For-Profit Hearings, Textbooks, Doubt, New AACC Pres, Connecting Reservations, Internet, Copyright, NEA Grant

Full Committee Hearing – Emerging Risk? An Overview of the Federal Investment in For-Profit Education
Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions
June 24 2010, 10:00 AM

Panel I: Kathleen Tighe , inspector general, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education.
Panel II: Yasmine Issa, former student, Sanford Brown Institute; Margaret Reiter, former supervising deputy attorney general for the Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice; Sharon Thomas Parrott, senior vice president for government and regulatory affairs and chief compliance officer, DeVry, Inc.; and Steven Eisman, portfolio manager for FrontPoint Financial Services Fund, LP.

‘Bad Apples’ or Something More?
by Jennifer Epstein
June 24, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other Obama administration officials have often sought to characterize their probing of the for-profit sector as aimed at identifying “bad actors” and as part of a search for new measures of “value” for postsecondary institutions of all types, be they public, independent or corporate. But the rhetoric and activity coming from Congress has thus far been harsher, suggesting skepticism among lawmakers in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle about the behavior of — and appropriate role in higher education for — private sector colleges.” . . .

“When the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today holds the first in a series of oversight hearings examining for-profit colleges and the rapidly increasing federal education dollars that flow to them through students, the discourse is likely to be anything but friendly toward the sector.”

Standardization and Savings
by Steve Kolowich
June 24, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Most conversations about dramatically reducing the amount colleges and students spend on textbooks center on e-books as cheaper, nimbler, and more era-appropriate alternatives to the dead-tree doorstops that students have been hauling around campuses since time immemorial. But Rio Salado College, a mostly online community college in Arizona, has taken a different tack: using the same printed textbooks in all sections of each course. And so far, it reports substantial savings for students and few complaints from faculty.”

In January 2008, Rio Salado cut a deal with the publishing giant Pearson to be its sole supplier of textbooks to the community college’s roughly 60,000 students. The textbooks would be customized according to the specifications of the college — which, it says, sometimes included snippets from other publishers to supplement Pearson’s foundational content. At the time, the arrangement was heralded as an attempt to dramatically cut textbook costs without necessitating a switch to e-books or rented textbooks.” . . .

Seed of Doubt
by Steve Kolowich
June 22, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Is online education as good as traditional, face-to-face education? It is a loaded question. Online programs comprise the fastest-growing segment of higher education, with brick-and-mortar colleges — many ailing from budget cuts — seeing online as a way to make money and expand their footprints. Meanwhile, some politicians are eager for public institutions to embrace online education as a way to educate more people at a lower cost. These movements have much invested in online education being equal or superior to the old-fashioned kind. And since a Department of Education meta-analysis last summer concluded that “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction,” many advocates now consider the matter closed.”

“Not so fast, say researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Education Department’s study was deeply flawed and its implications have been overblown, say the authors of a working paper released this month by the bureau. ‘None of the studies cited in the widely-publicized meta-analysis released by the U.S. Department of Education included randomly-assigned students taking a full-term course, with live versus online delivery mechanisms, in settings that could be directly compared (i.e., similar instructional materials delivered by the same instructor),’ they write. ‘The evidence base on the relative benefits of live versus online education is therefore tenuous at best.’ ” . . .

“In spring 2007, they randomly assigned 327 volunteers enrolled in an introductory microeconomics course to either attend the class lectures live or watch them online. Both groups would have access to the same ancillary materials and access to office hours and graduate assistants; the only difference would be the mode of lecture delivery. They found no statistically significant differences between the academic performances of the two groups generally. However, they did find that Hispanic students, male students, and low-achieving students in the online group fared significantly worse than their counterparts in the live-attendance group.” . . .

Comment from Christine Mullins on June 22, 2010

“No question, online courses do require a lot of self discipline to be sure and online learning is not for everyone. It is also true that it is difficult to compare apples to apples. Colleges who want to save money by instituting online courses are doing so for the wrong reasons – they will probably take shortcuts that could undermine the courses – by not insisting on the dynamic interaction and other best practices our successful colleges do implement.”

“Often these steps require money – like installing quality faculty training and mentoring programs, using the most appropriate learning management system to its greatest capacity, installing and maintaining the correct technology. Online learning is serving an awful lot of students who would otherwise be out of luck and student demand is surging. The Department of Education study emphasized that one of the huge benefits online courses provide students is the ability to review the material – over and over if they need to – until they are sure they get it. They found that this is one of the major reason why students were more successful.”

“The problem with a lecture class is that if the student misses something, cannot get good written notes from a friend, or cannot make it to office hours to review the material with a TA or the professor, he or she is out of luck. As for the University of Florida study – I am not surprised students did not do as well if they had to view the material – as a static talking head performance. I would be bored too and probably wouldn’t have done as well! At least in a live lecture hall your fellow students might help keep you awake! We are not talking apples and apples.”

“A good online course is much more dynamic – with video clips, links to study materials, online discussion boards, group work that uses wikis and other collaboration tools, regular quizzes to make sure students are on track, and lots of interaction I never would have dreamed of in my four-year ivy league university lecture hall 20 years ago. It just makes sense.”

Also see the article “Video Lectures May Slightly Hurt Student Performance,” by Sophia Li in the Chronicle of Higher Education at

New Chief for 2-Year-College Group
by Doug Lederman
Inside Higher Ed, June 22, 2010

“The American Association of Community Colleges announced Monday that it had selected Walter G. Bumphus, who has led two-year institutions of all types in nearly 40 years in higher education, as its new president and chief executive officer. Bumphus, now A.M. Aikin Regents Chair in Community College Leadership at the University of Texas at Austin, will succeed George R. Boggs as AACC’s top official in January. The former president of Brookhaven College, Baton Rouge Community College, and Louisiana’s two-year-college system will take the reins of the 1,200-member community college association at a time when the institutions are in the public policy spotlight — and potentially the cross hairs — as never before.”

FCC Eyes Broadband For Indian Reservations
by Laura Sydell
June 22, 2010, National Public Radio

“Only 63 percent of all Americans have high-speed Internet connections. That’s low compared with other countries. But when it comes to American Indians, the Federal Communications Commission estimates that fewer than 10 percent are connected. On Tuesday, the FCC announced the appointment of a special liaison to the American Indian community to oversee efforts to get broadband to reservations. . . . Small businesses and consumers aren’t the only ones pushing for change. Sisqtel, which is an old phone provider with a long history in Siskiyou County, tried to purchase the rights to build out phone and Internet service to Orleans. But a Sisqtel spokesperson says Verizon, which declined to be interviewed for this story, won’t sell. California does gives phone companies, such as Verizon, monopolies in rural parts of the state to entice them to build out in what are considered low-profit areas.”

