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Archive for September, 2010

New Media’s Fundamental Place in e-Learning

“Like the technologies that preceded it – print, radio, television – New Media is set to change our lives and our learning in fundamental ways. Never before have we had such a great variety of educational tools at our disposal so inexpensively and so widely available. We can reach out to our customers, clients, and students almost anywhere in the world with the touch of button. ”

New Media consists of four pillars:

  • Online video sharing sites, such as YouTube,
  • Podcasting , which allows the automatic delivery of audio and video to listeners and viewers,
  • Live video streaming, such as and, and
  • Social media, that is, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other such services.

All of these together form New Media – new ways of delivering information and interacting with our audience, whoever or wherever they might be.

As with any new technology, inertia and fear threaten to limit our use of these tools. We spend months and years evaluating, analyzing and investigating, but end up doing very little. As with other educational tools, you must engage with New Media to find its usefulness to you and your students.


Inertia is a powerful force. Objects at rest remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. For many of us, the object is New Media and inertia is management apathy, status quo thinking, and fear of change. This can lead to an almost impenetrable barrier to New Media adoption, and all the benefits it can bring. Your job is to get the ball rolling – to nudge the New Media rock – one small inch at a time.

With each movement, the other part of the inertial law will begin to take effect: objects in motion remain in motion. Movement begets more movement. Momentum yields more momentum. Soon you will find yourself using more and more New Media tools as the walls start to crumble.

Not either/or, but rather yes/and

One roadblock I often face when introducing New Media is the either/or mentality. There is a belief that we must choose either this or that tool, either this or that method. When introducing New Media to your work I suggest moving beyond either/or and toward yes/and. Using New Media tools does not mean you abandon previous methods. Instead, you use New Media to expand existing methods while introducing new ones. Certainly, some tools will have outlived their usefulness, but many will find new life in combination with New Media. Conversely, you will find that some New Media tools don’t add value to your work. Your goal is to find the best of both old and new and combine them in new and powerful ways. Embrace both the old and the new. Say Yes/And.

Selling New Media

I find that convincing someone of the usefulness and power of New Media is very difficult in the abstract. We can talk about how audio, video, online communities, and social networks can expand the educational playing field, but the power of New Media is in the “doing.” One of the best methods of introducing New Media tools into your work is by finding those small niches in the educational environment where you can apply New Media. You use a New Media tool and then judge its effectiveness. Use it a bit more and let people see where and when it is effective. Then, slowly, expand its use further and further until it becomes a major tool in your educational toolbox.

In this way, you bring people along slowly. You don’t try to convert them with one dramatic gesture. You take them step-by-step, class-by-class, project-by-project, holding their hand the entire time until they start walking on the New Media path all by themselves. Even more importantly, though, when something obviously doesn’t work, you let it go. Not every tool will work for you and your environment. You won’t find the “value added” in every new service or program. We don’t live in an idealized world. Everything can’t be perfect, but you will be better for investigating that tool or service than you would have been without. You learn something with each try. You should not discount this.

It doesn’t take a lot of money

One of the most striking aspects of New Media is how much you can do inexpensively, and even for free. As you move forward you might invest in larger, more robust systems, but investigating New Media often requires little more than access to the Internet. With inexpensive tools like the Flip HD pocket camcorders, and free software like Apple’s iMovie, you can create professional-looking materials that, in the past, might have cost tens of thousands of dollars. There are very few financial excuses for not investigating how New Media can help your department or company.

To repeat, never before have we had such a wide variety of educational tools at our disposal so inexpensively and so widely available. This is indeed a whole new world. It is to your benefit to grasp the best of these new tools and wield them well, to take you and your students to new levels of learning.

Special note: Hear Doug speak on “Making the Case for Using New Media for e-Learning”! Sign up for The eLearning Guild’s October Online Forum, Integrating Media into Your e-Learning, October 7 and 8. See all the details at


Obama: Education key to economic success

Determined to energize dispirited Democrats, President Barack Obama told New Mexico voters on Tuesday that Republicans would reverse the progress he’s made oneducation reform and student aid.

