Wi-Fi deal could get all of USC online

By this time next year, students at the University of South Carolina should be able to access the internet in every classroom and dorm after AT&T installs high-speed wireless broadband across its campus, reports The State of Columbia, S.C. USC will pay AT&T between $60,000 and $70,000 a month once the wireless service is completely installed, said Jeff Farnham, the school’s deputy chief information officer. Right now, wireless access is available only in certain campus locations. “As mobile as students are, this is going to allow them a lot of flexibility with their academic studies,” said Dan Sisson, an AT&T regional vice president in the Carolinas. Wi-Fi access will be free for students, faculty, and staff. They will use their university ID numbers to log on. USC and AT&T are working to make the wireless service available to campus guests, who would pay a fee on a credit card for temporary access. That plan would work similar to AT&T’s wireless service at Starbucks. USC students, faculty, and staff also would be able to use their campus wireless accounts to access any AT&T wireless hot spot in South Carolina, Sisson said…

Click here for the full story

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InfoSource Learning’s SimpleAssessment is Free Again

OVIEDO, FL – August 3, 2009 – InfoSource Learning is excited to announce that SimpleAssessment for Student Technology Proficiency is free once again for the 2009/2010 school year.

Due to overwhelming demand and support from K-12 districts across the country, the company will continue to offer the ISTE NETS-S based assessment at no cost. With shrinking budgets and increasing demand for schools to report student technology literacy levels, SimpleAssessment is the number once choice by more than 1,200 school districts nationwide.

During SimpleAssessment’s first year in classrooms, more than one million students used the assessment to measure and improve their technology proficiency. According to InfoSource Learning’s CEO, Michael Werner, “We’re back for this school year and more excited than ever. After one full year of use in classrooms, we saw first hand how our free offer helped a million students – and we want to help a million more.”

SimpleAssessment will continue to be offered in two versions (NETS-S 2007 and NETS-S 1998) with options for both PC and Mac schools. The assessment is administered through InfoSource Learning’s Learning Management System (LMS), also included free, making it quick and easy to access results and reporting. The immediate reporting helps schools identify student technology proficiency levels, set curriculum goals, support grant proposals, and meet national, state, or district requirements.

To learn more or to receive the assessment free of charge, contact InfoSource Learning at 1-800-393-4636 or sign up on the website at http://www.SimpleAssessment.com

About InfoSource Learning: For over 25 years, InfoSource Learning has been a leader of custom personalized learning solutions for the education, corporate, and government segments. With engaging, web-based training, and educational technology curriculums the company’s “How to Master” content-rich portfolio of training products is comprised of elements including; PC and Mac applications, professional development skills, soft skills, compliance, and technology integration. In addition to its focus on providing tools for calculating return on investment (ROI), InfoSource Learning also develops and maintains a unique Content Authoring Tool (CAT) and Learning Management System (LMS). To learn more about custom personalized training solutions from InfoSource Learning, call 800-393-3436 or visit http://www.infosourcelearning.com.

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eBOARDsolutions introduces FREE Cost Savings Calculator to track potential Meetings and Policies Efficiencies

On behalf of Laura Reilly:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura D. Reilly, APR
Director of Communications, eBOARDsolutions
lreilly@eboardsolutions.com
770-364-4236 – mobile

eBOARDsolutions introduces FREE Cost Savings Calculator to track potential Meetings and Policies Efficiencies
Free online tool allows districts to compare traditional methods of developing and managing meeting agendas and policies to online methods.

August 3rd, 2009 Atlanta- eBOARDsolutions, developer of eBOARD, announces a free online tool that allows districts to compare the costs associated with manually-produced materials such as Policy Manuals and Board, School Council and Staff Meeting Agendas to a web-based system such as eBOARD.

Many districts across the country are still producing meeting agendas and policies via traditional paper-based methods or simply publishing downloadable pdf files.  Districts who are considering investing in web-based systems for managing meetings and policies can simply input variables such as printing costs and labor costs into the Cost Savings Calculator and can then easily analyze the financial savings and other advantages of managing these administrative functions via a web-based system. Once the information is entered, the tool will automate the calculations and users can print a pdf report of the results to share locally.

Mark Willis, COO of eBOARDsolutions, states: “Today’s economy and the subsequent budget shortfalls are key topics among school administrators and board members.  With declining funds, districts must identify cheaper and more efficient ways to do business.  Our new Cost Savings Calculator will give districts a concrete analysis of the potential cost savings that can be realized by leveraging low-cost technology tools like eBOARD.”

For those who are already subscribers to eBOARD, they can access and save the results from within their own eBOARD site by going to the support options link and clicking on the Cost Savings Calculator Tool.

