Memorial Day Weekend

The week is almost over and the long weekend if about to begin. I’ll be out until mid-week so the blorgs will be on pause until I return.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday weekend!

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Outsourcing Technology – Fears in Higher Ed

Administrators and faculty make the best decision possible for their institution, right?

I offer that is a Yes and No answer.

Items that may get in the way include: fear of the unknown, change, ego, finances, staffing, local, state & federal laws, etc.

A quote that stood out to me in an article over on eCampus News about this topic resonated with me.

“If outsourcing frees us up to focus on the core business of educating without risking the quality of service (and peoples livelihoods), then it is a good thing,”
Source: http://www.ecampusnews.com/research/higher-education-proves-resistant-to-outsourcing-technology/print/

That *should* be the goal of a school but it’s not always that simple. After all, higher ed institutions are in the business of providing an education not building networks or buildings or roads. That said, all of those things provide a means to an education. Finding the balance through open dialog and research is where we’ll all find the sweet spot.

The past 5 years (or so) have allowed more and more people to understand what options are available for each of the systems needed by a higher ed institution. In fact more and more schools are moving their email systems off-campus. By the fall I expect that more schools will have their email off-campus than on-campus.

Will these outsourced systems because as regularly used as electricity is? In the early days of electricity was like our IT world of today. Each company built and ran their own systems until there was a cheaper way – outsourcing.

Maintaining privacy for key data is going to be at the top of everyone’s list when discussing any form of upgrade or migration. How many schools would then bring in an outside consultant with little or no emotional or political attachment to the existing infrastructure to decide what a best decision would be? Due to the cost, the answer is likely “None.”

Questions for you

  • Is there a system that is off limits at your institution?
  • Where does email fit into the discussion?
  • Are students and faculty involved in these types of discussions?
  • Does your administration play it safe or are they boldly leading the charge?

Spoken Notes – A New Turnitin.com Feature

Yesterday I wrote about the challenges teachers and administration face due to issue of cheating and getting around Turnitin.com‘s algorithms.

Something released a month ago appeared on my radar today: spoken notes that can be attached by a teacher. My reaction was “Niiice!”

Check out the short demonstration video below:

Questions for you

Are you using turnitin.com for your papers?

Is turnitin.com the equivalent of using a chainsaw to cut a piece of paper for your needs? If so, what do you use to provide feedback/suggestions?

Cheating Turnitin.com

Thanks fo the recent article from eCampus News titled “The top 10 ways college students plagiarize” I am now in the loop on cheating.

Cheating happens but with the advent of so many new types of software and sources of information determining if something is original or a copy isn’t the easiest of things to do. Turnitin.com aims to resolve that issue for schools.

Students on the other hand have people from all around the world trying to make Turnitin.com into nothing but a blip in the radar.

Following instructions in text can sometimes be confusing so countless videos have been posted to sites like YouTube and metacafe instructing anyone how to get around Turnitin.com’s algorithms. Of course it is all presented as information only. I should say the posters who think ahead include that brief note. 😉

One video I watched had over 11k views. Does the method still work? It’s possible though Turnitin.com will continue to improve their software and those trying to get around the algorithm will find other ways to win.

This was something new for me because of the unique projects that Sarah Lawrence has taking place in the classroom. Very few projects are copyable which means students have to do research for their papers.

Questions for you

Have you seen anyone get or try to get around Turnitin.com or other software like it?

What software is used at your school?

Resume Fabrication

Recently, Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson’s incorrect resume caught the tech world by storm. What did he do wrong?

According to his resume he has a computer science degree. Whoops, he doesn’t, even though that detail was included in an SEC filing and in several public bios. Walk that one back why don’t ya.

This week at Sarah Lawrence College students are preparing to walk at commencement and then off into the working world. On their resumes are internships, part time jobs and various skill sets that will hopefully help them find a job so they can begin paying off their student loans, buy dinner, and do something fun with their friends.

At a large company like Yahoo! one might think that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen… Ever!

What does this mean for the recent graduate who may have been manipulating their online presence during the time as an under-grad. Is that even possible? Better yet, will an employer care?

Recent graduates are not expected to have years worth of job history on their resume. It is a foot in the door that will help them sell their amazing skills. Some fields require extensive proof of training but at a liberal arts institution the sky is the limit and you never know what you’re going to see on someone’s resume.

Do students manipulate their resume to stand out? Is someone going to check to see if everything on the resume is true?

I think I’ll end with a bigger question, are resume’s becoming a thing of the past due to social media and online reputation options?

The 7 Best Open Government Sites

At Sarah Lawrence the last 3 weeks of school students are filling their conference papers with large amounts of data. These websites might be helpful now… Or in the future for other conference papers.

Beyond SLC, the list created by RWW will simply make your life easier.

We’ve already established that members of Congress are pretty bad at informing the public via their websites. The good news is that you can find a number of excellent sites for keeping an eye on the U.S. government. Not surprisingly, most of these are provided by third parties, rather than the government itself. To help ReadWriteWeb readers as the election season approaches, we’ve pulled together a list of the best sites for seeing just how the sausage is made. Just remember: What’s been seen can’t be unseen.

The 7 Best Open Government Sites.

Return on the 3rd

I will be out of the office until May 3rd.

What questions or ideas would you like me to write about?