GI Bill, Disability Access, iPad, Web Posts, Ed Games, Broadband, U of Phoenix, Faculty IT, D2L, Khan Academy

Retooling the GI Bill
by Jack Stripling
July 22, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “At issue for the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is S. 3447, legislation that would revamp the benefit formula that has been in place since the Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect last year. . . . The bill would also extend housing allowances to students taking courses purely online. While the current GI Bill provides no allowance to students taking only distance education courses, the legislation would provide those students with 50 percent of the allowance given to residential students.”

“While the housing allowance is a form of progress, it still doesn’t sit well with some administrators whose colleges have robust distance learning programs and significant veteran enrollments. Russell S. Kitcher, associate vice president for regulatory and government relations at American Public University System, was critical of the “discrimination” inherent in the housing allowance.”

” ‘Providing some form of a housing stipend for individuals taking courses online certainly is a step in the correct direction, but I remain unconvinced that there should be any discrimination based on learning modes,’ Kitcher wrote in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed. ‘Online students, the majority of whom are adult learners, have comparable living expenses as do those taking courses at traditional brick and mortar institutions, and to suggest otherwise is to overlook the realities of contemporary learners.’ ”

[For more on what veterans who take online courses are eligible to receive from the GI Bill see]

Facebook Tops 500 Million Users
by Jenna Wortham
July 21, 2010, New York Times

“Facebook, the social network created in the dormitories of Harvard six years ago, said on Wednesday that it now had 500 million members. The company has grown at a meteoric pace, doubling in size from a year ago and pushing international competitors aside. Each month, Facebook says, more than 30 billion photographs, links to Web sites and news articles are shared through the site, and its members spend roughly 700 billion minutes there.” . . .

House Energy & Commerce OKs Communications Disability Access Bill
by John Eggerton
July 21, 2010, Broadcasting & Cable

“The House Energy & Commerce Committee Wednesday approved HR 3101, a bill that updates disability access to communications services elements of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, but with changes that address some of the issues that industry had with the bill. .. Among other things, the bill requires the captioning of any online video that is closed captioned on TV, and asks the FCC to study captioning of Web-original video. It also requires smart phones and other mobile devices to be accessible to the disabled, if that is achievable, and restores the FCC’s video description rules thrown out by the courts in 2002.”

“What passed Wednesday in the House committee was a substitute bill reflecting talks with stakeholders, including industry players, said Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.). Rep Ed Markey (D-Mass.), sponsor and driving force behind the bill, outlined some of the changes that give industry more flexibility. He pointed out that the new version now exempts live or ‘near live’ programming from video description, provides program owners and distributors an exemption from descriptions if they would be ‘economically burdensome.’ And while it also expands the original top 25 market mandate for descriptions to all media markets, it does that over six years, Markey pointed out, and gives the FCC the ability to grant waivers for markets where it deems that appropriate.” . . .

Waxman Says Commerce Will Look Into Access to PEG Channels
by John Eggerton
July 21, 2010, Broadcasting & Cable

“House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) called access to PEG channels an important issue and one the committee would look into. . . . [Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)] had asked for assurances that the committee would take up PEG issues ‘in the near future.’ Those issues included the move of PEG channels from analog to digital tiers, the clustering on digital channels on subchannels to a single, menu-driven channel, and other moves by cable operators that that she argues can make them harder to access, including for the disabled.”

“She said PEG channels ‘serve as a lifeline to Americans with disabilities,’ helping them stay connected by monitoring and engaging in local government and distant learning classes, or even go to church. ‘While we strive for digital inclusion,’ she said, ‘we must protect and enhance the existing access to news and civic life available to PEG channels.’ Her amendment would have made sure that PEG providers would have to meet the same standards for accessibility as broadcasters.” . . .

iPad Goes Under The Gauntlet At Universities This Fall
by Chris Foresman
July 21, 2010, Ars Technica

“The iPad is about to have its academic chops put to the test this fall in a number of programs around the country. Colleges and universities are looking to adopt the iPad as a collaborative tool, a standardized mobile device to integrate into curriculums, and, in some cases, even a cost-saving device. . . . Though an iPad starts at $499 and can cost as much as $829 for the top-end model, there is potential for cost savings, as well. The university has already identified one class where the textbook in ePub format costs $100 less than the dead-tree version. With a typical class load of five courses, it could be possible to completely offset the cost of a device like an iPad in textbook savings alone. (At least, this is true if you’re comparing the iPad against a stack of brand new textbooks; the savings may disappear if used books are brought into the comparison.)” . . .

“The iPad can certainly address the speed and input issues that students complained about [in the Kindle], and offers accessibility features for vision-impaired users. However, the device may suffer from similar problems with loading documents over the air and viewing more than one text at a time. But by combining its speed with the multitasking capabilities that will come in a fall update to iOS 4, the iPad may still prove to be a workable solution. If it works as well as expected, carrying an iPad would sure beat lugging 40lbs of books and a laptop all over campus.”

The Web Means the End of Forgetting
by Jeffrey Rosen
July 19, 2010, New York Times

. . .“The problem [Stacy Snyder] faced is only one example of a challenge that, in big and small ways, is confronting millions of people around the globe: how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever. With Web sites like LOL Facebook Moments, which collects and shares embarrassing personal revelations from Facebook users, ill-advised photos and online chatter are coming back to haunt people months or years after the fact.”

“Examples are proliferating daily: there was the 16-year-old British girl who was fired from her office job for complaining on Facebook, “I’m so totally bored!!”; there was the 66-year-old Canadian psychotherapist who tried to enter the United States but was turned away at the border — and barred permanently from visiting the country — after a border guard’s Internet search found that the therapist had written an article in a philosophy journal describing his experiments 30 years ago with L.S.D.”

“According to a recent survey by Microsoft, 75 percent of U.S. recruiters and human-resource professionals report that their companies require them to do online research about candidates, and many use a range of sites when scrutinizing applicants — including search engines, social-networking sites, photo- and video-sharing sites, personal Web sites and blogs, Twitter and online-gaming sites. Seventy percent of U.S. recruiters report that they have rejected candidates because of information found online, like photos and discussion-board conversations and membership in controversial groups.” . . .

“We’ve known for years that the Web allows for unprecedented voyeurism, exhibitionism and inadvertent indiscretion, but we are only beginning to understand the costs of an age in which so much of what we say, and of what others say about us, goes into our permanent — and public — digital files. The fact that the Internet never seems to forget is threatening, at an almost existential level, our ability to control our identities; to preserve the option of reinventing ourselves and starting anew; to overcome our checkered pasts.” . . .

Educational Games for the Classroom
by Karl Kapp
July 19, 2010, Kapp Notes

“Here is a list of educational games that can be used to teach kids during the school year or over the summer break. There are a bunch of games on the web site to check out. Here is a list of the top 10 most visited educational games on Nobel Prize web site.”

1. The Blood Typing Game
2. The Laser Challenge Game
3. The DNA – the Double Helix Game
4. The Pavlov’s Dog Game
5. The Diabetic Dog Game
6. The Lord of the Flies Game
7. The Electrocardiogram Game
8. The Immune System Game
9. The Control of the Cell Cycle Game
10. The Split Brain Experiments Game

FCC Finds 14 To 24 Million Americans Lack Access to Broadband
Press Release
July 20, 2010, Federal Communications Commission

“In response to a Congressional directive to inquire whether broadband “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion,” the FCC concluded in its Sixth Broadband Deployment Report that between 14 and 24 million Americans still lack access to broadband, and the immediate prospects for deployment to them are bleak. This report underscores the need for comprehensive reform of the Universal Service Fund, innovative approaches to unleashing new spectrum, and removal of barriers to infrastructure investment.”

