For-Profit Enrollment, Kaplan, JSTOR, Learning Analytics, Google Phone, Libraries, ADA Regs

3 Million and Counting
by Doug Lederman
Aug. 26, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Love ’em or hate ’em — and many of this city’s current power brokers seemingly fall into the latter category right now — for-profit colleges are attracting students in ever-growing numbers, as made powerfully clear by an Education Department report released Wednesday. The report, an annual study of college enrollments, prices and degrees awarded, includes data on the number of students who enrolled in various types of postsecondary institutions throughout the 2008-9 academic year. As seen in the table below, the statistics show that for-profit colleges enrolled a total of 3.2 million students, 11.8 percent of the nearly 27.4 million students who studied at all institutions that year.”

“The figure for for-profit enrollments reflected an increase of more than 20 percent over 2007-8, and a rise of more than 60 percent since 2004-5. The number of enrollees in for-profit four-year institutions nearly doubled over that period, from 1.1 million to 2.1 million.” . . .

California Ends Deal With Kaplan
by David Moltz
Aug. 26, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has terminated a controversial deal with Kaplan University that allowed students at some overcrowded community colleges the ability to take online courses from the for-profit institution at a discount.” . . .
“The deal with Kaplan was seen by some as a solution to the overcrowding problem at the state’s community colleges, where many students have stopped making progress toward earning a degree simply because they are unable to get access to a handful of necessary courses. As news of the deal spread this spring, however, faculty groups were up in arms about the move, raising concerns about the quality of the courses offered by Kaplan. Others argued that the state was trying to hide from its responsibility to provide the needed courses at the community colleges, and noted that the Kaplan courses, even with discounts, were more expensive than those at community colleges.” . . .

Has For-Profit Higher Education Missed Its Big Opening Into The Mainstream?
by Lloyd Armstrong, Jr.
Aug. 25, 2010, Changing Higher Education

. . . “The negatives of the for-profit side are on much display at present. There seems to have been a widespread lack of understanding in the sector that higher education plays a central role in the American dream that puts in on a different level from, say, auto repair or mortgage lending. Because of this special role, unethical (not to mention illegal) behavior in the provision of higher education will likely be met with societal responses that are considerably harsher than would be stimulated by similar failures in other sectors.”

“Perhaps because of this lack of understanding, the sector did not sufficiently police itself against providers who focused on the quick buck, and many of the more responsible players did not set up sufficient internal controls to catch bad behavior on the part of employees. Business models that focused almost exclusively on gaming the federal student aid budget through recruitment of large numbers of aid-eligible students with little or no potential to graduate put the sector in a very risky position, indeed. Thus, we see recruiting scandals, loan repayment scandals,etc. As a consequence, it would not be at all surprising to see a number of laws and rules coming out that greatly restrict conditions under which students in the for-profit sector have access to federal loans, and much tighter rules on student recruiting.”

“However, there also is much to be positive about on the for-profit side. Much of the real innovation in higher education over the past decade has come from this sector. Most have focused on matching educational opportunities to the realities of the life conditions of adult students, e.g. courses that start on an almost continuous basis rather than two or three times a year, learning centers located in high traffic areas for better access, broad on-line offerings, standardization of course content between campuses to enable continuity when students move, and an emphasis on career preparation. They are flexible, able to expand or contract following demand, and rapidly create new courses of study in response to local employment opportunities and in consultation with local business leaders. Some have evolved systems of advising and tracking of students that provide considerably more contact and support than has been traditional in higher education.” . . .

Egg on Its Interface
by Steve Kolowich
Aug. 26, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“When the popular scholarly database JSTOR unveiled its new interface earlier this month, some librarians were horrified by what they saw. Now, after an Internet outcry, the nonprofit scholarly journal database says it plans to change two features that critics said were bound to confuse, frustrate, and squeeze money out of researchers.” . . .

“Two elements of the site’s new interface elicited the ire of two academic bloggers and a number of commenters on Tuesday. The first was a search parameter asking users if they want their search to call up articles from JSTOR’s entire collection, or only those covered by their library’s subscription. The interface chooses the comprehensive option by default, meaning some articles that come up in the search results cannot be read in full unless the researcher pays an additional fee. Further, the interface does not let users change the default to hide those pay-walled articles.” . ..

What are Learning Analytics? (LA)
by George Siemens
Aug. 25, 2010, eLearnSpace

“Learning analytics is the use of intelligent data, learner-produced data, and analysis models to discover information and social connections, and to predict and advise on learning. EDUCAUSE’s Next Generation learning initiative offers a slightly different definition “the use of data and models to predict student progress and performance, and the ability to act on that information”. Their definition is cleaner than the one I offer, but, as I’ll detail below, is intended to work within the existing educational system, rather than to modify it. I’m interested in how learning analytics can restructure the process of teaching, learning, and administration.”

“LA relies on some of the concepts employed in web analysis, through tools like Google Analytics, as well as those involved in data mining (see educational data mining). These analytic approaches try to make sense of learner activity (through clicks, attention/focus heat maps, social network analysis, recommender systems, and so on). Learning analytics is broader, however, in that it is concerned not only with analytics but also with action, curriculum mapping, personalization and adaptation, prediction, intervention, and competency determination.” . . .

