Category Archives: Educause 2011


Students Push Their Facebook Use Further Into Course Work

College students are taking social media to a new level, using Web sites like Facebook to communicate with other students about their coursework, according to results of a new survey on student technology use.

Nine out of 10 college students say they use Facebook for social purposes, like writing status updates and posting pictures. And the majority, 58 percent, say they feel comfortable using it to connect with other students to discuss homework assignments and exams. One out of four students e…


Start-Up Companies Tell White House Tech Chief of Struggles With Colleges

Philadelphia—Start-up technology companies have some gripes about higher education. One is that universities routinely make it hard for the public to access basic data, like course catalogs and book prices at the campus bookstore. Another is that when trying to sell services to a college, like a Web service that allows faculty members and students to organize and share their research and online readings, companies can’t find the people who make the purchasing decisions.

Those complaints got a hi…


Google Says Pearson’s New Learning System Is ‘Not a Shared Product’

Philadelphia—When Pearson officials talk about their new learning-management system, OpenClass, they like to mention Google. They note that the software is distributed through Google’s App marketplace, and say that it was inspired by Google’s popular e-mail and Web services platform. Pearson drops the company’s name so much that many college officials assume that Google is jointly building the new system, something that officials have long speculated that the search company might one day do.



Nudity, Pets, Babies, and Other Adventures in Synchronous Online Learning

Philadelphia—The University of Southern California places a premium on synchronous online education. Students fire up their Webcams and participate in live virtual classes.

But those live video feeds are opening a debate about classroom decorum, pushing the university to create new guidelines for “Netiquette.”

Barking dogs, wailing babies, a naked spouse—all have made cameo appearances in USC online classes, said Jade Winn, head of library services for USC’s education and social work schools, du…


Use of Mobile Apps Grows on Campuses, but ‘Cloud’ Services Are Slow to Catch On

This year has seen a substantial increase in the number of colleges offering mobile apps for campus resources and services. But the use of Web-based services, known as “the cloud,” for administrative services is growing slowly, according to a national survey of campus-technology leaders.

Only 37.1 percent of the 496 colleges that responded to the survey reported that they did not have a mobile app and were neither planning for one for this academic year nor reviewing one for the future, the Camp…


A Chronicle Educause Panel: Challenges for the ‘Unbundled’ University

Philadelphia—Technology is unbundling the university. In five years, students will mix online and in-person courses, professors will rely on new course formats and modules from multiple colleges, and the library will be dispersed. On Thursday a panel of Chronicle reporters will talk about these trends at the Educause tech conference here. We’ll dig into the big challenges presented by each of these changes, and we’ll share stories about how universities are successfully dealing with them.

Most o…


Pearson Answers Pointed Questions About Its New Course System, OpenClass

Philadelphia—When Pearson, the giant education publisher, announced last week that it was launching a free, cloud-based learning management system called OpenClass, the news prompted tough questions from college technology officials. Would this system accommodate other popular software? Who would have control, Pearson or the colleges? Would it be hard to integrate the product, which will be released later this year, with a student information system?

Wednesday at Educause, the higher-education t…


In Victory for Open-Education Movement, Blackboard Embraces Sharing

Professors who use Blackboard’s software have long been forced to lock their course materials in an area effectively marked, “For Registered Students Only,” while using the system. Today the company announced plans to add a “Share” button that will let professors make those learning materials free and open online.

The move may be the biggest sign yet that the idea of “open educational materials” is going mainstream, nearly 10 years after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology first began givi…


Colleges Take Varied Approaches to iPad Experiments, With Mixed Results

Several colleges that have been trying out iPads in the classroom will be sharing their experiences at the annual Educause conference, which kicks off Tuesday in Philadelphia. The officials plan to talk about what they’ve learned, though most still say it’s too soon to judge the long-term potential of tablets in teaching.

At least four sessions at the conference focus on teaching experiments with Apple’s popular gadget, and The Chronicle caught up with the presenters to get a preview of their pl…


Educause Preview: Annual Tech Showcase Highlights Apps, Clouds, and Learning Systems

One sign of the growing presence of technology on college campuses is the rising numbers at the annual meeting of Educause, which kicks off Tuesday in Philadelphia. This year more than 7,300 people are signed up to attend, up from 6,500 at last year’s meeting.

The bulk of the attendees work as technology leaders on campuses, though many others represent the 266 tech companies setting up booths at the show to persuade colleges to use their products to support teaching, research, or administrativ…