassification, arguing that the F.C.C. has the authority it needs to ensure fair competition among Internet service providers. They also are wary because the reclassification could give the F.C.C. the authority to regulate rates charged to customers.” . . .

Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains
by Nicholas Carr
May 24, 2010, Wired

“The Internet is an interruption system. It seizes our attention only to scramble it. There’s the problem of hypertext and the many different kinds of media coming at us simultaneously. There’s also the fact that numerous studies — including one that tracked eye movement, one that surveyed people, and even one that examined the habits displayed by users of two academic databases — show that we start to read faster and less thoroughly as soon as we go online. Plus, the Internet has a hundred ways of distracting us from our onscreen reading. Most email applications check automatically for new messages every five or 10 minutes, and people routinely click the Check for New Mail button even more frequently. Office workers often glance at their inbox 30 to 40 times an hour. Since each glance breaks our concentration and burdens our working memory, the cognitive penalty can be severe.”

“The penalty is amplified by what brain scientists call switching costs. Every time we shift our attention, the brain has to reorient itself, further taxing our mental resources. Many studies have shown that switching between just two tasks can add substantially to our cognitive load, impeding our thinking and increasing the likelihood that we’ll overlook or misinterpret important information. On the Internet, where we generally juggle several tasks, the switching costs pile ever higher.” . . .

Harvard’s Digital Library Shift
May 24, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Like many library systems in higher education, Harvard University’s is moving in many ways from a print to digital focus, especially when it comes to new materials. But many faculty members are worried, The Boston Globe reported, that the university may be giving up its role as an international repository of books and other scholarly materials. Book acquisitions at Harvard would be the envy of most libraries, but they are down substantially — with books purchased in physical form falling from 429,000 in 2004-5 to 349,000 in 2008-9. Last year, the university shifted more than 1,000 journal subscriptions from print to digital.”

How Blogs and Social Media Agendas Relate and Differ from Traditional Press
May 23, 2010, Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism

“News today is increasingly a shared, social experience. Half of Americans say they rely on the people around them to find out at least some of the news they need to know. Some 44 percent of online news users get news at least a few times a week through emails, automatic updates or posts from social networking sites. In 2009, Twitter’s monthly audience increased by 200 percent. While most original reporting still comes from traditional journalists, technology makes it increasingly possible for the actions of citizens to influence a story’s total impact.” . . .

“Each social media platform also seems to have its own personality and function. In the year studied, bloggers gravitated toward stories that elicited emotion, concerned individual or group rights or triggered ideological passion. Often these were stories that people could personalize and then share in the social forum — at times in highly partisan language. And unlike in some other types of media, the partisanship here does not lean strongly to one side or the other. Even on stories like the Tea Party protests, Sarah Palin and public support for Obama both conservative and liberal voices come through strongly.” . . .

Teachers Facing Weakest Market in Years
by Winnie Hu
May 19, 2010, The New York Times

. . . “The recession seems to have penetrated a profession long seen as recession-proof. Superintendents, education professors and people seeking work say teachers are facing the worst job market since the Great Depression. Amid state and local budget cuts, cash-poor urban districts like New York City and Los Angeles, which once hired thousands of young people every spring, have taken down the help-wanted signs. Even upscale suburban districts are preparing for huge levels of layoffs. School officials and union leaders estimate that more than 150,000 teachers nationwide could lose their jobs next year, far more than any other time, including the last major financial crisis of the 1970s.” . . . “Teach for America, which places graduates from some of the nation’s top colleges in poor schools, has seen applications increase by nearly a third this year to 46,000 — for 4,500 slots. From Ivy League colleges alone, there are 1,688 would-be teachers.”

Harassment or Free Speech?
by David Moltz
May 21, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Overturning the ruling of a lower court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has granted Arizona’s Maricopa Community College District immunity from a lawsuit filed by a group of Latino professors who charged that college officials had not sufficiently disciplined a colleague who sent e-mails they viewed as discriminatory. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s opinion Thursday on behalf of a three-judge panel is a strong endorsement of academic freedom. It argues that ‘courts must defer to colleges’ decision to err on the side of academic freedom.’ In doing so, the opinion defends the decision by Glendale Community College and Maricopa Community College District officials not to discipline or dismiss Walter Kehowski, a Glendale mathematics professor who ‘sent three racially charged emails’ via the institution-maintained distribution list.” . . .

A Tour through the Visualization Zoo
by Jeffrey Heer, Michael Bostock, Vadim Ogievetsky
May 13, 2010, ACMQueue

“Thanks to advances in sensing, networking, and data management, our society is producing digital information at an astonishing rate. According to one estimate, in 2010 alone we will generate 1,200 exabytes — 60 million times the content of the Library of Congress. Within this deluge of data lies a wealth of valuable information on how we conduct our businesses, governments, and personal lives. To put the information to good use, we must find ways to explore, relate, and communicate the data meaningfully.”

“The goal of visualization is to aid our understanding of data by leveraging the human visual system’s highly tuned ability to see patterns, spot trends, and identify outliers. Well-designed visual representations can replace cognitive calculations with simple perceptual inferences and improve comprehension, memory, and decision making. By making data more accessible and appealing, visual representations may also help engage more diverse audiences in exploration and analysis. The challenge is to create effective and engaging visualizations that are appropriate to the data.” . . .

Obama Administration Says It Supports Measure to Avoid Teacher Layoffs
by Nick Anderson
May 13, 2010, Washington Post

“ ‘The Obama administration on Thursday threw its support behind a $23 billion measure intended to avert large-scale teacher layoffs, urging Congress to include the effort in a spending bill lawmakers are drafting to fund wartime costs and other urgent needs. ‘We are gravely concerned that ongoing state and local budget challenges are threatening hundreds of thousands of teacher jobs for the upcoming school year,’ Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Duncan added: ‘These budget cuts would also undermine the groundbreaking reform efforts under way in states and districts all across the country.’ ”

British Library Digitizing 40 Million Newspapers
The Associated Press
May 19, 2010, the Washington Post

“The British Library said Wednesday it was digitizing up to 40 million pages of newspapers, including fragile dailies dating back three and a half centuries. Once digitized, the British newspapers documenting local, regional and national life spanning to the 1700s will be fully searchable and accessible online, the national library said. The vast majority of the British Library’s 750 million pages of newspapers – the largest collections in the world – are currently available only on microfilm or bound in bulky volumes. Thousands of researchers have to make a trip to an archive building just outside London to look through them.” . . .