Google Is Offering Phone Calls via Gmail
by Claire Cain Miller
Aug. 25, 2010, New York Times

“Google entered a new business beyond Internet search on Wednesday with a service within Gmail to make phone calls over the Web to landlines or cellphones. The service will thrust Google into direct competition with Skype, the Internet telephone company, and with telecommunications providers. It could also make Google a more ubiquitous part of people’s social interactions by uniting the service for phone calls with e-mail, text messages and video chats.” . . .

“Gmail has offered voice and video chat for two years, but both parties must be at their computers. Google said the new service would work well for people in a spot with poor cellphone reception or for those making a quick call from their desk.”

Report: Broadband, Race and Ethnicity , Digital Divide – Home Broadband 2010
by Aaron Smith
Aug 11, 2010, Pew Internet and American Life Project

“The adoption of broadband internet access slowed dramatically over the last year. Two-thirds of American adults (66 percent) now have a broadband internet connection at home, a figure that is little changed from the 63 percent with a high-speed home connection at a similar point in 2009. Most demographic groups experienced flat-to-modest broadband adoption growth over the last year. The notable exception to this trend came among African-Americans, who experienced 22 percent year-over-year broadband adoption growth.”

– In 2009 65 percent of whites and 46 percent of African-Americans were broadband users (a 19-point gap)
– In 2010 67 percent of whites and 56 percent of African-Americans are broadband users (an 11-point gap)

“By a 53 percent-41 percent margin, Americans say they do not believe that the spread of affordable broadband should be a major government priority. Contrary to what some might suspect, non-internet users are less likely than current users to say the government should place a high priority on the spread of high-speed connections.”

Don’t Let The Openness Door Hit You In The Ass (On The Way In Or Out)
by Alan Levine
Aug. 12, 2010, Cogdogblog

. . . “I have some quibbles (hence the barking) in some ways people are looking at open courses that seem to fall back on traditionalist views of courses. It’s mainly when people talk about ‘drop-outs’ or ‘why people don’t stay in open courses’ (recently well summarized among other points by Dave Cormier). . . . The openness door ought to swing both ways, right?”

. . . “What is wrong with choosing some minimal or micro level to be in an open course? Is the only way to get something out of such a course is to be an active over-achiever in the forums? Why am I a no good drop out if I choose to pick the parts that interest me and leave the rest? Is it open or not, cause I smell a wee bit of hypocrisy if the assumption is I have to have a high attendance rate in an open course. . . . Or maybe I really am a loser drop out, someone who does not stick to the pace of the course, a lazy dog if you will.” . . .

Changed but Still Critical: Brick and Mortar School Libraries in the Digital Age (Part one of two)
by Doug Johnson
Aug. 11, 2010, The Blue Skunk Blog

. . . “Today’s reality is that readers and information seekers are having increasingly less need to visit a physical library to meet their basic information needs. Digital information sources, readily accessed from classroom, home or mobile computing devices are the choice of many students and teachers. The ‘Net Generation’ student increasingly prefers the visual and the virtual rather than the printed text. Why, many school leaders are asking, does a school need a physical library when seemingly all resources can be obtained using an inexpensive netbook and a wireless network connection? Might these large physical spaces in our schools be re-purposed for greater educational impact?”

“I would argue that the best school libraries are not just surviving, but thriving, in this new digital information environment — but not without seriously re-purposing their physical spaces. This article looks at three ways today’s school library can and should adapt to the digital age, new learning environments and 21st century skill expectations of today’s students.” . . .

Part Two – http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2010/8/11/changed-but-still-critical-part-two-of-two.html

Bill Gates: Technology Can Lower College Tuition to $2,000
by Sara Jerome
Aug. 9, 2010, The Hill

“Online learning can shrink the cost of higher education by eroding the need for place-based instruction, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said during a presentation at the Technonomy conference in San Francisco last week. ‘College, except for the parties, needs to be less place-based,’ he said. Moving more learning activities online can bring down the soaring cost of a college degree.”

” ‘Only technology can bring [college tuition] down, not just to $20,000, but to $2,000,’ he said, citing price tags as high as $50,000 for a year of college. Gates predicted that technology could soon make place-based learning five times less important for college and university students. But for students in elementary and high school, Gates said he did not foresee online education shaking up the traditional framework anytime soon.” . . .

Department of Justice Announces Plans to Prepare New ADA Regulations
Comments Due: Jan 24, 2011

On July 23, the Justice Department published four new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) proposals addressing the accessibility of websites, the provision of captioning and video description in movies shown in theaters, accessible equipment and furniture, and the ability of 9-1-1 centers to take text and video calls from individuals with disabilities.

Web Accessibility – State and local governments, businesses, educators, and other organizations covered by the ADA are increasingly using the web to provide information, goods, and services to the public. In the web accessibility ANPRM, the department presents for public comment a series of questions seeking input regarding how the department can develop a workable framework for website access that provides individuals with disabilities access to the critical information, programs, and services provided on the web, while respecting the unique characteristics of the internet and its transformative impact on everyday life.

