This video is weird
This video is weird
Social-networking web sites such as Facebook and MySpace are changing how high school classes reunite, reports the Norfolk Advocate of Connecticut. Though people have long used the internet to reconnect with old friends, the sites make it easier to keep track of dozens of classmates beyond the big, planned, once-a-decade events. Jeff Clarke decided not to attend his 10-year Norwalk High School reunion in 2003. Many of his friends from high school had moved and weren’t going, so Clarke figured he wouldn’t bother getting dressed up and traveling to the Norwalk Inn, facing the possibility that there would be no one there he wanted to talk to. But Clarke doesn’t think he missed out on much. Since he joined Facebook last year, every day is a high school reunion. "Even people you might not have been super friendly with, because all the cliques are removed, you have the opportunity to connect with them again," Clarke, 33, said of Facebook. "You kind of build back a relationship." Clarke, who works in information technology, comments on the family photos his former classmates post on Facebook, and some Norwalk High alumni are in his online fantasy football league. "I think if you run into them at the reunion it’s kind of a one-day thing, and then you go back to your separate lives that are totally disconnected," he said…
Ohio college students will get a break on the price of textbooks through a newly negotiated agreement with an online retailer, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The 10-percent discount on electronic versions of textbooks is an attempt by state leaders to curb the pain being felt at college bookstores everywhere this time of year. Eric Fingerhut, Ohio’s chancellor of higher education, on Aug. 27 announced a deal with California-based CourseSmart to give a 10-percent discount to Ohio students. The deal is open to any student at a college or university with access to OhioLink, a consortium of university libraries and the State Library of Ohio. That means those enrolled at many private colleges and all public schools will benefit.
The catch to electronic versions of textbooks is that they are only available on a student’s computer for six months to a year, depending on the book. CourseSmart has security settings that only allow students to print 10 pages at a time, preventing an enterprising student from printing and reselling multiple copies…
Electronic emergency message boards and a public address system soon could augment the emergency text alert system already in place at the University of Colorado at Boulder, reports the Denver Post. The new security tools would be placed in dorms and at busy campus gathering sites to alert students, faculty, and staff if an emergency occurs. "What you really need is redundancy on a large and small scale," university spokesman Bronson Hilliard said of the plan. Shortly after the spring 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech University, officials at CU and other campuses in Colorado began exploring ways to beef up security and increase campus safety. The CU Alert System, a cell-phone text message emergency alert program, was created to alert CU’s student body. As of last week, 14,600 students, faculty members, and staffers out of CU’s population of 36,000 had subscribed to the alert program. "It’s a huge percentage, and we’re very pleased," Hilliard said.
Electronic message boards and a new public address system would add to that…
Students will be expected to buy their own laptop computers if legislators authorize a wireless campus initiative for South Dakota’s public universities, reports the Argus Leader. That might present some problems in the early going of the initiative, but personal laptops are becoming more an essential part of college, says a Black Hills State University graduate who obtained a history degree last spring. "I think a majority of students at our campus have their own computers," Kelly Kirk said. The state Legislature last year refused to pay for a proposal to create what the Board of Regents calls a mobile computing environment on the six public university campuses. The core of the plan is to wire and equip each campus for total wireless computing. The regents again this month included the plan in their proposed budget. The campuses would pay for it with a combination of $3.8 million in state money for ongoing costs and almost $11 million for one-time expenses raised through a payday shift in the university system. Tad Perry, executive director of the regents, said he thinks legislators understand the need for wireless campuses but are concerned about setting aside money for the program. Students will buy and own their own laptops, he assured…
There is more at stake at the largest one-to-one computing project in Latin America than the reputation of Intel’s Classmate PC, reports CNET. Each of the students at the Bradesco Foundation school in Brazil has a laptop to use each day, and "we have to tread carefully," said Vice Principal Tania Maria Gebin de Carvalhao. "You can’t have a recall of students and say ‘wait, we did it wrong, come back.’" The stakes are also high for the technology companies involved. Intel and Microsoft hope to show the power of giving laptops to students–but also to show the world that they, too, have a product in this area, with so many headlines in the United States focused on Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child project…
Administrators and IT chiefs at public universities nationwide say the recording industry’s search for students accused of online piracy is cutting into their faculty’s work day. In recent months, some universities have refused to forward "pre-litigation" letters to students offering them a settlement to avoid further legal action from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Forwarding these documents is not a legal responsibility of the college, administrators say, and tracking down students who might have downloaded music or movies illegally is time-consuming, forcing IT specialists to comb through an enormous university network, pinpoint specific illegal actions, and find students.
