Colleges help students scrub their digital footprint

“It’s becoming more and more important for students to be aware of and able to manage their online presence,” said Mike Cahill, Syracuse’s career services director.

Samantha Grossman wasn’t always thrilled with the impression that emerged when people Googled her name.

“It wasn’t anything too horrible,” she said. “I just have a common name. There would be pictures, college partying pictures, that weren’t of me, things I wouldn’t want associated with me.”

So before she graduated from Syracuse University last spring, the school provided her with a tool that allowed her to put her best digital footprint forward. Now when people Google her, they go straight to a positive image—professional photo, cum laude degree, and credentials—that she credits with helping her land a digital advertising job in New York.

“I wanted to make sure people would find the actual me and not these other people,” she said.

Syracuse, Rochester, and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore are among the universities that offer such online tools to their students free of charge, realizing that ill-considered web profiles of drunken frat parties, prank videos, and worse can doom graduates to a lifetime of unemployment—even if the pages are somebody else’s with the same name.

It’s a growing trend based on studies showing that most employers Google prospective hires, and nearly all of them won’t bother to go past the first page of results. The online tools don’t eliminate the embarrassing material; they just put the graduate’s most flattering, professional digital footprint front and center.

(Next page: How these services work)

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Profile of a typical online college student

College campuses have been an American institution for millennia, but not all higher learning is being done in a traditional classroom anymore—and now a new portrait of the typical online student has emerged, PC World reports.

Almost one-third of college students are now taking at least one online course, up from only 10 percent in 2003, according to an Online Colleges infographic based on a collaborative study by the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board.

More than 6.14 million postsecondary students are enrolled in at least one online course, a majority of them women. The “typical” 2012 online college student is a white female, about 33 years old, with a total annual household income of approximately $66,500, who is working full-time for an employer that offers tuition reimbursement.

It’s likely that student has taken to the web as part of their career plan, with a specific goal to advance or stay up to date in a current career, change careers, or meet the required credentials for a current job…

To read the full story, click here.

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‘Plan B’ is dead; what’s next for ‘fiscal cliff’?

House Speaker John Boehner’s big idea for a backup “Plan B” for dealing with the impending “fiscal cliff” exploded Thursday night when, after days of wrangling with his own troops, he realized he didn’t have enough votes to pass the tax cut part of his plan, CBS News reports.

With four days until Christmas and 11 until the effects of the “fiscal cliff” begin, with big implications for colleges, the big question is: What happens now?

Boehner sent House Republicans home for Christmas after last night’s legislative collapse, ensuring nothing will be passed until Dec. 27 at the earliest, when members are due back in town. That leaves Boehner and President Obama to keep negotiating—something that ground to a halt after Boehner announced he was moving forward with his “Plan B” earlier in the week…

To read the full story, click here.

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Microsoft: Five things to look for in 2013

To most tech watchers, Microsoft is a giant software maker. But that’s not how Microsoft sees itself anymore, CNET reports.

For the past several months, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has repeated as often as he possibly can that the tech behemoth is now a devices and services company. He was a plain as he could be in the annual letter he wrote to shareholders in October.

“This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company,” Ballmer wrote. “It impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses.”

To read the full story, click here.

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Who are MOOCs most likely to help?

Free online education programs designed to make education more democratic might actually work only for the elite, reports The Atlantic.

If you’ve become a true believer in the power of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other “disruptive” web-based programs to break the cost spiral of higher education, you should read an analysis by Scott Carlson and Goldie Blumenstyk titled, “For Whom Is College Being Reinvented?”

They’re not against MOOCs, certificates, and other alternatives to conventional schools for students with solid secondary backgrounds. But they make the excellent point that these appeal most to the families that need them least and are best able to sort out the high-quality programs from the dubious ones…

To read the full story, click here.

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Facebook starts pushing out new privacy settings

Facebook has started dribbling out the latest changes to its everchanging privacy settings, CNET reports.