Video Description Research and Development Center
Department of Education
CFDA# 84.327J

Application Deadline: Oct. 12, 2010

Purpose of Program: The purposes of the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program are to: (1) Improve results for children with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational media services activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom setting to children with disabilities, and (3) provide support for captioning and video description of educational materials that are appropriate for use in the classroom setting. In the context of this notice, educational materials for use in the classroom setting include television programs, videos, and other materials, including programs and materials associated with new and emerging technologies, such as CDs, DVDs, and other forms of multimedia. Estimated Number of Awards: 1

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For-Profit Enrollment, Kaplan, JSTOR, Learning Analytics, Google Phone, Libraries, ADA Regs

Gainful Employment, Digital Brain, Access for Blind, Skype, Open Ed, Free Legislative Webinar and PLE Course, Tuition

AACC Asks Colleges Call to Submit Comments on “Gainful Employment” Regulations
Aug. 25, 2010

George Boggs, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, has asked community colleges to submit comments to the Department of Education regarding its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “gainful employment” before the Sept. 9, 2010 deadline.

“On July 26, ED released an NPRM that could potentially limit student aid eligibility for programs designed to lead to gainful employment. The proposal is targeted at for-profit institutions, and it is keyed to student debt loads and loan repayment. But, as proposed, the rules could also negatively affect some community college programs. The July 26 regulation builds on a previous NPRM published by ED on June 18. In that regulation, ED proposed new institutional reporting and disclosure requirements for programs leading to gainful employment. Among other things, these new reporting requirements included graduation rates, student debt loads (for private and institutional loans), and placement rates.”

Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime
by Matt Richtel
Aug. 24, 2010, The New York Times

. . . “ ‘ Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,’ said Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the university, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, ‘you prevent this learning process.’ ”

“At the University of Michigan, a study found that people learned significantly better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment, suggesting that processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued. Even though people feel entertained, even relaxed, when they multitask while exercising, or pass a moment at the bus stop by catching a quick video clip, they might be taxing their brains, scientists say.” . . .

Blinding Technology of Online Learning
by Steve Kolowich
Aug. 23, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“In the meantime, advocates for the blind are worried that it is becoming harder for the assistive technology used by blind students to keep pace with advances in educational technology. “Dynamic” e-learning content — e.g., graphics that change as a user rolls over or clicks on different parts — could present huge challenges to blind students, says Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation for the Blind, or NFB. Figuring out how translate static tables and diagrams for blind students was trouble enough, he says; it is not yet clear how to deal with newer, more interactive e-learning objects that may soon pervade online education.” . . .

“The chances of a successful lawsuit might become clearer sometime in the next year or two. The Department of Justice has suggested that it might soon articulate exactly what kind of legal recourse blind and otherwise disabled students have with respect to the accessibility of online courses. Last month, the department issued several notices (see http://www.ada.gov/anprm2010.htm ), saying it is collecting public comment on a number of topics related to accessibility and the Web in preparation to lay out the specific obligations of various institutions under federal law.” . . .

Learning Beyond Walls: 21 Skype Resources
by Shelly Terrell
Aug. 22, 2010, Teacher Boot Camp

. . . “Most of the teachers had been reluctant towards technology but Skype is one of those fantastic free tools that gets teachers new to technology motivated to try the technology. For this reason, I love to show teachers and administrators Skype. Skype is one of the top tools I introduce to teachers, administrators, and my students. This tool has tremendous learning potential, is free, easy to use, and has incredible buy-in. . . . In the process of training teachers to integrate Skype effectively with their classes and using Skype to get my German students to interact with students worldwide, I have found several incredible resources. Feel free to share these resources with other teachers. Consider showing Skype to teachers taking the first steps with technology and who may be very reluctant to try integrating technology in their classrooms.

Abandoning an Experiment
by Scott Jaschik
Aug. 20, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Rice University Press is being shut down next month, ending an experiment in an all-digital model of scholarly publishing. While university officials said that they needed to make a difficult economic decision to end the operation, they acted against the recommendations of an outside review team that had urged Rice to bolster its support for the publishing operations. Some supporters, in fact, are in discussions about raising private support to continue the press as a scholarly publishing outfit that might not be attached to any single university. Many supporters of academic publishing had high hopes for the Rice project, which was launched in 2006 with the goal of merging the quality and rigor of scholarly peer review with the convenience and low cost of digital publishing. The demise of the project led to immediate speculation about whether the Rice experience suggested difficulties for the economic model or if other factors may have been decisive.”

A Graphic Text
by Iza Wojciechowska
Aug. 20, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Jeremy Short’s students read comic books in class. Then they take exams, do well, and finish the semester with an understanding of the fundamentals of business management. In an effort to make dry content more interesting, Short co-wrote a set of two graphic novels together with Talya Bauer, professor of management at Portland State University, and Dave Ketchen, professor of management at Auburn University. The second of their books was released this summer.” . . .