Addressing a small group in an Albuquerque family’s front yard, Obama shifted from his recent focus on the economy, which has run headlong into the grim reality of continued high unemployment. Instead, five weeks ahead of midterm elections that could turn into a Democratic bloodletting, the president told voters to think about education when they head to the polls.

“Who’s going to prioritize our young people to make sure they’ve got the skills they need to succeed?” the president said.

“Nothing’s going to be more important in terms of our long-term success.” Obama argued that Republicans would cut education spending to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

Later in the day, Obama was heading to a big rally at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he hopes to replicate the raucous, youthful, big-stage events for which he became famous in the 2008 presidential campaign. Democrats will host hundreds of watch partiesnationwide, and Obama will hold other campus rallies before Nov. 2 to warn young voters that the “hope and change” they embraced two years ago is at risk if Republicans sweep the midterm elections.

The president is aiming to close the enthusiasm gap that pollsters say separates discouraged liberal voters from energized conservatives who might lift Republicans to huge gains in congressional and gubernatorial races.

But Obama got a quick reminder from his audience of about 40 in Albuquerque that education might not be at the top of the agenda for recession-weary voters.

“If we don’t have homes to go to, what good is education?” one man asked.

A high school principal read a letter that he said was from a class in his school.

“What assurance will we have that we will be rewarded for good work?” the students asked. “There seems to be less money that banks lend our families, and most of all no jobs.”

The president acknowledged the anxiety of the younger generation.

“They’re growing up in the shadow of a financial crisis that we hadn’t seen in our lifetime,” he said, arguing his administration has sought to save jobs for teachers and others by closing tax loopholes, and is working to making it easier for kids to attend college.

Republican leaders, Obama said, “fought us tooth and nail … That’s the choice that we’ve got in this election.”

Obama returned to the choice theme on issue from veterans spending and education to taxes and small businesses, trying mightily to get voters to see the election as a contest between competing visions, not a referendum on the party in power at a time of economic woes.

The event at the stucco home of Andy and Etta Cavalier in a small farming community south of Albuquerque comes as Obama tests out a relatively new format of backyard visits that give him time to explain his policies in cozy, unhurried settings. He’s coupling those with college campus rallies in four states Tuesday and Wednesday, trying to tackle Democrats’ two biggest needs: to pump enthusiasm into young supporters who may stay at home this fall, and to persuade undecided voters that Republican alternatives are unacceptable.

In a magazine interview, Obama admonished Democratic voters, saying it would be “inexcusable” and “irresponsible” for unenthusiastic Democrats to sit out the elections because the consequences could be a squandered agenda for years.

“People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up,” Obama told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview being published Friday. Making change happen is hard, he said, and “if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”

Obama wants Democratic loyalists to be less apologetic and more forceful in asserting that he and theDemocratic-controlled Congress are trying to move the country forward and Republicans would return to the policies of former President George W. Bush.

Top Web 2.0 Tools for Learning for the New School Year

The list of cutely, cleverly and sometimes oddly spelled Web 2.0 apps for learning continues to grow, making it easier but also more confusing to find online tools to help you learn and excel as a student. With so many choices, it can be hard to figure out where to focus and what tools and ideas are really worth your time. To decide what tools you need, you first need to figure out what you need help with as a student and what you can do to become more productive, efficient and successful. Here are a few suggestions both for the bigger picture and for the apps you can use that can help you ensure a school year that’s both academically satisfying and technologically savvy.

Productivity and Organization

You’ll go a lot further as a student if you stay organized and learn new ways to be productive. You’ll also have more time to relax and enjoy your downtime, making it a win-win to pursue some web tools that can help you master your skills. Your first step can be to get a great calendar and options like 30 Boxes and Google Calendar can be a great way to start. You’ll also need to hook up your computer or phone with a to-do list and many students find Remember the Milk and Todoist to be helpful. And why not have access to your term paper wherever you go with an online word processor like Google Docs or Zoho Office? It could save you time and stress.