“But the cost of building compared with the return is one of the reasons American Indian communities have a long history of neglect when it comes to basic infrastructure. To help change that, at least for broadband, the FCC announced the appointment of Geoffrey Blackwell to lead its initiatives on American Indian affairs. Unfortunately, Blackwell says, the situation in Orleans is typical of American Indian country. ‘We’re not just talking about rural America; we’re talking about remote America,’ he says. ‘We’re talking about challenging terrain. We’re talking about places that, by their design, where tribes were placed, didn’t necessarily benefit from certain eras of federal infrastructure development like the Eisenhower interstate system.’ Blackwell’s appointment is part of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, which emphasizes rural connectivity — in particular for the more than 1.4 million American Indians who live in remote areas. And the FCC has asked Congress to set aside funding to help with this part of the plan.” . . .

Finding Applicants Who Plagiarize
by Scott Jaschik
June 23, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “the Penn State business program has become the first college or university program to go public about using a new admissions essay service offered by Turnitin, the dominant player in the plagiarism detection software for reviewing work submitted by college students. The company recently introduced a new software service for admissions essays, for which it is gathering admissions essays that will go into a database to be checked (along with various other Web resources and student papers).” . . .

‘Augmented Reality’ on Smartphones Brings Teaching Down to Earth
by Sophia Li
June 20, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Ed

. . . “Video and computer games are commonly criticized for isolating players from reality, but augmented-reality developers who work in higher education see the technology as a way to accomplish just the opposite. ‘Real life is pretty high-res,’ says David J. Gagnon, a faculty consultant and instructional designer at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Augmented-reality games, he says, are a way to help people ‘get out and see that.’ Mr. Gagnon is the lead developer of a software tool called ARIS, or Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling. ARIS lets designers link text, images, video, or audio to a physical location, making the real world into a map of virtual characters and objects that people can navigate with iPhones, iPads, or iPod Touches. The open-source tool, which is the brainchild of a Madison research group that focuses on games and learning, was built with students and educators in mind. It has not yet been released to the public; developers are aiming for a fall rollout.” . . .

Sharing Liberally
by Evgeny Morozov
June 16, 2010, Boston Review

Review of “Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age” by Clay Shirky

. . . “Shirky argues that free time became a problem after the end of WWII, as Western economies grew more automated and more prosperous. Heavy consumption of television provided an initial solution. Gin, that ‘critical lubricant that eased our transition from one kind of society to another,’ gave way to the sitcom. More recently TV viewing has given way to the Internet. Shirky argues that much of today’s online culture — including videos of toilet-flushing cats and Wikipedia editors wasting 19,000 (!) words on an argument about whether the neologism “malamanteau” belongs on the site — is much better than television. Better because, while sitcoms give us couch potatoes, the Internet nudges us toward creative work.”

“That said, Cognitive Surplus is not a celebration of digital creativity along the lines of Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman or Lawrence Lessig’s ‘remix culture.’ Shirky instead focuses on the sharing aspect of online creation: we are, he asserts, by nature social, so the Internet, unlike television, lets us be who we really are. ‘No one would create a lolcat to keep for themselves,’ Shirky argues, referring to the bête noire of Internet-bashers, the humorous photos of cats spiced up with funny and provocative captions. ‘Cognitive surplus’ is what results when we multiply our constantly expanding free time by the tremendous power of the Internet to enable us do more with less, and to do it together with others.” . . .

A Political Online Push
by Steve Kolowich
June 17, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“When Jon Stewart asked Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty last week for some examples of how he intended to administer ‘limited and effective’ government, the Republican governor did not roll out boilerplate rhetoric on welfare or farm subsidies. Instead, he took square aim at traditional higher education. ‘Do you really think in 20 years somebody’s going to put on their backpack, drive a half hour to the University of Minnesota from the suburbs, haul their keister across campus, and sit and listen to some boring person drone on about econ 101 or Spanish 101?’ Pawlenty asked Stewart, host of ‘The Daily Show.’ ‘Can’t I just pull that down on my iPhone or iPad whenever the heck I feel like it, from wherever I feel like it?’ he said. ‘And instead of paying thousands of dollars, can I pay $199 for iCollege instead of 99 cents for iTunes?’ “

“This was not a new tune for Pawlenty; in 2008, he challenged the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) to more than double the percentage of credits it awards for online courses, setting a goal of 25 percent by 2015. This makes his portrayal of traditional higher education as an anathema to government efficiency, and of mobile-based online education as the cure, a potentially controversial flashpoint for the national conversation about distance learning. Pawlenty’s mainstage advocacy of online education comes at a time when several other state higher education systems, notably in Pennsylvania and Indiana, have sought to leverage online technologies to cut costs. In Pennsylvania, some faculty members are viewing with alarm an idea being pushed in the state system to use technology to combine foreign language and other programs across several campuses. In Indiana, the addition of a Western Governors University campus — in which credit is awarded online for demonstrating competencies learned — is supplementing existing campuses.” . . .

Judge Junks Viacom’s YouTube Suit
by Rob Pegoraro
June 23, 2010, The Washington Post

“Google won an immense legal victory when a federal judge dismissed a $1 billion lawsuit filed by Viacom against its YouTube video-sharing site. U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted YouTube’s request for summary judgment Wednesday afternoon–that is, declaring Viacom’s arguments too weak to deserve further examination. As copyright litigation goes, this is a Big Deal. Stanton held that YouTube complied with the relevant provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that require Internet services to remove infringing copies of copyrighted content when asked by copyright holders, but which don’t require online firms to look for copyright violations themselves. These “notice and takedown” provisions boil down to the principle that Internet providers and Web hosts aren’t cops and shouldn’t have to act like them.”

Next Gen Learning Challenges

Later this summer, Educause will launch Next Gen Learning Challenges, a project that will “provide grants to innovators, build evidence of what works, and foster an engaged community of professionals committed to helping students and young adults prepare for college and successfully complete their postsecondary educations.” The first “wave” will focus on higher education and the following challenges:

1: Open Core Courseware — Expand access to high-quality, openly licensed courseware for developmental and general education.
2: Web 2.0 Engagement — Integrate interactive Web 2.0 approaches to stimulate deeper learning and ultimately improve college readiness and completion.
3: Blended Learning — Expand the use of established, effective online and face-to-face learning models on a cost-effective basis.
4: Learning Analytics — Foster the development and implementation of easily accessible learning analytics for those directly involved in student success.

Educause invites you to join the conversation for the next six weeks at to “learn about college readiness and completion in the United States; contribute research, resources, and perspectives on the four challenges; contribute ideas for future challenges, the next of which will focus on secondary education; engage in discussion forums targeting key questions; and, explore the challenges with your colleagues through workshops.”

The project is a partnership among the Gates Foundation, EDUCAUSE, the League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association of K-12 Online Learning, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

BroadbandMatch Web Site Tool: Request for Comments
National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Department of Commerce

Deadline for written comments: Aug. 23, 2010

. . . “In coordination with the White House’s Open Government Initiative that seeks to promote transparency, openness and collaboration, NTIA decided to create a tool that would allow larger anchor institutions, smaller satellite organizations, Internet service providers and technical experts to find one another and create mutually beneficial partnerships.”

