December 19, 2008, 04:14 PM ET
We’re turning on our e-mail “away messages” and taking our annual year-end blog break. We’ll be back on January 5 with more education-technology news, analysis, videos, and podcasts.
Happy holidays, everyone.
December 19, 2008, 03:42 PM ET
Anyone can create a Facebook group and make it appear to be something it’s not.
Brad J. Ward reminded admissions officials about that simple fact on Thursday after examining hundreds of “Class of 2013” groups that have popped up on the popular social-networking site. Typically, students who plan to enroll at a particular college create such groups to start communicating with their future classmates. Some colleges establish the groups or encourage admitted students to do so.
But Mr. Ward, coordinator for electronic communication in Butler University’s admissions office, found that dozens of the 2013 Facebook groups had been created — or were being maintained — by the same handful of people. Who were they?Read More
December 19, 2008, 03:09 PM ET
The extensive web of telephone services om most campuses could soon cost the average college or university an extra $100,000 per year—and cost higher education in general hundreds of millions—because of a proposed change to a federally-regulated service fee.
On Dec. 11 the American Council on Education sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission protesting a change in something called the “universal service fund.” The fund, run by the FCC, is used to subsidize service in rural and low-income areas, providing customers affordable rates.
The change, proposed by telecoms AT&T and Verizon, would charge institutions 85 cents per assigned telephone number, according to an earlier letter drafted by the council. Previously, colleges were charged fees using a formula based on their revenues. The Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher...Read More
December 19, 2008, 12:50 PM ET
The Recording Industry Association of America has made a major shift in its strategy and will stop suing groups of students for illegally sharing copyrighted music on college networks.
For more than five years the music industry has periodically filed batch lawsuits against computer users who it said were downloading music files illegally. A healthy portion of the thousands of people the group has sued were on college campuses, and the RIAA went out of its way to announce that students were in its cross hairs. With each batch of lawsuits, the group issued a press release naming the college campuses on which the illegal downloading was reportedly taking place.
“We are discontinuing our broad-based litigation program against individuals,” said Cara Duckworth, a spokesperson for the music-industry group, in an interview Friday.
The group has begun a new strategy that it hopes will ...Read More
December 19, 2008, 12:37 PM ET
A mock-up of the cable holding up New York’s Williamsburg Bridge will be used to test sensors for monitoring corrosion. (Columbia U. photo)
What would happen if unseen corrosion caused the failure of a cable on a major suspension bridge? The short answer is, you don’t want to find out. Nor does anyone else. What you want to do instead is detect the corrosion early enough to make repairs to the cable. That’s a complex and costly job in itself, but far preferable to losing the bridge — and possibly lives as well.
So on Monday researchers at Columbia University’s Carleton Laboratory will begin a six-month experiment to test a system of corrosion sensors in a 20-foot-long mock-up of the cable that holds up New York’s 1903 Williamsburg Bridge, which crosses the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge, which has four main cables, has a span of 1,600 feet between the two...Read More
December 19, 2008, 09:54 AM ET
It was a very good year for Tech Therapy, The Chronicle’s technology podcast. Actually, to call it a technology podcast is a bit misleading. It’s often really a show about management and communication, efficiency and psychology.
That said, in 2009, Tech Therapy’s co-hosts, Scott Carlson and Warren Arbogast, plan to take on an array of techie topics, like cloud computing and energy efficiency in technology. If there is something you want them to talk about, write in at email@example.com.
But the most popular episodes of 2008 didn’t really have technology at their core. They were more about hiring, leading, scandal, and, of course, libraries. Thank goodness for librarians. Anything and everything The Chronicle publishes about them is tremendously popular.
So here are some of the most popular Tech Therapy shows of ...Read More
December 18, 2008, 01:43 PM ET
Henry Jenkins III likes to use the phrase “applied humanities” to describe the innovative comparative-media-studies program he co-founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His goal was to forge the kind of humanities program that fit the culture of the engineering-dominated MIT, and he managed to bring in millions of dollars of grant support and build a strong reputation for his creation. But after about 10 years of fighting to expand the program (including an unsuccessful effort to add a Ph.D. track to the program), Mr. Jenkins recently announced that he will leave MIT for the warmer halls of the University of Southern California. Now the future of the popular MIT program is unclear, and a debate is heating up about what will become of it.
A group...Read More
December 18, 2008, 11:30 AM ET
The fracas over file sharing has prompted many proposals, but no grand solution. This semester, in a freshman seminar called Stealing in Music City, U.S.A., students at Vanderbilt University sketched out their own model of music distribution.
Lawyers, recording-industry executives, songwriters, and performers spoke to the students, and education became a critical component of their new music-world order. One student said that federal legislation — a la No Child Left Behind — should require copyright law to be taught in public schools.
The government should be more involved over all, the students decided (a video of their hourlong final presentation is on YouTube). Their proposals included federal regulation of digital-rights management, as well as two options for peer-to-peer networks: Either the government would run a neutral, nonprofit network, or network owners would be...Read More
December 18, 2008, 08:29 AM ET
This year we kicked off Wired Campus TV, our tech-video series. We used the same free or low-cost video tools that some professors are trying in their courses to produce these short Web features. Luckily, I even had a camera along when I ran into Steve Wozniak, Apple’s co-founder, as he zipped around a conference on a Segway (and agreed to stop and talk about the early days of educational computing). Below are the five most viewed videos:
1. YouTube vs. Your Good Name — A college can spend millions of dollars a year polishing its image, but one well-placed viral video can undo all that effort.
2. Teaching With Twitter — David Parry, a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, talks about using Twitter, a new messaging service, for his...Read More
December 17, 2008, 04:36 PM ET
New regulations concerning student privacy that were released last week by the U.S. Department of Education take up technology in ways that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act never has before.
“A major reason for these new rules was to try to catch up Ferpa” — as the law is known — “with modern times,” says Rodney J. Petersen, a policy analyst for the higher-education-technology group Educause.
The Education Department’s proposed regulations sparked lively debates about privacy: One of technology officials’ main challenges was to explain the distinction between Social Security numbers and student-identification numbers.
In the proposed rules, neither could be included in colleges’ directories. And that change — treating ID numbers just like Social Security numbers — would have been tricky (and expensive), requiring many colleges to retrofit information systems. ...Read More