Best of the Mobile Higher Ed Web
by Michael Fienen
May 17, 2010, .eduGuru

. . . “Today, it is completely unimaginable that a university would exist without a website. Bad, good, awesome, terrible — it doesn’t matter, you have one. It is expected, demanded, and if you didn’t, it would have a devastating impact on the impression people have of your school. We are little more than a stone’s throw away from this same trend for mobile web. Over the next two years, expect this demand to grow exponentially (and I’m not speaking hyperbolically). Start researching now. Learn what others are already doing, and begin to craft a strategy so that you will be ready to make the move. First, here are some suggestions when you start thinking about what you should do to design your mobile web site:” . . .

Role of Libraries Pre-K & Beyond: Lifelong Learning

“This graphic shows the journey of a student from pre-kindergarten through the K-12 educational system and either into the workforce or on to a higher education institution. Along the way, school, academic, and public libraries are all available to provide services to the student and parents in support of learning and information literacy. This graphic was developed after attendance at various P-20 meetings where it seemed important to show that libraries play an important role throughout the life of students and adults. Minnesota libraries collaborate in sharing services and resources. Once in the workforce, information continues to be available through the public library for lifelong learning and recreation activities.”

New Broadband-Enabled Learning Opportunities Envisioned in Proposed E-Rate Updates
Press Release
May 20, 2010, Federal Communications Commission

Comments on CC Docket No. 02-6 and GN Docket No. 09-51 due June 20:

E-rate has been instrumental in expanding opportunities for schoolchildren and communities across the country. Through the E-rate program, 97 percent of American schools now have Internet access. But the National Broadband Plan found that many schools will need significant upgrades to meet future broadband speed and capacity demands, and that many E-rate policies are out-of-date. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today, the FCC explores ways the E-rate program can become a more effective educational tool for teachers, parents, and students. Broadband connectivity in the classroom and at home will enable educational advances, economic growth, government delivery of services, and civic engagement. The proposals could be implemented in funding year 2011, which begins on July 1, 2011.

Grant: Bridging Cultures Through Film: International Topics
National Endowment for the Humanities

Application Deadline: July 28, 2010

The Bridging Cultures through Film: International Topics program supports projects that examine international and transnational themes in the humanities through documentary films. These projects are meant to spark Americans’ engagement with the broader world by exploring one or more countries and cultures outside of the United States. Proposed documentaries must be analytical and deeply grounded in humanities scholarship. The Division of Public Programs encourages the exploration of innovative nonfiction storytelling that presents multiple points of view in creative formats. The proposed film must range in length from a stand-alone broadcast hour to a feature-length documentary. We invite a wide range of approaches to international and transnational topics and themes, such as an examination of a critical issue in ethics, religion, or history, viewed through an international lens; a biography of a foreign leader, writer, artist, or historical figure; or an exploration of the history and culture(s) of a specific region, country, or community outside of the United States.

Microsoft, Google CloudCourse, 1996 Telecom Act, Focus, Online News, Harassment, Mobile Tips, Libraries, E-Rate

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration – Spring 2010 and Winter 2009-2010

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration
Spring 2010

Effective Leadership of Online Adjunct Faculty
Robert Tipple, D.M., University of Maryland University College

Post secondary education leaders and administrators are currently facing two separate but inter-related trends: the growth in online education, and the significant increase in adjunct (part-time) faculty. In order to maximize the educational quality and institutional effectiveness, education leaders must develop an approach that levers the characteristics of online adjunct faculty. The paper describes the characteristics of online adjunct faculty and their motivation for teaching, explores leadership style approaches to lever this highly motivated workforce, and offers a framework to education leaders that draws from the transformational and situational leadership styles. The framework is made up of two prongs: the effective leadership of the online adjunct faculty workforce throughout their teaching careers, and the management of online organizational systems. Educational leaders who can lead their workforce in embracing educational technologies to provide a superior learning environment for students will lead the way in education. These leaders need to be visionary, motivational and highly supportive of their workforce especially those who are in direct contact with students, the online adjunct faculty

Examining the Relationship Between Institutional Mission and Faculty Reward for Teaching Via Distance
Cheryl M. Simpson, Ph.D., University of Michigan

Distance education is fast becoming an elemental part of the fabric of academic life on many campuses, and this has implications for existing reward structures for faculty at these institutions. In addition, distance education is becoming an essential feature of the outreach mission of a number of departments at college and university campuses. Without adequate and valued rewards for this increasingly important dimension of faculty work, institutions may have little chance of recruiting and retaining highly capable faculty who are willing to teach at a distance.

This study focused on a U.S. land grant, public institution of higher education that has been offering distance education courses and programs for over a decade, and utilizes faculty members at all levels for distance education instruction. The intention was to explore how the institution translates its values regarding distance education into reward policy and practice for faculty who teach via distance. The aim of the study was to add to the research on distance education policy and development in higher education. Specifically, it was designed to understand distance education policy from the perspective of internal stakeholders (administrators, faculty, and support staff) in order to inform policy and practice. Further, a thorough examination of the literature produced no findings of a study that specifically examined the relationship between institutional mission and core strategies with reward structures for faculty distance efforts, including comparisons of reward practices at the academic subunit level.

What emerged from the analysis of interview transcripts, and relevant policy documents and mission statements, led to the grounded theory components that higher education administrators can use to convey an institution’s commitment to distance education through mission, core strategies, and faculty reward policies and practices. In addition, the deeper theoretical understanding of policy and practice that was derived from this study can form a basis for further investigations in this area.

Cheating in the Digital Age: Do Students Cheat More in Online Courses?
George Watson, and James Sottile, Marshall University

With the assistance of the Internet and related technologies, students today have many more ways to be academically dishonest than students a generation ago. With more and more Internet based course offerings, the concern is whether cheating will increase as students work and take tests away from the eyes of instructors. While the research on academic dishonesty in general is quite extensive, there is very limited research on student cheating in online courses. ;This study of 635 undergraduate and graduate students at a medium sized university focused on student cheating behaviors in both types of classes (on-line and face to face), by examining cheating behavior and perceptions of whether on-line or traditional face-to-face classes experienced greater cheating behaviors.