“The tool, BroadbandMatch (available at, allows potential applicants to find partners for broadband projects, helping them to combine expertise and create stronger proposals. Now, in support of the Recovery Act’s goals to create jobs, promote economic growth, and encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns, BroadbandMatch includes small disadvantaged businesses desiring to provide goods and services for broadband projects around the country. It is a helpful resource for firms seeking contracting opportunities with BTOP grantees, among other participants, and for purchasers intending to diversify their suppliers.”

“Current participants will be solicited to continue their participation in the program by opting in; potentially, new participants will be encouraged through publicizing of BroadbandMatch using the press, conferences, and conversations between applicants/ grantees and Federal program officers. Participants in BroadbandMatch fill out an organizational profile form, containing information such as category or type of organization, preferred partnerships, geographic location, and basic contact information.” . . .

Grant: Creativity and Aging in America: Lifelong Learning in the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Application Deadline: July 21, 2010

The NEA aims to select an organization to launch a technical assistance effort to advance arts opportunities for older Americans. As its primary task, the organization will create an online directory and resource database of national, state, and local arts learning programs for older Americans, identifying key services and best practices for artists working with older adults. The organization will also work with the NEA to create and convene a national task force to serve as a project resource for this activity; develop a comprehensive, online training course for artists seeking to build skills for engaging older adults in high quality arts learning, including intergenerational activities; create a basic online self-evaluation tool that will enable users to measure how successfully they have absorbed the training material and how well they understand the major competencies required; and work with the NEA Public Affairs Office, through the NEA project director, to develop and conduct a marketing and distribution strategy to disseminate and publicize the online resources to the arts, aging, and education communities.

For-Profit Hearings, Textbooks, Doubt, New AACC Pres, Connecting Reservations, Internet, Copyright, NEA Grant

Lecture Capture, Dept of Ed – Integrity/Credit Hours, For-Profits, Starbucks, WGU Indiana, Libraries, FIPSE

Free Webinar – Practical Comparisons of Lecture Capture Systems, Version 2
June 17, 2010 – 1:00 p.m. eastern time

This FREE webinar takes a look at rich media capture systems from the users’ perspective: Echo360, Panopto CourseCast, Mediasite and Opencast Matterhorn. Presenters include: Doug McCartney, Portland State University – Echo360; Brian Smith, University of Florida – Mediasite; Peggy M. Brown, Syracuse University – Panopto CourseCast; Adam Hochman, University of California, Berkeley – Open Cast; Sandra Miller, Ed.D., William Paterson University – Moderator

Partial ‘Program Integrity’
by Jennifer Epstein
June 16, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“The U.S. Department of Education today released a set of proposed rules intended to prevent abuses of federal financial aid programs by establishing new consumer protections, ensuring that only eligible students receive federal aid, and clarifying the courses and programs for which students can use federal aid dollars. Though the notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) to be published in Friday’s Federal Register includes more than 500 pages of rationale and regulatory language on 15 issues related to the integrity of the federal financial aid programs, what’s most likely to get attention is what’s missing: a full set of regulations defining ‘gainful employment,’ the mechanism through which most programs at for-profit institutions and non-degree programs at nonprofit institutions qualify for federal aid.” . . .

“While the gainful employment and incentive compensation issues have dominated the public discussions about the rule making, some of the other lower-profile topics could have as much if not more potential impact, and on a broader array of institutions.” . . . “Throughout most of the rule making negotiations, the Education Department had taken a relatively hard, traditional line, leaning toward defining a credit hour (see Page 68) in a precise, mechanistic way, based largely on the longstanding bedrock of the Carnegie unit. That approach drew strong criticism from those who argued that at a time when policy makers are increasingly embracing alternative types of teaching and learning, including online education, mandating a single, seat-time-based measure of when a student has accumulated enough knowledge to justify the awarding of federal aid in return was wrongheaded.”

“The proposed rules released by the department today seem designed to strike a balance between those two perspectives. Perhaps influenced by the aggressive stance taken by the department’s inspector general against the credit-hour policies used by several accrediting agencies — which will be the subject of a Congressional hearing tomorrow — the rules would define a credit hour as “one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit,” or equivalent amounts of actual instruction for quarters or other time periods.” . . .

Also see “U.S. Education Dept. Delays Rules on For-Profit Colleges,” by Tamar Lewin in the June 15, 2010 issue of the New York Times, .

For-Profit Colleges Are Projected to Sharply Increase Their Share of Adult Students
by Kelly Truong
June 14, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

“For-profit universities will have 42 percent of the adult-undergraduate market by 2019, nearly doubling their current share, according to a new study by the consulting company Eduventures. Last year approximately one-quarter of all adult undergraduates were enrolled at for-profit universities. The study projects that, in the next 10 years, for-profit institutions will increase their share of the adult market by 14 percentage points. By that time, for-profits will lead both public and private universities in the number of adults enrolled. They will have approximately 60,000 more adult students than will publics, and 800,000 more than privates. (Currently, the for-profit sector educates about 7 percent of the nation’s roughly 19 million students who enroll at degree-granting institutions each fall, The Chronicle reported recently.)”

“Richard Garrett, a managing director at Eduventures, credited for-profit universities with uncovering new markets for adult education, including the offering of online courses. He predicted that online education, in which for-profit universities are “vastly overrepresented,” will become the norm for adults seeking bachelor’s degrees. ‘The two have enabled each other very strongly,’ said Mr. Garrett. ‘Online is gaining more momentum in terms of respectability.’ ”

MIT Abandons Kuali Open-Source Software Project
by Marc Parry
June 15, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Ed

“MIT is pulling out of a major university-led effort to produce freely available open-source student-administration software, according to an announcement posted on its Web site. It’s the second university to defect from the project since February, when Florida State University also abandoned the effort because of budget cuts. MIT signed on in 2007 as a partner in the venture, one of several higher-education software collaborations that fall under the umbrella of the nonprofit Kuali Foundation. As a partner institution, it committed to investing between $150,000 and $500,000 per year in the project to develop software for managing student admission, registration, and other tasks, according to the Kuali Web site. Indiana University, a Kuali community founder, plans to expand its involvement to fill the void left by MIT in the student project, according to a press release.” . . .

Aiming at Rivals, Starbucks Will Offer Free Wi-Fi
by Claire Cain Miller
June 14, 2010, New York Times

“Many coffee shops try to discourage people from buying a cup of coffee and then lingering for hours to use the free Internet access. Starbucks will soon encourage them to stay as long as they want. The company said on Monday that as of July 1, its stores in the United States would offer free Wi-Fi, via AT&T, that anyone can reach with a single click. In case customers run out of distractions on the Web, Starbucks is giving them even more reason to sit and browse, offering free online articles, music, videos and local information through a partnership with Yahoo.” . . .

Free eBook – 20 WEBTOOLS Applied to Teaching
by Richard Byrne
June 14, 2010, Free Technology for Teachers

“Ana Maria Menezes has just published a 53 page free ebook titled 20 WEBTOOLS Applied to Teaching. In addition to some well-known services like Animoto, Ana Maria has included some lesser-known tools that could be particularly useful for ESL/ELL instruction. You can download the ebook from Issuu. I also recommend browsing through Ana Maria’s blog, Life Feast, if you’ve never visited it.” . . .

