Botnets continue to threaten campus networks

A network of more than 70,000 botnets were recently discovered in government and business computers.
A recently discovered botnet of more than 70,000 machines included many government and business computers.

Web security experts say campus IT officials should stop using students’ Social Security numbers as identifications, because about 5,900 known botnets have stolen valuable information from computers in many sectors, including higher education.

Shadowserver, an organization that tracks botnet incidents in governments, education, and the private sector, unveiled the running tally of botnets days before security firm Symantec released a report March 2 showing a 5.5 percent hike in spam eMail last month, spurred mostly by botnets. Spam now accounts for 90 percent of all eMail sent within the U.S., Symantec said.

A single botnet, called Grum, is responsible for 26 percent of worldwide spam, according to the Symantec report. The harmful spam messages were mostly disguised as pharmaceutical eMails.…Read More

Cashing in on idle tech assets could help close campus budget gaps

Patents that originate from campus-based research should be used by university decision makers.
Patents that originate from campus-based research can generate significant revenue for universities.

Each day, universities conduct and invest in research that has an impact on science, medical, and technology industries. And while schools of higher education serve a larger purpose, patenting those research results and licensing those patents to industries can generate much-needed funds that benefit those universities.

Patents are assets, even if they are not immediately used. As such, campus assets borne from technology created by colleges and universities usually can be licensed, sometimes later in their useful lifetimes. Dormant patents represent potential revenue sources for colleges and universities who find that those patents are infringed upon.

A growing number of universities are hiring technology transfer managers who are responsible for generating revenue by licensing out university patents to industry.…Read More

Cornell students unveil iPhone app for campus library users

Students from a software engineering class at Cornell are releasing a new application Feb. 16 that will enable iPhone users to access the university library’s web site, reports the Cornell Daily Sun. “You can do catalog searches, look at your library account, check hours and maps of the libraries,” said Beth Brown ’10, who was a student in the class where the software was developed. “You can even access research databases if you want.” She added that users could text librarians with personalized questions. Computer Science 5150 is an upper-level software engineering class in which students develop programs that can be produced and used in the real world. The library regularly submits ideas to the class. Last year, it proposed an application that would give students easy access to the university’s library system when they could not get to a computer. “I consider myself a frequent library user, but I never go there,” said Prof. William Arms, who teaches Computer Science 5150. “So many people use their cell phones as computers, the library basically wants to be accessible to those people.”

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Can social media cure low student engagement?

Students can access an array of education applications of Facebook Courses.
Students can access an array of education applications from Facebook Courses.

Keeping college students and their professors connected through social media outlets could be key in boosting graduation rates, education technology experts said during a panel discussion at Social Media Week in New York.

Social Media Week ran through the first week of February in five cities worldwide—New York City, San Francisco, London, Sao Paulo, and Toronto—and authorities from the business world, academia, and other fields discussed how social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are shaping global culture.

During a Feb. 6 session called “The Future of Social Media in Higher Education,” a five-person panel explored how colleges can use social networking to communicate with traditional and nontraditional students, what impact the new Apple iPad might have on student-faculty communication, and why Blackboard is not meeting some students’ social media needs.…Read More

Students use iPods, iPhones to grade Obama’s address

Abilene Christian students answered about 50 questions on their iPhones and iPods during President Obama's address.
Abilene Christian students answered 50 questions on their iPhones and iPods during Obama's address.

It’s the stuff that makes political pollsters salivate: 30 Abilene Christian University students used iPhones and iPod Touches to respond to President Obama’s Jan. 27 State of the Union address in real time, and a campus technology official said the exercise offered insight into boosting student participation in class.

Abilene Christian was among the country’s first campuses to bring iPhones to students when the school gave the devices to incoming freshmen last school year. Freshmen and sophomores now have university-issued iPhones or iPod Touches, and professors from the political science and journalism programs assembled 30 students to gauge reaction during Obama’s first State of the Union speech.

“It was a helpful exercise because … we were able to see if an interactive environment helped students engage in politics differently,” said Dennis Marquardt, Abilene Christian’s educational technology manager, who helped oversee the project. “It helped us understand where students were coming from a little bit more.”…Read More

Educators intrigued by Apple’s iPad

The Apple iPad will start at $499.
The web-enabled Apple iPad starts at $499.

Apple’s new tablet computer, the iPad, could push other companies to bring more color-capable eReaders to the market in a move that could make digital books more commonplace on school campuses, educators said after the long-awaited release of the technology giant’s latest product.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad Jan. 27, calling it a new third category of mobile device that is neither smart phone nor laptop, but something in between.

The iPad, which is Wi-Fi enabled, has 10 hours of battery life, features a 9.7-inch screen, weighs 1.5 lbs, and will use the iPhone operating system, meaning education companies that have made iPhone apps can make their technology available for iPad users.…Read More

Can Apple’s tablet spark a textbook revolution?

Educators expect the Apple tablet screen to be much larger than the iPhone display.
Educators expect the Apple tablet screen to be much larger than the iPhone display.

Can the release of Apple’s eReader tablet do for textbooks what the iPod did for music: combine an online store for purchasing books with sleek hardware that holds every text a student needs?

That’s the question many educators are asking as anticipation of Apple’s new tablet mounts.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is widely expected to unveil his company’s eReader Jan. 27 in San Francisco, and industry insiders expect the product to have a large touch screen that is smaller than a laptop screen but larger than an iPhone.…Read More

Report details coming trends in campus technology

Typing on a laptop could be outdated in four or five years, according to ed-tech projections.
Typing on a laptop could be outdated in four or five years, according to ed-tech projections.

Open scholarly content will become more commonplace in higher education in the next year as online universities and textbook companies organize and harness the internet’s mass of educational material, according to a report that predicts campus technology advances within the next five years.

The 2010 Horizon Report, released this week by education technology advocacy group EDUCAUSE and the New Media Consortium, describes technological changes that will have the greatest impact on college students and faculty.

The seventh annual report’s short-term prediction focuses on open content—a trend buoyed by MIT’s Open Courseware Initiative and the Open Knowledge Foundation, among others.…Read More