Ed-tech leaders schooled on interoperability standards

Interoperability presents an issue for educational technology leaders who often must integrate diverse products made by different developers.

When school technology directors purchase an innovative product from one vendor and an exciting upgrade from another vendor, schools can find themselves in a tangle of incompatible formats. A primer released this spring by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) explains how adoption of interoperability standards can streamline technology systems in K-20 education.

Interoperability, the ability of different systems to work together, presents an issue for educational technology leaders who often must integrate diverse products made by different developers. Those developers, too, must walk a fine line when trying to create products that encourage brand loyalty but also can be readily adapted to diverse systems.

SIIA’s report, titled “Primer on K-20 Education Interoperability Standards,” provides a framework for understanding interoperability standards that facilitate the exchange of content from different technology applications and systems. To provide a context for standards’ development and implementation, the primer surveys the challenges and benefits of adopting interoperability standards.

The standards discussed in the primer span the educational field, addressing topics ranging from data exchange to digital rights and privacy. The text of the primer does not require extensive technical expertise or extensive knowledge of interoperability, nor does it focus on end user experience.

Rather, the pragmatic focus of the primer aims to reach middlemen such as product managers and school technology staff—people who are not directly engaged in creating the standards, but who need to have a context for decision making, said Ed Walker, executive vice president of Consulting Services for Education and the primer’s author.

“There has been an uptick in interest in adoption of technology in recent years. We’ve hit a tipping point: Education is not asking if, but asking how and when best to use technology,” said Mark Schneiderman, SIIA’s senior director of educational policy. “The key issue is to make it as seamless and painless as possible for teachers to adopt and integrate technology. [To do that,] inoperability is key.”

Walker said that a combination of factors made it crucial to release the primer at this moment in ed-tech development. First, “basic standards are now mature enough that people can and should be using them.” And second, a “general feeling that U.S. education is in trouble” has spurred increased interest in interoperability by the federal Education Department.

There has been a “push for results, and the only silver bullet is interoperability—to look not at microcosms, but to look across states,” Walker said. “Otherwise it’s just piecemeal.”

Coupled with rapidly developing innovations in pedagogy, leadership, and technology, interoperability adoption is more urgent than ever. “People stand on the edge of the pool and want to wait and see. We’re past that stage,” Walker said. “We need to start now—it’s going to cost more later than today.”

When deciding which standards to include in the framework, Schneiderman said the SIIA working group chose the standards they found the most “mature, relevant, and specific.” The framework provides an overview of standards that apply to key functions in the educational domain:

Moving Content: Educators often mix and match digital content in a variety of formats, from eBooks to video files. To facilitate the movement of content in and among learning management systems, most providers of educational content comply with IMS Common Cartridge, which is an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) standard. A number of international and U.S. governments also require the content management component of SCORM 2004. It is relatively straightforward to include both SCORM and Common Cartridge assets, as both are based on IMS.


Accelerated e-Transcript Volume and Network Membership Drive Strong First-Quarter Growth for Parchment

More Than 65 Campuses and one of the Largest Online Universities Join the Docufide.com Credential Exchange Platform; Year-Over-Year Activity Nearly Doubles

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (June 14, 2012) – Secondary and postsecondary education providers accelerated their embrace of electronic transcript (“e-Transcript”) exchange in the first three months of 2012, industry leader Parchment Inc. announced today. Volume of e-Transcripts exchanged through the company’s industry-leading Docufide® by Parchment™ network increased 92 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

Key factors driving demand among high schools and colleges include increased operational efficiencies and the myriad admissions and student retention applications enabled by transcript data. Capella University, NCAA, and Pittsburgh Public Schools were among more than 65 academic institutions in the first quarter of 2012 to join or expand their Docufide membership.

Parchment’s Docufide Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform enables the secure, rapid exchange of millions of electronic transcripts and other student records among a rapidly growing network of schools, state education agencies, scholarship organizations, and individuals. Once they’ve moved to a paperless system, education institutions can capture transcript data and conduct timely in-depth analysis to inform improvements to school administration, operations, instruction and student services.