New Copyright Regulations Coming to College Campuses
by Gavin Baker
June 15, 2010, American Library Association

“Starting July 1, new copyright regulations will apply to colleges that participate in federal student aid programs. The regulations implement provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) relating to copyright infringement on campus networks.

“HEOA creates three new requirements for colleges, as summarized by EDUCAUSE:
— An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law
— A plan to ‘effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials’ by users of its network, including ‘the use of one or more technology-based deterrents’
— A plan to ‘offer alternatives to illegal downloading’ ”

“The Department of Education has provided a sample text that colleges may use to summarize the penalties for violating federal copyright laws. EDUCAUSE also has a collection of resources on the HEOA copyright provisions, including information on compliance.” (see )

See the Department of Education’s June 4 reminder, “Institutional Requirements for Combating the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material by Users of the Institution’s Network,” at

Daniels Announces Opportunity to Increase Access to Higher Education
News Release
June 11, 2010, IN Gov

“Governor Mitch Daniels today established WGU Indiana, a partnership between the state and Western Governors University aimed at expanding access to higher education for Hoosiers and increasing the percentage of the state’s adult population with education beyond high school.”

“WGU Indiana is a branch of Western Governors University, a nonprofit, online, competency-based university that offers fully accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The academic model is focused on individualized learning, allowing students to move quickly through areas where they have prior work or academic experience and focus on the areas they still need to learn. Students advance by writing papers, completing assignments, and passing exams that demonstrate their knowledge of required subject matter. Students can work on their own but are guided by the one-on-one support of a faculty mentor. Degree programs are designed to allow students to schedule their studies to accommodate work and family obligations. Tuition is approximately $6,000 per year for most degree programs, and Indiana state and federal financial aid are available.”

Reach: Building Communities and Networks for Professional Development
by Jeff Utecht
May 15, 2010

“This book will walk you through how to get started in joining online communities and creating learning networks tailored to what you are interested in learning about. Learn how to use Twitter for your own professional learning and use. Facebook with students to communicate and engage them in learning beyond the walls of your classroom.”

There’s an App for That! Libraries and Mobile Technology: An Introduction to Public Policy Considerations
by Timothy Vollmer
June 2010, American Library Association

. . . “Libraries can better serve their users by embracing the growing capabilities of mobile technology. They can promote and expand their existing services by offering mobile access to their websites and online public access catalogs; by supplying on-the-go mobile reference services; and by providing mobile access to e-books, journals, video, audio books, and multimedia content.”

“An American Library Association study in 2010 found that 66 percent of public libraries offered e-books to their users (up from 55 percent the previous year). An estimated 83 percent of libraries offer online audio content, and about 63 percent offer online video content. Thus audio/video collections no longer are composed only of physical units to borrow, but increasingly are streamed on-demand or downloaded, circulating content in urban, suburban, and rural libraries across America. The mobile environment can also offer new venues for teaching digital literacy skills to youth as well as adults, and aid libraries in their outreach as consumer educators and e-government access portals. Through the continued adoption of mobile technology, library services can potentially engage traditionally underserved groups as well. For example, while ethnic minority populations are connected to broadband at home less than are other demographic groups, they carry cell phones at the same rate and access the Internet via mobile devices at higher rates than whites.” . . .

Rebalancing the Mission: The Community College Completion Challenge
by Christopher M. Mullin
June 2010, American Association of Community Colleges

. . . “Community college leaders are faced with focusing either on (a) increasing completion rates using the traditional measures (i.e., attainment of associate and bachelor’s degrees) used in international comparisons or (b) getting people back to work with certificates and industry credentials that are not counted as a success measure in those comparisons. Focusing solely on the former narrowly defines success while overlooking the needs and achievements of a significant number of people, whereas focusing solely on the latter will not increase the international ranking of the United States. Community colleges are therefore in the difficult position of balancing two completion agendas: the person’s need to return to work and the nation’s desire to be a world leader in terms of a narrowly defined set of outcomes.” . . .

Upcoming Grant Funding Deadlines

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) – Comprehensive Program
Department of Education
CFDA No. 84.116B
Federal Register:

Application Deadline: July 29, 2010
Expected Number of Awards: 37
Estimated Total Program Funding: $27,307,000

The Comprehensive Program is the central grant competition of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The competition is designed to support innovative reform projects that hold promise as models for the resolution of important issues and problems in postsecondary education.

Several characteristics of the Comprehensive Program make it unique among Federal programs.
— It is inclusive. All nonprofit institutions and organizations offering postsecondary education programs are eligible to receive FIPSE grants. Those grants may be in support of any academic discipline, program, or student support service.
— It is action-oriented. Although FIPSE will consider proposals to assess existing reforms, or to study the feasibility of reforms in the development stage, it does not ordinarily support basic research. The Comprehensive Program supports a wide range of practical reform initiatives and assists grantees in assessing their results and disseminating what is learned to other institutions and agencies.
— It encourages bold thinking and innovative projects. The resources of the Comprehensive Program are devoted to new ideas and practices and to the dissemination of proven innovations to others. FIPSE will support controversial or unconventional projects, as long as they are well justified, carefully designed, and responsibly managed.
— It is responsive to practitioners. In its Agenda for Improvement, FIPSE identifies common issues and problems affecting postsecondary education and invites applicants to address these or other problems imaginatively. The Comprehensive Program welcomes proposals addressing any and all topics of postsecondary improvement and reform.

Lecture Capture, Dept of Ed – Integrity/Credit Hours, For-Profits, Starbucks, WGU Indiana, Libraries, FIPSE

HTML5, Cloud, Ten IT Issues, Accessibility Lawsuit, Broadband, Microsoft Live, e-Books, Wal-Mart, NEH Grant

by Stephen Downes
June 10, 2010, Stephen’s Web

“What is HTML5 and how will it effect online learning? The iPad is really pushing it, though it’s been in the pipeline for quite a while. YouTube already supports it (you can try their HTML5 player in your browser). But what is it? It’s a specification that adds new functionality, interaction, and multimedia to web pages. Here’s a video overview. This info-graphic might give you a good overview. Another site defines various HTML5 flavours. Here’s a list of the new HTML5 tags (and a more detailed reference). For the geeky, Mark Pilgrim has an HTML5 content detector, which he explains will help developers tell which HTML5 features the user’s browser supports. There’s also an all-in-one library that will do this. What can I use is a site giving detailed listings of which features work in which browsers.” . . . “Anyhow, all this is what I’ve collected on HTML5 recently; there’s a lot more, but this should give you the flavour.” [note – if you are interested in this topic, you need to go to the link on Stephen’s site above. Even in this short blurb, I have not included his links to articles, with more in the complete posting.]

WTF is HTML5 and Why Should We Care?
June 10, 2010,

This graphic looks at what HTML5 is and what it was designed to do.