Quality and Growth Implications of Incremental Costing Models for Distance Education Units
C. B. Crawford, Ph.D., Lawrence V. Gould, Ph.D., Dennis King, and Carl Parker, Ph.D., Fort Hays State University

The purpose of this article is to explore quality and growth implications emergent from various incremental costing models applied to distance education units. Prior research relative to costing models and three competing costing models useful in the current distance education environment are discussed. Specifically, the simple costing model, unit costing model, and marginal costing model are critically analyzed relative to their quality and growth implications. Finally, the paper will provide rationale suggesting that the marginal costing model represents the most accurate estimation for profitability of distance learning units.

Perpetual Enrollment Online Courses: Advantages, Administration, and Caveats
Michael J. “Mick” Fekula, Ph.D, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina

Although the advent of online learning has revolutionized the delivery of education, from the average student’s perspective there have been few radical innovations in the general administration of pure online courses since their inception. With some exceptions the scheduling of online courses generally aligns with the university calendar, while professors adopt a delivery timetable parallel to the classroom. Although the technology continually improves, the experience of the students regarding the calendar remains the same. An alternative is to allow students to enroll in and complete a course at almost any point in time. These courses would operate continuously without a restricted start or end date. This paper poses the advantages and design considerations for perpetual enrollment online courses, as well as caveats. This proposal will be too radical for some institutions, but first-movers will have an advantage in attracting students from an untapped market.

Distance Education and the Digital Divide: An Academic Perspective
Judy Block, Eastern Michigan University

This paper will address how the digital divide affects distance education. Lack of access for some students does raise concerns. Access to technology is often defined by what students don’t have: what is called a digital divide. Access also is defined by the speed of Internet connections. Access in the future will be even greater as more computers emerge. The divide is huge. “Even as more Americans purchase computers and flock online , most of the disparities that emerged during the latter half of the 1990’s remain” (Mossberger, Tolbert, and Stansbury, 2003, p. 35). Whose responsibility is it to bridge the worldwide digital divide? Policymakers and politicians who are in a position to effect change, because it is not just an education issue. The society is becoming an information-laden one. The more information that can be collected the better. Industries are relying on information in order to stay competitive. “However, there remains a digital divide based on race/Hispanic origin, income, location (central city and rural areas), and other demographic characteristics. The lower socioeconomic and minority groups continue to fall further behind the more affluent population” (Sarkodie-Mensah, 2000, p. 23). It is important to remember that access is still a barrier for many distance learners. This is effectively shutting them out of the opportunity to connect with the rest of the world, engage and participate as a lifelong student. This is changing with the rapid introduction of broadband. In an article in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Cedja stated, “The disparity in broadband connection between rural and urban and suburban is important to address, however as the use of broadband technologies in distance education continues to increase” (Cedja, 2007, p. 299). Broadband is important to the distance education population because most distance learning courses will recommend that you have a broadband connection. By definition, a broadband connection can accommodate the rapid transfer of large amounts or packets of information. To raise rate of the broadband offers faster services are delivered to end users.

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration
Winter 2009-2010

The Impact of Face-to-Face Orientation on Online Retention: A Pilot Study
Radwan Ali and Elke M. Leeds, Kennesaw State University

Student retention in online education is a concern for students, faculty and administration. Retention rates are 20 percent lower in online courses than in traditional face-to-face courses. As part of an integration and engagement strategy, a face-to-face orientation was added to an online undergraduate business information systems course to examine its impact on retention. The study methodology consisted of an early email contact, distribution of course documents, a follow-up phone call, and a pre-course face-to-face orientation. The retention rate of students who attended the orientation was over 91 percent with a p-value of 0.9143. The retention rate of students not attending the orientation was just under 18 percent. Findings suggest that face-to-face orientations impact retention positively.

Desired Versus Actual Training for Online Instructors in Community Colleges
Leslie Pagliari, Ph.D., David Batts, Ed.D., and Cheryl McFadden, Ed.D., East Carolina University

The growth of distance education and the demand for instructors has developed over the past ten to fifteen years. There is a perception that the type and amount of instructor preparation is highly variable between institutions. Of the faculty members at two year institutions surveyed, nearly half did not attend training over the previous year. With technology changing rapidly, there is a need for training annually to assure faculty members who teach online are prepared. Distance education administrators need to evaluate their distance education programs and develop a consistent and current infrastructure to assure that their faculty members are being properly trained to teach online.

Six Questions for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation in Distance Education
Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., and James W. King, Ed.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Institutions offering distance education courses and programs may benefit by encouraging administrators, faculty, staff and students to be more entrepreneurial. Organizational cultures designed to support this type of environment are characterized by entrepreneurial leadership, innovation and change. This article provides information on how distance education institutions can incorporate entrepreneurial leadership and innovation into their organizations. Six questions for administrators of distance education to consider are presented in an effort to provoke discussion and thought on the importance of incorporating entrepreneurial leadership and innovation throughout distance education organizations.

Lessons Learned From Lessons Learned: The Fit Between Online Education “Best Practices” and Small School Reality
Al S. Lovvorn, Ph.D., Michael M. Barth, Ph.D., R. Franklin Morris, Jr., Ph.D., and John E. Timmerman, D.B.A., The Citadel

Schools of all types and sizes are exploring the merits and facets of online learning approaches; but, the online delivery literature has focused on “best practices” generated primarily through the experiences of larger schools that are on the leading edge of this innovation. Small public schools, on the other hand, are faced with unique challenges in profiting from the advice of these first movers. Small schools are hampered as a result of severely constrained resources, among which are personnel, money, infrastructure, and time. These factors limit the ability of small public institutions to fully adopt widely approved online best practices. This article reviews contemporary research on the implementation of online learning, examines one small public school’s experience as a case study, discusses the disparities between the capabilities of large versus small public institutions of higher education, and outlines implications for other small schools that wish to pursue online education.

Enhancing Social Presence in Online Learning: Mediation Strategies Applied to Social Networking Tools
Kristopher M. Joyce, M.A., M.S., and Abbie Brown, Ph.D., East Carolina University

An exploration of the mediation strategies applied to social networking tools for purposes of enhancing social presence for students participating in online course work. The article includes a review of the literature, specific examples from the authors’ professional practice and recommendations for creating a positive social experience for online learners.

Leapfrogging Across Generations of Open and Distance Learning at Al-Quds Open University: A Case Study
Kathleen Matheos, Ph.D., Christina Rogoza, Ed.D., University of Manitoba, and Majid Hamayil, Ph.D.