The Cost Savings Calculator is also available for non-subscribers at www.eboardsolutions.com

(Go directly to this online press release and link here: http://tinyurl.com/mvfxav)

About eBOARD:

eBOARD helps organizations by:

  • Providing a single source for access to pertinent data for effective decision-making
  • Stakeholders can easily find information through advanced search capabilities
  • Saving time and money by streamlining workflow and eliminating paper dependency
  • Enhancing communications with all stakeholders

eBOARD Modules now include:

  • Strategic Plan – Monitor, track, manage and report on the organization’s strategic plan to all stakeholders
  • Meetings – Streamline agenda preparation and enhance the effectiveness of all meetings (not just board meetings)
  • Policy – Publish policies, regulations and exhibits for easy access by all stakeholders
  • Communications – Improve communications with all stakeholders
  • Documents – Build an online library for easy access to important documents

About eBOARDsolutions:
eBOARDsolutions (EBS) is backed with more than 55 years of experience in board governance and association management. EBS was created as a subsidiary of the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) when demand for its governance and membership management products began to expand into other markets and states. Initially developed by and for the GSBA, the products are now being used by over 200 local boards of education, state boards of education, state agencies and other associations.

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Coach sued for requesting Facebook logins

In a case that could set a precedent for whether school officials can legally peek into students’ private social-networking accounts without justifiable cause, a high school cheerleader is suing her school and former coach for what she claims is a violation of her rights to privacy and free speech.

Two years ago, Mandi Jackson, a cheerleader at Pearl High School in Pearl, Miss., and the other members of the cheering squad were asked by cheerleading coach Tommie Hill to give her their Facebook login passwords. According to reports, Hill wanted the passwords to check and make sure none of the squad members were drinking or participating in any illegal behavior.

While the other members of the squad quickly used their cell phones to access the web and change or delete their profiles, Jackson did not.

“I didn’t know if I would get in trouble or not … because I didn’t think there was anything wrong with what was on my Facebook [profile],” Jackson said during an interview with local WAPT News.

Later that night, Hill reportedly looked through Jackson’s profile and found a conversation between Jackson and another squad member that used profanity. The conversation was part of Jackson’s personal Facebook eMail correspondence, which is not available on any publicly displayed Facebook page.

After this discovery, not only was Jackson prohibited from cheering at games, which she had already paid participation fees to do, but Hill also sent Jackson’s private Facebook information to school administrators and other cheerleading coaches, according to the lawsuit.

Now, Jackson claims she is being ostracized at school. Because all her friends were part of the squad, “none of them talk to me,” she told WAPT News. “One of them [whom] I used to be friends with in middle school all the way up to freshman year, she talks to me a little–but seriously, none of them talk to me.”

She said she’s dreading her return to school as a junior and fears her fellow students, as well as her teachers, will shun her.

According to the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), several months after the incident, Jackson was nominated for a “spirit stick” award for the previous year, but the coaches said she did not deserve the honor. Jackson also did not take certain academic courses because the cheerleading coaches taught them.

“Even now she’s afraid to speak her mind on anything,” said Jackson’s attorney, Rita Nahlik Silin. “Because of this situation, she’s afraid of being punished for anything she does inside or outside the school.”

Jackson and her mother, Missy Jackson, are seeking $100 million from Hill and the high school for what the suit claims are violations of Jackson’s right to privacy and freedom of speech.

School officials filed a motion saying Jackson and all cheerleaders were told their coaches would monitor social-networking web sites. The motion asks the judge to dismiss the case.

Several previous cases have tested the limits of students’ rights to free speech on social networks and on publicly available web pages off campus, and the courts generally have set the bar high for administrators to prove such postings disrupted the learning environment in their schools. But Jackson’s case might be the first to examine whether school leaders have a right to request and view private online conversations conducted outside of school.

“I would have been completely fine with the school officials looking at my public [profile on] Facebook, but I think they went too far with getting my password and looking at my personal messages between me and my peers,” Jackson told the SPLC. “They were conversations between me and my friends, so I shouldn’t have gotten in trouble for them.”

According to some legal experts, Jackson might have a strong case

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Funding tops campus IT concerns

Slashed campus budgets and dwindling endowments have spurred university IT officials toward cost-saving technologies, and a new survey shows that saving IT dollars has vaulted to the No. 1 priority of campus technology decision makers during the current recession.

The newly released 10th annual EDUCAUSE Current Issues Survey, completed online in December 2008 mostly by campus chief information officers, ranked the most pressing issues in college IT offices. Administrative systems, an issue that has remained among the survey’s top three issues since 2000, ranked second this year. Technology security–the No. 1 concern in 2008–and infrastructure ranked third and fourth, respectively. The Current Issues Survey was completed by 554 college technology officials on public and private campuses of all sizes.