Few students can avoid having to write several long and sometimes difficult papers throughout their college careers. You can help improve the quality of the papers you write by improving the quality of the research material you use– something Web 2.0 is all about helping you to do. Instead of doing your research on Wikipedia, use Web 2.0 tools like WorldCAT and Google Scholar that give you higher quality, more academic results. Try out EasyBibor OttoBib to help make sure that your citations are clear and correctly written no matter the format you’re using. Firefox users can get all these functions in one with the amazing research plug-in Zotero.

Studying and Learning

Why limit your online education to what you learn in class? There are plenty of tools and resources out there to help you keep learning about new topics or to expand your knowledge of existing ones. Signing up for educational RSS feeds and podcasts can be a great way to supplement class materials. You can also look for study guides and helpful study tools on SparkNotesand College-Cram. Additionally, if you’re looking for ways to organize your thoughts for papers and tests, you’ll find mind mapping tools aplenty, and Mindomo being good choices.


Even for online students, a big part of education is socializing with other students. Whether you’re looking for feedback, help with homework or friendships, there are a number of Web 2.0 tools that can make keeping in touch with classmates and professors easier than ever. While most students will be familiar with sites like Facebook, others might not have tried more educationally focused sites like where you can share notes and talk about class like NoteCentric. There are also no shortage of social bookmarking sites like delicious and Clipmarks that let you share research and fun links.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the newest and best Web 2.0 apps for learning, it’s a great place to start. Better yet, most of these programs won’t cost you a thing to try out and could help make this school year your best yet.


New HIPAA rules need more clarification

When it comes to the new HIPAA privacy and security standards, it seems like everybody has an opinion. Quite a few organizations are spreading the word about the comments they’ve filed in response to the changes HHS proposed in July.

The American Health Information Management Association wants the HHS Office for Civil Rights to add some detail to the stewardship role providers must play in determining the “minimum necessary” use and disclosure of patient-specific protected health information, Health Data Management reports. Specifically, AHIMA wonders whether one alternative in a forthcoming final rule on HIPAA attachment standards would effectively force providers to violate the “minimum necessary” standard.

OCR should “include a prohibition on health plan access to an individual’s PHI under guardianship of a healthcare provider,” AHIMA writes in its comments.

Similarly, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society would like OCR to provide some guidance on the “minimum necessary standard.” HIMSS also wonders whether business associate agreements will still be necessary, because the proposed rules would treat business associates as covered entities.

“It is common for healthcare providers, such as a community hospital, to have hundreds of business associate relationships, and large complex academic medical centers can have over 1,000 business associate relationships to manage,” HIMSS says in arguing that a such agreements would be unfairly burdensome on its members under the new regulations.

The National Community Pharmacists Association also wants some clarification, particularly over how pharmacists should handle privacy requests from customers who pay cash, since the proposed regulations would allow self-paying patients to ask providers to limit disclosure of some types of data to payers. “In some cases, such action would violate the pharmacy’s contract obligations to third-party payers such as pharmacy benefit managers,” the NCPA says.

On the consumer side, the Coalition for Patient Privacy, led by Dr. Deborah Peel’s Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, is lobbying hard for the final rule to restore the right to patient consent for PHI disclosure that HHS stripped from the HIPAA privacy rule in 2002.

“We strongly recommend that HHS require the use of the consent and segmentation technologies showcased June 29 at the Consumer Choices Technology hearing sponsored by HHS/ONC for all HIT systems, HIE and the NHIN,” the coalition says in its letter. “The innovative, low-cost, effective privacy‐enhancing technologies available that can empower patients to have ‘maximal control over PHI’ should be viewed as what is possible now, not 10 years from now.”

Meanwhile, consulting firm Computer Sciences Corp. has published a white paper to explain the proposed changes to HIPAA privacy, security and enforcement rules called for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

For more information:
– see this Health Data Management story about AHIMA’s comments
– read the AHIMA letter (.pdf)
– take a look at this HDM story about the NCPA’s comments
– and here is the actual NCPA letter (.pdf)
– read what HIMSS has to say about the HHS proposal (.pdf)
– take a look at these comments from the Coalition for Patient Privacy (.pdf)
– download the CSC report


Students: Video lectures allow for more napping

College students gave video lectures high marks in a recent survey, although many students supported the technology because it freed up more time for napping and hanging out with friends.

