GAO calls for enhancements to Grants.gov system

Readers who have used Grants.gov to submit federal grant applications and who have experienced difficulties might find some comfort in a report that was released in July. The report, titled "Grants.gov Has Systemic Weaknesses that Require Attention," was based on a study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2008 and 2009. The GAO surveyed federal agencies that use the Grants.gov system and came up with several recommendations for improving the system.
 
The report covers a lot of ground, including the benefits of Grants.gov, applicants’ experiences with submitting grant proposals, the governance structure of Grants.gov, and the range of agency policies for processing Grants.gov applications.
 
As for the benefits of Grants.gov, most grant seekers who are interested in federal dollars would agree that it’s highly effective to have a one-stop shop for information. Before Grants.gov, if a grant seeker wanted to apply for grants from several different federal agencies, he or she had to visit all of the different agency web sites individually or comb through the voluminous Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) to look up grant information and determine whether to apply. With Grants.gov, users can sign up for free eMail notifications (usually appearing in eMail in-boxes daily) for when grant programs are announced, and with a few clicks, they can access all the information they’ll need to apply. This information includes overviews of federal programs, application guidance, and electronic application packages.

However, according to the GAO’s report, many individuals have had trouble registering for Grants.gov, which sometimes has resulted in late submissions. The registration process can be time consuming, in some cases taking up to three weeks to be completed. In my grants workshops, I always advise potential applicants to register for Grants.gov immediately, even if they are not currently planning to apply for a federal grant. There’s no fee involved, and registration does not expire or need to be renewed. It’s far easier to register now, without the added stress of a looming application deadline!

It is interesting, and somewhat disconcerting, to read the section of the report that outlines the range of agency policies for processing Grants.gov applications. Apparently, some agencies give applicants a "grace period" when submitting their application; however, they don’t advertise this fact to applicants. In other words, although the program guidelines might specify a deadline time of 8:00 p.m. EST, for example, some agency will consider applications timely if they are submitted by midnight–while other agencies will not review an application submitted at 8:01 p.m. This also can create problems because Grants.gov officials tell applicants to submit their applications after peak hours, which is after 8:00 p.m. EST.

The report also states that agencies have different policies for determining the completeness of applications. An applicant can receive a confirmation from Grants.gov that its application was successfully submitted and then discover later that its application was deemed incomplete by an agency.
 
The GAO is making four recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget as a result of this study. They are (1) to develop performance measures for the Grants.gov system, (2) to develop guidance that clarifies the Grants.gov governance structure, (3) to put into place a structured means for applicant input, and (4) to develop uniform policies for processing grant applications.

The report does not contain much information about feedback from individual users, but it does indicate that some grantee associations have shared their concerns about Grants.gov. I would suggest that readers review this online report, and if they choose to share their own frustrations, contact Stanley Czerwinski at (202) 512-6806 or via eMail at czerwinskis@gao.gov.
 
Copies of the report are available at www.gao.gov.

 

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Obama’s speech to students sparks controversy

A plan by President Barack Obama to address students nationwide via the internet Sept. 8 has energized opposition, with some districts refusing to allow students to view the speech. Others, however, say they welcome the opportunity to let students hear from the president directly, and they don’t see what all the fuss is about.

"It’s hard to understand how a speech by the president of the United States that is expected to encourage students to work hard and stay in school could be so controversial. The anger this has generated among some individuals feels misplaced," said Nora Carr, chief of staff at Guilford County Schools in North Carolina.

Carr, who writes a monthly column for eSchool News on the use of technology to connect with school stakeholders, added that as a public school district, Guilford County welcomes and encourages diverse viewpoints. "We believe in the First Amendment, [so] it’s important that students and families with many different viewpoints feel valued and accepted in our schools," she noted–including those who object to the president’s speech as well as those who support it.

According to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Obama will discuss the importance of education on what is the first day of school for many students in the United States.

"The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents, and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible, so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens," Duncan said in an Aug. 26 letter to school principals.

However, some school districts are choosing not to show the speech.

The superintendent of the Wichita Falls Independent School District said his district’s schools will not participate. The Times Record News reported Sept. 2 that Superintendent George Kazanas said too many aspects of the speech are unusual and atypical and conflict with education protocol.