Other top concerns from EDUCAUSE respondents included teaching and learning with technology, identity and access management, IT leadership, and disaster recovery.

Read the full story at eCampus News

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Funding tops campus IT concerns

Slashed campus budgets and dwindling endowments have spurred university IT officials toward cost-saving technologies, and a new survey shows that saving IT dollars has vaulted to the No. 1 priority of campus technology decision makers during the current recession.

The newly released 10th annual EDUCAUSE Current Issues Survey, completed online in December 2008 mostly by campus chief information officers, ranked the most pressing issues in college IT offices. Administrative systems, an issue that has remained among the survey’s top three issues since 2000, ranked second this year. Technology security–the No. 1 concern in 2008–and infrastructure ranked third and fourth, respectively. The Current Issues Survey was completed by 554 college technology officials on public and private campuses of all sizes.

Other top concerns from EDUCAUSE respondents included teaching and learning with technology, identity and access management, IT leadership, and disaster recovery.

The funding crunch faced by departments in nearly every campus nationwide has created a premium on low-cost technology solutions such as cloud computing — i.e., transferring a college’s computing power to off-campus servers so the school can avoid the steep costs of server cooling and maintenance.

Communication via smart phones–iPhones and Blackberrys, for example–has increased contact among IT staff, students, and faculty, saving IT departments money through efficiency, according to the EDUCAUSE report.

The corporate world has recognized the growing demand for cloud computing in higher education. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud-computing service, offers free services to researchers and instructors through an education grant program. One recent grant went to a Harvard University computer science class this spring that let students do coursework with the company’s global computer infrastructure–virtual servers that allow students to complete data-heavy assignments without bogging down or crashing the campus’s hardware. (See "Amazon cloud offer appeals to colleges.")

"It was a huge win for us pedagogically," said David J. Malan, a Harvard computer science professor since 1995. "It makes possible resources that universities might not be able to provide for students. … It’s no silver bullet for education at large, but for any course that has computational needs or programming involved, it’s a very interesting opportunity."

Harvard isn’t the only university that has taken advantage of Amazon’s cloud-computing offer for schools. Student-run computer initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas, and the University of California, San Diego, have been supported by AWS grants over the past year.

The EDUCAUSE survey also showed that maintaining a reliable administrative system remains a key for IT officials. But tracking student enrollment, tuition, alumni records, and business systems has become increasingly complicated in recent years. Survey respondents reported that sifting through administrative systems involves a complex licensing procedure–one that often requires an outside consultant who will cost the campus more money.

Customization of administrative systems could be limited by universities’ diminishing technology budgets, and outsourcing the job might be the answer until budgets recover from the economic downturn, according to the survey.

Campus security also was a main concern among respondents, and balancing privacy and thorough protection has proven to be a challenge.

The Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA) released a survey this summer showing that college and university IT administrators believe campus computer networks are better protected than they were five years ago. Only 6 percent said their IT infrastructure was less secure than it was in 2004. (See "Campus IT officials feel safer, but fear botnets.")

Officials who completed the ACUTA survey said they had invested IT money into programs that defend against botnets — i.e., groups of compromised computers that can cause major damage to university hardware and cost colleges tens of thousands to repair.

Matt Arthur, ACUTA’s president-elect and director of incident response at Washington University in St. Louis, said intrusion detection software "has evolved to the point where it’s almost a necessity."

Cash-strapped colleges and universities also are turning to Software as a Service (SaaS) options for campus-based eMail, according to EDUCAUSE survey respondents. This was among the solutions to the No. 4 IT concern: infrastructure and cyber-infrastructure.

"eMail is more of a commodity now, so why should we spend resources running eMail servers when Google could do it for free and do it a lot better than we could do it?" asked James Langford, director of web integration and programming at Abilene Christian University in Texas. His school began converting its campus to Google eMail accounts–also called Gmail–in April 2007. "We love it. … I can’t imagine having to go back and run all these services ourselves now. There’s almost no downside to it from our perspective."

Link:

EDUCAUSE Current Issues Survey

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Jury awards $675K in music downloading case

A federal jury on July 31 ordered a Boston University graduate student who admitted illegally downloading and sharing music online to pay $675,000 to four record labels.

Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., admitted in court that he downloaded and distributed 30 songs. The only issue for the jury to decide was how much in damages to award the record labels.

Under federal law, the recording companies were entitled to $750 to $30,000 per infringement. But the law allows as much as $150,000 per track if the jury finds the infringements were willful. The maximum jurors could have awarded in Tenenbaum’s case was $4.5 million.