“Parchment’s continued expansion reflects the ever-increasing demand for sharing and analyzing education credentials as data, both by individuals and institutions,” said Parchment CEO Matthew Pittinsky, Ph.D. “The value of Docufide as a trusted network for our academic partners increases with each sender, receiver and transcript exchanged.”

About Parchment
Parchment’s mission is to unleash education credentials by unlocking the critical data they embody. A credentials data company, Parchment works with institutions and corporations around the world helping people collect, promote, and share their education credentials in simple and secure ways. At Parchment.com, students can research colleges and discover their chances of admission, see how they compare with peers, get college recommendations, and send official transcripts when they are ready to apply. The company’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, Docufide® by Parchment™, is the leading transcript exchange and intelligence platform. The solution enables the secure, rapid exchange of millions of electronic transcripts and other student records among nearly 9,000 schools and universities, six state education agencies, and hundreds of thousands of individuals. Founded in 2003, Parchment Inc. is a venture-backed company headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. Visit www.parchment.com/company for more information.

• Mark Cohen, Parchment, Inc., 480-719-1646 x1009, mcohen@parchment.com

• Kristen Plemon, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x18, kristen@cblohm.com


Misericordia University First to Integrate Broadcast TV into e2Campus EAS Platform

RENO, Nev. – June 13, 2012 – From IACLEA’s Annual Conference & Exposition, e2Campus® announced Misericordia University is the first higher education institution to integrate live broadcast TVs into their campus Emergency Alert System (EAS) powered by e2Campus. Campus Televideo also became the first e2Campus Certified Endpoint Provider (CEP) to integrate a campus television platform into e2Campus’ Unified EAS by utilizing the OASIS Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). Demonstrations of the new capability can be seen in booth #204 at International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Exposition in Reno, Nev., June 15-16.

Story Photo: http://www.e2Campus.com/media/first-EAS-TV-broadcast-for-colleges.jpg

This new integrated product by e2Campus allows campus safety officials to enter one message and deliver it simultaneously and uniformly across multiple endpoints such as televisions, cell phones, desktops, pubic address, web sites, social media, alert beacons, and more. Previously, campus safety administrators would have to request another department to update their cable TV network or manage a separate activation process by themselves, which increases complexity, slows delivery, and raises the risk for more problems.

“This kind of innovative approach to serving our university needs is why we’ve been with e2Campus for five years and Campus Televideo for nearly fifteen years,” said Mark Reboli, Misericordia University. “Though you never hope to have a need to reach your campus in an emergency situation, this integrated system adds an important piece to the University’s emergency notification plan with a valuable, direct, and simple way to reach our students throughout the campus without safety personnel performing additional work.”

“Thanks to Campus Televideo’s efforts, the e2Campus platform now extends to a powerful device that we were not previously reaching – live broadcast television,” said John Casey, vice president of partner relations at e2Campus. “During any sort of emergency, being able to reach the entire campus as quickly as possible is the number one goal, and our single point of origination will allow safety administrators to do just that through their e2Campus web portal.”

“With campus safety a top priority for schools today, this new, first-of-its-kind tool will allow administrators to quickly and easily deliver a consistent message across multiple device types on campus,” said Jon Stewart, Campus Televideo’s senior director of business operations. “This is an important offering that we can now make available in our portfolio of services that we tailor for every customer we serve.”

How To Buy
Clients with both e2Campus and Campus Televideo systems may contact their e2Campus account manager for details about implementing the new capability. Campus Televideo charges range from $1,500 to $2,200 for the new connector.

About Campus Televideo
Campus Televideo (www.campustelevideo.com) is a leading provider of custom cable TV, ResNet data and other telecommunications services to colleges and universities, as well as off-campus student housing. Founded in 1984, the company provides full service solutions, including programming, design, installation, maintenance and technical support, to more than 230 campuses nationwide.

About e2Campus
Used by more than 800 schools around the country, e2Campus is the leading safety communication solution for education. The e2Campus 360 Safety Suite includes uAlert, uTip, uSafe, uConference, Hotline and the Multimodal Showcase. The award-winning flagship service, uAlert, is the first and most trusted unified emergency notification system in education. Higher education clients include large universities such as Arizona State, Penn State, and Cal Poly as well as smaller colleges with less than 100 students. K12 clients include large school districts such as St. Tammany Parish Public School System to small private day schools. To learn more, visit www.e2Campus.com. Existing client administrators can discover online resources in a peer-driven community at www.e2Campus.org.