Openness as Catalyst for an Educational Reformation
by David Wiley
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

. . . “For the authors of content, resources, courseware, or textbooks, being open is about overcoming the inner two-year-old who constantly screams: “Mine! You can’t have it! It’s MINE!” Unfortunately, modern law and college/university policy tend to enable this bad behavior, allowing us to shout “Mine!” ever more loudly, to stomp our feet with ever less self-control, and to hit each other with ever harder and sharper toys. Throughout our tantrums, society soothingly whispers that unbridled selfishness is a natural and therefore appropriate feeling. Regrettably, some educators and administrators have allowed themselves to be swayed by the siren song: “It’s OK. Be stingy with your lecture notes. Don’t share your slides. They’re yours. Sue those students who posted their class notes online. It’s legal. Go ahead.” By contrast, the idea of openness reminds us of what we knew intuitively before society gave us permission to act monstrously toward one another.” . . .

“In fact, those educators who share the most thoroughly of themselves with the greatest proportion of their students are the ones we deem successful. Does every single student come out of a class in possession of the knowledge and skills the teacher tried to share? In other words, is the teacher a successful sharer? If so, then the teacher is a successful educator. If attempts at sharing fail, then the teacher is a poor educator. Education is sharing. Education is about being open.” . . .

Questioning the Future of the Open Student
by Vicki Davis
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

. . . “Open students want to learn and peruse the landscape and need to have validated proof of their learning. However, with unaccredited organizations selling diplomas and with the proliferation of charlatans free of peer accountability, seasoned educators know that we must progress toward a true model of open education — but with boundaries that preserve and increase excellence in education. As John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison note in The Power of Pull: ‘On one hand, we can’t make progress without first making sense. The myriad of surface changes can quickly distract and disorient us. On the other hand, making sense will not help us unless we can use our understanding to craft a journey that will honor where we are today and help us to make progress in measured and pragmatic steps.’ ”

“MIT’s OCW has emerged as one of the leading sources of open content, but as online content increases exponentially, how can a prospective student determine the quality of various sources? Although the sources are free, students are spending a valuable, finite resource: their time.” . . .

Through the Open Door: Open Courses as Research, Learning, and Engagement
by Dave Cormier and George Siemens
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

. . . “Growing complexities in all areas of society indicate an increased need to consider networked, holistic, and integrated models of knowledge and learning. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world served by higher education. Solving complex problems is simply not possible in the solitary, ‘expert model’ of higher education. Open courses provide educators and learners with an opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge, and mindsets needed to participate in complex, ever-shifting real-world situations in which coming to know is as important as knowing.”

“Open courses are not a new way to pass on knowledge from the initiated to the acolyte. Rather, they are an acknowledgment that passing knowledge from one to another is not, and has never been, the primary goal of the academy. The academy seeks to grow knowledge by engaging learners and members of society in a discussion, an exploration. Open courses permit educators and a global network of learners to participate in research, learning, and sense-making around a given topic. In opening our doors to collaborative participation, we are making a value judgment about what we want higher education to be and are also, perhaps, opening the door to new research, learning, and business models of our own.”

To Share or Not to Share: Is That the Question?
by Maria H. Andersen
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

“When we discuss terms like open textbook, open courseware, and open source, a common theme emerges: sharing content that might otherwise be protected under intellectual property laws. The use of open materials by faculty is something of a continuum, with those who closely guard their intellectual property and privacy on one end, with faculty who seek out and use open content and technologies in the middle, and with those who actively contribute to open content on the other end. However, to say that concerns over intellectual property or privacy are the defining characteristics of open faculty would be a mistake.” . . .

Never Mind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle
by Brian Lamb and Jim Groom
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

“Has the wave of the open web crested, its promise of freedom crashed on the rocks of the proprietary web? Can open education and the corporate interests that control mainstream Web 2.0 co-exist? What does “open educational technology” look like, and does it stand for anything? Do higher education institutions dare seize a mission of public service in fostering an open web worthy of the name? Can ambition and idealism prevail in an age of economic austerity? Finally, what is the role of the open educational technologist — that is, the ‘open ed tech’? It’s premature to publish an obituary for openness in educational technology just yet. But it’s also foolish to assume there will be a happy ending to this story.” . . .

Video: Voices From the Front Lines of Online Learning
by Marc Parry
Aug. 9, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

At a distance-education conference here, Wired Campus asked a half-dozen professors, technologists, and administrators to share the struggles of teaching online. Here’s what they said.

In the old days, you might have heard about the difficulty convincing professors of the value of online education. That can still be tough — some resisters, according to one online-training expert, fear they won’t be able to display their expertise in online classes. But as acceptance of online education grows, with distance courses getting more popular and mainstream, colleges face new challenges. These run the gamut from coping with stress on student services to navigating the shift from developing courses alone to building them in teams.

Free AACC Webinar On Legislative Agenda For The Fall
Sept. 8, 2010 – 2:00 to 3:00 pm Eastern Time

The American Association of Community Colleges will hold a free webinar Sept. 8 to recap recent legislative developments and look ahead at what remains on the agenda for the fall. Topics will include the upcoming request for proposals for $2 billion in federal grants under the recently passed Community College and Career Training Program, proposed “gainful employment” regulations, extending tax credits for students, the White House community college summit, the new federal Education Jobs Fund, prospective fiscal year 2011 funding for key programs and the Dream Act, a bill that includes language pertaining to undocumented students.

