iTunes U content tops 1 billion downloads

Downloads of content from Apple’s iTunes U have topped one billion, Apple reported Feb. 28.

iTunes U features the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content from top schools and prominent libraries, museums, and organizations—helping educators create courses, lectures, assignments, books, quizzes, and more for iOS users around the world.

More than 1,200 universities and colleges, and 1,200 K-12 schools and districts, host more than 2,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more, Apple says. Leading universities including Duke, Yale, Cambridge, MIT, and Oxford continue to extend their reach by enrolling more than 100,000 students in single iTunes U courses, with Stanford University and The Open University each surpassing 60 million content downloads.

More than 60 percent of iTunes U app downloads originate from outside the U.S., giving schools of any size the ability to share their content with a worldwide audience. The unmatched global reach of iTunes U gives educators, like University of California, Irvine Professor Dan Stokols, international recognition and acclaim in their fields…

To read the full report, click here.


Pearson launches ed-tech incubator for startups

Publishing giant Pearson has launched an incubator program for ed-tech startups, following in the footsteps of other educational companies like Kaplan, Mashable reports.

Pearson Catalyst, the new program, will match educational startups with Pearson brands and resources. The company’s vast amount of content will be available to help participants further develop their products to target and personalize online learning.

Sharing industry insight and connecting with new companies will allow Pearson to promote learning and take advantage of new ideas, says Diana Stepner, head of future technologies.

Participating startups will have the opportunity to meet with Pearson executives and product experts, as well as present to executives and technology leaders. Pearson isn’t seeking ownership of the companies but might become a customer of the startup in the future…

To read the full story, click here.


Can you see how Google Glass will disrupt education?

Wearable technology will be challenging to manage if schools aren’t prepared, EdTech Magazine reports.

Google is close to bringing one of its latest projects, Google Glass, to market—which is a pair of eyeglasses connected to the internet. Google hopes to solve a problem that the influx of mobile devices has created: Users are constantly distracted by devices in their pockets. What if the gap between humans and technology could be eliminated? It’s an interesting concept, and one that other companies are sure to explore in the coming years.

What impact will wearable technology like Google Glass have on students? While we’re still a few years away from needing to deal with this issue, educators and IT departments should begin planning a strategy now.

What will you do the first time a student walks into your classroom wearing web-enabled eyeglasses? Are you OK with students taking videos or photos in your class, or using the glasses to receive information faster than other students? Smart phones were a disruption, but wearable technology is likely to be even more of a challenge to manage…

To read the full story, click here.


New partnership offers more MOOCs for credit

Thomas Edison State College has partnered with the Saylor Foundation to create flexible pathways for adult learners through MOOCs.

As massive open online courses (MOOCs) continue to garner mass appeal and enable college access to thousands across the world, colleges are beginning to search for options to gain returns on their investments. Thomas Edison State College (TESC) in Trenton, N.J., might have an answer.

TESC is designed exclusively for self-directed adults and provides flexible learning opportunities for them wherever they live or work.

The college recently teamed with the Saylor Foundation, a nonprofit organization that hires professors to locate and organize open educational resources (OERs) and mold them into structured course formats. As of press time, Saylor has built more than 270 free, self-paced online courses.

As part of the agreement, Saylor will identify its most popular courses in which students have expressed a strong desire to earn credit, and TESC will create exams and assessments for those courses so that students might be eligible for credit.

Marc Singer, vice provost of the college’s Center for the Assessment of Learning, said the school is looking forward to the opportunity as traditional higher-education models evolve.

“We are in the midst of the latest paradigm shift in higher education and look forward to leveraging our expertise in assessment to help our students to take advantage of it,” he said.

(Next page: Courses that will be assessed for credit—and next steps in the partnership)


Ohio Online Teacher Receives National Award for First Virtual Student Teaching Experience


COLUMBUS, OHIO (February 26, 2013) – Virtual Community School of Ohio (VCS Ohio) teacher Gabriela Linik recently received the “Distinguished Clinician in Teacher Education” award from the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE). Linik was honored at the ATE Awards Dinner in Atlanta, GA last Monday.