And three in 10 said their parents would be “very upset” if they knew just how often their child missed class and relied on their course web site.

A majority of students who responded to thesurvey, conducted in August by audio, internet, and video conferencing provider InterCall, said they would only attend a live lecture if an exam were scheduled for that day, or to borrow notes from a classmate. The survey didn’t indicate the percentage of students who took this position.

Far from being a scientific study, the poll nonetheless seems to confirm a key fear of many college professors about the availability of video lecture-capture technology: that it could lead to a drop in attendance at the live lectures themselves.

Working students seemed “to reap the greatest benefits from video streamed course content,” according to the InterCall survey of 504 college-aged respondents, because web-based lectures would allow them to work longer hours and watch the videos during their free time.

Overall, video lectures were popular with students who participated in the survey. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they “learn more effectively” with online lectures, and 54 percent “report that their grades improve when lectures are streamed via video online,” according to InterCall. That also confirms an important benefit of video lectures as noted by supporters: that they allow students to go back and review the content as needed.

Nearly three-quarters of students said that streaming lectures online “helps them be better prepared for exams.” And when lectures aren’t available via online video, 49 percent of students take matters into their own hands and record lectures on their own so they can review the material later.

Some respondents pointed out the convenience of being able to plop down in front of a laptop and watch lectures instead of schlepping to the lecture hall bright and early. About four in 10 students said “not having to get dressed for class” was among the benefits of online lectures. Twenty-three percent listed “being able to take more naps during the day” among their benefits.

Corinne Gregory, an author and expert on social skills, said that while educational video content has become an important part of higher education, some of the reasons students lobby for video lectures are “indicative” of the modern college-student mindset.

“They can’t be bothered with things that require stepping out of their own comfort and convenience zone,” she said. “Rather than adapt themselves … they want things the way they want things. College isn’t Burger King—you can’t always have it your way.”

Attending lectures and sticking to a schedule, Gregory said, is a critical part of college life that prepares students for the professional world. Relying on instant access to everything at any time, she said, could be detrimental for teenagers and 20-somethings.

“The continued attitude of, ‘It’s about me and my convenience’ is one that extends into many aspects of their lives, from school, to work, to community obligations,” Gregory said. “How much more self-absorbed does it get?”

InterCall’s survey—while reporting largely positive views about web-based lectures—showed that many students have taken courses that use video content rarely, if at all.

Twenty-six percent said their professor “sometimes” broadcasted class sessions over the internet, and 44 percent said their instructors “rarely” or “never” used the technology.

Twenty-three percent of respondents said their professors “often” provided streaming lectures, and 7 percent said they “always” had the online lecture option available.

The potential isolation of online learning didn’t affect student opinions; nearly half “prefer joining their classes online rather than interacting in person with their classmates and professors.”

College students gave video lectures high marks in a recent survey, although three in 10 students said their parents would be “very upset” if they knew just how often their child missed class and relied…


How to Digitize Your Textbooks

By Luke Turcotte, from HackCollege.

eBook readers are quickly becoming the go-to method to read print media. Perhaps the most exciting advantage is the ability to carry thousands of books on a thin device. Yes students, this means you could condense a semesters worth of heavy textbooks into a few thousand bytes on your Kindle, Nook or iPad. Textbook publishers are charging forward through this new frontier of media distribution, but unfortunately only a small portion of textbooks are available for download today. What do you do if your microbiology text isn’t available in a digital format this fall?

Getty File Photo

Option #1: Textbook Scanning Services
There are several online services that will scan a textbook and return a PDF document of its contents. BlueLeaf appears to be the the front-runner in this game, charging $0.06 per page for destructive scanning and $0.09 for non-destructive scanning in addition to a fee per book of $12.95 and $24.95 respectively. To ease the gouging, BlueLeaf will scan your first 50 pages for free. Full color scans are an additional $12, and if you’re gullible enough to have them convert the PDF to a PRC or ePub file it’ll cost you another $12 (this can be accomplished for free with Calibre).