He added that educators are not getting adequate lead time to work the address into their plans.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is providing resources developed by and for teachers to help engage students and stimulate discussion about persevering and succeeding in school.

Corinne A. Gregory, president and founder of SocialSmarts, a schools-based program that integrates social skills, character, and values into core curricula, said that according to the parents and teachers she’s spoken with, the lack of planning time is a problem.

"There was strong encouragement by the White House that everybody, essentially, in schools across America drop their normal educational lesson plans so that all kids could watch this," she said. "But at the same time, it was never said what was going to be in the address, what was going to be discussed, and more importantly, parents, by and large, have not been informed."

Gregory said the fact that many parents were unaware the speech was even happening made them uncomfortable.

"Regardless of whether or not there’s an agenda involved, it makes people uncomfortable because there are a lot of people right now [who] are very, very nervous about hidden agendas, about messages that are being sent out–particularly to our young children," she said.

Distrust of the president seems to be a theme among many of those who oppose his speech.

For example, the head of Florida’s state Republican Party has attacked Obama’s address, saying the president wants to push a "socialist" agenda on children.

Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer issued a press release Sept. 1 headlined, "Greer Condemns Obama’s Attempt to Indoctrinate Students." Greer told the Associated Press that if the speech is simply a feel-good message about the importance of education, he doesn’t object to that. But he said he doesn’t trust Obama to stick to those points and said the president should not address children unless parents can review the speech ahead of time.

In Greer’s press release, he says, "As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology" and "I do not support using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda."

Responding to these concerns, White House officials said on Sept. 3 that the text of Obama’s speech will be posted on the whitehouse.gov web site Sept. 7, allowing teachers and parents to review it before his address the next day.

Students themselves, meanwhile, are coming out to say that people should not allow fear and unease to rule their actions.

"It seems as though opponents of the president often attempt to vilify the genuine attempts to spread hope across the nation, simply because they are afraid of what change may occur if the president is allowed to inspire and affect young people," said Dan Hoffmann, a senior at New Rochelle High School in New York. He is also a member of the Junior State of America, a national organization for students who are interested in politics and government, foreign affairs, the law, and education. "Students across the country deserve attention, and I’m glad to see that President Obama is willing to address them, their future, and the importance of education."

Recognizing the good that could come from Obama’s speech, many districts have jumped at the opportunity for students to hear directly from their president.

"After the superintendent received the eMail from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, we immediately began investigating whether our technology infrastructure had the capacity required to handle this. We also were hoping that C-SPAN or another broadcaster would decide to carry the speech live, so we could download it from satellite and broadcast it on our district’s cable channel," Carr said.

She said that while she knows there are people who think Obama’s speech will be political in nature, it is her district’s practice to welcome elected officials when they offer to speak to students.

"Regardless of the political party in power, [Guilford County Schools] has a history of respecting requests from the Office of the President of the United States, as well as from the U.S. Department of Education. For example, we welcomed President George Bush when he visited Greensboro a couple of years ago to recognize one of our schools," she said.

"In this situation, we have the sitting president of the United States using today’s technology to reach today’s kids. The fact that the current president is someone who overcame adversity and hardship in his life, and credits the achievement of his dreams to the educational opportunities he received and took advantage of, only makes his message of perseverance more credible."

Jim Koontz, superintendent of East Butler Public Schools in Nebraska, said Obama’s speech is a great educational opportunity for his students.

"At our particular school we have no children of color, so I think this is a tremendous educational opportunity," he said. Obama "is a unique individual in that he was ever elected, being a man of color. I think it’s important that the students listen to him [and] they’ll get to know him and put a name to the face."

Koontz said he hasn’t gotten any negative feedback from parents.

"This particular part of Nebraska, and of course the entire state, is a pretty conservative Republican area, but no parents have said a thing," he said.

He said he encouraged the teachers in his district to use the lesson plans that ED has provided, which urge teachers to introduce goal-setting, guide discussion about the speech, and ask what the president inspires them to do.

The address, which will take place at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., will be broadcast live on WhiteHouse.gov and C-SPAN. Koontz said the speech will be viewed in individual classrooms and most likely on C-SPAN, though teachers have access to computers and the internet and can choose to view it that way as well.