Free Open Course: Personal Learning Environments, Networks, and Knowledge
Eight Weeks: Sept. 13, 2010 – Oct. 31, 2010

In the last five years, the twin concepts of the personal learning environment (PLE) and personal learning network (PLN) have been offered as alternatives to more traditional environments such as the learning management system (LMS) and institutionally-based courses. During that time, a substantial body of research has been produced by thinkers, technologists and practitioners in the field. Dozens of studies, reviews, conference presentations, concept papers and diagrams are now available.

Personal Learning Environments, Networks, and Knowledge is a course sponsored and organized by the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI) at Athabasca University. Stephen Downes and Rita Kop from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Learning and Collaborative technologies group, Dave Cormier from University of Prince Edward Island, and George Siemens from TEKRI are course facilitators.

To facilitate this process, course facilitators will maintain the following levels of course support:
* a course wiki, which may be edited by participants, describing the course outline
* a daily newsletter, which will aggregate student blogs, Twitter posts, and discussion posts
* each Sunday readings and resources will be posted to the wiki and (on Monday) to the Daily
* a Moodle discussion forum, read and responded to by course facilitators
* Wednesday Elluminate session, usually featuring a relevant guess speaker
* Friday Elluminate session, as a weekly review with course facilitators

Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in the United States: Fall 2009 and Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2008-09, and 12-Month Enrollment 2008-09
National Center for Education Statistics
August 2010

Women continued to earn more associate’s and bachelor’s degrees than men in 2008-09 — a gender gap of 16 percent for four-year degrees and 24 percent for two-year degrees. This First Look presents findings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) fall 2009 data collection, which included three survey components: institutional characteristics for 2009-10 — such as degrees offered, type of program, application information, and tuition and other costs; the number and type of degrees conferred from July 2008 through June 2009; and 12-month enrollment data for the 2008-09 academic year.

• Among four-year institutions, private for-profit institutions reported the highest average price of attendance during 2009-10 for students living on campus — about $36,700. This is higher than the average for private not-for-profit institutions, at about $34,200. Public institutions reported an average price of attendance of approximately $18,600 for in-state students living on campus and $27,700 for out-of-state students living on campus.

• Between 2000-01 and 2009-10, four-year public institutions reported a 46 percent increase in average in-state tuition and required fees and a 34 percent increase in average out-of-state tuition and required fees. Over the same ten-year period, four-year private not-for-profit institutions reported a 31 percent increase and private for-profit institutions reported a 20 percent increase in average tuition and required fees. (All averages were adjusted for inflation).

• Institutions reported a 12-month unduplicated headcount enrollment totaling 27.4 million individual students. Of these, 23.7 million were undergraduates, 3.5 million were graduate students, and 197,000 were first-professional students.

• Of the 2.6 million degrees awarded by four-year institutions, 42 percent were awarded to men and 58 percent to women. Of the almost 574,000 degrees awarded by two-year institutions, 38 percent were awarded to men and 62 percent to women.

Gainful Employment, Digital Brain, Access for Blind, Skype, Open Ed, Free Legislative Webinar and PLE Course, Tuition

Smartphones, Broadband Grants, Mobile Computing, Apps, Loans, Web Design, Activities, eLearning

Can You Hear Me Now?
by Steve Kolowich
Aug. 19, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

As a professor, how do you get dropout-prone college students to stay in school? Give them your cell phone number. How do you get professors to promptly field text messages, calls and e-mails from students? Buy them smartphones and pay for the service plan. That is the logic Georgia Gwinnett College employed when it decided to offer its more than 300 full- and part-time faculty members cell phones and encouraged them to respond to any calls or texts from students within 24 hours.

Under the program, professors are offered a state-of-the-art smartphone and a Sprint data plan that includes the most sophisticated wireless Internet coverage. It is part of a several-tier effort by Georgia Gwinnett — a public, four-year, noncompetitive-admissions college founded in 2005 — to defy the historically low retention rates typical of colleges that set such a modest bar for admission (Georgia Gwinnett admits any Georgia high school graduate). And so far, they say, it is working.” . . .

Vice President Biden Announces Recovery Act Investments in Broadband Projects to Bring Jobs, Economic Opportunity to Communities Nationwide
Press Release
Aug. 18, 2010,The White House

Vice President Biden today announced 94 Recovery Act investments in broadband projects that will create jobs and expand economic opportunities within 37 states. These investments in high-speed Internet infrastructure will help bridge the technological divide in communities that are being left in the 20th century economy and support improvements in education, healthcare, and public safety. Today’s announcement, an investment totaling $1.8 billion, is part of a nearly $7 billion Recovery Act initiative. The announcement includes 66 grants awarded by the Commerce Department for projects to deploy broadband infrastructure and connect community anchor institutions to broadband, create and upgrade public computer centers, and encourage the sustainable adoption of broadband service. It also includes 28 awards from USDA for broadband infrastructure and satellite projects that will provide rural residents in 16 states and Native American tribal areas access to improved service.

