Is Facebook Reconnecting With Students Or...?


Way back in 2004, Facebook launched. It was for students and it centered around schools. In 2006, they opened up to everyone else and the school aspect moved out of the center.

Facebook has crossed the 100 million users mark. That's big. For comparison purposes, MySpace hit the 100 million mark in 2006 after 3 years. It took Facebook 4 and a half years.

At Passaic County Community College, MySpace is bigger with students than Facebook. (There's a good study waiting out there on why students choose one over the other, or use some other social network like Orkut.) MySpace offers you a kind of web site with tools and connections and lots of freedom to hack the design (hence the large number of really ugly sites). In Facebook, you always know you are in Facebook. There are lots of applications to add, lots of ways to connect. You can pull in your outside blog, but you can't have a blog there (as you can with MySpace).

Facebook has a new program called Schools being tested that literally connects to their school. It allows students to view their course calendar. Drop/adds show up in Facebook as soon as the registrar’s office reports them. Schools can also include ways for student groups to have pages within Schools where students can interact. The Schools program was developed by Inigral and it is being tested at Abilene Christian University.

from PC World:

The Facebook application is managed by the institution not the students and is plugged in to the school's database giving educational institutions more control over how and what information is shared.

Students who opt in to the application can view their entire course calendar within Facebook and if they add or drop a course at the registrar's office those changes will be immediately reflected in the Schools application.

Does Facebook want to reconnect to its base (the political season has me thinking in these terms) of students? Or, is Facebook looking to become an enterprise level higher education software package? Would the latter actually make them so mainstream that they would lose any cool factor that students find appealing?

Do I Want To Go Pro?


Footwear

In the mail today:

Hi ronk53,

You have 184 photos stored on Flickr. Once you hit 200,
you'll need to upgrade to a Flickr Pro account or you'll
only be able to see your most recent 200 photos. Nothing
will be deleted, and if you upgrade, you'll have unlimited
space for all your things.

Perhaps you'd like to purchase a Flickr pro account? Its
unlimited and you get video and stats too!

Do I want to go pro?

I guess I'm like all the kids. I want all this online stuff to be free. So, I can just delete some old or stupid photos. I could create another account and get another 200 free. I could cough up the $24.95 for the upgrade.

What do you use? Do you pay to play pro? What photo sharing service do you use? How about Photobucket which advertises "Keep all your pics and videos in one place - room for up to 10,000 photos and hours of video! For free." Can that be true? 10,000 versus 200 - what is Yahoo! thinking?

Recommendations please...


Delizzy and Delicious


So here's a plug for a little beta tool called del.izzy - a free service that lets you search through your del.icio.us bookmarks.

Why can't you just do that with delicious? (BTW, they did finally add the plain without-the-dots version of the URL, so you can just go to delicious.com). So what does del.izzy (annoying referential dot, but you can drop it when you type it in) actually offer you?

Delicious search only goes through tags, titles and descriptions, but not the the page content. del.izzy lets you search through all of it. Delizzy is still in beta and it shows in the simple design, but it serves a purpose until delicious gets it together.

The first version of delicious launched in late 2003, then grew with a 2005 injection of about $2 million in funding (some from Amazon.com), but after Yahoo! acquired Delicious in December 2005, it remained annoyingly the same. They finally launched an updated version recently, but it's still missing features. Sites like delizzy should keep them on its toes.


Blog Action Day: Poverty


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Blog Action Day 2007 last October had more than 20,000 bloggers with an estimated combined audience of over 15 million viewers, reading and discussing issues on the environment.

In 2008, the topic will be poverty. Bloggers who sign on will discuss that issue from the view of their own blog. Serendipity35 will try to cross poverty with learning and technology, for example.

Blog Action Day will be on October 15th. If you have a blog of any kind, you can sign up to participate.

It would also be a good classroom activity, whether you are a blogger or not, to look at he poverty resources and information that will be online that day on participating blogs.

An example is The Global Fund which combats AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria which have a crippling effect on the fight against poverty. Blog Action Day for this year encourages bloggers to donate their day's earnings to The Global Fund as their official Blog Action Day charity.

Two other resources for the classroom are the Causes of Poverty at the Global Issues site, and the Stand Up Against Poverty site.

Some of the world’s most popular blogs (according to Technorati) have agreed to participate in Blog Action Day this year, including: TechCrunch.com, ReadWriteWeb.com, Mashable.com, SmashingMagazine.com, GigaOm.com, Jauhari.net, Problogger.net, CopyBlogger.com,DailyBlogTips.com, ZenHabits.net, Inhabitat.com, VentureBeat.com, Mentalfloss.com, PronetAdvertising.com, TorrentFreak.com


iTunes U List: The Last Update




Back in May 2007, Apple added iTunes U (the area for colleges and universities) to the iTunes Store and I blogged about the first 16 colleges whose podcasts were being included there. That was logical because NJIT was one of those "sweet 16" schools. I have updated that post several times and included the growing list of colleges with an iTunes U presence.

I think the posts served a purpose and they got lots of views, but this will be the last update. Apple now lists all the colleges within iTunes, so, as long as you have iTunes installed, you can access the up-to-date list there.

Along with the colleges and universities, they also have other organizations offering educational podcasts in the "Beyond the Campus" area.

My only reason to offer this particular update is to direct readers to the latest addition to iTunes U. Now there are K-12 offerings too. I'm very happy to see that New Jersey has the dominant presence in that category as of now!

These links will only open if you have the free iTunes software installed on your computer which will allow you to view, play or download content.





Additional web links





 


TGIT: The Four Day School Week


Many U.S. college campuses operate on 4-day weeks during the summer. At NJIT, they lengthened the 4 work days. At PCCC, employees take half-hour lunches and need to make up 45 hours during the year in work outside their assigned workday. It saves on energy costs to be able to shut down for the longer weekend - not only air-conditioning, computers and lighting but the gasoline for the employees not commuting to campus.The $4 a gallon gas prices this summer brought it back into the media.

I read an article on eCampus Today that K-12 schools also looking longer days and shorter weeks. All these K-20 campuses are looking at what is already being done in the business world in longer days, flex scheduling and shortened weeks.

According to the article, some school systems in Minnesota, Kentucky, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah have eliminated Fridays.

All of us in higher ed know that it's often tough to fill Friday classes. Of course, these aren't energy-conscious students, just kids who want a longer weekend. In contrast, a growing number of our PCCC students are requesting early morning (7:30 AM, for example) classes to fit their part-time school, full-time job schedules.

There are plenty of research studies that have been done on the benefits of the 4-day week (see summary here) including government research studies. It's a story that the media likes to cover. Unfortunately, I think that might be because it catches the attention to those who had to go to school five days a week, and for all those who already believe schools are not doing a good job, and students and teachers have it too easy.