Al-Quds Open University (QOU) serves just over 40 percent of the undergraduate students within Palestine, who for multiple reasons are studying within the open system. Established nearly 20 years ago, the institution is built on the Open University United Kingdom model of regional centers and print based correspondence. In 2007, a Comprehensive Evaluation of QOU, funded by the World Bank and the European Union, resulted in recommendations that emphasized the development of teaching excellence in distance, open, and online environments (Matheos, MacDonald, McLean, Luterbach, Baidoun, and Nakashhian, 2007). QOU administration responded with the development of a course redesign project, aimed at moving from a correspondence model to a blended learning environment that integrated technology into curricular design. This paper shares the experiences of QOU, in its efforts to meet the conflicting demands of this situation as it leapfrogged into new forms of distance learning. This analysis of our experience may provide insight for administrators in other institutions that are at similar stages of distance delivery programming.

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration – Spring 2010 and Winter 2009-2010

MS Office, U of Calif., Rural Broadband, Privacy/Facebook, Google, Access, DoE vs. Accreditation, Social Presence

Revamped Microsoft Office Will Be Free on the Web
by Ashlee Vance
May 11, 2010, New York Times

“This latest version of Office, which includes applications like Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, is Microsoft’s long-awaited effort to modernize one of its most lucrative products and to thwart rivals like Google that are nipping at its heels with free Web software. For the first time, Microsoft will provide a free online version of Office that lets people store their documents on the Web rather than on their personal computers.” . . . “It is now available for businesses. Microsoft has said that Office will range in price from a limited, free Web version supported by ads to a full-blown version that costs $500, both to be available to consumers in June.” . . .

Intel Shows Tablet, Dual-Core Netbook
by Brooke Crothers
May 11, 2010 CNet News

“Intel showed two future products–a dual-core Netbook and tablet design–at its 2010 investor meeting Tuesday, and didn’t waste time in touting the advantages of an Intel-based tablet over the Apple iPad. Intel Vice President Mooly Eden, who heads the chipmaker’s client group, flourished a tablet and didn’t mince words when comparing it with the iPad (though he didn’t mention the iPad by name).” . . .

U. of California Considers Online Classes, or Even Degrees
by Josh Keller and Marc Parry
May 9, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Online education is booming, but not at elite universities — at least not when it comes to courses for credit. Leaders at the University of California want to break that mold. This fall they hope to put $5-million to $6-million into a pilot project that could clear the way for the system to offer online undergraduate degrees and push distance learning further into the mainstream. The vision is UC’s most ambitious — and controversial — effort to reshape itself after cuts in public financial support have left the esteemed system in crisis.”

“Supporters of the plan believe online degrees will make money, expand the number of California students who can enroll, and re-establish the system’s reputation as an innovator.” . . . “But UC’s ambitions face a series of obstacles. The system has been slow to adopt online instruction despite its deep connections to Silicon Valley. Professors hold unusually tight control over the curriculum, and many consider online education a poor substitute for direct classroom contact. As a result, courses could take years to gain approval. The University of California’s decision to begin its effort with a pilot research project has also raised eyebrows. The goal is to determine whether online courses can be delivered at selective-research-university standards.” . . . “If the project stumbles, it could dilute UC’s brand and worsen already testy relations between professors and the system’s president, Mark G. Yudof.”

California Dreaming: Remaking Online Education at the U. of California
May 9, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

University of California campuses enroll more than 25,000 students each year online. . . . “A pilot project will create online versions of roughly 25 high-enrollment, entry-level courses [see the list of the courses and average annual enrollments, systemwide on the Web site].” . . . “Supporters hope to use the pilot program to persuade faculty members to back a far-reaching expansion of online instruction that would offer associate degrees entirely online, and, ultimately, bachelor’s degrees.”

New Broadband Stimulus Funding Targets Satellite Service
by Joan Engebretson
May 10, 2010, Connected Planet

“The Rural Utilities Service issued a request for proposal Friday indicating that the agency will award approximately $105 million in what is essentially a third broadband stimulus funding round. The vast majority of the money — up to $100 million — will go to help cover the cost of bringing broadband satellite service to remote areas. The remaining $5 million is earmarked for organizations winning funding in Round 1 or Round 2 of the broadband stimulus program and would go toward technical assistance and rural library programs.” . . .

“The rural library grants would go toward the cost of computers for rural libraries. The technical assistance grants cover activities such as regional broadband development planning, market studies, engineering designs and financial analysis. Because Round 2 awards have not yet been made, organizations that applied in Round 2 may apply for the library or technical assistance grants. Applications for the new funding round will be accepted between May 7 and June 7, 2010. All awards will be made by September 30, 2010.”

FCC Study Estimates $23.5 Billion Needed to Bring Broadband to Unserved Areas
by Joan Engebretson
May 7, 2010, Connected Planet

“Approximately 90 percent of the 7 million U.S. homes that are not able to get broadband connectivity could be most economically served by a fixed wireless solution, according to the results of a study presented yesterday by Federal Communications Commission officials. The remaining 10 percent of homes, which are primarily in areas with low population density and uneven terrain, would be most economically served using DSL. The study estimated the total cost of bringing broadband at speeds of at least 4 MB/s to the 7 million unserved homes, which house approximately 14 million people, at $23.5 billion.” . . .

“Ironically, broadband stimulus awards granted to date have emphasized fiber-based projects. It’s worth noting, though, that the new FCC study essentially looked at the cost of providing “last-mile” connectivity, which has been the primary focus of the Rural Utilities Service, while the National Telecommunications and Information Agency has focused on “middle-mile” connectivity and connectivity to anchor institutions. Many RUS awards included a loan, as well as a grant component, which means the economic analysis would not be directly comparable to the approach that the FCC used in the new study.” . . .

Over 1 Million Books Now Eligible for the Textbook Buyback Program
May 10, 2010, Wall Street Journal Market Watch

“, Inc. today announced that over 1 million books are now eligible for the Textbook Buyback program, which allows customers to quickly and easily exchange used textbooks in return for an Gift Card. Available year-round, the Textbook Buyback program offers students the ability to trade in textbooks they no longer need for a high price. For more information about the Textbook Buyback program, visit:”

Blackboard’s Ambassador
by Steve Kolowich
May 10, 2010, Inside Higher Ed Podcast

“[Ray] Henderson, formerly an executive at Angel, which competed with Blackboard before Blackboard bought it out for $75 million exactly one year ago, met with Inside Higher Ed this week at Blackboard’s slick new offices here to chat about the company’s newest version of its widely used learning-management system, the future of social media in teaching and learning, and the small but growing threat from open-source learning-management platforms, which have chipped away at Blackboard’s market share over the last few years.” . . .

