April 30, 2009, 11:25 AM ET
Two brothers used the University of Missouri computer network in a national spamming operation that allegedly culled e-mail addresses from more than 2,000 colleges and bombarded them with messages, prosecutors alleged Wednesday.
The spammers developed e-mail extracting programs that harvested more than eight million student e-mail addresses, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. They allegedly sold more than $4.1-million in products in at least 31 spam e-mail marketing campaigns, inflicting damage on the University of Missouri network in the process.
The brothers — Amir Ahmad Shah, 28, and Osmaan Ahmad Shah, 25 — are both University of Missouri graduates, according to The Kansas City Star. Osmaan Shah remains enrolled as a business graduate student, the newspaper reported. —Marc ParryRead More
April 30, 2009, 09:39 AM ET
Arlington, VA — It has been about 100 days since Barack Obama took office, but this week college networking leaders were talking about what an Inauguration Day spike in Internet traffic means for the role of high-speed research networks on campus.
A session here at the annual meeting of Internet2, a college high-speed networking group, focused on what it called “the Obama effect” on campus networks. On January 20, the day President Obama was sworn in amid record-setting crowds and an onslaught of media coverage, Internet use on campus networks spiked to record levels as people on campuses watched video of the speech on their computers or sent Facebook updates about the event, according to a college officials who spoke at the session.
That spike caught some officials off guard. “All of us were a little surprised by the impact of this,” said Marla Meehl, manager of network...Read More
April 30, 2009, 08:35 AM ET
Just a few years ago, it seemed nearly everyone, in academe and out, was hailing the wiki as the next great transformative technology — or, at the very least, a tool worth getting a bit excited about. Fast forward to 2009, though, and much of the enthusiastic talk has died down.
So says Renay San Miguel in an article for Linux Insider, and he’s got something of a point. Wikipedia aside, there really aren’t many heavily hyped wiki projects, and social-networking tools like Facebook and Twitter seem to have stolen the spotlight. So Mr. San Miguel wants to know: “Have wikis lost their mojo?”
It’s worth noting that plenty of wiki-friendly concepts and innovations have been absorbed into other formats, as anyone who’s participated in group editing via Google Docs can attest. But there are other reasons that wikis never took the world by storm, according to some analysts. “I always thought they ...Read More
April 29, 2009, 04:09 PM ET
College-admissions offices overwhelmingly consider social media important for recruiting students, and more institutions are creating blogs and online profiles, new studies show.
Thirty-three percent of admissions offices kept blogs in 2007, and 29 percent maintained social-networking profiles, according to a report released today by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, known as NACAC. The report, “Reaching the Wired Generation: How Social Media Is Changing College Admission” (available to NACAC members), is based on survey responses from 453 colleges in the spring of 2007.
But social media evolve quickly, show more-recent data published by the author of the NACAC report, Nora Ganim Barnes, director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. A survey of 536 colleges in the fall of 2008 found that 41 percent of...Read More
April 29, 2009, 04:07 PM ET
In the era of anonymous Internet publishing, it can be difficult to determine who said what — and who didn’t. Just ask David Kaiser, a history professor at the Naval War College, who has struggled to dispel rumors that he authored a tempestuous anti-Obama rant (including, in the tradition of all political rants, a Hitler comparison) that went viral last week.
Mr. Kaiser clarified the attribution error on his blog this week, but has had little luck finding out who is responsible for propagating the rumor that he wrote the diatribe. He said another David Kaiser in academe — a scientist for an unnamed “well-known university” — has also received mail about the rant. “I have queried at least half a dozen of his and my ‘fans’ asking them who sent the article to them, in an effort to start tracing the fraud back to its source,” he wrote Monday, “but that seems to be a...Read More
April 29, 2009, 01:02 PM ET
It’s beginning to feel like Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, the case in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House that drags on, and on, and on. As speculation grows about the impact that the Google Book Search settlement will have on readers and publishers — will it result in a universal library or a worrisome monopoly? — an actual resolution of the case continues to recede in the distance.
In the latest delay, reported by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, the federal judge in charge of the proceedings responded to authors’ pleas by giving them an extra four months to opt out of the settlement. They now have until September to take that step. The judge, Denny Chin, also bumped the date for a final hearing on the...Read More
April 28, 2009, 02:29 PM ET
St. Louis — Gail Weatherly has gotten phone calls from women near tears over their situations.
They’re taking care of kids. They can’t afford child care. They can’t make it to regular classes. And they don’t know about online learning, said Ms. Weatherly, distance-education coordinator at Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, Tex.
Ms. Weatherly hopes such women could one day benefit from a project being developed by a scattered group of women involved in distance education.
Their work centers on a social-networking Web site that would allow women to share information about online education and serve as mentors to one another. It’s called the Collaborative Online Resource Environment for Women (Core4women), a still-in-the-works effort that Ms. Weatherly and her colleagues described during a workshop here Monday at the national conference of the United States...Read More
April 28, 2009, 01:47 PM ET
The federal judge in charge of the Google Book Search settlement has shot down the Internet Archive’s request to join the case, Publishers Weekly reported today. The archive had hoped to take advantage of the copyright-liability protections built into the settlement for its own book-digitizing work, and it still may file an amicus brief by the court’s May 5 deadline for objections and comments, according to the report. —Jennifer Howard
April 27, 2009, 03:39 PM ET
Texas Woman’s University was forced on Saturday to shut down a student-records system after a student discovered a loophole that allowed him to view the grades and adviser reports of any student at the university, a local newspaper reported.
The Degree Audit Report System, a portal for students curious about their academic progress, was supposed to be restricted to 803 authorized users. But after a junior at the university found he had access to the files, university officials discovered that more than 12,000 people could get into the system.
The system was reportedly shut down and secured after the discovery was made. Officials said the nature of the exposed information, while personal, did not leave the students vulnerable to identity theft or grade manipulation. –Steve KolowichRead More
April 27, 2009, 02:57 PM ET
Traditional academic journals in the humanities rarely publish articles written by more than one author, while journals about digital humanities often run co-authored pieces, suggesting that new technologies are leading to more collaboration in humanities disciplines.
That’s the theory posed by Lisa Spiro, director of the Digital Media Center at Rice University, and she recently set out to test it. She sat down and counted the number of single-authored and co-authored articles in four years’ worth of two representative journals — American Literary History and Literary and Linguistic Computing. The count proved her point: Only five out of 259 articles in American Literary History had more than one author, while 70 out of 145 articles in the computing journal...Read More