Koontz said his district also is arranging to record the president’s address if teachers wish to view it later. "We still have a few days to figure it out," he said.

In a letter to parents and students, Wakefield Principal Doris Jackson said she is honored and thrilled that her school was selected for Obama’s address.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for our students, and we are grateful that the president will be with us as we kick off the school year," she said, adding that alternative arrangements would be made for any student who does not want to attend the assembly.

In fact, most school districts that haven’t decided to boycott the speech are giving students who don’t want to watch Obama’s address alternative choices.

Carr noted that many of the parents who are contacting her district to complain seem to be speaking from the same script.

"The comments are so similar, it’s scary. It makes one wonder if this is somehow part of an organized campaign against the current administration, with public school officials caught in the crossfire, especially since we started getting calls before the district or local news media had shared any information about the proposed speech. Whatever the source, the anger is very real," she said.

But she added that some parents are upset that viewing the speech is not mandatory.

"We are also beginning to hear now from those who feel that allowing any students to opt-out of an educational activity, especially an address by a sitting U.S. president, is morally and ethically wrong," she said. "Again, school officials are caught in the crossfire as we try to find common ground upon which we can all stand together in support of our students and our government."

Nancy P. Hemenway, a special-education advocate and parent of a freshman at Wakefield, said she is glad that Obama chose Wakefield to host his speech. Her husband teaches government at Wakefield as well.

"Our country desperately needs a better focus on the right kind of education. At least the president is taking the time to address young people. I hope he can listen, too," she said.

Josh Shipp, author of The Teen’s Guide to World Domination and host of TV’s "Jump Shipp,"  a show dealing with 20-somethings going through their "quarter-life crisis," said the political process often overlooks young people, so it’s good to see Obama addressing them directly.

"This is a chance to prove that we believe young people are the future and to involve ‘said future’ in the process starting now," he said. "As for parents being outraged? Absurd. Whatever the president’s specific remarks are–and whether or not you agree with them–what a wonderful opportunity for a conversation and debate about where our country stands, where it’s headed, and what young people can do about it."

Shipp added that choosing not to view Obama’s address will only hurt those students in the long run.

"Like many things in life, boycotting or ignoring it won’t make it better. If you ignore your debt, you’ll only go more into debt. If you ignore your health, you’ll only become more unhealthy," he said. "Let’s listen to the speech, invite young people to participate in a conversation and debate about it, and allow them to come to their own conclusions."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Link:

White House web site

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Houlihan Smith & Company, Inc. Sponsors Chicago based Community Education Program




Houlihan Smith & Company, Inc. Sponsors Chicago based Community Education Program

 

Chicago (September 2009) –   Houlihan Smith & Company, Inc. is pleased to announce its participation in the Corporate Work Study Program of Chicago.  Working with students from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and Christ the King Jesuit College Prep, the Corporate Work Study Program serves students from families with limited economic resources, allowing them to take ownership of a quality college prep education.  

 

“Contributing to the development of the community through the development of future leaders is important to the Houlihan firm,” said Andy Smith, President and Co-Founder of Houlihan Smith.  Through the Corporate Work Study Program, students earn roughly 65 percent of their tuition costs which is paid directly to their school.   

 

Students with modified class schedules are placed on teams and share a full-time entry level job with four other students.  The Corporate Work Study Program employs the students and handles all payroll, workers compensation, taxation, and other employment related issues.

 

Student workers have a 98 percent attendance rate and are driven to and from work sites every day.  The Corporate Work Study Program provides students with supplementary supervisory support and the opportunity to handle all entry level office work.  Employers find that workers from the program stabilize high turnover positions and provide consistent results.

 

About the Corporate Work Study Program:

The Corporate Work Study Program began in 1996 with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and has grown to serve Christ the King Jesuit College Prep.  Based on this successful program, 20 schools around the country are implementing this model.

