Open Everything NYC 2009

This is a repost from http://www.johndbritton.com

Open Everything NYC 2009 Logo

Open Everything NYC will take place on Saturday 18 April 2009 at the UNICEF headquarters in the United Nations Plaza, NYC. The event will run the full day,registration will open at 8:00AM and things will be in full swing by 9:00AM.

The event will be 100% free and open to the public on a first come first serve basis, online pre-registration is required. The main hall can hold up to 250 guests.

The event will consist of two keynote presentations (one opening & one closing) each of about 1 hour in duration. In the time between the two keynotes attendees will be in control of the program (Barcamp style). There will be a number of conference rooms available for individuals to hold talks & discussions on topics they see fit.
Past events have included topics such as Open Publishing, Open Education, Government Transparency, Open Access, Open Research Data,Creative Commons, Open Hardware, and more.

From http://openeverything.net:

Open Everything is a global conversation about the art, science and spirit of 'open'. It gathers people using openness to create and improve software, education, media, philanthropy, architecture, neighbourhoods, workplaces and the society we live in: everything. It's about thinking, doing and being open.

Open Everything was started by a few people back in the beginning of 2008, and it has grown to include events in cities around the world. New York is going to be the next and we'd be delighted if you would participate.

When Enroll is Sent Out Yonder

New Jersey Institute of Technology (DISCLAIMER: It is where I work) is not immune from the economic taint that has infected public and private enterprises since the near global collapse last September 18th.  Though our undergraduate applications have increased more than any other state school in New Jersey, it is unclear if the prospective incoming students will be able to afford the discounted tuition that is available to in-state residents.

NJIT has a long history of academic excellence.  We graduate top-notch engineers, architects, programmers and information management professionals, but because of our narrow geographic recruitment area, many potential students don't even know who we are.

That changed yesterday.

NJIT is taking its fundamental strengths and areas of expertise --excellent academic instruction and distance learning-- and we are offering them to the world.

Online.njit.edu was launched, yesterday, as a comprehensive recruiting tool to attract master level and graduate certificate candidates across the country.  Available online, this new initiative offers the expertise and excellence of NJIT's graduate programs to students all across the country.  From the web site's main page:
"If you’re searching for an online master’s program or a “hot topic” graduate certificate, you should know this about NJIT:the university pioneered distance learning. Working in the late 1970s,two NJIT professors created the software, and the teaching methods, used to support some of the first distance-learning classes. In fact,the phrase, Virtual Classroom® was coined and registered as a trademark at NJIT"
Tuition and fees for out-of-staters have historically been a major impediment to cross-country recruiting for any of the NJIT programs, but that is expected to change, too:
"Know, also, that NJIT has affordable tuition. This year, the Princeton Review named NJIT one of the nation’s Best Value Colleges. And this spring, NJIT is introducing an online tuition rate that,pending approval in April by the NJIT Board of Trustees, will help online students who live outside New Jersey save on tuition.  So if you’re considering an online master’s program or a graduate certificate, know this:  NJIT will give you the skills you’ll need to work successfully in the 21st century global marketplace."
The University Vice President and visionary for this new initiative, Dr Gale Tenen Spak, has emphasized programs which lead directly to jobs in the unsettled marketplace:
"We offer short term, graduate level certificate programs and fully accredited, fully online master degree programs that can make you more employable and help you advance your career and give you a leg-up on your competition"
The entire thrust of this new initiative is to target areas of study which lead directly to existing, high-paying jobs all across the country.  While funding for professional studies has become harder to obtain, the proposed reduced tuition rates will make those training dollars spend further towards an advanced degree.  More from the web site:
"The majors that NJIT offers -- majors in engineering and science, technology and management -- are those most sought after by employers. Every year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers publishes a list of majors that attract the highest salaries. And every year the majors offered at NJIT top that list. "
Does this mean that the trend in graduate education will pave a new road to advanced degrees and professional excellence? No one wil know the outcome of this initiative until the Fall, 2009 semester begins.  Does this impact the undergraduate applicants ability to afford the tuition required to attend NJIT? No, that is a problem to be solved in some other way. But to the swarm of new applicants that hope to attend NJIT as undergraduates in the Fall, the prospect of enrolling in a school in which they can affordably continue their education through their bachelor degree while receiving the excellent support that their graduate studies might require, the innovative environment that the university provides at all levels, is a fundamental reason to enroll.