Cloud Computing and the Power to Choose
by Rob Bristow, Ted Dodds, Richard Northam, and Leo Plugge
May/June 2010, EDUCAUSE Review

. . . “Colleges and universities around the world are thus discussing, planning for, and using cloud computing and cloud services. The rate of adoption varies from country to country, but the need for awareness and preparation is universal. This article will examine cloud issues — both opportunities and risks — by looking at examples from four countries: Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.” . . .

Top-Ten IT Issues, 2010
by Bret L. Ingerman, Catherine Yang
May/June 2010, EDUCAUSE Review

“Administered by the EDUCAUSE Current Issues Committee, the electronic survey was conducted in December 2009. Survey participants — typically CIOs of EDUCAUSE member institutions — were asked to select the five most-important IT issues out of a selection of twenty-seven in each of four areas: (1) issues that are critical for strategic success; (2) issues that are expected to increase in significance; (3) issues that demand the greatest amount of the campus IT leader’s time; and (4) issues that require the largest expenditures of human and fiscal resources.” . . . “Of the 1,909 EDUCAUSE primary member representatives who received an e-mail invitation to complete the survey, 424 (22%) responded.”

1. Funding IT, 2. Administrative/ERP/Information Systems, 3. Security, 4. Teaching and Learning with Technology, 5. Identity/Access Management, 6. (tie). Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity, 6. (tie). Governance, Organization, and Leadership, 7. Agility, Adaptability, and Responsiveness, 8. Learning Management Systems, 9. Strategic Planning, and 10. Infrastructure/Cyberinfrastructure

Law Schools Discriminate Against Blind Applicants
Press Release
June 9, 2010, National Federation for the Blind

“The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, and three blind students who have applied or are considering applying to law school in California — Deepa Goraya, Bruce J. Sexton, and Claire Stanley — filed an amended lawsuit yesterday against the Law School Admissions Council and four California law schools for violating provisions of the California Disabled Persons Act, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

“The suit was filed because the law schools require or encourage applicants to use a centralized Internet-based application process provided by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) through its Web site ( that is inaccessible to blind law school applicants. Blind students must seek sighted assistance to use the LSAC system. Furthermore, blind law school applicants cannot perform other tasks on the LSAC Web site, such as downloading official study materials for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) that is required by almost all U.S. law schools. The four law schools are: University of California Hastings College of the Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Whittier Law School, and Chapman University School of Law.” . . .

USDA Highlights Impact of Recent Recovery Act Broadband Loans and Grants
Press Release
June 9, 2010, U.S. Department of Agriculture

“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted the release of a report [Connecting Rural America –] that details how broadband deployment funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) will improve the quality of life of over half a million rural American households. The report also states that broadband awards announced to date will create about 5,000 immediate and direct jobs.” . . .

“In the first of two scheduled funding rounds, RUS awarded $1.068 billion for 68 broadband projects in 31 states and one territory.” . . . “The projects will bring broadband service to an estimated 529,249 households, 92,754 businesses and 3,332 anchor institutions across more than 172,000 square miles — a geographic area approximately the size of the state of California. Community anchors, such as schools, libraries, health care providers, colleges, and critical community facilities, provide essential services for safety, health, education and well-being for area residents. These projects will also provide services to 19 Tribal lands. A second round of successful applicants will be announced later in the 2010 fiscal year.” . . .

Second Life Parent to Lay Off 30%
by Curt Hopkins
June 9, 2010, Read, Write, Web

“According to an announcement issued today by Linden Lab, the company that controls the Second Life virtual environment, changes are afoot. 30% of the company’s employees will be laid off as the company consolidates, closing its bureaus outside North America. Linden Lab intends to move the Second Life environment to a browser- and mobile-based platform, obviating the need to download software. It will combine its product and engineering divisions. Future plans include migration to social networks, like Facebook.” . . .

The Battle for Cloud-Based Education Services Heats Up as Kentucky Deploys Microsoft’s Live@edu
by Audrey Watters
June 8, 2010, Read, Write, Web

“The Kentucky Department of Education announced last week that it has implemented Microsoft Live@edu to provide its cloud-based communications and collaboration tools to students, staff, and faculty statewide. The service will be available to more than 700,000 people, and the state predicts it will save $6.3 million in costs over the next four years by using the Live@edu service. Live@edu offers educational institutions free hosted, co-branded tools, including 10 GB of email storage, 25 GB of file storage, and access to calendars, document sharing, and instant-messaging.” . . .

“The news from Microsoft and the Kentucky Department of Education follows on the heels of several recent announcements from Google in regards to their cloud-based educational offerings, including the Oregon Department of Education’s announcement last month that Google Apps for Education would be offered to schools statewide.” . . . “Nevertheless, some educators are pleased to see the battle for cloud-based communication and collaboration tools between these two tech giants, hoping that it will improve the product offerings made available for schools.”

The E-Book Sector
by Steve Kolowich
June 8, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “Online for-profits such as American Public University System and the University of Phoenix have for years strategically steered students toward e-textbooks in an attempt to shave costs and ensure a more reliable delivery method that, in the context of online education, might seem to make more sense. At Kaplan University’s School of Legal Studies, digital texts account for around 80 percent of assigned reading. At Capella University, e-textbooks are an available and accepted option in nearly all 1,250 courses. In for-profit higher education, more than any other sector, the traditional book is becoming obsolete.” . . .

“Those are staggering adoption rates compared to those at nonprofit online programs and on traditional campuses. Among the respondents to a 2009 Campus Computing Project survey of 182 online programs at nonprofit universities, only 9 percent said e-textbooks were “widely used” at their institutions, while nearly half said electronic versions were “rarely used.” Even fewer brick-and-mortar institutions are deploying e-books in lieu of hard copies, with fewer than 5 percent citing e-book deployment as a key IT priority in the short term, according to another Campus Computing Project survey. And according to data from the Student Monitor, e-textbooks accounted for only 2 percent of all textbook sales last fall.”

“Why is that? John Bourne, executive director of the Sloan Consortium, which studies online learning, posits that it might be a function of the more centralized administrative structures at for-profit institutions. “For-profits do things like provide lesson plans for instructors, provide you with what you’re supposed to do; they hire all these adjuncts to deliver all these things that have been sculpted by instructional designers,” says Bourne. Being able to dictate to the faculty what text format they should assign to their students probably makes it easier to implement e-textbook adoption across the institution, he says. It is more difficult to engineer change at such scale at nonprofits, because of their more distributed governance models. At those colleges, faculty control of curricular texts — including mode of delivery — is “sacred,” Bourne says.” . . .

2 Scholars Examine Cyberbullying Among College Students
by Jill Laster
June 6, 2010, The Chronicle of Higher Education

“While much of the scholarship has focused on adolescents, work has also been done on the phenomenon at the college level. Ikuko Aoyama, a doctoral candidate in educational psychology at Baylor University, presented her work on sex differences in cyberbullying at a recent conference of the American Educational Research Association. She spoke with The Chronicle along with her adviser, Tony L. Talbert, an associate professor in Baylor’s School of Education.” . . .