Tell-All Generation Learns to Keep Things Offline
by Laura M. Holson
May 8, 2010, New York Times

. . . “While participation in social networks is still strong, a survey released last month by the University of California, Berkeley, found that more than half the young adults questioned had become more concerned about privacy than they were five years ago — mirroring the number of people their parent’s age or older with that worry.”

“They are more diligent than older adults, however, in trying to protect themselves. In a new study to be released this month, the Pew Internet Project has found that people in their 20s exert more control over their digital reputations than older adults, more vigorously deleting unwanted posts and limiting information about themselves. ‘Social networking requires vigilance, not only in what you post, but what your friends post about you,’ said Mary Madden, a senior research specialist who oversaw the study by Pew, which examines online behavior. ‘Now you are responsible for everything.’ The erosion of privacy has become a pressing issue among active users of social networks. Last week, Facebook scrambled to fix a security breach that allowed users to see their friends’ supposedly private information, including personal chats.” . . .

Facebook Glitch Brings New Privacy Worries
by Jenna Wortham
May 5, 2010, New York Times

“For many users of Facebook, the world’s largest social network, it was just the latest in a string of frustrations. On Wednesday, users discovered a glitch that gave them access to supposedly private information in the accounts of their Facebook friends, like chat conversations. Not long before, Facebook had introduced changes that essentially forced users to choose between making information about their interests available to anyone or removing it altogether. Although Facebook quickly moved to close the security hole on Wednesday, the breach heightened a feeling among many users that it was becoming hard to trust the service to protect their personal information.” . . .

A Setback for Google?
by Steve Kolowich
May 6, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“In what might be a setback for Google’s effort to put to bed persistent privacy and security concerns among existing and potential higher education e-mail customers, the University of California at Davis has announced that it will not be adopting Gmail for its faculty and staff members due to ‘increased privacy risks that have come to light in recent weeks.’ ”

“Outsourcing faculty and staff e-mail to Google might run afoul of the university’s electronic communications policy, said Peter Siegel, the CIO at Davis, and other campus technology officials, in a letter dated April 30. That policy forbids the university from disclosing electronic communications records “without the holder’s consent.” It also proscribes selling or distributing e-communications “that contain personally identifiable information about individuals” to a third party without permission from those individuals.” . . .

“Among the 44 percent of colleges that have outsourced their student e-mail, about 70 percent use Google, according to data collected last year by the Campus Computing Project. Only 8 percent of institutions have outsourced faculty e-mail services, but 21 percent are currently considering it, according to the survey. Among larger universities, the percentage approaches a third. Keltner said Google’s share of that market is about the same — although far fewer institutions have moved their employees on to third-party e-mail clients.”

Project Puts 1M Books Online For Blind, Dyslexic
by Brooke Donald
May 6, 2010, The Washington Post

. . . “Brewster Kahle, the [Internet Archive’s] founder, says the project will initially make 1 million books available to the visually impaired, using money from foundations, libraries, corporations and the government. He’s hoping a subsequent book drive will add even more titles to the collection. ‘We’ll offer current novels, educational books, anything. If somebody then donates a book to the archive, we can digitize it and add it to the collection,’ he said.” . . .

“Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, says getting access to books has been a big challenge for blind people.” . . . “Maurer, who is blind, said that when he was in college, he hired people to read books to him because the Braille and audio libraries were so limited. ‘That has been the way most students have gotten through school,’ he said. ‘This kind of initiative by the Internet Archive will change that for many people.’ Only about 5 percent of published books are available in a digital form that’s accessible to the visually impaired, Maurer said, and there are even fewer books produced in Braille.” . . . “The digitized books scanned by the Internet Archive will be available for free to visually impaired people through the organization’s website. The organization does not run into copyright concerns because the law allows libraries to make books available to people with disabilities, Kahle said.”

Curricular Media Platforms?
by Joshua Kim
May 6, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Seems to me that the explosion of media being produced on campus, combined with the increasing demand to utilize existing rich media inside the LMS and library systems for courses, would be driving a significant market in curricular media platforms. I was recently asked by a smart guy I know who works for an educational technology company, ‘what would be your boiled down requirements for a media management platform?’ Here is what I came up with:”

1.Ability to upload any media source (including bulk upload) and provide user selected encoding / file-output options.
2.Ability to serve the media – produce embed code and urls.
3. Integration with LMS systems – for authentication and course media aggregation, discovery and display.
4. Ability to ingest urls as well as files.
5. User taggible content.
6. User controlled basic permissioning on content they upload or produce.
7. Searchable web-based interface for entire content store (perhaps with a mobile App as well!).
8. Integration with iTunesU and YouTube.
9. Integration with lecture/presentation capture systems for direct upload / ability to record directly from a webcam.
10. Basic analytics and reporting.

Survey Reveals Gaps In School Technology Perceptions
by Dennis Pierce
May 5, 2010, eSchoolNews

“While 67 percent of administrators said their ideal school of the future should include online collaborative tools, just 27 percent of teachers agreed. The results from a recent survey on education technology suggest that schools are making progress on integrating technology into the curriculum — but the survey also reveals key disparities in how students, educators, administrators, and even aspiring teachers think of various technology tools. For instance, a majority of K-12 students, principals, and school district administrators agreed that technologies for communicating and collaborating online — such as blogs, wikis, and social-networking web sites — are important tools for 21st-century teaching and learning. But not as many teachers shared this view.”

“Most students and aspiring teachers, and 42 percent of current educators, recognized the value of online games and simulations in enhancing students’ understanding of key topics — but far fewer principals or district administrators (25 percent) agreed. And while a large majority of aspiring teachers (82 percent) said collaborative tools such as blogs and wikis are important instructional tools, only one in four are learning how to use these technologies in their courses on teaching methods. Instead, the primary technologies being taught in these teacher-education classes are productivity tools such as word processing, spreadsheet, and database software, the survey revealed.” . . .

Speak Up 2009: Unleashing the Future: Educators “Speak Up” about the use of Emerging Technologies for Learning –

Ning Planning to Remain Free for Teachers
by Joshua Brustein
May 4, 2010, New York Times

“Ning, a company that allows users to build their own social networks, says it has signed a letter of intent with a major educational publisher to keep its service free for educators, several weeks after causing an outcry among nonprofit groups by announcing that it would end its popular free service. Ning did not give any more information about the deal, which it disclosed as it outlined its plans to begin charging subscription fees to all of its users.”