About Omnilert
Omnilert, LLC develops intuitive communication technologies that keep communities safe and connected. The company’s flagship service is a Tier-1 interactive unified mass notification system that enables a single person to communicate critical information to thousands of people anywhere, anytime, on any device or service. This affords better crisis communications, emergency management, business continuity, and disaster recovery. The award-winning company’s 8,000 clients include the U.S. Army, Verizon Wireless, Bayer, Mazda, Arizona State University, Penn State, Marine Corps Marathon, YMCA, American Red Cross, and UNICEF. Omnilert solutions are sold under the brand names e2Campus, Amerilert, and RainedOut. The privately held company is headquartered in Leesburg, Va., and at www.omnilert.com online.


Papers due by August 1 for ANSI’s First Student Paper Competition


In an effort to raise awareness of the strategic importance of standards and conformance among students at the university level, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), in conjunction with its Committee on Education (CoE), is pleased to announce its first student paper competition. Entries are due by August, 1, 2012.

The theme of the 2012 ANSI Student Paper Competition, How Standards Facilitate Innovation and Benefit Society, seeks differing perspectives from a wide range of disciplines on how standards facilitate innovation and how society as a whole can benefit.

“Whether you’re preparing for a career in engineering, technology, business, or law, a working knowledge of standardization is a critical component in nearly all fields of study,” said Lisa Rajchel, ANSI CoE secretary. “A new graduate who is familiar with the standards relevant to their industry and how the standards system works is a strategic asset to their employer.”

All entries must be written by an enrolled college or university student(s) at the associate, undergraduate, or graduate level in a U.S. academic institute of higher learning. It is open to students of all disciplines. Authors must cite concrete examples demonstrating how standards spur innovation, drive U.S. competitiveness, and benefit society.

First, second, and third place winners will be awarded $2,500, $1,000, and $500 respectively. Selected papers will be published on ANSI’s website, www.ansi.org; ANSI also reserves the right to publish submitted papers elsewhere.

The winning papers will be announced during World Standards Week 2012 at the Annual ANSI Awards banquet and ceremony on October 10 and presented at an education event on October 12 in Washington, DC. A small stipend will be given for travel for the first and second place winners if out of town travel to Washington is required to attend the October 12 event.

Papers should not exceed 2,000 words and should be formatted in accordance with the submission criteria in the paper competition flyer linked below. Submissions will be screened by members of the ANSI CoE paper competition ad hoc committee to ensure they meet specified criteria and finalists will be recommended to ANSI for consideration. ANSI reserves the right to award no prizes based on the determination of the judges.

To enter, email entries by August, 1, 2012, to lrajchel@ansi.org.

View the ANSI 2012 Student Paper Competition flyer with specific submission criteria here.

About the ANSI Committee on Education
The ANSI Committee on Education oversees all Institute initiatives related to standards and conformity assessment education and outreach, fulfills the objectives of the United States Standards Strategy (USSS), and responds to other issues that may be delegated by the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, or the National Policy Committee.

About ANSI
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. Its membership is comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations. The Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 125,000 companies and organizations and 3.5 million professionals worldwide.

The Institute is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and is a U.S. representative to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).


Live OR Transmission in 3D at the University Hospital Tübingen with solutions from Teracue

Ever since its modernisation at the start of the year, the medical-technical infrastructure in use at Tübingen University Gynaecology Clinic is amongst the most modern of its kind in the world. This also applies to the Telemedicine video transmissions from the operating theatres which can be made in high resolution HD format as well as in 3D. This three dimensional HD live streaming is possible thanks to the innovative encoder and decoder technology from Teracue AG, Germany.

During the inauguration of the newly equipped operating theatre, the guests from the worlds of academia and politics – including Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Science Theresia Bauer – were able to convince themselves of 3D transmissions at the University Hospital’s Gynaecology Clinic. In this context, the guests were clearly shown the enormous potential which high resolution, clinical images in HD and 3D offer for the areas of research and teaching through their detail-richness, depth and sharpness. Next, the guests watched the live transmission of a tumour operation on a large canvas screen in the conference centre of the clinic. Transmissions of this kind are being used increasingly for student teaching and academic presentations.