“In an era when broadband has become essential for U.S. jobs, economic growth, global competitiveness, and democratic engagement, millions of Americans live in areas without broadband. Many of these Americans are poor or live in rural areas that will remain unserved without reform of the universal service program and other changes to U.S. broadband policy that spur investment in broadband networks by lowering the cost of deployment. The report concludes that the goal of universal availability — deployment to all Americans — is not being met in a timely way, and proposes to address key recommendations from the FCC’s National Broadband Plan to connect all Americans as quickly as possible, including:

• Reforming the FCC’s universal service programs to support broadband through public-private partnerships;
• Unleashing spectrum for mobile broadband;
• Reducing barriers to infrastructure investment, including delays in access to poles and rights-of-way;
• Collecting better broadband data to assist policymakers and consumers.”

“The report also takes the long-overdue step of updating a key standard — speed — used to determine whether households are served by broadband. It upgrades the standard from 200 kilobits per second downstream, a standard set over a decade ago when web pages were largely text-based, to 4 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. This is a minimum speed generally required for using today’s video-rich broadband applications and services, while retaining sufficient capacity for basic web browsing and e-mail. The Commission’s standard will evolve over time.”

Levin Encourages Digital Citizenship
by David Cup
July 20, 2010,

“The principal author of the National Broadband Plan has several suggestions on how to achieve universal first-class digital citizenship. Blair Levin, speaking at the Eighth Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications policy conference held by the Minority Media & Telecom Council, says ‘we need to replace all textbooks in this country with digital content.’ This platform will enable students to learn as much as they can as fast as they can he went onto explain.”

“The notion that teaching is restricted to ink and paper is wrong and Levin says that the digital platform is inherently self improving, leading to comprehensive devices and enhanced learning. Levin says that this means that a generation from now, everyone will have the opportunity to be a first class digital citizen. Levin also suggests Universal Service Fund reform. He says it needs to be repurposed for broadband because it is ‘heading for a train wreck.’ The fund is not ready for broadband, says Levin, and without reform the necessary funds for the National Broadband Plan will not be available.” . . .

U of Phoenix Makes History
by Ben Miller
July 20, 2010, The Quick and the Ed

“According to U.S. Department of Education data released today, the University of Phoenix became the first college in the history of the United States to take in more than a billion dollars worth of Pell Grants disbursements in a single academic year. Students at the for-profit chain received a total of $1,042,372,699.50 spread amongst 304,583 awards in the 2009-10 academic year.”

“That’s what happens when your average Pell Grant dollar disbursement increase is 62 percent. In 2008-09, Phoenix took in $656 million. The year prior to that it was $398 million and the year before that it was $244 million. Phoenix received more in additional Pell money this year than it got in the entire 2006-07 academic year and almost more than the 2007-08 year as well.”

“While Phoenix has steadily seen a huge increase in its Pell dollars disbursed, the general growth in the proprietary sector is astounding. For-profits received $7.34 billion in the 2009-10 academic year, or 70 percent more than they got the year prior. The sector took in $44 million less in 2009-10 than it did in the prior two years combined.”

“These patterns are amplified trends of what’s going on in the program overall. Total dollars disbursed increased by more than $11 billion this year, a 61 percent gain. Even if you take out dollars given to for-profits, the increase is still 58 percent. For-profits still increased faster than the rest of schools, but the rate is only 12 percentage points higher. By contrast, Pell dollars disbursed increased by 21 percent last year at public and nonprofit schools, but 40 percent in the for-profit sector.” . . .

Faculty, IT Diverge on the Importance of Classroom Tech
by David Nagel
July 19, 2010, Campus Technology

“The report, ‘The 2010 21st-Century Campus Report: Campus 2.0,’ commissioned by CDW Government (CDW-G) and released Monday at the Campus Technology 2010 conference in Boston, polled about 1,000 students, instructors, and IT department staff members in order to gauge their attitudes about technology used in education and their expectations for the future.” (see

“It found that IT staff tended to advocate online collaborative tools and virtual education to a far greater extent than faculty members. According to the research, 72 percent of IT staffers indicated they consider online collaboration software “essential” to the 21st-century classroom, compared with just 31 percent of faculty members. Similarly, 68 percent of IT staff members said virtual learning is essential, a view shared by only 35 percent of faculty members.”

“In fact, in every category, a higher percentage of IT pros than faculty considered technology essential–including wireless Internet access, digital content, smart podiums, lecture capture, HD videoconferencing, and electronic readers. But educators weren’t unenthusiastic about every technology. A majority of faculty surveyed cited digital content (67 percent), wireless Internet access (65 percent), and smart podiums (62 percent) as essential classroom technologies.”

“Meanwhile, IT staffers were also fairly upbeat about the state of the infrastructure on their campuses. Only 6 percent said their campuses were “aging” or “in the dark ages.” Thirty-eight percent reported that their tech was adequate, though it “could be refreshed.” A majority actually reported that their IT infrastructure is either current, with “hardware that is no more than three years old” (47 percent), or cutting edge (9 percent).” . . .

Project to Improve Broadband Adoption by People with Disabilities
Press Release
July 19, 2010, National Telecommunication and Information Administration

. . . “The [$15 million] grant to Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) intends to expand broadband adoption among people who are deaf and hard of hearing and provide them with tools to more fully participate in the digital economy. CSD’s Project Endeavor plans to employ a mix of discounted broadband service and specialized computers, technology training from an online state-of-the-art support center customized to the community’s needs, public access to videophones at community anchor institutions across the country, and a nationwide outreach initiative.”

“CSD plans to add new staff, proficient in sign language, to its contact center in South Dakota and expects to train up to 200,000 people who are deaf and hard of hearing in the use of video, real-time text-based communications, and other specialized broadband technologies. The project also intends to facilitate improved access to enhanced 911 public safety services by those who are deaf or hard of hearing.” . . .

Outsourced Ed: Colleges Hire Companies to Build Their Online Courses
by Marc Parry
July 18, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

. . . “As more colleges dip their toes into the booming online-education business, they’re increasingly taking those steps hand-in-hand with companies like Embanet. For nonprofit universities trying to compete in an online market aggressively targeted by for-profit colleges, the partnerships can rapidly bring in many students and millions of dollars in new revenue. That’s becoming irresistible to an increasingly prominent set of clients. George Washington University, Boston University, and the University of Southern California, to pick just three, all work with online-service companies.” . . .

Interview With Desire2Learn CEO John Baker
by Michael Feldstein
July 16, 2010, e-Literate

“I have a couple of take-aways from both the interview and the conference. First of all, I was astonished at how much D2L is growing. Based on what I saw at the Sakai conference, what the market surveys have been saying, and what I know from talking to people, it was already clear to me going in that there’s a big shift happening in the LMS market. I expected to see D2L benefiting from that. But I wasn’t prepared to see the number of new clients they’re on-boarding. I’m trying to get a list to illustrate the size of the growth. In his keynote, John had three slides’ worth of new logos. These aren’t expanded client relationships, which is the kind of thing that Blackboard tends to highlight these days. These are new clients.”