This past school year, VCS Ohio partnered with Miami University for a virtual student teaching experience, a first for both schools. Linik, the Spanish teacher for VCS Ohio, hosted a Miami University student teacher. The student struggled with a visual impairment that made it difficult to manage a traditional classroom. Miami felt that an online school would provide the perfect adaptive technology to complete the student teaching experience. For her excellent mentoring efforts throughout the student teaching experience, Linik was honored with this prestigious award.

Linik also received the “Cooperating Teacher of the Year” award from the Ohio Association of Teacher Educators, this past spring. Linik was the first teacher from a virtual school to receive either of these awards.

VCS Ohio plans to continue partnering with universities to train future online teachers. They are currently working with Ohio University and Mount Vernon Nazarene University, providing virtual field experiences and virtual student teaching experiences to their education students.

Virtual Community School of Ohio offers students in grades K-12 a high-quality, accredited, online education from the comfort and safety of their home. The mission of VCS Ohio is to make a difference in the life of a student.

Contact: Jill Workman, (614) 501-9473, extension 2045 or


Ambassador Evolves Company Name to Reflect Strategic Direction and Solutions Expansion

Melville, NY – February 26, 2013 – Ambassador College Bookstores, Inc. and its affiliate Ambassador Book Service, Inc., industry leaders providing specialized bookstore, course materials, content and technology solutions for higher education, have announced they will be doing business as Ambassador Education Solutions effective immediately. The name change more accurately reflects the organizations’ strategic direction, as well as product and services expansion to further support the curriculum adoption, management and delivery needs of colleges, universities and libraries.

“Over the last 40 years, we have grown significantly in terms of capabilities and scope,” Ambassador College Bookstores co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Steven M. Blicht stated. “Our technology and services simplify the way schools manage course materials and student records, optimizing the student learning experience and enabling institutions to achieve academic and financial goals, including streamlining costs. Our new name, Ambassador Education Solutions, states our mission more directly and succinctly. This is exemplified by our advanced solutions, including eBooksPlus for the management and delivery of digital content, and SourcePak, our custom course content creation platform.”

“Our commitment to proprietary and career colleges, as well as traditional public and private institutions has always remained strong and unwavering,” Blicht added. “It is evident in our extensive student and faculty support and it is embodied in our technology solutions as they continually evolve through enhanced product offerings and system integrations. With the strategic direction of Ambassador Education Solutions, institutions are now able to leverage all of our solutions more efficiently, including the distribution of required course materials to students, and the fulfillment of print and media for libraries.”

The company’s new website is Ambassador Education Solutions will maintain its headquarters in New York with services available worldwide.

Since 1973, Ambassador has engineered, developed and implemented customized bookstore and technology solutions for higher education institutions to simplify the adoption, delivery and management of all course materials, including textbooks, eBooks, eResources, custom content, scrubs, kits, supplies and logo apparel. Ambassador’s products and services, which integrate with Student Information Systems, Learning Management Systems and Digital Content Platforms, deliver an optimized student learning experience with extensive student and faculty support, while enabling institutions to maintain control and streamline costs. Ambassador also supplies print, digital and media requirements to libraries worldwide. Ambassador’s proprietary supply chain technology, specialized advisory services, analytic tools and dynamic solutions enable institutions to efficiently fulfill their academic and financial goals. For more information, please visit


Exinda: Lack of Network Control Continuing to Hamper Education Networks

BOSTON, Mass.—February 26, 2013 – IT departments at educational institutions are well along in their planning for the 2013-2014 academic year, and some persistent management issues are becoming increasingly problematic as network managers deal with the continued rise of both strategic and recreational Internet traffic from high-bandwidth applications and P2P traffic crossing the network, according to Exinda. Add in BYOD / BYOA (bring your own device/bring your own applications), new compliance regulations for digital copyright infringement, and the move of some critical applications to the cloud, and education IT staff have a complex set of issues to resolve.

“The issues that educational institutions are facing really illuminate the challenges that are facing enterprises as a whole,” said Brendan Reid, Vice President of Product Marketing at Exinda. “Because they serve three distinct user groups – administration, faculty and students – the requirements of one group is always seemingly at odds with the others for the use of precious network resources. Most educational institutions do not have the visibility they need to see who is using the network, and for what. Until they have policy-based Internet control in place, many educational institutions will continue to struggle with the issues that an accelerating convergence of strategic and recreational Internet traffic is placing on their networks.”