To attain a sustainable design and a future-proof transmission solution, the University Hospital is using approved television and media technology standards. Rudi Luik, responsible for AV media in the business division of IT at University Hospital Tübingen (UKT): “During the course of the updating of our transmission equipment, it was especially important to us to integrate a solution which can work with established media interfaces and formats that can be seamlessly incorporated in our current IT infrastructure. This is one of the main reasons why we decided on the IPTV solutions from Teracue. These are based on the current standards such as HD-SDI and H.264-codec, and completely omit proprietary technologies, especially for 3D use. Therefore we are also open to linking individual manufacturers of medical imaging device technology.” For the IP streaming the image signals from the endoscopy devices of manufacturer Karl Storz GmbH & Co. KG were used and transmitted with encoders of type ENC-300-HDSDI from Teracue. This means the video signals from the operating theatres can not only be distributed in high resolution HD, but also in 3D images – throughout the video IP network of University Hospital Tübingen – whose campus is widely spread throughout the city.

At the end of January, this was demonstrated once again in the scope of a two-day international training conference at the University’s Department of Neurosurgery. With the help of the streaming technology from Teracue and 3D Microscopy from manufacturer Leica, and in cooperation with TV-Studios Leonberg, the images of the operation were transmitted via live 3D feed. The images from the operating theatre in the Neurosurgery Department were transmitted over the hospital’s internal IP network to the lecture theatre in the Department of Anatomy – where in three kilometres distance – the live 3D signals were projected and viewed by the conference participants.

About Teracue AG
Teracue AG – Broadcast & IPTV Systems was established in 1991 and manufactures video processing solutions for IPTV, video-networking and streaming. Teracue provides encoder, decoder, stream-viewing/recording, as well as DVB-TV gateway and IPTV headend products: used mainly in broadcast and contribution networks, inside playout facilities, for healthcare and medical applications, for corporate and digital business TV, in universities and schools for education and training, inside fire/police centres, control rooms, aerospace companies, military and federal organisations for archiving, monitoring and debriefing. Teracue IPTV products enable professional system integrators to build robust, comprehensive end-to-end IP video systems. More information is available at www.teracue.com.

Press Contact:
Rainer Link, Marketing Manager
Teracue AG
Schlossstr. 18
85235 Odelzhausen
Tel: +49 (0)8134 555 150


Facebook addiction and ‘disconnect anxiety’ among college students

Rampant Facebook use has led to privacy desensitization.

We rarely put ourselves in the position, but if and when we are not able to connect online, 68 percent of us experience disconnect anxiety, and college students are particularly at risk.

Staying connected on Facebook seems to be of particular import, as that’s the first thing 48 percent of us do upon waking each morning.

Most of us never see the extent to which disconnect anxiety can go, but we are seeing it more and more at The Center for Counseling and Health Resources.

Treatment of disconnect anxiety includes taking patients’ connectivity devices and locking them up in a safe. Patients exhibit symptoms not unlike withdrawal from other addictions, such as trembling, sweating, and trouble breathing, as their minds and, in turn, their bodies panic at the reality of their worst fears realized – disconnection.

College students, according to research, are among the most susceptible to disconnect anxiety.

When living at home, teenagers likley have some limits on their internet use, as parents increasingly recognize the negative impact of technology. The constant compulsion to stay connected to their friends – via texting and Facebook in particular – distracts teenagers from real relationships with family and friends, as well as other offline activities essential to balanced living. Most parents can and should take necessary steps to circumvent this.

But when they move away to college, teenagers are off to the races! With no parents there monitoring their internet use, college students’ only limitations are those they set for themselves.

In my book #Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology, and Social Networking, I touch on a number of reasons why the compulsion and “need” to stay connected is a dangerous one. For college students addicted to Facebook, the following factors seem particularly relevant:

1) The stress factor. College students are expert multi-taskers. They have to be. Between the demands of their studies and the expectations on their social lives, there’s always something more to do and somewhere else to be. So the stress factor is a given – that constant need to “show up,” as it were (i.e., succeed). Factoring into that the need to “show up” on Facebook only compounds stress.