The Evolving Role of Mobile Computing in Education
by Daniel Cawrey
Aug. 18, 2010, EmergingEdTech

“Many of us think about technology as something that we sit behind: maybe a desktop computer or a laptop that we type away on. But the reality is that technology is becoming more about what is in our hands, or in our pockets, and that significantly changes the way that we interact with each other, especially in the classroom. I’m not just talking about smartphones and iPads. Witness this device that I came across during a technology conference held in Taiwan, where many of the computers that we use are planned and conceived before reaching the stores.”

“This device, made by a Taiwanese company called Viiliv, is the size of a smartphone and has a full keyboard. What is most remarkable about this “palmtop,” as you might call it, is that it runs Windows 7. This is the same up-to-date version of Windows that netbooks and larger computers run on, and it can be put into your pocket. This is being designed to cost just a few hundred dollars.” . . .

The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet
by Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff
Aug. 17, 2010, Wired Magazine

“You wake up and check your email on your bedside iPad — that’s one app. During breakfast you browse Facebook, Twitter, and The New York Times — three more apps. On the way to the office, you listen to a podcast on your smartphone. Another app. At work, you scroll through RSS feeds in a reader and have Skype and IM conversations. More apps. At the end of the day, you come home, make dinner while listening to Pandora, play some games on Xbox Live, and watch a movie on Netflix’s streaming service. You’ve spent the day on the Internet — but not on the Web. And you are not alone.”

“This is not a trivial distinction. Over the past few years, one of the most important shifts in the digital world has been the move from the wide-open Web to semiclosed platforms that use the Internet for transport but not the browser for display. It’s driven primarily by the rise of the iPhone model of mobile computing, and it’s a world Google can’t crawl, one where HTML doesn’t rule. And it’s the world that consumers are increasingly choosing, not because they’re rejecting the idea of the Web but because these dedicated platforms often just work better or fit better into their lives (the screen comes to them, they don’t have to go to the screen). The fact that it’s easier for companies to make money on these platforms only cements the trend. Producers and consumers agree: The Web is not the culmination of the digital revolution.” . . .

Feds Publish For-Profit Loan Repayment Rates
by Daniel de Vise
Aug. 16, 2010, The Washington Post

A spreadsheet published late Friday by the federal Education Department answers a much-debated question in the federal effort to regulate for-profit colleges: Can students at for-profit schools repay their loans? The department released loan repayment rates for individual colleges. The data show a remarkable range from school to school in the ability of students to pay down their college loans. A quick analysis by the Institute for College Access & Success found that overall repayment rates were around 55 percent for non-profit colleges, compared with 36 percent at for-profit schools. For-profit stock plunged at the news. At issue is a proposed federal rule that would potentially restrict a school’s access to federal aid funds if its programs do not yield “gainful employment.”

College 2.0: Teachers Without Technology Strike Back
by Jeffrey R. Young
Aug. 15, 2010, The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Mark James, a visiting lecturer at the University of West Florida, declared his summer course in English literature technology-free — he skipped the PowerPoint slides and YouTube videos he usually shows, and he asked students to silence their cellphones and close their laptops. Banishing the gear improved the course, he argues. “The students seemed more involved in the discussion than when I allowed them to go online,” he told me as the summer term wound down. ‘They were more attentive, and we were able to go into a little more depth.’ ”

“Mr. James is not antitechnology — he said he had some success in his composition courses using an online system that’s sold with textbooks. But he is frustrated by professors and administrators who believe that injecting the latest technology into the classroom naturally improves teaching. That belief was highlighted in my College 2.0 column last month, in which some professors likened colleagues who don’t teach with tech to doctors who ignore improvements in medicine.” . . .

Web Re(design)
by Steve Kolowich
Aug. 11, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“A cartoon ridiculing the tone-deaf design of many college home pages, published on July 30 week on the website xkcd and circulated widely in social media circles and on campuses, has highlighted the frustration many people have with what they consider to be poorly designed college websites.”

“As the social media sphere chorused a resounding “amen,” marketing experts weighed in: college home pages have become clogged with useless objects such as mission statements, letters from deans, and press releases, several told Inside Higher Ed. A big part of the problem, said Elizabeth Scarborough, CEO of the marketing firm SimpsonScarborough, is that website design is often left in the hands of administrative committees rather than marketing executives who recognize that it is the customer — not the dean, not the provost, not the president — that is always right.” . . .

What Americans Do Online: Social Media And Games Dominate Activity
Aug. 2, 2010, Nielson Wire

“Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs, up from 15.8 percent just a year ago (43 percent increase) according to new research released today from The Nielsen Company. The research revealed that Americans spend a third their online time (36 percent) communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.”

Californians’ Access to Broadband Continues to Rise — Even in a Severe Recession
August 2010, Public Policy Institute of California

Currently, 70 percent of Californians have access to high-speed broadband Internet at home (up from 62 percent a year ago and 55 percent in 2008). Internet use increased about as much this year (up 5 points) as last year and has climbed 16 points since 2000 (65 percent in 2000, 70 percent in 2008, 76 percent in 2009, 81 percent today). By comparison, 79 percent of Americans report using the Internet and 66 percent have access to broadband at home, according to a 2010 Pew Internet & American Life Project survey.