 

About Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School:

Christ the King Jesuit College Prep is a Catholic Jesuit, independent, coeducational college preparatory school for students from families on Chicago’s west side.  Sponsored by the Chicago Province Jesuits, Christ the King offers students a strong academic and spiritual foundation in a safe, disciplined, faith-based, and caring environment.  Founded in 2008, Christ the King began with 120 students and has the capacity to grow to serve as many as 600 students.  For more information, please visit Cristo Rey Jesuit High School at www.cristorey.net.

 

About Cristo Rey Jesuit High School:

Founded by the Jesuits in 1996, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School is a neighborhood school with the mission of offering the best college preparatory education available to the youth of the Pilsen and Little Village community on the south west side of Chicago.  The school began with 79 students and has now grown to over 530 students.  82% of their graduates are currently attending or have completed college.  For more information, please visit Christ the King Jesuit College Prep at www.ctkjesuit.org.

 

About the Houlihan firm:

Houlihan Smith & Company, Inc. is recognized as a leading provider of financial opinions, valuations, mergers & acquisitions advisory, and other corporate advisory services for public and private businesses.  Founded in 1996, the Houlihan firm is synonymous with deal-making expertise and leadership in valuation as well as fairness issues.  The Houlihan firm’s experienced professionals provide services for businesses around the globe from offices in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and London. For more information about the Houlihan firm, please visit the firm’s website www.houlihansmith.com.

 

Contact: William Berger   Phone: +1-312-499-5986   Night Contact: wberger@houlihansmith.com

 

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Maine unveils laptops for high schoolers

Maine's laptop program is nationall recognized and watched.

Maine's laptop program is nationally recognized and watched.

With Apple’s top education official and Maine’s education commissioner looking on Sept. 3, students from Hall-Dale High School took a sneak peek at the laptop computers they’ll receive in the coming weeks, reports the Kennebec Journal. Each student at the high school is receiving a MacBook as part of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, the state program aimed at equipping every Maine student in grades 7 through 12 with a computer. At an event meant to mark the initiative’s expansion to the high school grades, Hall-Dale students were handed new computers and told to test them. They had to give up the machines later in the day; the school plans to issue the laptops to all students next week. “It allows you to be extremely organized,” said Kevin Zembroski, a 15-year-old sophomore from Farmingdale, who added that the laptops allow students to put together multimedia class presentations and do research almost instantly. Gov. John Baldacci announced the expansion of the state’s laptop program to high school students in March. Students in grades 7 and 8 have had the machines since 2002. “We were reticent to suggest they go back to paper and pencil” when they reached high school, Regional School Unit 2 Superintendent Donald Siviski said…

Click here for the full story

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Advocates: Google Books can bridge digital divide

Much of the discussion around Google’s proposed book settlement has centered on copyright law and competition, but advocates for greater access to books online finally had their say as well, CNET reports. A coalition of civil-rights and disability groups in favor of Google’s book-scanning project held a press conference on Sept. 3 to marshal support for improving access to knowledge, the key benefit of Google’s deal with authors and publishers to create a new kind of digital library. They fear that a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain digital access to knowledge previously stored in libraries at expensive universities or rich communities could be hampered by the opposition to the settlement from some authors and privacy advocates. Those opposing the settlement have perhaps protested most loudly over the past six months, but Google put together a group of organizations who stand to make huge gains if the settlement is approved. Blind people, for example, have access to a special library run by the Library of Congress that converts print books into formats readable by the visually impaired, but that library–in existence since 1931–only has 70,000 texts, said Chris Danielsen, director of public relations for the National Federation of the Blind. If the settlement is approved in October, it will give "print-disabled" people "access to more books than we have ever had in human history," he said…

Click here for the full story

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Gmail outage won’t dissuade colleges

Colleges and universities that have outsourced eMail services to Google said the 100-minute Gmail outage on Sept. 1 proved inconvenient for students and professors, but many IT officials maintain Google’s service is superior to campus-run eMail.

Colleges, businesses, and other customers could not access their Gmail accounts for about an hour and half Tuesday after routine server upgrades caused an overload on Google’s routers. "As a result, people couldn’t access Gmail via the web interface because their requests couldn’t be routed to a Gmail server," according to a Sept. 1 Google blog post apologizing to customers for the outage.

Technology officials who have converted campus-wide eMail services to Google’s servers–and some IT administrators who are considering the move–said that despite the recent downtime, Google’s eMail service is more reliable than the competition.

