Archive forSeptember, 2013

Episode #99 — Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

30 September, 2013No comments

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Tom, Dan, Mills, Amanda, and Stephen returned for this week’s episode of Digital Campus, joined by Digital History Fellows Ben Hurwitz and Jannelle Legg. We began by discussing a JSTOR’s new individual subscription offering, JPASS, which allows individual users access to more than 1500 journals for a monthly fee of $19.50 or $199 annually. While our panel commended JSTOR’s efforts, Mills expressed concern that the cost of subscription will effectively prohibit JSTOR’s target audience (including adjunct faculty) from access. Amanda pointed out that while JSTOR access has been greatly expanded through library and other institutional subscriptions, many people are unaware of the ways they can currently receive free access. The discussion then moved to “Signals,” a performance monitoring software from Purdue University. Signals is a data-mining program which collects information about individual students such as time spent in online assignments, completion of homework, and performance on quizzes and tests. This information is used to alert students to areas of strength and weakness within their academic schedule. While the program is showing early signs of success, the panel was concerned that this type of program will not encourage students to develop independent study skills.

Next, the group examined the growing complexity of free speech on the internet with two recent news stories. In the first, Facebook ‘likes’ were found to be protected by a fourth circuit appeals court in a case involving a newly re-elected Sheriff and six fired deputies. The second story involved a tenured journalism professor at the University of Kansas that was put on leave as a result of a controversial a tweet. Our final news story concerned the digital footprint that shadows us on the web. In this story a law in California requires the creation of an “eraser button” for minors. The aim is to give users under 18 the ability to delete content from websites, apps and online services. While some contended that the erasure of some data, particularly on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, could be effective – our hosts expressed skepticism that these imprints can fully be erased from the internet. To conclude, Patrick Murray-John delivered a report from the Center about the release of the Omeka API, which will allow users to connect Omeka with other platforms.

NOTE: I mistakenly said that Patrick Murray-John is the Lead Developer for Omeka. Patrick Murray-John is the Omeka Dev Team Manager; John Flatness is the Lead Developer. See http://omeka.org/about/staff/. — Amanda

Links to Stories Discussed:

JSTOR individual passes – http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2013/09/digital-libraries/jstor-launches-jpass-access-accounts-for-individual-researchers/

Coursework nagging software “Signals” at Purdue apparently increases graduation rates – http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/purdue-u-software-prompt-students-to-study-and-graduate/46853

Court rules that Facebook “likes” are free speech –  http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/18/4744288/appeals-court-rules-that-facebook-likes-are-protected-as-free-speech

Kansas professor suspended after tweet – http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/23/u-kansas-professor-suspended-after-anti-nra-tweet

“Delete-button” for minors in California – http://gizmodo.com/why-californias-new-web-wide-delete-button-for-teens-w-1377730365

 

Related Links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/27/fat-shaming-professor-geoffrey-miller_n_3509505.html

http://omeka.org/

Running time: 50:39
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Categorized under Blackboard, course management systems, Facebook, freedom of speech, journals, JSTOR, Omeka, privacy, teaching, Wikipedia

Episode #98 — 500 in Podcast Years

16 September, 2013No comments

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Digital Campus is back! In the inaugural episode of the 2013-2014 school year, Tom, Dan, Mills, and Amanda welcomed RRCHNM’s new director Stephen Robertson and two of the Digital History Fellows, Amanda Morton and Amanda Regan. We began with the union between Google and edX, and the potential for change in the way that MOOC platforms are chosen, a discussion that included brief thoughts on Google Apps for Education and the collection of data on education. Moving on, we looked at the launch of a new platform for iPhone called Oyster, which offers a Netflix-like service for ebooks. The discussion revolved around what this new service might mean for the current state of textbook rental, deals with publishers, and efforts to combat the rising costs of textbooks. Mills suggested the possibility of a flat fee for a subscription to a semester worth of textbooks instead of students paying individually for ebooks.  We dug deeper into this topic with a discussion of the current state of ebook purchase and rental, citing the Kindle borrowing program as well as libraries’ offering ebooks through the Overdrive platform, and we wondered whether ebook subscriptions could be compared to movie and television streaming through services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.

Finally, we took a quick look at Topsy, an analytical service that allows users to search tweets from the earliest days of Twitter, an option that brings up interesting questions about how historians (and educators!) can use Twitter as a historical source. There was some suggestion that the release of this tool might be connected to Twitter’s IPO offering.

This episode concluded with a briefing on the state of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media by the new director Stephen Robertson, which marks the introduction of a new segment narcissistically titled “Reports from the Center.” Tune in two weeks from now (we promise) for more.
Links:

Related links:

Running time: 45:49
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Categorized under Amazon, copyright, course management systems, ebooks, Google, iPhone, libraries, MOOCs, open access, publishing, social networking, Twitter

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