Posts by Jeff Young
February 2, 2009, 04:31 PM ET
A new company called Academic Earth offers free online videos of lectures from some of the world’s most renowned scholars teaching at leading universities. The company has simply grabbed the videos off the universities’ own Web sites and plans to offer tools to students who want to talk about the content — along with a chance to grade the quality of the lectures.
Richard Ludlow, the company’s CEO and founder, said in an interview today that it is allowed to republish the videos because they were released by the universities under Creative Commons licenses. Those licenses allow outside entities, even for-profit ones, to reuse the materials, provided that those entities do not use the materials for commercial purposes. Mr. Ludlow says that his company will not place any advertising on Web pages that contain university videos, though he hopes...Read More
February 2, 2009, 03:47 PM ET
Here’s the first post from this month’s guest blogger, Lev Gonick, CIO at Case Western Reserve University:
I have been blogging since November 2004. At various professional meetings, like the CIO Executive Council and Educause gatherings, I have had the opportunity to share thoughts on the impact of blogging in the workspace. Sometimes the panel conversation is framed in terms of “whether” we, as CIOs, should support workplace blogging. Alternatively, we’ve discussed the impact of blogging in the world of higher education. The framing and reframing of the topic of blogging can be, and should be, seen as a catalytic force for challenging received wisdom on the relevance of universities in the 21st century.
Over the past four years or so, I have tried to use my blog, ...Read More
February 2, 2009, 01:54 PM ET
As you know, this year we’ve decided to bring in a new guest blogger each month to offer a view from the trenches in education technology — and spark some discussion on key issues. This month’s guest is a leading CIO who has long run his own blog (we’ve pointed to his items in the past). He’ll be posting here a couple of times a week during February, starting with his thoughts on blogging later today.
But first, an introduction. Lev Gonick is vice president for information technology services and chief information officer at Case Western Reserve University and has been named one of the nation’s top information officers by Computerworld and InformationWeek. He founded and is president ofRead More
January 30, 2009, 03:58 PM ET
India’s ministry in charge of higher education says it will make low-power laptops available, at a cost of just $10 apiece, to the Indian market within six months — as part of a major initiative to increase the number of students going to college, The Indian Express reports.
R. P. Agrawal, India’s secretary of higher education, told the newspaper that online courses are the only way to bring quality education to remote areas of the country. He added that the ministry is working out ways to beam lectures from the Indian Institute of Technology across the country. “We will be providing free e-content to students,” Mr. Agrawal said.
A prototype of the computer is expected to be unveiled next week. It will come with wireless Internet capability, expandable memory, and a variety of other features. The...Read More
January 30, 2009, 09:52 AM ET
Do you know what your kids are up to on Facebook? The social-networking service has become a major online hangout for many young people (especially college students), and one Stanford researcher who studies the service argues that parents should join, too — and befriend their children.
The researcher, BJ Fogg, director of Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab, announced this week a free, noncredit course he plans to teach at the university called “Facebook for Parents.” He has teamed up with his sister, Linda Fogg Phillips, who has eight children of her own, to teach the course. You have to get to the university to take the course because the sessions will not be broadcast online.
The instructors have built a Web site with their top five tips for parents concerning Facebook. They also offer an online newsletter that promises...Read More
January 29, 2009, 02:10 PM ET
Some folks following the blog have asked me why I have not commented on the issue of privacy, since a significant amount of my work over the last few years in electronic surveillance or the use of social-networking tools has touched on this subject. Okay, you asked for it! Here is a more comprehensive take on the subject. Have at it!
Privacy has long been interwoven into democratic rhetoric. In ancient times, citizens of Greece or Rome were granted certain protections for their families from public spaces. “Privates” in Latin means “not belonging to the state” or “not in public life” and tracks well with contemporary definitions. As we move rapidly into a global information economy, privacy in the current U.S. law applies to a small class of torts, public laws over certain kinds of information and electronic-surveillance rules. Privacy may expand, however, to become the ideological,...Read More
January 28, 2009, 11:43 AM ET
“What will the library of the future look like?” has become a hackneyed question for academic librarians, and yet the need to plan for digital future remains an on-going challenge. Anne Kenney, University Librarian at Cornell University, has taken an organizational step forward in that direction with the creation of a chief technology strategist. Dean Krafft, who is also a senior research associate in Information Science, occupies that role and works with the library, technology and academic community to think through an architecture. Below is a brief video conversation I had with both Anne and Dean about the opportunities and challenges of today. —Tracy MitranoRead More
January 28, 2009, 09:26 AM ET
Police charged Andrew Tatum, a former employee of Mobile Campus, with third-degree felony charges for misuse of computers, after he used the University of Florida’s emergency-alert system to send a text message to more than 42,000 students, professors, and staff members last week.
Mr. Tatum, 24, said he was showing a friend that he still had access to the alert service when he typed the message “The monkey got out of the cage” into the system. He said he did not mean to actually send the message.Read More
January 27, 2009, 04:00 PM ET
The new University of the People, an online institution that promises to offer courses for minimal cost to students thanks to free online materials and social-networking tools, will most likely have more symbolic significance than practical impact on the higher-education landscape.
The university got a big write-up in The New York Times, but some education bloggers, including Seb Schmoller, have expressed skepticism about the project, started by the entrepreneur who runs Cramster, a service that some describe as offering homework help by publishing the answers to problems in popular textbooks.
One key aspect of the project is the notion that with so many quality course materials published free online by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and others, some entity should come along to add a teaching component so that students could get college credit on the cheap. University of...Read More
January 27, 2009, 02:45 PM ET
For some time now Blackboard’s course-management software has been in need of a facelift, some college administrators say — especially because the software lacked the kind of social-networking features that are popular with students. Today the company pulled back the curtain on Blackboard 9, the first installment of its so-called “next-generation” platform, which gives the system a new look and feel.
“Blackboard was looking very early 2000s,” said Santo Nucifora, manager of systems development and innovation at Seneca College, which has been testing the new software for the past few months. Issues like color schemes and whether corners have rounded edges or not may seem trivial, but Mr. Nucifora says that such things can help shape perceptions, especially with students. “It’s like a fresh coat of paint.”
The biggest benefit of the changes is that the new system makes it easier for...Read More