To give you a better idea of pricing, to scan three textbooks totaling 1956 pages for this upcoming semester, non-destructive scanning in color would cost me $218.

Option #2: Build a Book Scanner is an awesome project offering community-designed blueprints for making your own non-destructive book scanner. Once built, these scanners take pictures of each page of the book you wish to digitize using two tethered cameras. The cost of the hardware is the greatest downfall to this method, although if you want to keep your textbook intact this is the way to go.

Option #3: Chop & Scan
If you’re comfortable with cutting up a textbook, running the pages through a scanner with an automatic document feeder is by far the cheapest method to digitze a textbook. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Each textbook is bound a little differently. Your goal is to dissect the book so that you have several booklets of pages.

Step 2: Cut the booklets along the left margin to obtain single pages. This is easily accomplished with a paper cutter.

Step 3: Insert the pages into the document feeder of your scanner. Scan the fronts of all the pages and save as a PDF, then flip and scan the backs.

Step 4: Download and install PDFsam, a free multi-platform PDF tool. Load the front and back PDF files into the Alternate Mix plugin, which will combine the two files and place the pages into the proper order.

Step 5: Convert the PDF scan of your book into a format your eBook reader can read using Calibre.

Each method varies in cost and effort required. At the end of the day, the convenience of reading textbooks on your computer at home, eBook reader on campus, or your smartphone while waiting for the bus is well worth it.

The Future of the Mobile Web

September 30, 2010 / Mission Bay Conference Center, San Francisco, CA

Mobile, meet Cloud…


The mobile web is big. It’s about to get even bigger.

The conjunction of mobile computing and cloud-based services will unleash an entire new wave of product and market growth. At this year’s Mobilize 2010, we’ll show you how Cloud Computing and Mobile Web creates the beginning of further opportunity.

The success of touch based tablet devices is likely to see the addition of millions of new subscribers in markets already considered saturated. Then add to that base a new legion of machines as subscribers – your car, your fridge, your TV for example, and you have the makings of a vast new opportunity. It’s time for you to investigate these opportunities.

Register today and you can learn about:

  • What the “mobile cloud” will do for innovating new services and products
  • How new wireless broadband networks will enable consumer adoption of cloud services for mobile
  • What impacts touch devices and new form factors are having on markets
  • Where the opportunities are for Internet-connected objects – “The Internet of Things” or M2M (Machine-to-machine)
  • Which mobile monetization options are succeeding
  • Why the architecture of new wireless networks will be linked to Cloud based services
  • Which new mobile web technology areas are being funded and why

Discussion Topics Include:

  • App vs. Web
  • The Internet of Things
  • Monetizing Location Services
  • Handset Virtualization
  • Mobile Payments: Finally here?
  • The VC Panel
  • 4G with 4 Wheels: The Automobile as an App Platform

Who Should Attend:

  • Mobile Technology Executives
  • Carrier Executives and Buyers
  • Strategic Planners and Analysts
  • Technology Investment Professionals
  • Technology Entrepreneurs
  • Strategy Professionals
  • Product Managers
  • Marketing Professionals
  • Companies launching new products and services
  • Media, New and Old

Core topics planned for discussion:

  • Mobile Cloud Services and Technology Enablers
  • Next-generation Wireless Infrastructure – Ultraband, UWB, Wi-Max, LTE, 4G, Broadband
  • App stores and the App Economy
  • Machine-to-machine – (M2M or “The Internet of Things”)
  • Virtualization on mobile devices and the new new services enabled
  • Network and “Mobile Cloud” infrastructure architectures and needs
  • Netbooks, Tablet computing and Ultraportables
  • Design and Ethnography — usage, lifestyle trends, technology adoption
  • Context and Location-based Services
  • Mobile Payments
  • Automotive Platforms
  • Venture Capital and the economics of the mobile data boom

Register Now

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