New privacy notifications and menus now greet members as they log into the social network, according to The Next Web. Facebook users in New Zealand seem to be the first on the list to have received these updates already. Based on screenshots published by TNW, members receive a new message alerting them to the changes and explaining how they can block specific users from viewing their information…

To read the full story, click here.

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Students who cheat become adults who cheat

Students who cheat in school are likely to continue with that deceitful behavior as adults in the workplace, BusinessNewsDaily reports.

New research from the University of Minnesota found a significant correlation between students who reported dishonest behavior during college and their behavior at work. “It doesn’t seem like the two are very independent of each other,” Nathan Kuncel, the study’s co-author, told BusinessNewsDaily. “(That poor behavior) tends to carry over.”

The study was a meta-analysis, combining previous studies on the subject in order to obtain more robust results. Overall, the study reviewed research involving more than 1,500 people…

To read the full story, click here.

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MIT innovation could humanize online education programs

A new crowd-sourcing system allows students to receive more timely feedback in online education programs.

Critics of online education programs commonly refer to the perceived disconnect these create between students and instructors, but a new crowd-sourcing system that offers students personal feedback could help alleviate skeptics’ concerns.

The system is called Caesar, and it was developed by MIT Professor Rob Miller and two of his graduate students, Mason Tang and Elena Tatarchenko, through the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).

Caesar is able to split students’ submitted assignments in a programming course into prioritized chunks through a process called the “code selector.” Caesar then enacts the “task selector,” which sends those chunks that require review out to various MIT teaching assistants, course alumni, and computer science students.

The final step, called the “reviewing interface,” allows multiple reviewers to offer students feedback on their assignments. Students generally receive feedback in less than three days—something that Miller highlights is much quicker than with traditional grading processes.

(Next page: How Caesar works, and how it soon could impact MOOCs)

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Samsung Names New SUPERHERO…Jeremy as Vincent Van Gogh!

Ridgefield Park, New Jersey (December 19, 2012) – Samsung Techwin America’s Electronic Imaging Division (samsungsuperhero.com), a leader in document camera technology, today announced that Jeremy, a tenth grader from Rockford, Illinois has won the fall Superhero competition with his imaginative portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh. As the winner, Jeremy receives $500 and a SAMCAM 860 document camera for his school. “His performance as this Dutch post-impressionist painter was unique, creative, and a joy to watch,” said Richard Bellomy, V.P. of Sales for Samsung Techwin’s Electronic Imaging Division. “I would like to congratulate Jeremy and all of the Superhero competitors for their fantastic entries. It has been so rewarding to see the imagination and talent of the students that we have decided to continue the competition for 2013.” Visit samsungsuperhero.com to view Jeremy’s video as well as the videos from the other top ten finalists.

Rules and Guidelines:
Any student in grades K-12 who attends school in a United States or Federal Territory is eligible to enter a digital video of 1-3 minutes in length. Students are to portray a historical character and are judged on presentation performance, character and content accuracy, and content quality. One student winner is selected per competition and will receive $500. In addition, a SAMCAM 760 document camera will be given to their class. The MSRP of the Samsung SAMCAM 760 is $499. There will be two competitions in 2013, so make sure to check samsungsuperhero.com in January for more details and entry dates.

For more information about Samsung Techwin America’s Electronic Imaging Division and its full line of affordable and innovative document cameras, call 877-213-1222, ext. 3306 or go to samsungpresenterusa.com. To learn more about the SAMCAM 760 visit samcam760.com.

About Samsung Techwin America – Electronic Imaging Division
Samsung Techwin America is a market leader in document cameras for use in the education sector, ranging from K-12 to universities, courtroom applications, as well as numerous Fortune 500 companies. Every Samsung document camera provides the quality and innovation that has built the Samsung name─ quality optics, a robust feature set, a wealth of user-friendly features, and state-of-the-art digital imaging technology. Additionally Samsung Techwin markets a full line of security products under the CCTV Division. Samsung Techwin America is the U.S. subsidiary of Samsung Techwin Co., Ltd. in Sungnam Kyungki-Do, Korea. Samsung is the world’s 11th largest company. www.samsungpresenterusa.com.

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