“Ning claims over 46 million users, spread over 300,000 social networks focused on topics from music to politics to religion. It has become popular among nonprofit groups, and tens of thousands of organizations established networks ranging in scale from teachers who set up networks for their students to sprawling efforts like T. Boone Pickens’s PickensPlan, for people interested in alternative energy, which claims over 200,000 users. Setting up the network is free, but extra features are available for a fee.” . . .

Comparing Higher Ed to Wall Street
by Doug Lederman
April 29, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

[In a speech to state regulators who oversee for-profit colleges, the chief architect of the Education Department’s strategy, Robert Shireman asked] “What are taxpayers and students getting in return for that investment? . . . It has historically been up to the ‘triad’ — the three-headed regulatory scheme involving the federal government, state governments and accrediting agencies — to ensure access, quality and integrity in higher education, he said. Shireman drove his point home, pointing out that higher education accrediting agencies are made up of (and financially supported by) their member colleges, and see it as their mission both to help the institutions ‘improve’ and also to ensure, in what is essentially a subcontract from the federal government, that they are of sufficient quality. They are nonprofit, unlike the ratings agencies, but they are run by the institutions they regulate, in ways that the credit agencies aren’t.”

“The peer review nature of higher education accreditation has an inherent conflict of interest similar to the ratings agencies, Shireman said. Given that, he suggested, it is crucial for state and federal agencies, as the other two parts of the triad, to step up their role in regulating higher education. The bottom line of Shireman’s talk, he said, was that ‘federal and state governments cannot rely on accreditors to assure that consumers and taxpayers are protected to full extent that they need to be. All three legs’ of the three-legged stool of higher education quality assurance need to be operating effectively, he said.”

Weaving a Personal Web: Using Online Technologies to Create Customized, Connected, and Dynamic Learning Environments
by Jessica McElvaney and Zane Berge
Spring 2010, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology

Abstract: This paper explores how personal web technologies (PWTs) can be used by learners and the relationship between PWTs and connectivist learning principles. Descriptions and applications of several technologies including social bookmarking tools, personal publishing platforms, and aggregators are also included. With these tools, individuals can create and manage personal learning environments (PLEs) and personal learning networks (PLNs), which have the potential to become powerful resources for academic, professional, and personal development.

Scholars, Scholarship, and the Scholarly Enterprise in the Digital Age
by Richard N. Katz
March/April 2010, EDUCAUSE Review

. . . “It is time for those of us who are knowledgeable about both higher education and information technology to admit that we live in portentous times. We must balance two arguments. First, we may rightly argue that information technology has truly revolutionized the mission of higher education and is a prime enabler of the knowledge-driven era. The place in such an era for scholars and in particular for scholarship is secure. Second, we may also rightly argue that those forces that have doomed the current form of the newspaper, music, television, and book-publishing industries will soon be unleashed in education — particularly higher education. The stability of traditional higher education will be rocked by for-profit educators — whose share of the U.S. higher education market rose to 9 percent in 2009.9 The education industry will be further challenged by globalization and by home schooling, charter schooling, and other educational alternatives. And higher education will be disrupted by new — and in some cases breathtaking — technological capacities. We have entered the next, torrential phase of the Digital Age, when consumer expectations and technological innovations not only make new possibilities evident and desirable but also put old capabilities and investments at a competitive disadvantage.”

“This second argument should lead us to insist on starting and enabling an ongoing discussion of the possibility that information technology and the “consumerization of everything” may represent both the greatest opportunity for scholars and scholarship in human history and the greatest threat to the scholarly enterprise in the thousand-year history of the Western university.” . . .

Sandy King from Anne Arundel Community College provided the following links during her ITC Webinar presentation yesterday, “Enhancing Social Presence by Using Video.”

The Role of the Online Instructor/Facilitator
by Zane L. Berge
1995, Educational Technology

This article will list the roles and functions of the online instructor in computer conferencing (CC). Simply stated, computer conferencing is “direct human-human communication, with the computer acting simply as a transaction router, or providing simple storage and retrieval functions” (Santoro, 1995, p. 14). Regardless of the level of technology used for CC–such as email, mailing lists, MOOs, MUDs, BBSs, computer conferencing systems, or the Web–certain instructional tasks must be performed for successful learning. It may not create the best learning environment to rely solely on CC. But used alone or in conjunction with other media, such as audioconferencing, classroom delivery or printed materials, CC can be used to provide an effective instructional system.

Facilitating Interaction in Computer Mediated Online Courses
by Mauri Collins and Zane Berge
June 1996, FSU/AECT Distance Education Conference

This paper contains background material for the discussions. First we will give a brief introduction to computer conferencing, somewhat generically and look at both the advantages and the disadvantages of the various “flavors” of computer conferencing. You have to know your tools before you can use them. We will then look at interaction in online learning environments, the changing roles of teachers and students and the role of the online conference tutor/moderator/facilitator. This paper concludes with an extensive bibliography.

Some Best Practices for Online Teaching Based on Designing Online Instruction that Develops Critical and Creative Thinking Skills
by Paula Jones, MaryAnn Kolloff and Fred Kolloff
Wayne State University

A table that lists best practices; Blackboard, Wimba and Web 2.0 tools; and, uses for building critical thinking skills and application skills online.

An Instrument to Assess Online Facilitation

The “Assessing Online Facilitation” instrument (AOF) is for online course facilitators to objectively evaluate their facilitation for strengths and areas for improvement. Facilitators may choose to offer the AOF to others to guide a peer evaluation of their performance in the online classroom. The AOF recognizes the different roles of an online facilitator, as outlined by Berge (1995), Hootstein (2002), and others.
— Pedagogical: Guiding student learning with a focus on concepts, principles, and skills.
— Social: Creating a welcoming online community in which learning is promoted.
— Managerial: Handling organizational, procedural, and administrative tasks.
— Technical: Assisting participants to become comfortable with the technologies used to deliver the course.

New Technology Generates Database on Spill Damage
by Sarah Wheaton
May 4, 2010, New York Times

“A technology created to track political violence in Kenya with social media is now being used to log the effects of the oil spill on the Gulf Coast. Witnesses’ texts, tweets and e-mail messages generate the rainbow of dots on a map and database of spill-related damage at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade’s Web site ( ).” . . .