“Second, the economic downturn is affecting the market, but the effects are somewhat unpredictable. John’s story about PASSHE, a system with fourteen different universities, migrating to D2L in a couple of months, is remarkable. There’s only one thing that can drive a fractious group of state colleges to act that quickly in unison: a budget crisis.” . . .

A Global Teacher of 1,516 Lessons and Counting
by Lisa M. Krieger
June 27, 2010,

“From a tiny closet in Mountain View, Calif., Sal Khan is educating the globe for free. His 1,516 videotaped mini-lectures — on topics ranging from simple addition to vector calculus and Napoleonic campaigns — are transforming the former hedge fund analyst into a YouTube sensation, reaping praise from even reluctant students across the world. ‘I’m starting a virtual school for the world, teaching things the way I wanted to be taught,’ explains Khan, 33, the exuberant founder and sole faculty member of the nonprofit Khan Academy, run out of his small ranch house, which he shares with his wife and infant son.”

“Khan has never studied education and has no teaching credentials. His brief and low-tech videos, created in the corner of his bedroom, are made with a $200 Camtasia Recorder, $80 Wacom Bamboo Tablet and a free copy of SmoothDraw3 on a home PC. But every day, his lectures are viewed 70,000 times — double the entire student body of UC Berkeley. His viewers are diverse, ranging from rural preschoolers to Morgan Stanley analysts to Pakistani engineers. Since its inception in 2006, the Khan Academy website has recorded more than 16 million page views.” . . .

NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM)
Solicitation 09-567

Full Proposal Deadline: Aug. 12, 2010

This program makes grants to institutions of higher education to support scholarships for academically talented, financially needy students, enabling them to enter the workforce following completion of an associate; baccalaureate; or graduate-level degree in science and engineering disciplines. Grantee institutions are responsible for selecting scholarship recipients, reporting demographic information about student scholars, and managing the S-STEM project at the institution. The program does not make scholarship awards directly to students; students should contact their institution’s Office of Financial Aid for this and other scholarship opportunities.

GI Bill, Disability Access, iPad, Web Posts, Ed Games, Broadband, U of Phoenix, Faculty IT, D2L, Khan Academy

Blackboard eTexts, Debate, DIY U, Eduglu, P2PU, Entrepreneurism, Network Literacy, Cheating, Broadband

Blackboard’s Bid to Galvanize E-Texts
by Steve Kolowich
July 15, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“In a series of moves that could give a boost to an e-textbook industry that has been treading water for years, Blackboard announced Wednesday that it is partnering with a major publisher and two major e-textbook vendors to make it easy for professors and students to assign and access e-textbooks and other digital materials directly through its popular learning-management system. The company, which controlled about 60 percent of the learning-management market as of last year, said it is partnering with McGraw-Hill, a top academic publisher, as well as Follett Higher Education Group and Barnes & Noble, two major distributors that operate a combined 1,500 college bookstores in the United States and Canada.”

“The McGraw-Hill partnership will allow instructors to search the McGraw-Hill catalog for relevant course materials, then assign them to their students, without ever leaving Blackboard. Students can then purchase and access the assigned materials, also through the Blackboard portal, via the Follett and Barnes & Noble online bookstores.” . . . “The company would not comment on whether it is negotiating similar deals with publishers other than McGraw-Hill. But the other big-time e-textbook providers have been making moves of their own. Earlier this week, CourseSmart, a consortium of five major publishers (including McGraw-Hill), unveiled its new ‘Faculty Instant Access’ program, which lets instructors access e-textbooks and other online content directly through any learning-management system (including Blackboard). CourseSmart will be rolling out the program to a handful of ‘selected universities’ in coming weeks.” . . .

Continuing Debate Over Online Education
by Iza Wojciechowska
July 16, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“. . . A new paper by the Community College Research Center re-examined and challenged the studies that the Department of Education used in a meta-analysis that stated ‘on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction’ — a conclusion that received much attention and applause among advocates for online education.” . . .

“The CCRC report states that the Department of Education analysis’ flaws lie in the student populations studied and the conditions of the online courses. The meta-analysis examined the results of 51 published studies that looked at the effects of online versus face-to-face education. Of these, however, only 28 compared face-to-face courses with fully online courses. (The third option, hybrid courses, had most of the students experiencing as much face-to-face class time as they would in a normal course.)”

“The paper also states that most of these 28 courses studied contained conditions unrepresentative of typical college classes. Most of them looked at short educational programs (as short as 15 minutes) instead of semester-long courses, and some examined online learning in elementary schools or with postgraduate professionals. As a result, Jaggars narrowed the pool to only seven studies that accurately reflected fully-online learning in a college or university setting. According to the report, these seven online courses ‘showed no strong advantage or disadvantage in terms of learning outcomes among the samples of students under study.’ (Of course that finding may also cheer advocates for distance education, who still face skeptics who insist that the newer form of instruction can’t be as good the traditional model.)” . . .

Anya Kamenetz’s DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education – Keynote at Sakai Conference
by Michael Feldstein
July 1, 2010, E-Literate

“OK, this was worth the wait. I have video of Anya Kamenetz’s keynote, which set the tone for the Sakai Conference 2010 in some important ways. I also have a short video interview with her, some related video content from Dan Pink, and of course, analysis of what all this means for educational technology in general and for the design of Sakai 3 in particular.”

“Let’s start with the keynote. If you have not read Anya’s book yet (DIY U at, then this provides a good overview of her argument. And if you have read her book, the keynote provides a significantly evolved and refined version of her argument. The video starts with an introduction to the conference by Lois Brooks. It’s a great overview to some things that are going on in the community but isn’t about the keynote itself. My introduction starts at around 10:30 and Anya’s talk itself starts at around 23 minutes in.” . . .


On July 15, D’Arcy Norman wrote, “I haven’t had a chance to check it out since the initial announcement, but it looks like it’s progressing nicely. A social network application built entirely using Drupal and a set of modules. Eduglu Alpha 2 is available now. I’ll have to grab a copy when I’m back in the office next week… Now, how to reconcile this with my disdain for the concept of the PLN? Because Eduglu isn’t claiming to be the whole widget. It’s a way to connect various sources of content, published by various people, distributed across the internet, and then use that in the context of a class. Where the magic really happens.”

From the Eduglu Web site: “Eduglu helps learners connect with one another and form learning communities. Eduglu provides online spaces for groups to learn together. Our social learning platform ships with a number of powerful social learning applications including discussion boards with full email integration (like Google Groups), polls, wikis, and many more. And because it’s built on the powerful open source CMS Drupal, creating your own custom learning tools is easy. With Eduglu, it will become extremely easy for anyone to share information throughout your organization. Your learners will use it to post insights, point to good content, ask questions, and tell their fellow learners what they’re working on, what they’re seeing, and what they’re learning.”

Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU)

“The Peer 2 Peer University is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements. P2PU creates a model for lifelong learning alongside traditional formal higher education. Leveraging the internet and educational materials openly available online, P2PU enables high-quality low-cost education opportunities. P2PU – learning for everyone, by everyone about almost anything.”

