Tools include open access journals, job tool for graduating students

tools-April-campusAn influx of new technologies and resources for higher education have just landed, making this spring/summer 2014 one of the busiest seasons for innovation—and eCampus News (eCN) is highlighting four tools for April with the most potential.

From the an open source website that provides free online training for beginner level web developers to a free tool that helps IT departments measure their performance, these four noteworthy technologies could help your institution improve in efficiency and be on the forefront of higher-ed innovation.

This resource tool roundup is part of eCN’s ongoing mission to provide readers with the most current news and information available in higher-ed. Know of any tools or resources coming to market or recently available for postsecondary learning? Are these tools you’d recommend to other institutions, faculty or admin? Please leave your suggestions in the comment section on this page, or email me at

(Next page: Open access journals)

[Listed in alphabetical order]

1. Cogent Education

Cogent Education is the third in the series of fully peer-reviewed, open access journals launched by Cogent OA. Cogent Education has a mission to help researchers publish their work for a global audience and discover new connections with the wider community.

With dedicated editorial teams for each major branch of the field, Cogent Education considers original research articles across the full spectrum of education. To celebrate the launch of Cogent Education Cogent OA is waiving all article publishing charges (APCs) for a limited time.

Cogent Education is headed up by Editor-in-Chief, Professor John Lee, (professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Hong Kong Institute of Education), who is supported by an international team of editors. The editorial team seeks to evaluate submissions based on their methodological soundness and relevance rather than their perceived level of future significance, and a host of post-publication metrics will indicate each article’s ongoing impact in a range of ways.

Submissions to the journal are handled by a community of active specialists within the following sections of the journal:

  • Curriculum and Teaching Studies
  • Educational Assessment and Evaluation
  • Educational Leadership and Management
  • Educational Policy and Development
  • Educational Psychology and Counseling
  • Information and Communications Technology in Education
  • International and Comparative Education
  • Professional Education and Training
  • Student Learning, Childhood and Voices
  • Teacher Education and Development

Cogent Education is now open for submissions at:

2. The Odin Project

The Odin Project, an open source website, currently in beta, dedicated to providing free online training for beginner level web developers. The move opens up the courses to a broader group of students, who themselves will help develop the curriculum.

Web developers who can build with Ruby on Rails and Javascript are in demand like never before, but students who are interested in learning those skills often must choose to spend more than $10,000 for a coding bootcamp or up to $200,000 for a CS degree. Alternatively, they set out on their own with limited guidance on the best way achieve the necessary education. The Odin Project is designed to give these individuals a clear path to becoming hirable web developers.

The beta site includes two critical new features: progress tracking and collaborative studying capabilities.

The Odin Project curriculum includes:

  • Introduction to Web Development: A brief introduction to the practice and career of web development
  • Web Development 101: The basics of all the technologies needed to build websites
  • Ruby Programming: The programming fundamentals in Ruby, the language built for programmer happiness
  • Ruby on Rails: Rapidly develop and deploy websites using Ruby on Rails
  • HTML5 and CSS3: Dive deeper and understand how to really make websites look good
  • Javascript and jQuery: Make websites dynamic and smooth with Javascript and jQuery
  • Getting Hired: How to get a job once you’ve got the skills and experience

In its early stages, The Odin Project has been incubated at Riviera Partners, a technical search and recruiting service that is dedicated to the expansion of the developer community.

For more information on The Odin Project, visit

(Next page: Career tool; IT tool)

3. Piazza Careers

Social learning platform Piazza announced Piazza Careers, its new recruiting platform that aims to transform how college students and employers connect. Companies including Box, Hearsay Social, Palantir, SpaceX and Yelp have already begun using the platform to develop relationships with talented college students, drawing from a pool of more than a million students who have used Piazza.

Piazza Careers’ latest round of funding will be directed towards R&D and marketing efforts.

Piazza Careers builds on the growth of Piazza’s Q&A platform. Enrollments in Piazza classes grew 223 percent between the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years, from 236,000 to 762,000. Engagement on Piazza has remained high, with students continuing to spend an average of two-three hours per night on the platform. More than half the undergraduates—including almost all of the engineering majors—at Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton and Georgia Tech use Piazza.

Employing Piazza’s database of students’ academic histories, Piazza Careers can connect students to peers on campus and beyond, to recent alumni who have similar academic backgrounds, and to hiring managers at companies, non-profits, or research labs.

Because Piazza engages students in hundreds of colleges and tens of thousands of classes, Piazza Careers lets hiring managers zero in on students who meet their precise criteria regardless of which school they attend, broadening companies’ reach while presenting students at regional schools with a wider range of opportunities than they have ever had.

Piazza Careers also respects students’ privacy so interactions with potential employers occur on an opt-in basis. Academic graduate programs and non-profits can use Piazza Careers for free to contact interested students while for-profit companies pay for the service.

As always, individual instructors and students can sign up for Piazza for free at Hiring managers can learn more about Piazza Careers at

4. StorTrends iData

StorTrends iDATA is a free software tool that runs in the background of your existing IT environment for seven (7) days. Once installed, the automated tool runs non-intrusively and will not disrupt any services or create any IO bottlenecks.

After completion, the tool will generate a report file that contains key metrics of your IT environment; such as capacity utilization, IOPS usage, reads versus writes for volumes, network bandwidth performance, server statistics and application info.

According to the company, when it comes to storage infrastructure, the unknowns can have a grave impact from both a compute capabilities and cost perspective, which also tends to translate into headaches. The iDATA tool provides an accurate assessment of the pain points in an IT environment, before they become a “fire drill,” and the details needed to make informed storage decisions.

Download this free StorTrends iDATA Tool.

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