Rethinking e-Learning
by Clark N. Quinn
April 28, 2010, Learning Solutions Magazine

. . .“For all the sophistication of our technology, our view of learning has not really changed. In an era of semantic Web, augmented reality, virtual worlds, and more, we are still talking about courses! But in business, our goals are not learning, our goals are improving performance. And courses, particularly the ‘event’” model for courses, are one of the worst ways to go about achieving learning for performance!” . . .

“From looking at kids (before schooling extinguishes their love of learning), we see what I call the seven C’s of natural learning:

* Choose what we are interested in
* Commit to do what is necessary to learn about it
* Create expressions of our understanding as application
* Crash when our expressions sometimes fail
* Copy others’ performances
* Converse with others about the topic
* Collaborate to co-create a shared understanding as well as an artifact

This does not much represent what we do with learning. We need to visit some of the more esoteric areas of cognitive science to think more powerfully about learning and performance. We start with formal learning.

Smartphones, Broadband Grants, Mobile Computing, Apps, Loans, Web Design, Activities, eLearning

Wave, Net Neutrality, Broadband Grants, For-Profits, Univ. of CA, Web sites, Blended Librarian, Local Online, NEH Grant

Washed Up
by Steve Kolowich
Aug. 6, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Google Wave was supposed to make class discussions richer and more coherent. It was supposed to make research collaborations easier. It was supposed to break down walls between offices, disciplines, countries. It was even supposed to give learning-management systems such as Blackboard a run for their money. Instead, it is kaput. Just over a year after being rolled out, the much-hyped Wave has crashed on the shores of indifference and is now set to recede into obscurity. Google said Thursday that it will stop selling Wave as a product and close the host website by the end of the year, citing a dearth of users.”

“Google Wave was a Web-based platform where groups could have conversations (live and asynchronous), share media files and documents, and collaborate on projects. It was marketed as an antidote to e-mail threads, where information is more liable to get lost, discussions are fragmented, and people can get cut out of the loop by accident. As far as the breadth of what it could do, Wave stacked up favorably against the prevailing collaboration technologies — e-mail, Google Docs, wikis, and asynchronous discussion forums.” . . .

FCC Ends Talks for Deal on Net Neutrality
by Cecilia Kang
Aug. 6, 2010, Washington Post

“The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday called off its closed-door meetings with big Internet companies aimed at reaching agreement on protecting consumer access to the Web, after drawing criticism for attempting to broker a deal with limited public input. . . . Insiders lamented the end of the agency-led talks, saying that there had been progress among FCC officials and representatives of AT&T, Verizon, Skype, Google, a cable trade association and a coalition for firms such as Amazon and public-interest groups. The parties had been working out agreements on network neutrality, which would prohibit Internet service providers from dictating what subscribers are able to access on the Web.” . . .

“The series of meetings has been ‘productive on several fronts, but has not generated a robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet — one that drives innovation, investment, free speech, and consumer choice,’ said Eddie Lazarus, chief of staff to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, in a statement. ‘All options remain on the table as we continue to seek broad input on this vital issue.’ “ . . .

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Over 120 Recovery Act Broadband Projects to Bring Jobs, Economic Opportunity to Rural Communities
Press Release
Aug. 4, 2010, The White House

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the funding of 126 new Recovery Act broadband infrastructure projects that will create jobs and provide rural residents in 38 states and Native American tribal areas access to improved service. Broadband access plays a critical role in expanding economic, health care, educational and public safety services in underserved rural communities. Today’s announcement is part of the second round of USDA broadband funding through the Recovery Act. A complete list of projects receiving Recovery Act broadband grant awards today can be viewed in full at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/broadband_project_descriptions.pdf .

For-Profit Colleges: Undercover Testing Finds Colleges Encouraged Fraud and Engaged in Deceptive and Questionable Marketing Practices
Aug. 4, 2010, General Accounting Office

“Enrollment in for-profit colleges has grown from about 365,000 students to almost 1.8 million in the last several years. These colleges offer degrees and certifications in programs ranging from business administration to cosmetology. In 2009, students at for-profit colleges received more than $4 billion in Pell Grants and more than $20 billion in federal loans provided by the Department of Education (Education).”

“GAO was asked to 1) conduct undercover testing to determine if for-profit colleges’ representatives engaged in fraudulent, deceptive, or otherwise questionable marketing practices, and 2) compare the tuitions of the for-profit colleges tested with those of other colleges in the same geographic region.” . . .

“Undercover tests at 15 for-profit colleges found that 4 colleges encouraged fraudulent practices and that all 15 made deceptive or otherwise questionable statements to GAO’s undercover applicants. Four undercover applicants were encouraged by college personnel to falsify their financial aid forms to qualify for federal aid–for example, one admissions representative told an applicant to fraudulently remove $250,000 in savings. Other college representatives exaggerated undercover applicants’ potential salary after graduation and failed to provide clear information about the college’s program duration, costs, or graduation rate despite federal regulations requiring them to do so.” . . .