“Currently P2PU is in a pilot phase. To begin, P2PU will offer scheduled “courses” that run for 6 weeks and cover university-level topics. Each course package, organized by a course volunteer, contains the syllabus, study materials and a schedule. Learning will take place in small groups of 8-14 students. P2PU blurs the boundaries between students and teachers. Volunteers step forward to create course outlines and facilitate the course work. In some cases they may be experts in the field, and in others, they may rely on input and advice from others who have expert knowledge. During the phase the project aims to test different styles of course structure, communication and organization. As the project grows the goal is to become more of a platform so anyone can use P2PU to organize, design and offer courses.” . . .

See Random Stuff that Matters by Stian Haklev –

“It’s Every Bastard for Himself, The Last Century Hasn’t Ended Yet”
by Jim Groom
July 2, 2010, BavaTuesdays

“. . . while reading the recent series of articles in Today’s Campus . . . about the business of EDUPUNKS, Edupreneurs, Eduneers, and Edubadgeres I marvel at how quickly the narrative of change in higher education is sucked into the seemingly irrefutable and naturalized logic of business innovation. The entrepreneur as savior of education (a myth Bill Fitzgerald so beautifully deconstructs here) becomes the all-too-apparent solution, and what gets left out through these articles is anything resembling a thought about teaching, sharing, and learning.”

“It’s all about business, markets, possibilities, and vast returns for the sharp young edupreneur — I mean look at the video Bill Fitzgerald’s links to in his post, it’s insane — it’s about a shallowly glamorized culture of capital, and as David Harvey notes here, capital’s goal remains re-inventing and innovating so that we really don’t stop and think about the increasingly vast inequalities in the accumulation of wealth and power. At the same time, it grafts on a hero narrative around the private sector’s financial innovation which in many ways might be part and parcel of the financial crisis we have yet to truly recover from.” . . .

Are We Teaching Networked Literacy?
by Jeff Utecht
June 27, 2010, The Thinking Stick

. . . “Print Literacy is still the bases of our teaching in schools. Some of us and some schools are starting to bring digital literacy into the equation, but few of us are touching on or teaching Networked Literacy. In August as I started to think about this idea of Networked Literacy I came up with this working definition:”

“Networked literacy is what the web is about. It’s about understanding how people and communication networks work. It’s the understanding of how to find information and how to be found. It’s about how to read hyperlinked text articles, and understand the connections that are made when you become “friends” or “follow” someone on a network. It’s the understanding of how to stay safe and how to use the networked knowledge that is the World Wide Web. Networked Literacy is about understanding connections.”

“After today’s conversation I think it’s pretty close to what we were all thinking. It’s the idea of teaching students that they have networks in Facebook and through other web connections. We need to teach them how to use those networks to spread their message. Today many of us ed tech people do the networking for students via our twitter accounts, our own blogs, and the whole of our PLNs. Students today have networks, the issue is most of them are blocked in schools. We do not think of them as idea spreading networks but instead as social-networks that students must be kept from during school hours.” . . .

Study Finds No Link Between Social-Networking Sites and Academic Performance
by Kelly Truong
July 15, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Spend as much time on Facebook as you want — it won’t affect your GPA, a new study says. Researchers at Northwestern University found no connection between time spent on social-networking sites and academic performance ( The study, the results of which appear in the latest issue of Information, Communication & Society, included responses from approximately 1,000 first-year students at the University of Illinois at Chicago.” . . .

To Stop Cheats, Colleges Learn Their Trickery
by Trip Gabriel
July 5, 2010, New York Times

“As the eternal temptation of students to cheat has gone high-tech — not just on exams, but also by cutting and pasting from the Internet and sharing of homework online like music files — educators have responded with their own efforts to crack down. This summer, as incoming freshmen fill out forms to select roommates and courses, some colleges — Duke and Bowdoin among them — are also requiring them to complete online tutorials about plagiarism before they can enroll.”

“Anti-plagiarism services requiring students to submit papers to be vetted for copying is a booming business. Fifty-five percent of colleges and universities now use such a service, according to the Campus Computing Survey. The best-known service,, is engaged in an endless cat-and-mouse game with technologically savvy students who try to outsmart it. ‘The Turnitin algorithms are updated on an on-going basis,’ the company warned last month in a blog post titled ‘Can Students ‘Trick’ Turnitin?’ The extent of student cheating, difficult to measure precisely, appears widespread at colleges. In surveys of 14,000 undergraduates over the last four years, an average of 61 percent admitted to cheating on assignments and exams.” . . .

Education As We Know It Is Finished
Clayton M. Christensen and Michael B. Horn
July 12, 2010,

. . . “More than 70 percent of school districts already offer some form of online learning, and that number is growing among traditional brick-and-mortar middle and high schools. With big budget cuts looming, online learning is likely only to grow, as students increasingly look to it to for courses they want to take and credits they need for graduation. Many of the leading online learning providers have experienced sharp growth over the past few years, and that’s unlikely to slow.”

“The adoption of online learning is much more than just a cost-saving move for school districts. It has the potential to transform schooling more broadly by allowing students access to a wide range of high-quality offerings and teachers, regardless of where they live. Some students whose classroom courses have been replaced with online versions will be thrilled to find out that they now have access to not just one provider’s online courses but a whole marketplace of high-quality options, in a naturally technology-rich environment quite compatible for them.” . . .

A New America Through Broadband
by Blair Levin and J. Erik Garr
July 16, 2010, The Washington Post

. . . “For the sake of our children, and for the competitiveness of the nation, America ought to be aggressively developing a new category of educational content, delivered using high-speed Internet access. Unfortunately, America is not grasping the opportunity that broadband presents. As the leaders of the team that prepared the National Broadband Plan that was presented to Congress in March, we have seen that the public debate on broadband focuses too much on how our networks compare with those in other countries. Instead, the discussion should focus on how to use those networks here in America and rethink how we deliver key services.” . . .

FCC Program to Expand Investment In Broadband Health Care Technology
Press Release
July 15, 2010, Federal Communications Commission

“The Federal Communications Commission today introduced a new health care connectivity program that would expand investment in broadband for medically underserved communities across the country. . . . This program would invest up to $400 million annually to enable doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics to deliver, through communications technology, world-class health care to patients, no matter where they live. It is one of four programs in the Universal Service Fund administered by the FCC. Without increasing the projected size of the overall fund, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today would bring affordable broadband connectivity to more than 2,000 rural hospitals and clinics. It builds on the lessons learned in the successful Rural Health Care Pilot Program — launched in 2007 and set to expire next year — and is consistent with the recommendations in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.”

Blackboard eTexts, Debate, DIY U, Eduglu, P2PU, Entrepreneurism, Network Literacy, Cheating, Broadband

WGU Indiana, Wikis, Google Books, Masters of Change, E-Rate, UC Online, Computers, Webinar, Grants

A Marriage Made in Indiana
by Doug Lederman
July 14, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “Under the arrangement, announced last month, the state would set up a ‘private label’ version of Western Governors known as WGU Indiana, creating, in essence, what Daniels called ‘Indiana’s eighth state university.’ In contrast to the millions it would have to spend to truly create a new campus — even a virtual one like Illinois’s failed Global Campus — Indiana will not directly invest funds to create WGU Indiana. The only significant change the state will make to enable the arrangement is to allow students to use their state-funded financial aid to attend the virtual institution. WGU Indiana’s tuition is under $3,000 per six-month term, roughly comparable to most of Indiana’s public universities.” . . .