Read the full story at eCampus News

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Gmail outage won’t dissuade colleges

Colleges and universities that have outsourced eMail services to Google said the 100-minute Gmail outage on Sept. 1 proved inconvenient for students and professors, but many IT officials maintain Google’s service is superior to campus-run eMail.

Colleges, businesses, and other customers could not access their Gmail accounts for about an hour and half Tuesday after routine server upgrades caused an overload on Google’s routers. "As a result, people couldn’t access Gmail via the web interface because their requests couldn’t be routed to a Gmail server," according to a Sept. 1 Google blog post apologizing to customers for the outage.

Technology officials who have converted campus-wide eMail services to Google’s servers–and some IT administrators who are considering the move–said that despite the recent downtime, Google’s eMail service is more reliable than the competition.

Gmail had a similar outage on Feb. 24, 2008, when eMail was not available for more than two hours during maintenance on the company’s European data centers. In a recent blog post, Ben Treynor, vice president of engineering and site reliability czar for Google, wrote that the company’s uptime remains 99.9 percent. 

"To me, you’re more than likely to find a lot more downtime when you’re running the system yourself," said Doug Darby, director of new media at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, referring to eMail programs run by IT workers on campus. "What service hasn’t been down at one time or another? … Two hours is nothing in the big picture."

Since Gmail has become ubiquitous among college students and adopted by large universities and corporations in recent years, even the smallest glitch can be perceived as an IT tragedy, said Darby, whose school is considering the switch to Gmail.

"It can really get over-magnified," he said.

More than 2,100 students at Spelman College in Atlanta began using Gmail accounts two weeks ago when they returned to campus for the start of the fall semester, after a 50-student pilot program last spring showed a switch to Gmail would be a popular move because many students already used Google’s service. Chandra McCrary, associate vice president of media and IT at Spelman, said the campus’s eMail was down for more than an hour Tuesday, but the hiccup wouldn’t prompt IT decision makers to look for a new eMail provider. 

"More and more colleges are moving to this service, so that was probably why it drew so much attention," McCrary said. "We have no reason to jump ship."

IT officials interviewed by eCampus News said they were satisfied with Google’s response to the downtime, which included an eMail apologizing for the server overload.

"I was pleased with that," said James Langford, director of web integration and programming at Abilene Christian University in Texas, which began converting its campus to Gmail accounts in April 2007. "You can’t deal with someone who never admits a mistake."

Langford said Abilene students and faculty have found Google eMail to be reliable, and he agreed with other IT officials that Gmail’s popularity makes downtime seem disastrous. A quick Twitter search during the outage showed Langford how immediate the worldwide reaction was.

"You start to realize the breadth of how many people are concerned about it," he said. "It has such high visibility that people notice right away, of course. … We still have better uptime than running our own mail server."

The Google blog said efforts to avoid server overload include "increasing request router capacity well beyond peak demand to provide headroom."

The blog continued: "Some of the actions are more subtle–for example, we have concluded that request routers don’t have sufficient failure isolation (i.e., if there’s a problem in one data center, it shouldn’t affect servers in another data center) and do not degrade gracefully (e.g., if many request routers are overloaded simultaneously, they all should just get slower instead of refusing to accept traffic and shifting their load)."

Links:

Gmail blog

Spelman College

Austin College

Abilene Christian University

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Google addresses book-search privacy fears

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin has extended the deadline until 10 a.m. EDT on Sept. 8 for protesting or supporting the landmark deal that would let Google Inc. scan millions of copyrighted books so they can be read on computers and other electronic devices. Chin’s announcement came as Google agreed to draw up a new privacy policy covering its digital library in response to queries from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Ironically, Chin moved the deadline for commenting from Sept. 4 because the computers running his court’s electronic filing system went down for maintenance Sept. 3 and will remain unavailable through the Labor Day weekend.

The 11th-hour change gives the settlement’s growing number of opponents more time to hone their arguments against a proposal that would empower Google to make digital copies of millions of copyrighted books now gathering dust on library book shelves.