They not only have to live up to the expectations of teachers, parents, and real-world friends, but their Facebook friends too, who have come to expect their witty posts and insightful comments, not just now and then but all day long!

2) Looking for the next hit. Historically, it’s alcohol and drugs that have concerned parents of teenagers going off to college. Granted, alcohol and drug addiction continue to be real, serious threats to our young people, as these types of recreational behavior are considered by many to be “normal” college behavior.

However, looking for the next “hit” on Facebook is universally accepted.


The most expensive 4-year colleges

Students at Penn State pay the highest tuition bill in the country among four-year public colleges according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education, the Huffington Post reports. The average tuition cost rose 15 percent between 2008 and 2010, which in large part was driven by cuts in appropriations.

“We are seeing some alarming trends,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a Tuesday conference call. “Deep budget cuts are unfortunately helping to drive up the cost of college.”

The department’s “College Affordability and Transparency Center” website details which colleges have the highest and lowest tuition. The website includes the new data released this week and can be sorted by the either tuition price or net cost to attend…

Click here for the full story


Commentary: Are Jews really an ‘under-represented group’ at New York colleges?

“Jewish” is a “new minority label” at New York City’s university system, the New York Post reported on June 3, almost accurately. CUNY recently completed a “faculty diversity action plan” that included among the usual identity-based focus groups along with a Caucasian/White/Jewish group, created in response to complaints that Caucasian/White/Jews were “not as monolithic as some believe and this lack of understanding is reflected in subtle stereotyping,” the National Journal reports. Stop and think about this: Stereotyping attributes to individuals the presumed characteristics of their demographic groups. Stereotypes treat people as members of groups instead of individuals. So do diversity initiatives that organize people into identity groups. Logic suggests that CUNY faculty who feel victimized by stereotypes imposed on Caucasian/White/Jews should probably avoid Caucasian/White/Jewish groups (although by creating this group to fight stereotypes, they may have inadvertently undermined the stereotypical assumption that all Jews are smart)…

Click here for the full story


The best smartphones to buy right now (that aren’t the iPhone)

Looking to purchase a new smartphone, but don’t want to wait around until the fall (at the earliest) for Apple to release a new iPhone? No worries, as there are countless state-of-the-art handheld devices available, Appolicious reports. In fact, there are so many smartphone options right now that the biggest challenge is choosing the best device for you amidst all of the clutter. Here are the five best smartphones to buy right now (that aren’t the iPhone).
Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX (Verizon): Before Apple forever changed how consumers view smartphones, Motorola’s thin and stylish RAZR was the hottest handheld device on the market. The 2007 debut of the iPhone exposed many of the RAZRs shortcomings, including average audio quality and poor battery life. This dulled sales and forced Motorola to discontinue the series for four years. In 2011, Motorola debuted the new Droid RAZR, a slim and sexy Android-running smartphone that still suffered from poor battery life…

Click here for the full story


Seton Hall University giving all incoming freshmen Nokia Lumia 900s

Seton hall will also use Nokia's data gathering service.

Nokia announced this week that Seton Hall University will be giving all its incoming freshmen this fall a Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone.

All Seton Hall students—no matter what their mobile device platform—currently have access to SHUmobile, an app that provides access to campus news feeds, directories, and maps.

But the Seton Hall freshmen receiving the Lumia 900s will have access to a custom Freshmen Experience component of the app, according to the Nokia news release.

This personalized element adds customized social media integration and direct communication channels with their freshmen peers, peer academic advisors, housing information, and roommates.

Additionally, the university will leverage Nokia Data Gathering, recently made available for Windows Phone, to communicate with the incoming freshmen beginning this summer by conducting polls, providing information to help students prepare for college and to learn how the Lumia 900 and other technologies are being used.

The phones will be given to all incoming freshmen for free, a result of a partnership between Nokia, AT&T, and Microsoft. Students will receive pre-paid service and support from AT&T through the fall semester and then transfer their devices to their personal accounts after the fall semester, according to a Nokia spokeswoman.

Copyright (c) 2012, The Seattle Times. Visit The Seattle Times online at www.seattletimes.com. Distributed by MCT Information Services.