 

It's A High School; It's A College

Via The New York Times, a story about a Brooklyn school that is being described as a kind of hybrid between a high school and a community college.

City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, is a five-year secondary school set to open this fall. Graduates would receive both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

Students will have a curriculum that both has the courses we associate with a career and technical education and advanced courses that students would encounter in college.

There are already many colleges and high schools that allow high school students to earn college credit before they graduate. Usually, this is done by having students attend classes on a nearby college campus or by bringing in (face-to-face or virtually) college professors.

What is the motivation to create these hybrid schools? It may make the transition to college courses easier. With the proper articulation, it can cut in half the time needed to earn an associate’s degree or supply credits to a 4-year degree. The schools don't always wait until the last two years to begin the process. They can begin college level work in their first year. In theory, the school's high standards, rigorous curriculum, academic support and the enticement of free
college courses encourages students.

This has been done before. In earlier decades, they were often created to make up for the gap in college attendance and college degree rates among low income and minority students. Some people refer to these schools as "early colleges."

Jobs for the Future (JFF), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other groups have supported initiatives to create these schools called early colleges. About a third of these schools receive Title 1 funding (for institutions with a high percentage of low-income students served).

Further Reading Minding the Gap: Why Integrating High School With College Makes Sense and How to Do It calls for a system that integrates secondary and postsecondary education into a system in which a college degree is the goal for all students.

YouTube EDU



YouTube EDU (as in http://www.youtube.com/edu - it's not a .edu site, thank goodness) launched today.

It is called on the YouTube blog an educational hub - a “volunteer project sparked by a group of employees who wanted to find a better way to collect and highlight all the great educational content being uploaded to YouTube by colleges and universities.”

Right now, the site is aggregating videos from existing college and university content - lectures, student films, athletic events.

Are Public Computing Labs Redundant?

The University of Virginia has made a decision to phase out its public computer labs. Why are they doing it?

There are a number of reasons given and I wonder how many other schools might be considering similar moves for some of the same reasons. Here are some of those reasons and some of my own Passaic County Community College takes on them.

99% of UVA's new students brought their own laptops to the campus, so the labs are redundant. The percentage at PCCC is certainly lower. We would be dealing with a lot more than 1% of our students needing computers. Also, we are a commuter campus. Though I see students with their own laptops, the majority of students don't bring a laptop to campus. It might be because they don't have one, or because they don't want the risk or bother of commuting with it.

The UVA labs are still heavily used (651,900 hour last year) but it is primarily for web surfing and word processing which they could do just as well on their laptops. The PCCC library public lab near my office is always busy (especially the limited print stations) but I make the same observation - they are mostly reading email, watching videos, surfing and using Word.

At UVA, students use the lab computers for their specialized software (such as MatLab, Eclipse, MathCAD), but only for 5% of the time. The university plans to license the software for student laptop use. I don't know that PCCC public labs really offer any "special" software. Then again, for some of our students, having MS Office 2007 might qualify as special.

UVA plans to save money (about $300,000 yearly currently for lab maintenance) by closing labs, though the changes will still incur costs, so the actual savings is unclear.

Many students use the labs to avoid needing a personal printer; the university pays the cost for printers, toner & paper. They may need to still offer printing, scanning and other additional services. PCCC students go through a lot of printer paper and a lot of it is waste. If students needed to pay-to-print, we might go a bit greener.

This is not really a shocking educational technology change. It is certainly connected to larger conversations about changing learning spaces. Even without labs, students need spaces where they can bring their laptops and mobile devices, have network access and do collaborative work.

How are your lab spaces evolving?