An alliance that includes two of Google’s biggest rivals–Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.–is among the critics expected to spell out their objections in Tuesday morning’s flurry of filings. Silicon Valley attorney Gary Reback, perhaps best known for helping the U.S. government shape an antitrust case against Microsoft a decade ago, is spearheading the attack on Google on behalf of the group, called the Open Book Alliance. (See "Google rivals to fight book-scanning settlement.")

Microsoft and Yahoo also could lodge their own separate complaints against Google, just as Amazon.com Inc. did earlier this week. (See "Amazon.com makes its case against Google book deal.")

Google’s 10-month-old settlement with groups representing U.S. authors and publishers would allow the internet’s search leader to act as its partners’ sales agent. The nonexclusive arrangement has raised fears that Google–already the owner of the internet’s most powerful advertising network–could emerge as the ringleader of a literary cartel that wields too much control over the prices of digital books.

Those worries prompted the U.S. Justice Department to open an inquiry over whether Google’s book deal would violate U.S. laws set up to prevent predatory pricing and promote competition. The Justice Department already has received a waiver giving the agency until Sept. 18 to file its brief with Chin.

Google’s ambition to run the world’s digital library also is raising questions about how much data the company intends to collect about what people are reading and what it intends to do with the information.
In response to inquiries from the FTC, Google has issued a new privacy policy covering its digital library.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company also has agreed to adhere to the FTC’s policies governing how internet companies can use their knowledge of people’s online interests to target ads at specific individuals, according to letters and statements released Sept. 3.

Google posted an initial draft of its privacy policy for books late on Sept. 3 (http://books.google.com/googlebooks/privacy.html). The policy states that all of the provisions of Google’s general privacy policy apply to the Google Books service. Among other things, this means:

• Google will not share personal information with third parties, except in the narrow circumstances described in the Privacy Policy, such as emergencies or in response to a valid legal process.
• When someone uses Google Books, Google receives log information similar to what it receives from internet searches. This includes the query term or page request, IP address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of the request, and one or more cookies that might uniquely identify the user’s browser.
• Google says it will use this information for the purposes discussed in its Privacy Policy, such as to improve its services and report on aggregate user trends. Usage data from Google Books are subject to the same security standards outlined in the company’s main Privacy Policy.

"We’ll work to ensure that the privacy of online readers is fact, not fiction," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.

Google would turn over most of the revenue from its digital book sales to the participating authors and publishers, just one of the many benefits the company is touting.

More than 10 million books already have been scanned into Google’s electronic index since 2004. The settlement would clear the legal hurdles that have been preventing Google from stockpiling millions of copyrighted books that are out-of-print. Because those books are scattered in the different libraries across the nation, they’re inaccessible to most people.

The concept of having a library accessible around the clock from anywhere with an internet connection has attracted plenty of supporters, especially among librarians and researchers.

After sifting through stacks of conflicting briefs about Google’s book settlement, Chin is scheduled to receive oral arguments in an Oct. 7 hearing in New York.

Link:

Google Books Privacy Policy

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10-step Guide to Get Links to Your New Website

 

 

If you are the webmaster of a newly launched website, or if your website lacks the popularity it deserves, you should have a look at the following 10-step guide, which will show you how to get valuable links and improve your traffic levels and overall site popularity:

 

1. Use the full power of automated link management websites and directories. This is the easiest and most effective way of getting links to your website. Some great resources to start linking to other websites, go to:

http://www.seovally.com

2. Place a link or invitation for potential link partners. There are many webmasters who visit related websites and some of them might want to link to you. Make sure to offer them an easy and quick solution to initiate the link exchange.

 

3. Use high authority websites like Wikipedia to generate traffic and increase your website popularity. Remember that quality is king on such websites, so don’t try to spam them or find quick solutions. Become part of the community and your links will be more than welcome.

 

4. Become a part of the blogging craze. Create your own blog (you can do that for free with services like Blogger or Word Press) and start posting on other blogs. Try to include a link to your website where the context allows it. Blog posting is effective and has the potential to send hundreds of visitors each week with only a few well written comments and some subtle links.

 

5. Join a few forums related to the topic of your website and become an active member. Try to create the exact same user name and password for more forums, so that you can manage your posts and memberships better. Some forums don’t allow you to place links in your messages – unless they are really valuable forums try to avoid them as they will bring little benefit.