California Dreamer
by Steve Kolowich
Aug. 3, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “California is not the only state eyeing online education as a way to increase access and cut costs. But while many states are looking to use the popular medium to reach adult learners or save money at non-elite institutions, the University of California is a top-shelf research university that boasts one of the country’s most competitive undergraduate programs. If the system does end up offering an online bachelor’s degree, it would be a big step for online education.”

“[Christopher Edley Jr.’s] idea is still in its early stages and has not been adopted into any strategic plan. The University of California Board of Regents has offered only informal, preliminary support, and the systemwide Faculty Senate has approved only a pilot program for 25 to 40 low-level, high-volume courses — not a full-blown online degree program. Still, the rhetoric and sprawling, transformative vision Edley has been pushing have been received favorably by some while eliciting alarmed responses from others.”

“Members of a union representing graduate student-instructors at UC, finding Edley’s plan for “squadrons” of teaching assistants serving on ‘the frontline of online contact’ more than a little dystopic, showed up to a regents’ meeting in May wearing patches that read ‘Dean Edley = Class(room) Enemy.’ Edley’s goals for online education at UC were primarily profit-driven, they argued in a statement, and would ‘undoubtedly end in the complete implosion of public higher education in the embattled state of California.’ Some professors and media outlets have expressed similar concerns.” . . .

No Laughing Matter
by Steve Kolowich
Aug. 4, 2010

“Historically, cartoons are not a significant driver of communications and marketing strategy in higher education. But one cartoon — by Randall Munroe, whose popular Web comic is known as xkcd — has resonated so strongly in higher ed circles that it has some marketing officials taking a hard look at what experts still believe to be their strongest marketing asset: the institutional website’s home page.”

“The cartoon shows a Venn diagram with two overlapping circles — one labeled ‘Things On The Front Page Of a University Website,’ and the other labeled ‘Things People Go To The Site Looking For.’ “The first circle contains: campus slide shows, alumni in the news, promotions for campus events, press releases, a statement of the school’s philosophy, a letter from the president, and a virtual tour. The second circle contains a list of faculty phone numbers, application forms, the campus address, the academic calendar, the campus police phone number, department/course listings, parking information, and a usable campus map.”

“The only piece of information common to both circles is, ‘full name of school.’ “

A Blended Librarian Talks Information Literacy
by Jennifer Howard
Aug. 2, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

. . . “Mr. McBride is a blended librarian at Buffalo State. ‘Blended librarian’ sounds like some kind of power smoothie. It’s actually a fairly new model of academic librarianship that took root about five years ago. It combines traditional reference skills with hardware and software know-how and an interest in applying them to curriculum development and teaching. (Read more about the movement’s history and goals at the Blended Librarian Web site http://blendedlibrarian.org/ , which features the slogan ‘Blending Instructional Design, Technology, and Librarianship.)”

“It’s a concept designed for a campus climate in which librarians are called on to do many things besides staff the reference desk. ‘What happens on a college campus is that our librarians are finding themselves exposed more. They’re not just inside libraries anymore,’ Mr. McBride says. ‘Things happen very quickly in our profession, and we have to be able to adjust very quickly to it.’ ”

Buying Local, Online
by Steve Kolowich
July 23, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

. . . “These days, those students are likely to enroll in an online program. And because online education knows no geographic bounds, the move to the Web could pose serious challenges for institutions that until now have been able to draw reliably from their local and regional populations.:

“These institutions do, however, have something working for them: Students like online learning, but they also like the tangibility of having a ‘real campus’ nearby. A 2008 study by the Sloan Consortium noted that 85 percent of online students were taking courses through universities located within 50 miles of their homes. ‘Institutions believe that online will open up their enrollments to more students from outside of their normal service area,’ the study said. ‘However, the reality is that this has not yet occurred in any large numbers.’ Richard Garrett, managing director of Eduventures, says that in routine surveys his firm has done over the last three years, roughly 65 percent of online learners have said they prefer an institution with a physical presence within 50 miles.” . . .

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
CFDA #45.169

Application Deadline: Oct. 5 2010

This program is designed to encourage innovations in the digital humanities. By awarding relatively small grants to support the planning stages, NEH aims to encourage the development of innovative projects that promise to benefit the humanities. Proposals should be for the planning or initial stages of digital initiatives in any area of the humanities. Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants may involve

— research that brings new approaches or documents best practices in the study of the digital humanities;
— planning and developing prototypes of new digital tools for preserving, analyzing, and making accessible digital resources, including libraries’ and museums’ digital assets;
— scholarship that examines the philosophical implications and impact of the use of emerging technologies;
— innovative uses of technology for public programming and education utilizing both traditional and new media; and
— new digital modes of publication that facilitate the dissemination of humanities scholarship in advanced academic as well as informal or formal educational settings at all academic levels.

Innovation is a hallmark of this grant category. All applicants must propose an innovative approach, method, tool, or idea that has not been used before in the humanities. These grants are modeled, in part, on the “high risk/high reward” paradigm often used by funding agencies in the sciences. NEH is requesting proposals for projects that take some risks in the pursuit of innovation and excellence.

Wave, Net Neutrality, Broadband Grants, For-Profits, Univ. of CA, Web sites, Blended Librarian, Local Online, NEH Grant