“After early years in which it struggled to gain a foothold and first fought, and then accepted, the need for regional accreditation, WGU appears to have hit its stride, seeing its enrollment and number of graduates nearly double in the last two years (to roughly 19,000 and 6,600, respectively), and its revenues and staff more than double (to $105 million and 800, respectively) since 2007. About half of its enrollment is now in its teachers’ college, about a quarter in business fields, and the rest in information technology and health professions, including nursing.” . . .

Whither the Wikis?
by Steve Kolowich
July 14, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Of all the Web 2.0 tools that have become de rigueur on college campuses, wikis fundamentally embody the Internet’s original promise of pooling the world’s knowledge — a promise that resonates loudly in academe. And yet higher education’s relationship with wikis —-Web sites that allow users to collectively create and edit content — has been somewhat hot-and-cold. Wikipedia, the do-it-yourself online encyclopedia, vexed academics early on because of its wild-west content policies and the perception that students were using it as a shortcut to avoid the tedium of combing through more reliable sources. This frustration has been compounded by the fact that attempts to create scholarly equivalents have not been nearly as successful.”

“However, academe’s disdain for the anarchical site has since softened; a number of professors have preached tolerance, even appreciation, of Wikipedia as a useful starting point for research. As the relationship between higher education and wikis matures, it is becoming clearer where wikis are jibing with the culture of academe, and where they are not.” . . .

Google and the Digital Humanities
by Steve Kolowich
July 14, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Proponents of the Google Books project have argued that the effort to scan every printed book in the world into a digital database will be a game-changer for scholarship. Now Google is trying help digital humanities scholars prove it. The company plans to announce today that it is bankrolling 12 university-based research projects designed to demonstrate the potential value to scholarship of its growing digital vault.”

“Google has been scanning books from cooperating libraries since 2004, and currently indexes digital versions of 12 million books. Despite various legal challenges, it aspires to expand this collection over the next two decades to include all 80 million or so published works known to be in circulation, says Jon Orwant, engineering manager of Google Books. For humanities scholars, having all the world’s writings available in a digital format opens up an entirely new realm of quantitative research to supplement the qualitative research that, because of limitations inherent to the print medium, has historically been their sole dominion, say Google officials.” . . .

Build Your PLN
by Miguel Guhlin
July 13, 2010, Speed of Creativity

“As a educator, probably one of the tougher challenges you face isn’t just keeping up with the technology, but rather understanding how to leverage it in your teaching and learning situation. While in the past, we were limited by the occasions that served as ‘learning experiences,’ in the 21st century, learning isn’t restricted to a special event bound by time and place. We don’t learn just when sitting in a meeting, or at a conference or from 8:00 to 3:30 PM when school is in session. Today, we have the potential to tap into a flow of conversation, a web-based learning ecology, that we can learn from 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” . . .

Masters of Change
May/June 2010, Today’s Campus

Edupunks – How have advances in technology affected how we teach and learn? A new breed of educators – coined edupunks – claim the gadgetry is less important than what we learn, ways we share it and how to apply knowledge. Meet some punks who are rocking the system.
Edupreneurs – How have successful educators revamped both mission and business model? Academics and money have oft been seen as oil and water. No longer. There’s money needed in the business of learning. There’s money being made there as well. Smart business practices are essential for smooth campus operations and customer satisfaction. Alternative programs and delivery channels make education available and affordable to hoards of eager learners. Meet education’s entrepreneurs.
Edubadgerers – Who is applying the pressure? Off Campus governments, accreditors, employers and financiers are expecting – in many cases, demanding – accountability.
Eduneers – How does one change culture?

Schools and Libraries Ask FCC to Raise E-rate Cap, Focus on Classrooms and Libraries
July 12, 2010, Benton Foundation
Education and Libraries Networks Coalition

“In comments filed at the Federal Communications Commission, the Education and Library Networks Coalition (or EdLiNC, if you’re scoring at home) urges the FCC to raise the current $2.25 billion E-rate funding cap to meet the more than $4 billion in annual demand for its current support. The FCC’s proposal to index the funding cap to inflation amounts to a positive first step, but it does not solve the underlying problem of inadequate funding. The FCC also should refrain from adopting proposals that inevitably will drain all too precious program funding or that will significantly disadvantage the rural and urban constituencies that this program was designed to serve. EdLiNC believes that E-rate support of off-premises Internet access raises major legal and practical ramifications which the Commission may not have considered fully.” . . .

UC Online Degree Proposal Rattles Academics
by Nanette Asimov
July 12, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle

“Taking online college courses is, to many, like eating at McDonald’s: convenient, fast and filling. You may not get filet mignon, but afterward you’re just as full. Now the University of California wants to jump into online education for undergraduates, hoping to become the nation’s first top-tier research institution to offer a bachelor’s degree over the Internet comparable in quality to its prestigious campus program. ‘We want to do a highly selective, fully online, credit-bearing program on a large scale – and that has not been done,’ said UC Berkeley law school Dean Christopher Edley, who is leading the effort.”

“But a number of skeptical faculty members and graduate student instructors fear that a cyber UC would deflate the university’s five-star education into a fast-food equivalent, cheapening the brand. Similar complaints at the University of Illinois helped bring down that school’s ambitious Global Campus program last fall after just two years. UC officials say theirs will be different. On Wednesday in San Francisco, UC’s governing Board of Regents will hear about a pilot program of 25 to 40 courses to be developed after UC raises $6 million from private donors. The short-term goal is to take pressure off heavily enrolled general education classes like writing and math, Edley said.” . . .

Online Learning and Traditional Universities
by George Siemens
July 12, 2010, eLearnspace

“An interesting debate is unfolding in the University of California. UC is striving to be “the nation’s first top-tier research institution to offer a bachelor’s degree over the Internet comparable in quality to its prestigious campus program”. But, not surprisingly, some faculty and students find the move to online education unsatisfying and beneath their lofty self-view: the “cyber campus to be just the beginning of a frightening trajectory that will undoubtedly end in the complete implosion of public higher education”. A faculty report (.pdf) is equally negative: “not only degraded education but centralized academic policy that undermines faculty control of academic standards and curriculum as well as campus autonomy…a picture emerges of undergraduates jammed through a mediocre education and ladder rank faculty substantially removed from both control over and involvement with undergraduate education”. The UC process is worth watching closely. It’s a potential jumping off point for many traditional educational institutions to begin focused adoption of online learning. . . . “

Rural Telco Serves 17 People, Rakes In $300K (Of Your Money)
by Nate Anderson
July 13, 2010, ars technica

[Note from Chris: There is talk in Washington about using the Universal Service Fund to fund broadband connections for anchor institutions, i.e. community colleges, universities, schools and libraries. USF currently funds the eRate discount program for schools and libraries.]

. . . “Thank (or blame) the Universal Service Fund, which last year collected $7.2 billion dollars from phone companies — charges that are passed on to consumers, often as a separate line item on their bills. The money amounts to a 14 percent tax on phone service. It pays for four things: telephone service to expensive-to-wire places, subsidies for low-income users, computers and Internet access for schools, and telecommunications services for rural health care providers.”

“Most of the money goes to install and maintain ‘high-cost’ phone service, usually in rural areas. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating the USF, a notorious pit of inefficiency and error — for instance, half the high-cost money paid out in 2009, a full $2 billion, went to “rate of return” telcos who are allowed to make an 11.25 percent profit. If they don’t, the government makes up the difference.”