Wal-Mart to Offer Its Workers a College Program
by Stephanie Clifford and Stephanie Rosenbloom
June 3, 2010, New York Times

“The purveyor of inexpensive jeans and lawnmowers is dipping its toe into the online-education waters, working with a Web-based university to offer its employees in the United States affordable college degrees. The partnership with American Public University, a for-profit school with about 70,000 online students, will allow some Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club employees to earn credits in areas like retail management and logistics for performing their regular jobs. The university will offer eligible employees 15 percent price reductions on tuition, and Wal-Mart will invest $50 million over three years in other tuition assistance for the employees who participate.”

“Executives at Wal-Mart, the nations’ largest retailer, said the company was not interested in entering the online-education field in a broader way. The point of the program, they said, was to help employees get more education and to build a better work force. Even so, because of its size, Wal-Mart’s internal changes often turn into industry standards, as with its efforts involving environmental sustainability. And with 1.4 million employees in the United States, even an employees-only program could have widespread implications.” . . .

Scholars Compile Academic Book from Twitter and Blogs
by Kelly Truong
June 2, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Two academics put out an online call for material. In one week, they had a book’s worth. Hacking the Academy, an edited volume about academe in the digital age, was compiled from blog posts and Twitter messages posted during a single week. The project was organized by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, of George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, as an experiment meant to challenge the conventional university-press system. They asked for submissions via Twitter by posting a message with a link and the tag #hackacad. By the end of the week, the project had received 329 submissions from 180 authors, with responses including text, video, and art. Contributors were encouraged to post their submissions on their personal blogs, allowing anyone following the project’s tag to keep track of incoming content. As a result, many submissions reference other pieces within the volume.”

Hacking the Academy –

Common Core State Standards Initiative

“The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce. The NGA Center and CCSSO received initial feedback on the draft standards from national organizations representing, but not limited to, teachers, postsecondary educators (including community colleges), civil rights groups, English language learners, and students with disabilities. Following the initial round of feedback, the draft standards were opened for public comment, receiving nearly 10,000 responses.”

“The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live. These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.” . . .

America’s Media Makers: Development and Production Grants
National Endowment for the Humanities
(CFDA) Number: 45.164

Application Deadline: Aug. 18, 2010

Development grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and format and to prepare programs for production. These grants cover a wide range of activities that include, but are not limited to, meetings and individual consultations with scholars, research, preliminary interviews, preparation of program scripts, designs for interactivity and digital distribution, and the creation of partnerships for outreach activities and public engagement with the humanities.

Production grants support the preparation of a program for distribution. Applicants must submit a script for a radio or television program, or a prototype or storyboard for a digital media project, that demonstrates a solid command of the humanities ideas and scholarship related to a subject. NEH also supports Chairman’s Special Award projects. These projects are more complex and would be of compelling interest to the general public; they have the capacity to examine important humanities ideas in new ways and promise to reach large audiences. These goals can often be accomplished through combining a variety of program formats, forming creative collaborations among diverse institutions, and expanding the scope and reach of a project. The Chairman’s Special Award is offered at the production stage, but not at the development stage.

NEH encourages radio, television, and digital media projects that:
— Combine radio or television programs with complementary projects using emerging technologies, museum exhibitions, reading and discussion programs, and other formats that expand and enhance programs’ humanities content, deepen the audiences’ experience of the content, engage audiences in new ways, and expand the distribution of programs;
— Advance the role of cultural repositories in online teaching, learning, and research for public audiences, teachers, students, and scholars;
Culminate in products such as DVDs, websites, games, virtual environments, streaming video, and podcasts, as well as user-generated content;
— Simultaneously produce a broadcast program and interactive companion content in order to extend the educational experience of the program’s audience, use resources efficiently, and keep the humanities ideas at the center of the project as the broadcast program and the interactivity are designed;
— Engage public audiences interactively in exploring humanities ideas and questions by using new ways to contextualize, interpret, and distribute content;
— Result in large-scale, collaborative programs featuring multiple formats; and
— Build new programs around previously funded NEH projects, using complementary formats that will add new dimensions to the original project and take advantage of new formats and technologies to reach audiences that were not served by the original project.

HTML5, Cloud, Ten IT Issues, Accessibility Lawsuit, Broadband, Microsoft Live, e-Books, Wal-Mart, NEH Grant

Broadband Survey, Ed Tech Sites, Ning Alternatives, Yahoo, Textbooks, Instructional Design, Maps, Word Access, Moodle

FCC Survey Finds 4 Out of 5 Americans Don’t Know Their Broadband Speeds
Press Release
June 1, 2010, Federal Communications Commission

A Federal Communications Commission survey “found that 80 percent of broadband users in the United States do not know the speed of their broadband connection. The survey is part of the agency’s overall broadband speed initiative, which involves several bureaus and offices and is being coordinated by the Commission’s Consumer Task Force. Through the initiative, the agency will also measure the actual speeds that consumers receive and compare them to the speeds that broadband providers advertise.” . . . “the FCC is asking today for 10,000 volunteers to participate in a scientific study to measure home broadband speed in the U.S. Specialized hardware will be installed in the homes of volunteers to measure the performance of all the country’s major Internet service providers across geographic regions and service tiers.” See

10 New Education Companies to Watch (Plus 3 More for Extra Credit)
by Anya Kamenetz
Jun 1, 2010, Fast Company

. . . “There are the gamers: Muzzy Lane Software, which does immersive 3-D learning environments (like a really cool one of Boston’s Chinatown), and Launchpad Toys, which makes Toontastic, “a storytelling and animation tool for the iPad” that debuted at this year’s Maker Faire. There are the social networks: Everloop is for tweens and Notehall enables the sale of notes and tests, student to student (sounds a little shady!) There are iPhone/iPad based companies: Watermelon Express (test prep), Irynsoft (full course delivery, with social networking) and CCKF (an agnostic “adaptive learning” engine). Then there’s the miscellaneous: Presence Telecare brings speech pathologists to work with students over video chat, and FairChoice Systems helps colleges organize their health information and deliver needed info to students on their smartphones.”

. . . Einztein’s “concept was to get a team of PhD experts to review what’s out there in free and open course content, and to help people find the best. This is something that’s really needed as it can be hard to find and evaluate what’s out there. Today the site features complete courses only–2000, across 35 categories, from 100+ providers. Later this year they’re rolling out a suite of social tools to enable people to learn together. By the way, it’s all free, and the company’s a nonprofit. (Two more new .edu companies to check out: NaMaYa and Udemy both have platforms that allow anyone to create online courses and go directly to students with them.)”

Wolfram Alpha Finds iPad Niche
by David Talbot
June 1, 2010, Technology Review

. . . “the emergence of e-books provides Alpha with a new outlet — as a ready-made supplier of interactive graphics, plots, charts, and real-time data. These features can be incorporated within publications developed for Apple’s iPad and other devices. ‘Deeper information becomes available by way of tapping,’ says Theodore Gray, cofounder of Wolfram Research. The first example is now out: a Wolfram/Alpha app for The Elements, a book Gray wrote on the periodic table. The paper version of the book is dominated by glossy photos of elements and products made from them (Pepto-Bismol, for example, uses bismuth). The version developed for the iPad, however, is chock-full of on-screen buttons that lead to Wolfram’s online computational engine and data sets.” . . .