MS Office, U of Calif., Rural Broadband, Privacy/Facebook, Google, Access, DoE vs. Accreditation, Social Presence

Profs Social Media, Adjuncts, Accessible Tech, Blogs, Grading, Book Rental, iPad, Online Frats, Publishing, STEM Grant

Professors and Social Media
by Steve Kolowich
May 4, 2010, Insider Higher Ed

“Professors, particularly those in the senior ranks, might have a reputation for being leery of social media. But they are no Luddites when it comes to Web 2.0 tools such as Facebook and YouTube, according to a new survey scheduled to be released today. The data suggest that 80 percent of professors, with little variance by age, have at least one account with either Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, LinkedIn, MySpace, Flickr, Slideshare, or Google Wave. Nearly 60 percent kept accounts with more than one, and a quarter used at least four.” . . .

“Of course, not all Web 2.0 tools are created equal. Among respondents to the Babson survey, YouTube was the preferred tool for teaching, with more than a fifth of professors using material from the video-sharing community in class. (Less than five percent said they use Twitter to transmit information to students.) Facebook and LinkedIn, meanwhile, were the most popular tools for communicating with colleagues. About ten percent of all respondents instructed students to create content within a social media community — such as contributing to a blog or posting a video — as part of an assignment.” . . .

What Adjunct Impact?
by Scott Jaschik
May 3, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“One of the more controversial topics in the debate over the use of adjuncts has been the question of whether they have a negative effect on the student educational experience. Several recent studies have suggested such an impact, angering many adjuncts. They have argued that any gaps are as likely to reflect gaps in resources (which faculty members get paid for office hours? Or even have offices? Or have manageable course loads?) In fairness to the authors of those studies, it should be noted that their research projects have noted such issues, but the findings have still stung many an adjunct. On Sunday, research presented here at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association challenged those findings, and found no impact at all on student outcomes of having adjunct instructors. Notably, the research did find a correlation that might explain why people may associate adjuncts with less successful student outcomes. And the research also challenges some conventional wisdom about enrolling part time.” . . .

Sen. Pryor Pushing Bill to Adapt Net, Tech for Deaf, Blind
by Tony Romm
May 3, 2010, The Hill

“Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) is pushing new legislation that would require technology companies, phone manufacturers and Web vendors to adapt their products to deaf or blind customers. The senator, who chairs a Senate subcommittee on consumer affairs, plans to introduce the ‘Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act’ on Tuesday. The legislation is Pryor’s attempt to address accessibility problems that have long made it difficult for disabled persons to use new media and technology tools. Among other things, the legislation would mandate that all smartphones — including the iPhone and BlackBerry — are compatible with most hearing aids. Pryor’s bill would also require DVRs and mp3 players to support closed captioning, as most TVs already do, and would authorize new money for a fund to expand broadband service to low-income, disabled persons.” . . .

Blogs as Web-Based Portfolios Part 2
by Jeff Utecht
May 3, 2010, The Thinking Stick

“Web-Based Portfolios (WBP) can come in all shapes and sizes. There are literally hundreds of programs and ways you can create a WBP. The issue then becomes which way is the right way? That I believe, needs to be determined on a school-by-school or district-by-district basis. The most important idea to keep in mind when choosing a WBP is the flexibility it allows you in embedding content from other parts of the web. There are many amazing Web 2.0 programs that are being used in education and have embed codes that allow you to pull content from their sites and services into your WBP. VoiceThread, YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, are just a few that students can use to create/manage content and pull that content back into their WBP. In the end, what your WBP needs to be is nothing more than a container for content of any kind or variety.” . . .

Technology and Grading Experiments
by Joshua Kim
May 3, 2010, Insider Higher Ed

“I don’t want to push my opinion too much about Cathy Davidson’s grading experiments at Duke [see “No Grading, More Learning” at ]. Not that I don’t have opinions, it’s just that I don’t have any better answers than everyone who commented on the article – as grading is a puzzle that we all struggle with. What I’d like to add are 3 ways that technology and learning technologists can assist faculty who would like to experiment as Professor Davidson has done with finding more authentic and effective ways to use grading to promote learning.” . . .

1. Partner with Your Learning Technologist, 2. Set-Up Discussion Boards in Your LMS for Peer Feedback, 3. Set-Up Journals in Your Course for One-on-One Feedback

Chegg’s Rent-Don’t-Buy Mantra Takes Hold at California Schools
by Ari Levy and Joseph Galante
May 3, 2010, Businessweek

“That’s the message from textbook-rental service Chegg Inc., which is urging college students to stop paying top dollar to buy their tomes. After three years of going after students directly, the company is now taking that mantra to bookstores. Chegg, which rents books for as little as a third of their retail price, has forged partnerships with two school bookshops in California and one in Nevada. The deals will let the company offer its service through the retailers, starting in the August term. Chegg says it’s been approached by more than 25 other bookstores about similar arrangements.” . . .

“For now, Chegg is making inroads with students. The company ships its books in bright orange boxes — using a similar approach as Netflix Inc., which delivers DVDs in red envelopes. When students are done with the books at the end of the term, they ship them back.” . . . “Joining forces with bookstores will make it easier for students to use Chegg by putting kiosks inside shops.” . . .

Apple: One Million iPads Sold
by John Paczkowski
May 3, 2010, The Wall Street Journal

“28 days. That was all it took for Apple (AAPL) to sell one million iPads. In a statement issued this morning, the company said it hit that milestone last Friday — the day the iPad 3G went on sale. ‘One million iPads in 28 days — that’s less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone,’ CEO Steve Jobs said. ‘Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers.’ “

The iPad: Starting Line or Finish Line for Mobile Computing?
by Calvin Reid
April 30, 2010, Publishers Weekly

“Although it was released into the wild only about a month ago, it hasn’t taken long for the iPad to generate a conference focused on explaining its impact and ultimate meaning. “Tabula Rasa: A Tablet Computing Throwdown,” organized by WeMedia, a network/community of digital entrepreneurs and visionaries based in lower Manhattan, is one of the first and provided an impressive lineup of digital professionals offering very early reactions about what the iPad might mean to business, popular culture, and social interaction in general.” . . .