“The FCC has now supplied more detailed USF data to Congress. Among the revelations: AT&T has pulled down more than $1.3 billion in USF money over the last three years, while Verizon got $1.2 billion and CenturyTel picked up $930 million. In return, the companies must provide phone service to anyone in their service area who wants it. Outrageous? Possibly. The program has been a useful one, making telephone service in the US truly ubiquitous, but critics have always charged that telcos get far too much cash, or got cash for projects they would have done anyway. Cecilia Kang at the Washington Post pointed out some of these complaints last week. And the new FCC documents certainly provide fodder for critics.” . . .

AT&T, Verizon Get Most Federal Aid For Phone Service
by Cecilia Kang
July 8, 2010, The Washington Post

“AT&T and Verizon Communications were the biggest recipients of federal support from an $8 billion phone subsidy program, according to data released Thursday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Over the past three years, AT&T received $1.3 billion in funds to deploy phone lines to rural areas. Verizon got $1.27 billion in the same 2007-09 period. Lawmakers and public interest groups are questioning the use of those federal funds, much of which appears to go to wireless services areas where telecom companies would be even without support. And they say the fund needs to be overhauled to focus on expanding broadband connections.”

High Speed for the Sparsely Wired
by Susanna G. Kim
July 9, 2010, New York Times

“Government stimulus spending is a contentious issue right now in Washington. But the $7.2 billion in the last stimulus package for extending high-speed Internet access is just beginning to be spent, and the beneficiaries could not be happier. . . . The types of Internet activities that most Americans take for granted — watching videos, downloading songs, social networking — are out of reach for millions of homes across the United States. These people — many in poor, rural pockets — either have outmoded dial-up Internet service or have no affordable high-speed service. Sometimes the nearest high-speed connection is at the local library, 10 miles away.

“The $7.2 billion plan in the last stimulus package was approved without significant debate. The program is intended to extend broadband service to what is known as the “middle mile,” which can connect to institutions like schools and hospitals, and the “last mile” — homes and businesses — that big Internet providers have bypassed because the expected revenue was too small to justify the big investments needed. For some of the beneficiaries, the program will mean the difference between isolation and being connected to the rest of the world. “If you don’t have a high-speed Internet connection, it’s almost impossible to get anything done anymore,” said Martin Cary, vice president for broadband services at GCI Communication Corporation of Alaska, the largest Internet provider in the state.” . . .

Millennials Will Make Online Sharing in Networks a Lifelong Habit
by Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie
July 9, 2010, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project

. . . “Most of those surveyed noted that the disclosure of personal information online carries many social benefits as people open up to others in order to build friendships, form and find communities, seek help, and build their reputations. They said Millennials have already seen the benefits and will not reduce their use of these social tools over the next decade as they take on more responsibilities while growing older. The majority argued in answers to the survey that new social norms that reward disclosure are already in place among the young. The experts also expressed hope that society will be more forgiving of those whose youthful mistakes are on display in social media such as Facebook picture albums or YouTube videos.” . . .

Computers at Home: Educational Hope vs. Teenage Reality
by Randall Stross
July 9, 2010, New York Times

“Middle School students are champion time-wasters. And the personal computer may be the ultimate time-wasting appliance. Put the two together at home, without hovering supervision, and logic suggests that you won’t witness a miraculous educational transformation. Still, wherever there is a low-income household unboxing the family’s very first personal computer, there is an automatic inclination to think of the machine in its most idealized form, as the Great Equalizer. In developing countries, computers are outfitted with grand educational hopes, like those that animate the One Laptop Per Child initiative, which was examined in this space in April. The same is true of computers that go to poor households in the United States.”

“Economists are trying to measure a home computer’s educational impact on schoolchildren in low-income households. Taking widely varying routes, they are arriving at similar conclusions: little or no educational benefit is found. Worse, computers seem to have further separated children in low-income households, whose test scores often decline after the machine arrives, from their more privileged counterparts.” . . .

The Medium Is the Medium
by David Brooks
July 8, 2010, New York Times

. . . “The Internet-versus-books debate is conducted on the supposition that the medium is the message. But sometimes the medium is just the medium. What matters is the way people think about themselves while engaged in the two activities. A person who becomes a citizen of the literary world enters a hierarchical universe. There are classic works of literature at the top and beach reading at the bottom.”

“A person enters this world as a novice, and slowly studies the works of great writers and scholars. Readers immerse themselves in deep, alternative worlds and hope to gain some lasting wisdom. Respect is paid to the writers who transmit that wisdom. A citizen of the Internet has a very different experience. The Internet smashes hierarchy and is not marked by deference. Maybe it would be different if it had been invented in Victorian England, but Internet culture is set in contemporary America. Internet culture is egalitarian. The young are more accomplished than the old. The new media is supposedly savvier than the old media. The dominant activity is free-wheeling, disrespectful, antiauthority disputation.”

“These different cultures foster different types of learning. The great essayist Joseph Epstein once distinguished between being well informed, being hip and being cultivated. The Internet helps you become well informed — knowledgeable about current events, the latest controversies and important trends. The Internet also helps you become hip — to learn about what’s going on, as Epstein writes, “in those lively waters outside the boring mainstream.” . . .

The One Thing That ALWAYS Works in Getting Policymakers to Listen
Free ALA Washington Office Webinar
July 27, 2010 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time

In this ALA Washington office webinar we’ll reveal the secrets to getting policymakers at all levels – whether your local city councilperson, a state legislator or a member of the U.S. Congress – to take libraries seriously. If you’re looking for more funding, a better policy environment or just a little positive attention, this is the session for you!

We’ll outline the differences between beig heard and being agreed with and how you can move policymakers from one side to the other. We’ll also look at five critical steps to capturing the attention and support of your policymakers that are effective either as a follow-up for attendees of the ALA Legislative Advocacy Day rally or as stand-alone efforts to boost awareness. Attendees will come away from the session with a concrete plan for moving forward on core relationship-building activities.

This session is open to community college staff, library staff and leadership, friends, trustees, students – really anyone who support libraries! Oh, and the one that always works? Well, you’ll have to join the webinar to find out!

Upcoming Grant Deadlines

Off-Campus Community Service Program
Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education
CFDA No. 84.116H

Application Deadline: August 9, 2010.

The purpose of this program is to provide grants to institutions of higher education (IHEs) participating in the Federal Work-Study Program under title IV, part C of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) to recruit and compensate students (including compensation for time spent in training and for travel) for part-time, off-campus employment directly related to community service.

Estimated Available Funds: $742,500
Estimated Range of Awards: $64,000-$74,000
Estimated Average Size of Awards: $67,000
Estimated Number of Awards: 11

Pilot Program for Course Material Rental
Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education
CFDA No. 84.116T

Application Deadline: August 12, 2010.

The objective of this program is to provide grants to institutions of higher education (IHEs) for pilot programs that expand the services of bookstores to provide the option for students to rent course materials in order to achieve savings for students. The projects supported by this program may include, activities that: (1) Acquire course materials that the entity will make available by rent to students; (2) develop or acquire equipment or software necessary for the conduct of a rental program; (3) hire staff needed for the conduct of a rental program, with priority given to hiring enrolled undergraduate students; (4) build or acquire extra storage space dedicated to course materials for rent; (5) place a priority on higher cost and introductory level classes; and (6) focus on students with the greatest financial need.