Jurors ordered Tenenbaum to pay $22,500 for each incident of copyright infringement, effectively finding that his actions were willful. The attorney for the 25-year-old student had asked the jury earlier to "send a message" to the music industry by awarding only minimal damages.

Tenenbaum said he was thankful that the case wasn’t in the millions and contrasted the significance of his fine with the maximum.

"That to me sends a message of, ‘We considered your side with some legitimacy,’" he said. "$4.5 million would have been, ‘We don’t buy it at all.’"

He added he will file for bankruptcy if the verdict stands.

Tenenbaum’s lawyer, Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson, said the jury’s verdict was not fair. He said he plans to appeal the decision because he was not allowed to argue a case based on fair use.

The Recording Industry Association of America issued a statement thanking the jury for recognizing the impact illegal downloading has on the music community.

"We appreciate that Mr. Tenenbaum finally acknowledged that artists and music companies deserve to be paid for their work," the statement said. "From the beginning, that’s what this case has been all about. We only wish he had done so sooner rather than lie about his illegal behavior."

Tenenbaum would not say if he regretted downloading music, saying it was a loaded question.

"I don’t regret drinking underage in college, even though I got busted a few times," he said.

The case is only the nation’s second music downloading case against an individual to go to trial.

Last month, a federal jury in Minneapolis ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset, 32, must pay $1.92 million, or $80,000 on each of 24 songs, after concluding she willfully violated the copyrights on those tunes.

After Tenenbaum admitted July 30 he is liable for damages for 30 songs at issue in the case, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner ruled that the jury must consider only whether his copyright infringement was willful and how much in damages to award four recording labels that sued him over the illegal file-sharing.

In his closing statement, Nesson repeatedly referred to Tenenbaum as a "kid" and asked the jury to award only a small amount to the recording companies. At one point, Nesson suggested the damages should be as little as 99 cents per song, roughly the same amount Tenenbaum would have to pay if he legally purchased the music online.

But Tim Reynolds, a lawyer for the recording labels, recounted Tenenbaum’s history of file-sharing from 1999 to 2007, describing him as "a hardcore, habitual, long-term infringer who knew what he was doing was wrong." Tenenbaum admitted on the witness stand that he had downloaded and shared more than 800 songs.

Tenenbaum said he downloaded and shared hundreds of songs by Nirvana, Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins, and other artists. The recording industry focused on only 30 songs in the case.

The music industry has typically offered to settle such cases for about $5,000, though it has said that it stopped filing such lawsuits last August and is instead working with schools and internet service providers to fight the worst offenders. Cases already filed, however, are proceeding to trial.

Tenenbaum testified that he had lied in pretrial depositions when he said his two sisters, friends, and others might have been responsible for downloading the songs to his computer.

Under questioning from his own lawyer, Tenenbaum said he now takes responsibility for the illegal swapping.

"I used the computer. I uploaded, I downloaded music … I did it," Tenenbaum said.

Link:

Recording Industry Association of America

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Affiliate Programs – A helping hand for e-businesses

 

An affiliate program refers to the modern, web based equivalent of an old concept. In the past businesses have paid other groups or businesses ‘finder’s fees’ for recommending their service. Web based affiliates work on this principle.

 

Company A will ask that company B has an advertisement for their website (site A) included on their website, site B. So when people viewing site B see the advertisement for site A and go on it, company B earns money from company A as reward for providing them with customers. http://www.bestinsurancelover.com

 

 

With online business this payment is commonly done based on the amount of times that an advertisement is clicked on by customers. When the user clicks an advertisement banner and is redirected to the advertised site, it is recorded and an agreed amount of money is given to the site hosting the advert, per click. Many sites are very open about this and will state that the following advertisements are affiliates and that to show support for their site, please click the advertisement at least once, providing them with the funds to continue running the site. The great benefit of this method is that the advertiser only pays for each actual customer referred to them, minimizing money spent on ineffective advertising.

 

Clicking is not the only method used. Sometimes payment is by referral, the customer being more formally referred to the affiliate company by a method such as placing a box on a form suggesting that the user accepts mail from the affiliate. Also, it is common for the advertiser to pay their affiliates per sale, giving them a percentage of the sales made from the customers that they refer.

 

Some companies provide the affiliate connections between businesses as their sole trade. They will seek out companies that can benefit from advertising with each other and for a tariff, provide the connection. http://www.moneyachiever.com

 

 

Affiliate groups have come under fire from internet users for using ‘spam’. This is blanketing the web user with advertisements, through email, pop up windows etc, to get them to click the advertisements. However this is not practiced by the majority of affiliate programs, who are content to simply provide a modest banner linking to the site that is paying for the advertisement, often quite helpful to customers.

 

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