"This is between the recording industry and the people who may be violating their copyrights," said Brian Rust, marketing manager of the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Department of Information Technology, which has seen a steady increase of subpoenas and "cease-and-desist" notices forwarded from RIAA officials in recent years. "But public institutions are an easy target. We’re very transparent about access to our network."
Higher education has been a primary ally in the recording industry’s fight against online piracy, but over the last year, university officials say tension has mounted.
Filtering or monitoring technologies designed to spot incidents of illegal downloads have forced many colleges to assign full-time employees the job of tracking down the IP addresses of network users who might have violated copyright laws, find out if those users are still enrolled in the university, and make sure the alleged violators receive notice that the RIAA is looking for them. The software has been installed at campuses across the country after the recording industry’s intensive lobbying effort for better network monitoring.
Denise Stephens, vice provost for information services and chief information officer at the University of Kansas, said the school decided to stop forwarding pre-litigation papers to students because the practice did not fit the mission of the college.
"We really had to make a decision philosophically about what our role was in this whole issue," said Stephens, who also has seen a rise in RIAA "cease-and-desist" notices. "We’d be acting as a go-between for an external party seeking to get information about our students. … We decided that was not our role."
Stephens insisted that Kansas’ new policy was not intended to pick a fight with the RIAA. She stressed that the university maintains "a zero-tolerance [file-sharing] policy," stripping students and faculty of their network access privileges in they are found guilty of internet piracy.
"This is not an effort to thumb our nose at anyone," she said.
The RIAA did not return messages left by eSchool News. In courtroom arguments and media reports over the last year, however, the group has argued that compliance with subpoenas has not been a burden to universities in the past, so it should not be considered a burden now. But higher-education officials insist compliance with the RIAA is requiring too much of their time as the organization’s anti-piracy campaign has become more rigorous.
Receiving and forwarding pre-litigation documents, Stephens said, was eating into staff members’ work schedules and regularly overwhelming some employees.
"We had a person for whom this was becoming a full-time job," she said. "The overhead costs for us were not an acceptable burden."
Unlike the University of Kansas, Wisconsin officials said students found to have downloaded music illegally are not booted off the school’s network automatically, but could face other disciplinary measures. Rust, the university’s IT marketing manager, said its actions are administered on a case-by-case basis.
While the rising numbers of cease-and-desist notices and pre-litigation letters would suggest a rise in the frequency of illegal downloads on Wisconsin’s campus, Rust said that is not the case.
"[The RIAA] would lead you to believe that is because our institution has an increase in copyright violations," he said. "We feel that it’s due to their increasing efforts to scan the networks and send out notices."
University officials said pre-litigation letters are mailed to schools at an alarming pace during final exams. That is no accident, Rust said. In the midst of cramming and finishing last-minute term papers, he said, students are more likely to "settle and pay their money," as the pre-litigation documents suggest. Rust added that students who receive a letter forwarded from a university office might be misled into believing the college is recommending a settlement.
"They assume … that we’re basically recommending that they settle, when in fact, that may not be true," he said.
Campus officials interviewed by eSchool News said students had not raised much concern about the schools refusing to forward pre-litigation papers to them.
A spokeswoman for the Associated Students of Madison, the University of Wisconsin’s student government, said in an eMail message that the organization had not taken "an official position" on the university’s decision to stop mailing pre-litigation papers.
W.H. Oxendine Jr., executive director of the American Student Government Association, said the refusal to forward pre-litigation documents had not yet become a major issue among student governments.
"I can’t say that I have heard this issue being discussed by any of our members," Oxendine told eSchool News.