9 (+1) Alternatives to Ning
by Martin Hawksey
June 1, 2010, JISC RSC Scotland N&E MASHe

. . . “If you are a Ning user working out where they go or you are considering using social networks in education for your next academic year here are some solutions mentioned by ALT and Champ members (to make this post a quick turnaround where indicated by [G&B] I’ve used descriptions produced by Robin Good and Daniele Bazzano’s ‘Ning Alternatives: Guide to the Best Social Networking Platforms and Online Group Services’ (made available under Creative Commons)).” . . .

Yahoo to Turn Subscribers’ E-Mail Contact Lists into Social Networking Base
by Cecilia Kang
June 1, 2010, Washington Post

“Yahoo plans to announce Tuesday that it is jumping into social networking by using its massive population of e-mail subscribers as a base for sharing information on the Web. Over the next few weeks, its 280 million e-mail users will be able to exchange comments, pictures and news articles with others in their address books. The program won’t expose a user’s contact list to the public, as was done by Google through its social networking application, Buzz. But unless a user proactively opts out of the program, those Yahoo e-mail subscribers will automatically be part of a sweeping rollout of features that will incorporate the kinds of sharing done on sites such as Facebook and MySpace. The plan could spark criticism from Yahoo e-mail users, who signed up for the free service perhaps never imagining the people they e-mailed would become friends for sharing vacation videos, political causes and random thoughts throughout the day. And the move comes amid growing concern by federal lawmakers and regulators over how firms such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft have handled the privacy of Internet users.” . . .

YouTube Dominates Online Video Views
by Nick Bilton
June 1, 2010, New York Times

“Although Google’s purchase of YouTube hasn’t paid off financially, it has clearly made Google a giant in the world of online video, displaying more than 13 billion videos during the month of April. On Tuesday, comScore, which monitors online usages of e-commerce, advertising and video, released its April data of video usage on the Internet. According to a company press release, 178 million United States Internet users, or 83.5 percent of the total American Internet audience, watched some form of video online during April.”

“YouTube dwarfed other competitors, dominating the attention of 135 million Web surfers, who watched more than 13 billion videos on the service. Hulu, which offers videos from mainstream media outlets, including ABC, Fox and NBC, was a distant second streaming 958 million views during the same period. Other online video outlets included Microsoft, which offers video through its Zune network, showed 644 million online videos, and Viacom, which owns the MTV network, showed 384 million video views.” . . .

Chrome Keeps Gaining, IE Keeps Losing, Firefox Is Flat
by Mathew Ingram
Jun. 1, 2010, GigaOm

“Google’s Chrome browser continues to gain market share as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to decline — Firefox’s share, meanwhile, remains largely unchanged, according to the most recent surveys of browser usage. StatCounter said that in May, usage of IE 6 fell below the 5 percent mark in the U.S. and Europe for the first time, with overall usage of Internet Explorer at around 53 percent, while Firefox remained relatively flat at about 31 percent. Chrome’s share rose to 8.6 percent from the 6 percent mark at the beginning of the year.” . . .

Intel Debuts New Atom Chips for Razor-Thin Netbooks
by Dean Takahashi
May 31, 2010, Venture Beat

“Intel is debuting new members of its Atom family of microprocessors today that can be the brains of everything from low-power laptops to razor-thin netbooks. To show off the new technology at the Computex 2010 trade show in Taiwan, Intel is demonstrating its Atom chips inside a razor-thin ‘Canoe Lake’ platform, which can serve as the electronics for a dual-core netbook that is just 14-millimeters thick (half an inch). With that size, the prototype netbook is the world’s thinnest such device. The thin netbook runs Intel’s ‘Pine Trail’ version of the Atom processors.” . . .

The Transformation of Textbook Publishing in the Digital Age — New Business Models
by Rob Reynolds
May 31, 2010, the xplanation

“While the path to digital transformation will be unique for the different publishing companies, there are some constants that will be part of any successful plan for Higher Education learning content in the coming years. The surface chatter will continue to be about e-textbooks — reaching 18-20 percent of the new textbook market by 2014 — but the strategies that drive success will all take the following elements into consideration.”

– The Disaggregation of Content — Future profitability will be incumbent on publishers’ ability to conceive of and produce meaningful content at a more granular level and disaggregated from the notions of textbooks. It is not that they should produce less or different content, necessarily, but rather that content must become agile, malleable, and designed to be mashed up easily by customers — institutions, instructors, and students. This means thinking at the key concept or learning objective level. It also means arriving at new revenue streams that are also disassociated from textbooks and ISBNs.

– A Focus on Lifelong Learning — New estimates have social media sites accounting for two-thirds of U.S. Web traffic within five years. This growth and dominance is related to a sense of personal connectedness and long-term residence that users associate with such sites. Textbook publishers must find ways to move past outdated notions of students and instructors bound within narrow windows of consumer opportunity, and learn to embrace lifelong learning and see every adult citizen as a potential customer.

– Embracing Self-Publishing — In the new world order of business in publishing, self-publishing will be a primary avenue for partnership and revenue. And unlike the stigma associated with self-publishing in trade fiction, the educational content market already recognizes self-published content as valuable and embraces it. In the future, textbook publishers should plan on abandoning much of their current content authoring model in favor of aggressive self-publishing services. This will lead to broader partnerships throughout the educational community as well as to more sustainable models for revenue.

– Partner with Open Content — Make no mistake about it. Open content and open educational resources (OERs) will become leading alternatives to proprietary textbooks for at least 25 percent of the Higher Education market within five years. There are many services than can be offered around OERs and there is great value in mapping OERs to existing publisher content. Textbook publishers must take advantage of this opportunity to make their content and services more relevant, or they will see the value of their businesses diminish.

Career Videos for America’s Job Seekers Challenge
Department of Labor
Submission Deadline: June 18, 2010

The Career Videos for America’s Job Seekers Challenge invites members of the public to produce and submit short (1 to 3 minute) videos focusing on the daily activities, necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), and career pathways of one of the following 15 occupations: biofuels processing technicians; boilermakers; carpenters; computer support specialists; energy auditors; heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers/ testing adjusting and balancing tab technicians; licensed practical and licensed vocational nurse; medical assistants; medical and clinical lab technicians including cytotechnologists; medical records and health info technicians including medical biller and coder; plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters; radiological technologists and technicians; solar thermal installers and technicians; weatherization installers and technicians; and wind turbine service technicians.

ID – Instructional Design or Interactivity Design in an Interconnected World?
by Charles Jennings
May 28, 2010, Improving Performance through Learning Innovation

“Instructional design is not only seen as a core competency for learning and development/training specialists, but it’s a huge industry, too. Most learning vendors tout their ‘expertise in instructional design’ as a key reason as to why we should engage them to produce learning content. If we do so, then almost invariably their approach is around developing content in an ‘instructionally-sound way’ to produce a set of ‘learning interventions’. I have a real problem with this approach and the thinking behind it. It simply isn’t appropriate for the needs of the 21st century knowledge industry, and is arguable even more inappropriate for those whose work is carried out with their hands rather than with their minds.”