WGU Indiana, Wikis, Google Books, Masters of Change, E-Rate, UC Online, Computers, Webinar, Grants

Bb Buys Elluminate Wimba, Mobile, Social Media, Facebook, BTOP, Libraries, Access, Veteran Students Grant

Blackboard’s Big Buy
by Steve Kolowich
July 8, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Blackboard announced on Wednesday it is buying out two software companies in an effort to bolster its real-time collaboration features and satisfy a generation of professors and students increasingly shaped by social media. The company, infamous to some in higher education for its habit of swallowing up smaller fish, said it is buying Wimba and Elluminate, top providers of software that lets students work together online, for a total of $116 million.”

“The newly acquired companies will become Blackboard Collaborate: a new platform in the Blackboard family devoted to “synchronous” learning — interactions that occur in real time, rather than at the convenience of each participant. The move is a new direction for Blackboard, which has built its empire on asynchronous features. The company’s learning-management suite includes some asynchronous tools, but none as good as Wimba’s or Elluminate’s, said Ray Henderson, president of Blackboard Learn, in an interview with Inside Higher Ed. Blackboard decided it was more economical to simply acquire those companies — and their customers — than try to build competing tools, Henderson said.” . . .

See reactions at

Mobile Web Use and the Digital Divide
by Joshua Brustein
July 7, 2010, New York Times

“The image of the affluent and white cellphone owner as the prototypical mobile Web user seems to be a mistaken one, according to a report published Wednesday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Center ( The study found that African-Americans and Hispanics continue to be more likely to own cellphones than whites and more likely to use their phones for a greater range of activities.”

“This increase in mobile Web use, first noticed in a similar study by the Pew Center last summer, is driven both by age and economics, according to Aaron W. Smith of the Pew Center. Younger people and people living in households making less than $30,000 a year are increasing their mobile Web use at particularly fast rates, he said, and the African-American and Hispanic populations are younger and poorer relative to the white population.”

“Because mobile Web use has grown among groups that have traditionally lagged behind in Web access, it has been cited as evidence that the distinction between the digital haves and have-nots is eroding. But the mobile Web means different things to different people. For more affluent populations, it generally means wireless access with a laptop computer. For poorer people it means a cellphone, which is not a perfect replacement for other forms of online access, said Mr. Smith and several others who study social issues related to technology.” . . .

An Introduction to Social Media – For Learning and Performance Enhancement
by Jane Knight
July 7, 2010, Jane’s Pick of the Day

I am frequently asked for a link to an introductory guide to social media and its use for leaning and performance improvement, so here is my guide. The contents list is shown in the screenshot below. This is a social resource as it also provides the opportunity for you to provide your own experiences of using social tools for learning. You can access the contents page here.

For Those Facebook Left Behind
by David Pogue
July 7, 2010, New York Times

“As a public service, therefore, I’m offering a handy clip-’n’-save guide to the social networking services you’re most likely to hear about at this summer’s barbecues. (Warning: This is an extremely basic overview. If you’re already someone who, you know, tweets, this will all seem like old news. But it’s not intended for you.)” . . .

Facebook Makes Headway Around the World
by Miguel Helft
July 7, 2010, New York Times

“Facebook, the social network service that started in a Harvard dorm room just six years ago, is growing at a dizzying rate around the globe, surging to nearly 500 million users, from 200 million users just 15 months ago. It is pulling even with Orkut in India, where only a year ago, Orkut was more than twice as large as Facebook. In the last year, Facebook has grown eightfold, to eight million users, in Brazil, where Orkut has 28 million.”

“In country after country, Facebook is cementing itself as the leader and often displacing other social networks, much as it outflanked MySpace in the United States. In Britain, for example, Facebook made the formerly popular Bebo all but irrelevant, forcing AOL to sell the site at a huge loss two years after it bought it for $850 million. In Germany, Facebook surpassed StudiVZ, which until February was the dominant social network there.” . . .

“The rapid ascent of Facebook has no company more worried than Google, which sees the social networking giant as a threat on multiple fronts. Much of the activity on Facebook is invisible to Google’s search engine, which makes it less useful over time. What’s more, the billions of links posted by users on Facebook have turned the social network into an important driver of users to sites across the Web. That has been Google’s role.” . . .

Facebook Touts Selling Power of Friendship
by Emily Steel and Geoffrey A. Fowler
July 7, 2010, Wall Street Journal

“The so-called social-context ads, which Facebook started rolling out over a year ago, are based on data it collects on the likes and friends of its users. The ads appear on the right side of a user’s homepage, with an image and headline from the advertiser. With the ads are the names of any of the user’s friends who have clicked on a button indicating they like the brand or ad. The user is also offered a chance to indicate he likes the ad. . . . Facebook says it hired Nielsen Co. to conduct a study and found that including information about individuals a person knows in an ad boosts recall of the ad by 68% and doubles awareness of a brand’s message.”

“As part of its bid for a bigger slice of the online-ad business, where it lags behind sites like Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., Facebook opened four international sales offices last year and another one this year in Hamburg, Germany. It has more than doubled its ad-sales staff since the beginning of 2009. In March, Facebook hired Google ad executive David Fischer to be its vice president of advertising. The latest ads mark another attempt by Facebook, which is nearing 500 million users, to make money from personal data it collects about them. Facebook, which has been hammered by privacy advocates and regulators over its privacy policies, hasn’t heard concerns from users about social ads, Ms. Sandberg says.”

“Facebook says the people whose names it picks to feature in the ads have voluntarily indicated they like a brand, and it shares their names only with those they have identified as friends. Still, some users may not realize that clicking a button to indicate they like a brand gives Facebook permission to use their names when the site shows an ad from that brand to their friends.” . . .

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Investments to Expand Broadband Internet Access and Spur Economic Growth
Press Release
July 2, 2010, National Telecommunications Information Administration

“U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced 29 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare across the country. The investments, totaling more than $404 million in grants, will fund projects that lay the groundwork to bring enhanced high-speed Internet access to millions of households and businesses and link thousands of schools, hospitals, libraries, and public safety offices to the information superhighway.” . . .

“Today’s announcement begins the second round of BTOP grant awards, which will continue on a rolling basis. In the first round, NTIA awarded 82 BTOP grants worth $1.2 billion that will expand broadband access and adoption through projects that will affect 45 states and territories. NTIA will announce all grant awards by September 30, 2010.” . . .

Background on the President’s Recovery Act Announcement Tomorrow
Press Release: The White House
July 2, 2010

There are two types of awards being announced tomorrow:
* Infrastructure — Middle mile awards build and improve middle mile connections to communities lacking sufficient broadband access and last mile awards connect end users like homes, hospitals and schools to their community’s broadband infrastructure (the middle mile).
* Public Computing Centers — Expand computer center capacity for public use in libraries, community colleges and other public venues.
See award recipients List:

U.S. Public Libraries: We Lose Them At Our Peril
by Marilyn Johnson
July 6, 2010, Los Angeles Times

“The U.S. is beginning an interesting experiment in democracy: We’re cutting public library funds, shrinking our public and school libraries, and in some places, shutting them altogether. These actions have nothing to do with whether the libraries are any good or whether the staff provides useful service to the community.” . . . “

“I’ve spent four years following librarians as they deal with the tremendous increase in information and the many ways we receive it. They’ve been adapting as capably as any profession, managing our public computers and serving growing numbers of patrons, but it seems that their work has been all but invisible to those in power. I’ve talked to librarians whose jobs have expanded with the demand for computers and training, and because so many other government services are being cut. The people left in the lurch have looked to the library, where kind, knowledgeable professionals help them navigate the government bureaucracy, apply for benefits, access social services. Public officials will tell you they love libraries and are committed to them; they just don’t believe they constitute a “core” service.” . . .