“Indeed the most striking thing about the Tabula Rasa presentations is the way that major media interests are falling over themselves to make sure their content is on the iPad. Mark Jannot, editor-in-chief of Popular Science magazine, showed off an innovative design layout for the Popular Science iPad app that replaces the classic magazine two-page visual spread with a visual “flow” or the ability to scroll horizontally for visual information and vertically in the same article to get more text detail. Jannot also acknowledged that Popular Science had done no market research on pricing or business models in its rush to have an iPad app ready. And Thomson Reuter’s v-p Alisa Brown gave a great explanation for just why there’s a mad rush by media interests to the iPad platform — 125 million credit card — ready consumers available through iTunes and mobile devices: ‘business executives are using iPhones, Blackberries and iPods way more than laptops,’ she said. ‘It’s a real business.’ “

Apple iPad’s Tablet Competition Drop Like Flies, E-Book Readers Next
by David Morgenstern
April 30, 2010, ZDNet

“Less than a month following the launch of Apple’s iPad tablet device and a day before the release of the 3G-capable version on Friday, Microsoft announced that it has dropped plans for the Courier, the tablet that many pundits said would be an iPad killer. Oops, some wishful thinking. Other so-called “hot” tablets are now history. Certainly, it’s just a question of time before e-book vendors to start dropping out of the race soon.” . . .

“And on Thursday there’s the word that Hewlett-Packard killed its Slate tablet computer that was scheduled to run Windows 7. In my Wednesday post about the Palm-HP buyout, I mentioned that Microsoft’s partners had no confidence in its mobile strategy or technology. Each day, we see further evidence of its failures. The runaway success of the iPad is causing all the makers of tablet hardware to reevaluate their chances. Microsoft’s lackluster technology just makes the decision easier.” . . .

An Online Fraternity
April 30, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“At the Florida Institute of Technology’s newest fraternity, you don’t rush — you log in. Theta Omega Gamma, created this year by a sophomore, Darrek Battle, exists exclusively online, serving a membership of 24 fully online students. According to Battle and the faculty adviser Vicky Knerly, that’s a first. ‘When I started school I was thinking ‘Are there any fraternities out there accepting online students?’ and I couldn’t find any,’ Battle told Inside Higher Ed. So, he started his own. Theta Omega Gamma serves all the functions of a normal fraternity, Knerly says — ‘except for going out together and drinking.’ But that is not Theta’s m.o. anyway; it is a service fraternity, not a Greek fraternity. And even if its members — which include men and women — cannot convene for service projects, they can coordinate, through chat room meet-ups, efforts to volunteer for national charitable organizations in their own communities. As for the social side, Battle says he is trying to generate interest in helping online students at other institutions build their own chapters. And he is still working on figuring out how to simulate the camaraderie of a normal fraternity in an online environment. ‘It’s been kind of hard to come up with ideas like that,’ he says. ‘So I think for now we’re just going to go with the flow.’ ”

Is Location Where It’s At In Social Networking?
by Jordan Reese-Penn
April 28, 2010, Futurity

“To find the hottest restaurant, bar, or concert venue in town, many young adults are no longer checking in with their friends. They’re “checking in” virtually via Foursquare, a location-based social networking site. Participants log onto the site and “check in” via smartphone to let contacts who are fellow users know where they are. At the same time, they learn what those users are doing — whether a co-worker is eating at the restaurant next door, or if friends are gathering at a nightclub across town. As “check in” alerts are traded between phones, the people attached to them instantly become aware of the spots that are popular in their social circles.”

“Foursquare, which was founded by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, was introduced at the March 2009 South by Southwest music and interactive media festival in Austin, Texas. In recent weeks, the New York-based company has made headlines by gaining about 100,000 users in 10 days during this year’s South by Southwest event. Web traffic to Foursquare has increased by 400 percent since October 2009, according to the research firm Hitwise — and that doesn’t even count users who access the service via third party mobile applications. The site currently has more than 800,000 members ‘checking in’ at locations around the globe. In addition to sharing their location with contacts, check-ins earn users points and digital merit badges through Foursquare’s built-in game. For example, a ‘Bands on the Run’ badge was offered to South by Southwest visitors who checked in at seven concerts in one day. The most coveted title is that of ‘mayor’ — rewarded to the most frequent visitor to any given location.” . . .

Authors Unbound Online
by Virginia Heffernan
April 26, 2010, New York Times

“In this time of Twitter feeds and self-designed Snapfish albums and personal YouTube channels, it’s hard to remember the stigma that once attached to self-publishing. But it was very real. By contrast, to have a book legitimately produced by a publishing house in the 20th century was not just to have copies of your work bound between smart-looking covers. It was also metaphysical: you had been chosen, made intelligible and harmonious by editors and finally rendered eligible, thanks to the magic that turns a manuscript into a book, for canonization and immortality. You were no longer a kid with a spiral notebook and a sonnet cycle about Sixth Avenue; you were an author, and even if you never saw a dime in royalties, no one could ever dismiss you again as an oddball.”

“But times have changed, and radically. Last year, according to the Bowker bibliographic company, 764,448 titles were produced by self-publishers and so-called microniche publishers. (A microniche, I imagine, is a shade bigger than a self.) This is up an astonishing 181 percent from the previous year. Compare this enormous figure with the number of so-called traditional titles — books with the imprimatur of places like Random House — published that same year: a mere 288,355 (down from 289,729 the year before). Book publishing is simply becoming self-publishing.” . . .

Grant Application Deadline:

Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
National Science Foundation
Solicitation: 10-544

Full Proposal Deadline Date: May 26, 2010

The Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (TUES) program seeks to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for all undergraduate students. This solicitation especially encourages projects that have the potential to transform undergraduate STEM education, for example, by bringing about widespread adoption of classroom practices that embody understanding of how students learn most effectively. Thus transferability and dissemination are critical aspects for projects developing instructional materials and methods and should be considered throughout the project’s lifetime. More advanced projects should involve efforts to facilitate adaptation at other sites.

The program supports efforts to create, adapt, and disseminate new learning materials and teaching strategies to reflect advances both in STEM disciplines and in what is known about teaching and learning. It funds projects that develop faculty expertise, implement educational innovations, assess learning and evaluate innovations, prepare K-12 teachers, or conduct research on STEM teaching and learning. It also supports projects that further the work of the program itself, for example, synthesis and dissemination of findings across the program. The program supports projects representing different stages of development, ranging from small, exploratory investigations to large, comprehensive projects.

2010 Webby Award Winner
Category: School/University

Winner – Bucknell University Virtual Tour –
Nominee – The University of Puget Sound –

Profs Social Media, Adjuncts, Accessible Tech, Blogs, Grading, Book Rental, iPad, Online Frats, Publishing, STEM Grant