According to Exinda, the top 5 IT challenges for education institutions are:

1. Distinguishing strategic traffic from recreational traffic: The more students, faculty and staff rely on learning and administrative resources served from the cloud, the more difficult it will be to decipher what web traffic should be optimized and what should be contained. How do you tell when YouTube is being used as part of a marketing class and when it’s being used to watch the complete library of Taylor Swift music videos?
2. Managing the impact of BYOD / BYOA: If students are consistent about one thing, it’s how much they love their devices: the more, the better. But more devices equal more applications being run across the network, and that’s a big issue for educational institutions with limited capacity. At the same time, they want to stay cutting edge and introduce new learning tools and applications to their students. How can they embrace BYOD / BYOA without negatively impacting their network?
3. Controlling real-time video and collaboration content: Whether it’s Netflix, YouTube or Skype, the use of video at educational institutions is exploding and must be controlled. But what about the strategic collaboration video, voice, etc., served up by Learning Management Systems, such as Blackboard and Moodle? This content needs to be protected and presents an emerging and complex challenge for managing these strategic, real-time Internet collaboration applications.
4. Having the user data required to meet regulatory compliance: More and more burden is being put on education IT departments in the effort to curb digital copyright infringement by students. How can educational institutions best act to reduce piracy and prevent the dissemination of copyrighted material, music and other intellectual property, and be able to react quickly when it does occur?
5. Maintaining SLAs for newly migrated cloud applications: What will the network impact be as more learning applications move to the cloud? Learning institutions will struggle to accurately model and maintain application SLAs through the process. How do we model how SLAs need to change for an application once run on-premise to now running in the cloud?

For more information about how educational IT departments can overcome their network challenges, download Exinda’s Education whitepaper.

About Exinda
Exinda is a leading global supplier of WAN optimization and Network Control solutions. Exinda enables organizations to assure a predictable user experience for strategic business applications through policy-based WAN optimization and Internet Control that intelligently allocate network bandwidth and optimize traffic based on the priorities of the business. The company has helped more than 2,500 organizations in over 80 countries worldwide assure application performance, improve the end-user experience, contain recreational applications and reduce network operating costs for the IT executive. For more information, please visit


At more colleges, classes on genetics get personal

Bakir Hajdarevic didn’t have to study for the most important test in a class last fall. He just had to spit — a lot, the Associated Press reports. The 19-year-old freshman at the University of Iowa took an honors seminar on personal genetics in which students had the option of sending saliva samples so a testing company could use DNA to unlock some of their most personal health and family secrets. The results would tell them how likely they were to get some forms of cancer, whether they were carriers for genetic diseases, where their ancestors came from, and a trove of other information. The class, taught at Iowa for the first time, is part of a growing movement in higher education to tackle the rapidly advancing field of personal genetics, which is revolutionizing medicine and raising difficult ethical and privacy questions. The classes are forcing students to decide whether it is better to be ignorant or informed about possible health problems — a decision more Americans will confront as the price of genetic testing plummets and it becomes more popular…

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IBM, NY to create new technical education programs

IBM and New York are teaming up to create 10 new technical education programs, one each at public schools in different regions of the state, the Associated Press reports. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and IBM say Tuesday the goal is to train students for skilled jobs in technology, manufacturing, health care and finance to support economic growth and development. Armonk-based IBM will provide guidance, mentoring, internships and other support at two of the schools and will help recruit companies to do the same at the eight others…

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SC college: 1 wounded in shooting near campus

One person was wounded Tuesday night in a shooting at a residence hall near a South Carolina college campus, prompting school officials to order a lockdown of campus buildings, the Associated Press reports. Coastal Carolina University spokeswoman Martha Hunn said the gunman left in a vehicle and was still at large Tuesday night. The State Law Enforcement Division has taken over the investigation into the shooting. Hunn said dispatchers received a call at around 7:20 p.m. regarding a shooting at University Place, an apartment-style residence hall that is adjacent to S.C. Highway 544. Students were alerted by email and text message. The school is in Conway, 15 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach…

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