 

6. Post on groups and other online communities.

 

7. Use social bookmarking websites such as digg.com or furl.com to generate interest in your website. The more interesting the content of your pages is, the more credit you will get from the people who determine the placement of your links.

 

8. Yahoo Answers is another interesting source of traffic and links. Make sure to become a real contributor to the program, not just someone who places a link without any real content.

 

9. Offer something of value for free to your visitors or newsletter subscribers. This will generate a viral effect in which visitors tell their friends about your website. This will lead to increased traffic, plus it will let more webmasters know that you exist, increasing the chances of a link exchange.

 

10. Use the full power of article submissions. This is another viral marketing tool that has the potential of generating more and more incoming links towards your website as the articles you submitted get republished on blogs and websites. You may want to register with some ezines and directories to submit your article for inclusion, such as:

 

                http://www.webhostinglover.com

 

Article submission can be tedious, which is why you may want to consider an automatic article submitter. It will submit one article to over 30 directories in half an hour. To watch a video on how to accomplish this, go to:

 

Article_Submitter_Video.php

 

 

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AVERMEDIA® REWARDS TEACHERS’ IDEAS AND REFERRALS WITH INTERACTIVE DOCUMENT CAMERAS

This is s

CONTACT
Grant Woods
AVerMedia Information, Inc.
623-337-5944
 
For Immediate Release:
 
AVERMEDIA® REWARDS TEACHERS’ IDEAS AND REFERRALS WITH INTERACTIVE DOCUMENT CAMERAS
Twenty-three Classrooms Now Benefit from Free AVerVision CP300 Interactive Document Cameras
 
MILPITAS, CA – September 1, 2009 – AVerMedia® Information, Inc., the leading provider of presentation technology, announced today that a new milestone has been reached for the AVerVision Interactive Document Camera giveaway program. Since August of 2008, AVerMedia has awarded 23 CP300 interactive document cameras (a total retail value of $16,100) to educators across the country. The monthly contests run within the environment of the online teacher’ forum where educators are encouraged to share a plethora of information about teaching, classroom technology and best practices.
AVerMedia’s goal is to enrich the learning environment for students and enhance the teaching experience and these monthly contests help attain that purpose. The teacher forum has flourished with over 3900 members and over 7400 ideas from educators from all over the world. This fast-growing forum showcases the real world applications of various classroom technologies in creative and innovative visual lessons and contains topics ranging from classroom setup to lesson plans and technical support. Each member has something different to bring to the forum and new ideas are discovered every day.
The first contest is the monthly posting contest where one relevant post is drawn randomly and the author of that post is awarded a document camera. The more a forum member contributes to the forum, the greater their chances of winning. The second contest is the acclaimed friend referral contest. Each member has the opportunity to encourage friends and fellow educators to the forum and also learn from others. The forum member with the most referrals at the end of the month will be rewarded for their efforts with an interactive document camera as well.
The next winners will be announced October 1, 2009. Two lucky teachers will be able to start out the new school year with one of the greatest classroom technology tools on the market and many are excited about the opportunity.  Mary Richards of Monroe Elementary School in Janesville, WI, the winner of the April 2009 friend referral contest says, “Again, I am thrilled that this contest was available to teachers like me. What a great way to get a wonderful product into the hands of teachers and students! Thank you so much!”
For more details about the AVerVision Teacher Forum contests or any of AVerMedia’s other promotions, please visit the promotions page at www.avermedia-usa.com/presentation/promotions.asp. For product information visit www.avermedia-usa.com/presentation or call toll free at 1-877-528-7824
 
About AVerMedia® Information, Inc:
AVerMedia is the technology leader in Digital Multimedia Video Convergence Technology. AVerMedia provides Hardware and Software Surveillance Systems, Document Cameras, Digital Video Makers, and PC-to-TV Converters for consumer and corporate/educational markets. As a leader in innovative manufacturing and environmentally friendly products, AVerMedia is also highly involved with community and social responsibilities. AVerMedia also partners with ODMs for the development of AVerMedia’s technologies for integration applications.
AVerMedia is a registered trademark of AVerMedia Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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