“Undoubtedly instructional design is crucial if the mindset is learning events — modules, courses, programmes and curricula. However, if the mindset has stretched beyond event-based learning to where most learning occurs for workers, which is in the workplace at the point-of-need, where process-based learning serves best – and where learning through doing and learning as part of the work process happens, then ID takes on a whole new dimension.” . . .

10 Techniques to Massively Increase Retention
by Donald Clark
May 28, 2010, Plan B

“This is the classic ‘forgetting curve’ by Ebbinghaus, a fundamental truth in memory theory, totally ignored by most educators and trainers. Most fixed ’courses’ or ‘lectures’ take no notice of the phenomenon, condemning much of their effort to the world of lost memories. Most educational and training pedagogies are hopelessly inefficient because they fail to recognise this basic truth. Smart learners get it. They revise over a period, with regular doses to consolidate their memories.”

“The real solution, to this massive problem of forgetfulness, is spaced practice, little and often, the regular rehearsal and practice of the knowledge/skill over a period of time to elaborate and allow deep processing to fix long-term memories. If we get this right, increases on the productivity of learning can be enormous. We are not talking small increase in knowledge and retention but increases of 200-700 percent. It has the potential to radically alter the attainment levels in schools, colleges, universities and organisations. OK, that’s the theory, what about the practice?” . . .

Science Maps Explore New Ways of Displaying
by John Matson
May 26, 2010, Scientific American

[Edward] Tufte’s many disciples will no doubt be pleased to learn of Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, a multiyear project devoted to data visualization in the scientific sphere.” . . . “ ‘Every year we add 10 new maps,’ explains co-curator Katy Börner, a professor of information science at Indiana University Bloomington. Each year has a different theme, Börner notes — this year’s theme is ‘science maps for scholars.’ “

“In 2014, at the end of the 10-year project, the exhibition will contain 100 maps representing a diverse range of uses for scientific information — some maps are intended for policymakers, some for librarians, some for children. And although many are “maps” in the strictest cartographic sense of the world — visual plots of geographic information — others are more abstract, charting scientific data or trends. The unifying goal is that the maps present a viewpoint that is both compelling and informative. ‘These maps are not designed to be eye candy; they are designed to convey information,’ Börner says. ‘The point is to engage the viewer’s eyes and minds.” “ See

Eisman of ‘Big Short’ Says Sell Education Stocks (Update2)
by Daniel Golden and John Hechinger
May 27, 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek

“Steven Eisman, a hedge-fund manager whose bet against the housing market was chronicled in a best- selling book, said he has found the next “big short”: higher education stocks. The stocks of companies operating for-profit colleges could fall much as 50 percent if the U.S. tightens student-loan rules, said Eisman, manager of the financial-services fund at FrontPoint Partners, a hedge-fund unit of New York-based Morgan Stanley. An Obama administration proposal to limit student debt would slash earnings of Apollo Group Inc., ITT Educational Services Inc. and Corinthian Colleges Inc. by forcing them to reduce tuition and slow enrollment growth, Eisman said yesterday at a New York investment conference. Without new regulation, students at for-profit colleges will default on $275 billion of loans in the next decade, he said.” . . .’s Kindle Fails First College Test
by Amy Martinez
May 23, 2010, Seattle Times

“If Amazon hoped for honest feedback when it started testing the Kindle DX on college campuses last fall, it certainly got its wish; students pulled no punches telling the Seattle Internet giant what they thought of its $489 e-reader. But if Amazon also hoped the Kindle DX would become the next iPhone or iPod on campuses, it failed its first test.” . . .

See the discussion on at

Microsoft Word Accessibility
May 2010, WebAIM Newsletter

“Our popular Microsoft Word article has been updated to include changes and new features in Word 2010. . . . Microsoft Word is currently the most common word processor on the market. Because it is so common, the .doc (and to a lesser extent, .docx) format has become the de facto format for text documents. Word is often used to create files that end up in PDF and HTML. This article will cover several things that you can do to make web content created in Word more accessible.” . . .

Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers
by Joyce Seitzinger
May 24, 2010, Cats Pyjamas

“A few weeks ago, a Social Media Cheat Sheet ( was doing the round. A nice visualization of the pro’s and cons of each social media channel, but with a business/marketing focus. I thought I should do one for social media use in education. However for most of the teachers I work with, our Moodle (EIT Online) is still their primary online teaching environment. So instead I set out to create this poster size guide for teachers, allowing them to compare the functionality and pedagogical advantages of some standard Moodle tools, adding a column to indicate how tricky the tool is to set up.”

Dan Meyer: Math Class Needs a Makeover
March 2010

Today’s math curriculum is teaching students to expect — and excel at — paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them. Dan Meyer shows classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think. Rob Reynolds writes, “Myer’s assessment of math education can be applied to many aspects of education in general, and also makes a compelling case for best practices in online education.”

Google Wave in Plain English
Oct. 4, 2010
Created by Created by

National Discussion Debate Series: The Cost of Higher Education
The Miller Center of Public Affairs

Resolved: The business model of higher education is broken. Since the mid-1980s, the costs of higher education in America have steadily shifted from the taxpayer to the student and family. As state funding has dwindled, colleges and universities have sought to fill these gaps through a variety of avenues, including philanthropy and research support, but the area of highest growth has been tuition. The share of institutional budgets provided by tuition increased from 22 percent in 1985 to 36 percent in 2005. As state budgets slip further into structural deficit, there is no reason to think this trend will reverse itself. Sponsored by the Lumina Foundation, this debate was held on April 27, 2010 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It is 90 minutes long.

Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2007–08
June 2, 2010, National Center for Education Statistics

Nationwide, 75 percent of public high school students who started as freshmen in the fall of 2004 graduated high school in 2008 — up from 74 percent who graduated on time in the spring of 2007. Other findings include: the average freshmen graduation rate increased by at least 1 percentage point in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Four percent of high school students dropped out of school during the 2007-08 school year. This marks a decrease of at least half a percentage point for 14 states and the District of Columbia from 2006-07.

Anybots Robot Will Go to the Office for You
by Priya Ganapati
May 18, 2010, Wired

Robots have replaced humans on assembly lines, battlefields, space missions and rescue operations. Now how about doing something useful, like sitting through endless meetings for you? Meet the Anybots QB, a telepresence robot that can represent you in the office by sitting in conference rooms, going to meetings and rolling about through the cubicle farm. The whole time it does so, it displays a live webcam video of your face, while transmitting to you a live video and audio stream of whatever it’s looking at.

Marca’s World Cup Calendar

Steven Downes writes, “This is a fantastic World Cup calendar, one of the best examples of digital design I’ve seen. It’s in Spanish, but language will be no barrier to anyone using it.”

Broadband Survey, Ed Tech Sites, Ning Alternatives, Yahoo, Textbooks, Instructional Design, Maps, Word Access, Moodle