Students, faculty want more support for eTextbooks

47 percent of undergraduates wish their teachers used more eTextbooks.

Faculty and students seem to agree that digital course materials will figure heavily in the future of higher education, but instructors are struggling to find the time and support to actually adopt eTextbooks in the classroom, according to a study released by the Educause Center for Analysis and Research.

The report examined 23 colleges and universities that collaborated with Educause, Internet2, McGraw Hill, and the eTextbook provider Courseload in a pilot program that provided eTextbooks to more than 5,000 students and faculty in nearly 300 courses.

“While IT clearly has a role to play to support, deliver and help design new methods of providing digital course materials, it must collaborate and co-lead with many other groups,” the authors of the report recommended. “Each institution has a different culture and a different set of strategic priorities that will influence its e-materials strategy, projects and services, but all we need to work across multiple platforms.”…Read More

Low-latency video conferencing software powers live online concert

LOLA reduces transmission delays, or latency, to roughly 35 milliseconds. To the musicians’ ears, that’s like being on the same stage.

Technology that allows musicians in different places to perform together in real time was dramatically demonstrated Oct. 2 in Philadelphia, where a violinist and cellist hundreds of miles apart played a duet as if they were on the same stage.

More than 600 engineers, researchers, and scientists jumped to their feet and cheered after the performance at the Internet2 fall member meeting at a downtown hotel.

Violinist Marjorie Bagley, on stage in Philadelphia, and cellist Cheng-Hou Lee, projected on a video screen in DeKalb, Ill., performed the tricky Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia for cello and violin to show off LOLA. That’s the nickname for the low-latency audio and video conferencing software developed by researchers from the G. Tartini Music Conservatory in Trieste, Italy, and the Italian Research & Education Network.…Read More

Best practices in higher-education technology use: August 2012

Here are some of the best practices in higher-education technology use featured in the July/August edition of eCampus News.

Students at the University of Wisconsin now can earn college degrees based on competency, not credits; Ohio State is revamping its classroom technology to meet students’ digital demands; two West Coast schools are taking an innovative approach to disaster planning; and dozens of schools this fall will see if eBooks can bring down textbook costs: These are among the best practices in higher-education technology use featured in the July/August edition of eCampus News.

Our July/August edition is now available in digital format on our website. You can browse the full publication here, or click on any of the headlines below to read these highlights:

Earning a degree with competency, not credits…Read More

Colleges taking a team approach to eTextbooks

Six in 10 students said in a recent survey that they forgo buying required books because textbooks are too pricey.

Reining in exorbitant textbook costs is no longer a campus-by-campus venture: A unified approach, powered by EDUCAUSE and the Internet2 consortium’s NET+ cloud-based collaborative purchasing program, could make low-cost electronic textbooks available now, ed-tech leaders hope.

Colleges experimenting with digital textbooks can take months—sometimes years—to negotiate with publishers before their school’s modest eBook program is introduced to students now paying upwards of $1,100 a year for books.

This fall, campus technology leaders will closely track the results of an expansive eTextbook pilot program ranging across 28 campuses, creating what many in higher education believe could be a model for quickly bringing low-cost textbook options to students who, in some cases, have stopped buying required texts because they cannot afford the books.…Read More

New Internet2 partnerships bolster campus research efforts

University research efforts will be aided by partnerships with major tech companies.

Sixteen partnerships among universities and technology companies will deliver discounted cloud services to those participating campuses who are members of Internet2, a high-powered, research-intensive network consortium.

The new initiative, known as Internet2 NET+, offers “above the network” services to Internet2 member organizations and aims to cut down on the costs often associated with high-powered research and networking needs.

Internet2 counts among its members institutions of higher education, companies, laboratories, and other education and research networks.…Read More

Internet2 bringing more cloud computing programs to campuses

HP will provide the cloud infrastructure for campus researchers.

Eleven universities will have access to advanced cloud computing services through Hewlett-Packard and two other technology companies that will provide the cloud-based programs at a discount for members of the research-intensive network consortium, Internet2.

The “above the network” features in the private cloud network announced by Internet2 officials this week include virtual meeting rooms for educators and students, telepresence, and desktop collaboration for professors and researchers, meaning colleges wouldn’t have to build their own cloud infrastructure.

Read more about cloud computing in higher education……Read More

High-speed internet service to be ‘leveling agent’ for West Virginia colleges

A 2008 report showed many West Virginia colleges didn't have access to Internet2.

West Virginia students, educators, and researchers are getting a much-needed boost in high-speed internet service after a local campus agreed to share its superior internet connection with colleges and K-12 schools that have lagged behind in advanced connectivity.

Technology officials at Marshall University—a 13,000-student private campus in Huntington, W.Va.—announced July 7 that it would team up with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission to share its Internet2 connection with the state’s undergraduate colleges, community colleges, technical schools, and health-care and government agencies.

Read more about Internet2 in higher education……Read More

Broadband grants include $63M for 100-gigabit research network

Federal funding will provide more broadband access to BYU students in Idaho.
Federal funding will provide more broadband access to students across the nation.

Colleges and universities will be among the anchor institutions in an ultra high-speed nationwide internet network after President Obama on July 2 announced more than $760 million in grants designed to expand broadband web access.

The Departments of Commerce and Agriculture will dole out the federal broadband funding, which will go to 66 recipients, including municipalities, web service providers, libraries, and colleges, according to the White House.

Federal officials estimate that the funds will create 5,000 jobs in the nation’s slumping economy.…Read More

Google to build ultra-fast web networks

The US ranks 28th in broadband internet access, according to a report released last summer.
The U.S. ranks 28th in broadband internet access, according to a report released last summer.

Google Inc. plans to build a handful of experimental internet networks around the country to ensure that tomorrow’s systems can keep up with online video and other advanced applications that the company will want to deliver. The internet search giant’s plans would include connection speeds 100 times faster than today’s connections, and could be key for rural colleges hoping to expand broadband web access to students and faculty.

The Google project, announced Feb. 10, is also intended to provide a platform for outside developers to create and try out all sorts of cutting-edge applications that will require far more bandwidth than today’s networks offer.

The company said its fiber-optic broadband networks will deliver speeds of 1 gigabit per second to as many as 500,000 Americans.…Read More