Tag Archives: technology

A week without social media?

That’s just what he Provost of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is doing this week. For the duration of this week, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social media services will be blocked on campus. What do you think? Is this a silly idea, or a constructor technology fast?

The Chronicle of Higher Education

September 9, 2010

A Social-Media Blackout at Harrisburg U.

By Paige Chapman

Professors have experimented with assigning technology fasts for their students—by discouraging gadget use for five days, for example, or rewarding extra credit for a semester without Facebook.

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is going one step further with a “social-media blackout.” Starting Monday, the Pennsylvania institution will block Facebook, Twitter, AOL Instant Messenger, and MySpace on the campus network for a week. Faculty and staff members will be affected as well as students.

“Telling students to imagine a time before Facebook is like telling them to imagine living in a world with dinosaurs,” said Eric D. Darr, Harrisburg’s executive vice president and provost. “It’s not real. What we’re doing is trying to make it real.”

By blocking Web sites—instead of just discouraging use—the university will give its entire community a shared experience, Mr. Darr said. He insisted the restricted access wasn’t censorship.

“We’re not denying students, staff, and faculty the right to connect to Facebook since the university network is only one avenue to get to these sites,” he said. “They can drive down the road to a place with wireless if they really want.”

David Parry, an assistant professor of emerging media and communications at the University of Texas at Dallas, has run several social-media fasts in his classes, where his students study such media. Because social media has become so common in the lives of students, he said, it can be harder for them to see how to advance the technology beyond its conventional uses. Asking students to choose to refrain for a short period of time can help them discover more productive uses for the media, he has found.

Full article available at http://bit.ly/cYHdPd.

The Virtual Sabbatical

Some faculty who have trouble traveling, or being away from home, are finding new and interesting alternatives to a traditional sabbatical. Technologies such as Skype, YouTube, and Facebook are making it easier than ever to connect with anyone, anywhere, at any time. They’re also facilitating new learning experiences for faculty and students. How have you used technology for personal or professional development?

Wired Campus

September 1, 2010, 05:53 PM ET

The Virtual Sabbatical

By Paige Chapman

Patricia Easteal took a sabbatical in England last year—without ever stepping foot outside her front door in Australia.

The University of Canberra law professor took the digital trip as part of a research project exploring a different take on the hoary academic tradition. She relied on Skype and YouTube to communicate with Durham University students and faculty members.

Could the sabbatical of the future be virtual?

“We did not undertake this project with the intention of advocating it as a replacement,” Ms. Easteal said. “We were simply testing it as an alternative, especially for groups that have difficulty traveling and/or being absent from home for a long time.”

Her one regret? Not having the chance to listen to the grand organ music at the nearby Durham Cathedral, a place BBC reported to be the country’s “most beloved building.”

Though she isn’t aware of other universities trying something similar, she hopes the idea will catch on.

“Hopefully, this will help people think outside of the proverbial box,” she said. “They can, indeed, develop international collaborations, networking, and be a visible part of another university community without leaving home.”

Wired Campus: Skipping Class? Sensors Are Watching

This is an interesting article which I believe raises some good questions about what is needed for students to be successful in their educational pursuits, and perhaps the expectations and responsibilities of students versus the institution in which they attend. If the technology helps us to understand who is attending class and who isn’t, what is the next step?

April 27, 2010, 03:00 PM ET

Skipping Class? Sensors Are Watching

By Andrea Fuller

Students at Northern Arizona University who hope to skip large lecture courses may have more trouble doing so this fall: The university is installing an electronic system that measures student attendance.

The university is using $75,000 in federal stimulus money to install the system, which will detect the ID cards students are carrying as they enter large classrooms, The Arizona Republic reported on Tuesday. (The cards can be read by an electronic sensor.) Faculty members can choose to receive electronic attendance reports.

Karen Pugliesi, vice provost for academic affairs, says the project will help improve attendance, which is key to higher academic performance.

Research, she says, shows a real link between good attendance and student achievement. She says the system will improve student engagement and participation, putting more students on track to graduate.

“We want every one of our students that enrolls in a class to realize their potential and be successful in the completion of that course,” she says. “It’s not in the student’s interest for them to drop out of a course or to fail a course.”

Privacy Concerns

But many students are opposed to the new system, which they say invades their privacy. Rachel Brackett, a sophomore, started the Facebook group “NAU Against Proximity Cards,” which has over 1,300 members.

Full article available at http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Skipping-Class-Sensors-Are/23530/?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en.

How Web-Savvy Edupunks Are Transforming American Higher Education


September 1, 2009

How Web-Savvy Edupunks Are Transforming American Higher Education

Is a college education really like a string quartet? Back in 1966, that was the assertion of economists William Bowen, later president of Princeton, and William Baumol. In a seminal study, Bowen and Baumol used the analogy to show why universities can’t easily improve efficiency.

If you want to perform a proper string quartet, they noted, you can’t cut out the cellist nor can you squeeze in more performances by playing the music faster. But that was then — before MP3s and iPods proved just how freely music could flow. Before Google scanned and digitized 7 million books and Wikipedia users created the world’s largest encyclopedia. Before YouTube Edu and iTunes U made video and audio lectures by the best professors in the country available for free, and before college students built Facebook into the world’s largest social network, changing the way we all share information. Suddenly, it is possible to imagine a new model of education using online resources to serve more students, more cheaply than ever before.

“The Internet disrupts any industry whose core product can be reduced to ones and zeros,” says Jose Ferreira, founder and CEO of education startup Knewton. Education, he says, “is the biggest virgin forest out there.” Ferreira is among a loose-knit band of education 2.0 architects sharpening their saws for that forest. Their first foray was at MIT in 2001, when the school agreed to put coursework online for free. Today, you can find the full syllabi, lecture notes, class exercises, tests, and some video and audio for every course MIT offers, from physics to art history. This trove has been accessed by 56 million current and prospective students, alumni, professors, and armchair enthusiasts around the world. “The advent of the Web brings the ability to disseminate high-quality materials at almost no cost, leveling the playing field,” says Cathy Casserly, a senior partner at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, who in her former role at the Hewlett Foundation provided seed funding for MIT’s project. “We’re changing the culture of how we think about knowledge and how it should be shared and who are the owners of knowledge.”

Read full article at http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/138/who-needs-harvard.html