Technology in Libraries Critical to Unemployment Turnaround, Access to Social Services, Study Finds
by Karen Wilkinson
Jun 30, 2010, Government Technology

“As government agencies push what have traditionally been paper-based processes and services online, public libraries are seeing more demand for access to technology so that citizens can interact with their government. But there’s a catch-22: Public libraries are faced with reduced funding and shorter operating hours. A report released this month shows that while the public is increasingly using the Internet at libraries for job and e-government resources, funding cuts at state and local levels are forcing libraries to ‘literally lock away access to these resources as they reduce operating hours.’ ”

“Conducted by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Center for Library and Information Innovation at the University of Maryland, the annual study provides a “state of the library” report on technology resources libraries offer and funding that enables free access to these critical resources. The 2009-2010 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study can be found here (” . . .

Avatars to Teach the Teachers
by Steve Kolowich
July 7, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Dieker and the TeachME team — which includes members of the university’s education, engineering, computer science, mathematics, and theater departments — believe they have created a virtual classroom so real-seeming that it could drastically improve how prepared novice teachers are by the time they venture into the blackboard jungle as student teachers — and in so doing, reduce teacher turnover by weeding out likely candidates for burnout. Perhaps more importantly, it could limit the students’ exposure to underprepared, ineffective teachers. And, the team assumes, improve learning outcomes.” . . .

Picking Up the Pace
by David Moltz
July 6, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Community colleges across the country are responding to the call by many education experts to get the lead out and meaningfully decrease their students’ time to degree and program completion.” . . .

Driving Home the Point on Accessibility
by Steve Kolowich
June 30, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice on Tuesday released an open letter to colleges expressing concern that some institutions might be “using electronic book readers that are not accessible to students who are blind or have low vision” and warning them that the government will crack down on any institutions that are “requiring” disabled students to use emerging technology that does not comply with federal accessibility laws. The departments were aiming to address an issue that came up one year ago, when the American Council for the Blind and the National Federation for the Blind sued Arizona State University for giving out Amazon Kindle DX e-readers to students in an effort to learn more about the device’s implications for higher education. The groups contended that because blind students could not use the devices, the giveaways violated equal rights protections ensured to disabled students. The Justice Department subsequently investigated five other colleges for similar Kindle pilot programs, shutting down the experiments at four of them.” . . .

See Joint “Dear Colleague” Letter from the U.S. Department of Justice: Electronic Book Readers

Clyburn Endorses Unified Community Anchor Network to Speed Broadband Deployment
June 28, 2010, The Benton Foundation

“Speaking to the American Library Association, Federal Communications Commission member Mignon Clyburn focused her remarks on National Broadband Plan recommendations directly support libraries’ efforts to promote deployment and adoption of broadband.”

“The most significant recommendation, she pointed out, is proposal to overhaul the Universal Service Fund. Internet2, National Lambda Rail, ALA, and others have called upon the federal government to create the Unified Community Anchor Network (UCAN) support and assist anchor institutions in obtaining and utilizing broadband connectivity. The National Broadband Plan endorses this recommendation. The Plan also discusses a number of useful roles that the UCAN could play in helping community institutions enhance their use of broadband. First, the UCAN could help establish federal and state coordinators and consortia of anchor institutions. These coordinators would help secure broadband connections and would also provide hands-on experience and capacity in the building and running of networks. Second, the UCAN could have a national procurement role in negotiating bulk equipment and broadband service agreements. It could then distribute this equipment and services to community institutions. Third, the UCAN could provide a platform for interconnected networks to share resources and applications and provide training opportunities.”


U.S. Broadband Numbers Don’t Lie, Just Confuse
by Joel Rose
June 28, 2010, National Public Radio

“President Obama signed a memorandum on Monday committing the federal government to expand America’s access to high-speed Internet by increasing the amount of broadband airwaves owned by the government and private sector. The announcement throws White House support behind part of the Federal Communications Commission’s ambitious National Broadband Plan. It also follows closed-door meetings between the FCC and the country’s biggest broadband Internet companies — an effort to smooth ruffled feathers over the commission’s plans to regulate broadband Internet access.”

“The big Internet companies oppose more regulation while public interest advocates have rallied behind the FCC. The tricky thing is that both parties claim the data are on their side. Internet companies and their backers, like Texas Rep. Joe Barton, like to say the free market is doing fine on its own. ‘As everybody knows, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,’ Barton said at a March congressional hearing. ‘And y’all are trying to fix something that in most cases isn’t broke. Ninety-five percent of America has broadband.’ Barton is kind of right, but he’s also kind of wrong.”

Ninety-five percent of Americans do have access to broadband where they live, but when it comes to adoption or actually signing up for broadband at home, the number is much lower — closer to 63 percent. Derek Turner, research director for the public interest group Free Press, says the numbers don’t lie. “For the providers to try to say that there’s no problem, it’s merely just a smoke screen,” he says. When it comes to broadband adoption, Turner says the U.S. has fallen behind other developed countries, including such technological powerhouses as … Estonia? ‘Depending on whose numbers you look at, we’re a middle-of-the-pack performer,’ he says. ‘But even more alarming is the direction we’re heading. We’re dropping in the rankings — countries are outperforming us.’ ” . . .

Computers Learn to Listen, and Some Talk Back
by Steve Lohr and John Markoff
June 24, 2010, New York Times

“For decades, computer scientists have been pursuing artificial intelligence — the use of computers to simulate human thinking. But in recent years, rapid progress has been made in machines that can listen, speak, see, reason and learn, in their way. The prospect, according to scientists and economists, is not only that artificial intelligence will transform the way humans and machines communicate and collaborate, but will also eliminate millions of jobs, create many others and change the nature of work and daily routines. The artificial intelligence technology that has moved furthest into the mainstream is computer understanding of what humans are saying. People increasingly talk to their cellphones to find things, instead of typing. Both Google’s and Microsoft’s search services now respond to voice commands. More drivers are asking their cars to do things like find directions or play music.” . . .

Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success
Office of Postsecondary Education, Department Of Education
CFDA No. 84.116G.
Federal Register:

Application Deadline: July 30, 2010

The purpose of this program is to encourage institutions of higher education (IHEs) to develop model programs to support veteran student success in postsecondary education by coordinating services to address the academic, financial, physical, and social needs of veteran students.

This priority is: Projects that include the following required activities: Establishing a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success on the campus of the institution to provide a single point of contact to coordinate comprehensive support services for veteran students; establishing a veteran student support team, including representatives from the offices of the institution responsible for admissions, registration, financial aid, veterans benefits, academic advising, student health, personal or mental health counseling, career advising, disabilities services, and any other office of the institution that provides support to veteran students on campus; providing a coordinator whose primary responsibility is to coordinate the model program; monitoring the rates of veteran student enrollment, persistence, and completion; and developing a plan to sustain the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success after the grant period.

Estimated Available Funds: $5,940,000
Estimated Range of Awards: $250,000 to $400,000
Estimated Number of Awards: 19

Bb Buys Elluminate Wimba, Mobile, Social Media, Facebook, BTOP, Libraries, Access, Veteran Students Grant